Low Red Land

Neil Thompson: Vocals, Guitar
Ben Thorne: Bass, Vocals
Mark DeVito: Drums

Base of operations: San Francisco, CA

MP3s at www.myspace.com/lowredland
Website at www.lowredland.com

The guys from Low Red Land put it like this, "Most band-written biographies we've read are ridiculous, because they're written by people too close to the music. There are too many comparisons made, too many big words used, and too much effort taken to sound unique. So, in an attempt at being objective, we'd like to say that we are awesome." And that, they are, all kidding aside.

Low Red Land, made up of Neil Thompson on lead vocals and guitar, Ben Thorne on bass and vocals, and Mark DeVito on drums, are a group of former East-Coast-dwellers, having met at college in New York and lived in Boston for a time. The group relocated their distorted indie/alt-country twang to the West Coast city of San Francisco, CA in 2005 and have been touring hard ever since. A harder working band is hard to find, as they implement DIY to the fullest while they self-promote (one man a publicist, one a booking agent, one a designer) and self-release their albums.

The band's new album Dog's Hymns is truly a masterpiece that has been in the making for two years. The band originally recorded the album in 2007, only to choose to hold it and re-record it in 2008. Their hard work and dedication paid off with lush atmospheres coating their straight-forward, story-focused songwriting approach. One cannot speak highly enough of Robert Cheek's amazing engineering job with the band at The Hangar recording studio.

Singer Neil Thompson has a gift for filling lyrics with characters and settings. In the album opener "Dog's Hymn," Thompson spins a story of a group surrounded by wolves and looking back on their lives in their last waiting moments. He sings, "All eyes are fixed. The bravest singers, in that silence wait. Say your amens in Dog's Hymns." These wolf songs become a metaphor for the rest of the songs on the record, which sing of a range of human experiences including love, murder, friends, and social injustice. "Wovoka," for example, tells the tale of the slaughter of an American Indian village at Wounded Knee at the hands of U.S. Calvary. The song arose from Thompson after he rediscovered a gift that he had received from his uncle in his early teens. The gift was a pamphlet on the Ghost Dance, a dance intended to raise the spirits of American Indian ancestors to return the buffalo and send away the foreigners. It was this dance that drove the U.S. Calvary to killing in fear of an uprising.

Low Red Land have performed at over 300 shows since 2005 and sold over 1500 copies of their self-released first album Weight Of Nations.

Similar artists: Neil Young, Son Volt, My Morning Jacket, The Red House Painters, Drive-By Truckers, Lucero

V/A "Ten Years Of Thinker Thought" Thinker Thought Records 2011
"Dog's Hymns" Thinker Thought Records 2008 (digital)
"Dog's Hymns" Self-Released 2008
"Acoustics I" Ghost Mansion Records 2007
"Weight Of Nations" Self-Released 2006

Low Red Land press photo 1
Low Red Land - Download printable press photo 1 (1800 x 1745 jpeg)

THI 991 - Low Red Land "Dog's Hymns"

THI 991 - Low Red Land "Dog's Hymns" 10-song download
RELEASE DATE: September 23, 2008
PDF Press Kit
BUY IT NOW: iTunes
Download printable cover art (1500 x 1500 jpeg)

Track Listing:
1. Dog's Hymn
2. Landmark
3. West Texas
4. Battles
5. Better Angels
6. Goodnight, Moon
7. Gunfighter's Afternoon
8. Hunt Song
9. Wovoka
10. Duke

"San Francisco's Low Red Land floods 3 Kings with sludgy yet beautiful Americana..." - The Onion Denver

"Sometimes you get lucky. Every week I have to find a picture to run in the club guide, and one week I picked Low Red Land. They later sent me a self-released 2006 CD titled The Weight of Nations. The disc stayed in my truck's deck for a week.

"The trio of 26-year-olds — Mark Devito on drums, Ben Thorne on bass, and Neil Thompson on guitar and vocals — is also no stranger to intuition. Having met at Hamilton College in New York, they'd originally been a four-piece called Great American with another college buddy, Matthew Stringer. After graduating, the four moved to Boston, where they put out a self-titled, self-released EP and album. When Stringer left to go to med school, the rest of the bandmates knew they wanted to continue playing and move to San Francisco. They renamed themselves Low Red Land after a lyric in a Larry Jon Wilson song, 'Ohoopee River Bottom Land.'

"The moniker is fittingly evocative: it speaks of the sage-and-sand-filled expanses of their journey west, of red dirt cliffs and winding rivers. This unexpectedly rangy, Western feeling fills The Weight of Nations, though being from the 'totally podunk' coal-mining town of Shickshinny, PA, Thompson can assure you that the East can be just as country as anywhere else.

