May 7th, 2008 12:00 am Brandon Seifert | Special Section Stories

4. Loch Lomond

38 points


IMAGE: Alicia J. Rose

WHO: Ritchie Young, Scott Magee, Laurel Simmons, Heather Broderick, Jade Eckler, Amanda Lawrence, Dave Depper, Pia Da Silva (plus Heather Broderick and Jason Leonard when they aren’t busy with Horse Feathers and the Nick Jaina Band, respectively).

WHAT: Ancient-sounding chamber folk.

SOUNDS LIKE: The harmony that unseen string section was playing in the misty forest just before you woke up—the one that haunted you for the rest of the day.

YEAR FORMED: As a solo project: 2004. As a band: late 2006.

MOST LIKELY TO BE FOUND: Practicing in Southeast Portland living rooms or stunning audiences into silence at Mississippi Studios.

VOTER QUOTE: “Loch Lomond are one of those bands that I heard about long before I heard their actual music. First a friend freaked out about them, then my roommate, then my very best friend, and so on and so forth. It’s really hard to make any kind of music, especially folk, that somehow sounds new and authentic at the same time. Loch Lomond strike that balance perfectly. There’s so much depth and grace in Loch Lomond’s songs, there’s a wisdom to it, even, but it doesn’t sound anything like a retread of their influences.” —Hannah Carlen, Spectre Entertainment radio promoter, Portland Mercury music freelancer

Ritchie Young used to treat sleep the way pearl divers treat the sea: He’d venture into its depths and document the findings with a bedside tape recorder when he surfaced in the morning. Then he’d write songs based on the melodies and imagery uncovered in his dreams. Loch Lomond’s whole first album, When We Were Mountains, came from Young’s dreams. But he eventually moved on to more traditional songwriting techniques after getting “super-excited” about a particularly vivid musical dream sequence...only to realize he’d dreamt a Meatloaf song (“I Would Do Anything for Love,” to be exact).

Loch Lomond started as Young’s solo outlet while he was in formerly local “proggy rock band” the Standard. When his solo side project became his primary band, however, Young and his colleagues found it hard to replicate the electronic, sequencing-heavy songs on Mountains. “So we got rid of the P.A. and amps,” Young says, “and started playing in living rooms in Southeast.” One of those living rooms is Young’s own; he lives in the old Sunday-school space at house of worship-turned-regular house the Funky Church. The acoustics of the Church (which doubles as an occasional house-show venue) helped inspire Loch Lomond’s acoustic bent. “I fell in love with that idea, that you can be powerful without having, you know, big amps,” Young says.

A year and a half ago, Loch Lomond finally solidified its lineup, transforming from a rotating cast into a stable ensemble of “about seven” members (who play everything from mandolin, saw and theremin to clarinet, violin and glockenspiel). Only one song from Young’s dream-diving days remains in the band’s repertoire: “Stripe,” a piece based on the time Young dreamt he was the blood clot that killed a friend’s father. Even so, “dreamlike” is still the best way to describe Loch Lomond’s sound—though not in a watered-down Disney-fied way. This is the soundtrack to all your dreams, the ones with Meatloaf choruses and anthropomorphized blood clots alike.


"Song in 3/4" from Paper the Walls (Hush):

SEE IT: Loch Lomond plays WW’s Best New Band showcase Saturday, May 10, at Berbati’s. 9 pm. Free. 21+. Website:
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