"While the album is 'intensely personal' for Thompson, it also contains subtly penned protest songs in the fine though rare tradition of Woody Guthrie's 'This Land Is Your Land.' 'You're Alive' is about the death of Thompson's childhood friend, Michael Cleary, a first lieutenant in the Army, in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. And for me, that's the key to The Weight of Nations: the protests are personal, soaked in sadness, and set against the American tapestry in a way that calls to mind the poetic scope of Hart Crane's The Bridge. It's easy to see why the group has been likened to Crazy Horse, though I'd pick Creedence Clearwater Revival meets the Meat Puppets. 'As long as the bands aren't bad, I'm pretty psyched,' Thompson says of these comparisons. 'Somebody said we sound like the Dave Matthews Band. I was bummed out for the whole day.'" - Duncan Scott Davidson of San Francisco Bay Guardian

"There's a sweep to Low Red Land's music that does indeed sound geographic, a kind of twanginess that somehow invokes the West (they're from San Francisco; not exactly the kind of town that tumbleweeds blow through, but whatever, we still like the imagery). Their album's unapologetically lo-fi; they recorded it over two days in Arizona with no overdubs. They're at the Towne Lounge tonight if you want to give them an extended listen." - Luciana Lopez of Oregonian and OregonLive.com's Pop Music: MP3 and Preview

"Low Red Land is a 3-piece indie/alt.country band born from the ashes of a previous incarnation, whose members had moved West to San Francisco from Boston in search of inspiration, and a new locale in which to re-dedicate themselves to their band. Well, apparently they've found some of what they were looking for. They have an album out entitled Weight of Nations, and they've crawled their way back across the country in a tour that's taking them back to the East coast. They're a fairly straightforward (yet soft-tempered) indie-rock outfit, with an interesting vibe. There is something definitely strange about this band. There's an odd Southern sensibility to their music, and an unmistakable gospel influence that seeps through in the vocals. They've successfully blended both modern and roots leanings. I hate how all-inclusive the alt.country genre can sometimes be, but I think fans of Drive-By Truckers or Lucero would dig as much as followers of My Morning Jacket or The Red House Painters." - Tadd Trueb of Murmur Magazine

"Atmospheric - yet extremely melodic - postmodern guitar rock (plus twangy, heartfelt vocals) that flirts with cliche but yields more riches than might be expected." - Connect Savannah

"There is something refreshingly real about this San Francisco band...Low Red Land...that borders on dangerous. With biting Southern tang mixed with some rural twang...one can almost imagine Steve Earle fronting for My Morning Jacket.
In fact, this three man forest fire (Ben Thorne, Neil Thompson, Mark DeVito) oft-times drifts into deliciously strange jams only to bring it all together with well-written lyrics delivered in Low Red Land style. Check these lyrics! 'There are people who hit so hard you lose your sense of fear, but you won't be spitting blood all by yourself.' ('Dreams That Heroes Dream') That's a bad-ass line. And they seem to have many interesting ideas that fortunately will keep this band from becoming accursed as a one-note wonder. They offer mp3 samples [on their website]. Low Red Land is real, indeed. Good Stuff!" - The College Crowd Digs Me

"This week's featured band is Low Red Land, a San Francisco trio we've been impressed by since hearing their debut album, Weight of Nations, almost exactly a year ago. Recorded live in two days, the album crackles with a dynamic blend of rock and roll and traditional Country & Western sounds mixed with personal lyrics drawn from the lives of the band members, long-time friends who moved together to San Francisco when the band started.

"That album, though, was only the beginning. When we spoke with Neil, Mark and Ben last week, they discussed their plan to record a second album later this month and tour in the fall in support of that release. That tour will be their third nationwide trip in two-and-a-half years, in addition to several smaller tours and a multitude of performances locally, many alongside their fellow members of the Thread Productions collective.

"Low Red Land's touring schedule is indicative of the discipline and commitment that seems to inform every aspect of the band, resulting in tight, dynamic songs informed by a well-honed musicanship. Along with the interview, we've included four songs in the episode, including a new song [a demo version of 'West Texas'] that shows where the band is headed and an acoustic track from an upcoming all-acoustic EP [referring to our first acoustic EP for Ghost Mansion Records]." - The Bay Bridged

"Headliner Low Red Land has developed into one of the most promising bands in the Bay Area. Their first full length, Weight of Nations, is very good, but the band has bested that record with an incendiary live show that is as engaging as is it is intense. Their newest songs seize on this potential, showcasing excellent control of dynamics and melody alike. '[T]he protests are personal, soaked in sadness, and set against the American tapestry in a way that calls to mind the poetic scope of Hart Crane's The Bridge.' (SF Bay Guardian) 'It's heartbreakingly good….and those dern lyrics will stick to yr insides like liver on a hot wall….Better than pudding.' (Pirate Cat Radio)" - The Bay Bridged

"The spirit of manifest destiny is alive and well in Low Red Land, a trio of San Franciscans that has expanded their early country-rock sound in all directions, regardless of generic boundaries. Songs like 'The Duke' and 'Dreams That Heroes Dream' expand upon basic cymbals and coasting bass to end in explosive guitar racket, and a roaring cover of Pink Floyd's 'When The Tigers Broke Free' makes for a violent and enthralling live act. The perfect act for rocking yourself out of your turkey-induced slumber." - Charlottesville, VA C-Ville Weekly

"In the three years that Low Red Land has had its current lineup, the band has improved greatly. 'Touring as long as we have been, the songs have changed over time,' said Neil Thompson, guitar and vocals. 'I think our focus has definitely become better in general.' Thompson is joined by Ben Thorne on bass and vocals and Mark DeVito on drums. The three have played together for about 8 years since attending college. The band members are all from Northeastern states and moved to Boston after college. In 2005, Low Red Land left the cold in Boston for change and growth in San Francisco.
The band's full-length debut was released in June 2006 and Low Red Land has toured nationwide since, including performances at the now defunct Pod (E.O.S. when it closed). 'Most of the country has been really, really receptive to us, though the Southeast has been a bit challenging,' Thompson said. Plans are underway to record and release a new full-length album in the spring of 2008, followed by more touring. 'We describe ourselves as a rock band, but that can mean anything until somebody sees us live,' Thompson said. He said the band puts on an intense show that should leave people feeling a sense of honesty about the group's performance. 'I think we just want people to be impressed and want to see us again,' Thompson said. The band runs an independent operation, booking all of its own shows. 'Right now, it makes sense to keep things as internal as possible, partially because of costs and also because we've been planning everything,' Thompson said. Back in San Francisco, the band members each hold regular jobs. They're taking a two and half month break [three, actually - ed.] for their current run. Thompson works at a glass company, DeVito works at a bar and Thorne works for an antique dealer." - Aaron Phillips of Get Out Amarillo

"San Francisco's Low Red Land brings alleged alt-country to its knees with good old reliable rock and/or roll . Their music harkens back to simple times, just after youthful exuberance is dashed by the harsh realities of the daily grind. They will be supported by local wunderkind Billy Belmont's latest endeavor, Bellemah and L.A.'s Astra Heights. Their third appearance in ABQ is one of the final shows of their 3 month nationwide tour. Don't miss your chance to see one of the best little-knowns before they become widely known." - Albuquerque, NM Local IQ

"Low Red Land has released an excellent entry in to the alternative country genre with their latest record Weight Of Nations. Names like Neil Young, Son Volt and to a lesser degree Mark Mulcahy come to mind while listening to the albums 9 tracks. The groups lo-fi inspired twang is quite infections and should appeal to most fans of the genre.

"The albums opens with the mildly slow 'Dreams That Heroes Dream.' The slow opening gives way to a distorted guitar heavy chorus that illustrates the aforementioned Son Volt influence. Vocalist Neil Thompson has a pleasant voice that works incredibly well here. After a few down tempo tracks things kick up with the Hunter S. Thompson inspired 'The Duke.' The driving baseline and harmonies make this one of the best tracks on the album. The record ends with the banjo and accordion laced title 'Weight Of Nations.' This song has quite a different feel from the rest of the album but it still fits in the track list nicely.

"The band employs a production aesthetic that I found reminiscent of The Black Keys. That aspect may hamper enjoyment of the album to some but others, myself included, will find it quite endearing. The mix could have used some thickening up and some minor improvements to the drum sound but other that that what they did works well for their musical style. This album along with material they've recently released online shows great potential for Low Red Land and I look forward to any future material they release. You can buy the album directly from the group via their website." - Buzzgrinder Dot Com

"There's nothing like a bunch of angry young men thrashing their frustrations out on some gritty, glittering, guitar-based riffs. Mark DeVito, Neil Thompson, and Ben Thorne are Low Red Land, a San Francisco-based rock band that falls halfway between grunge rock and alt-country. The band's lyrics sound more like spoken word and are treated as such; the ringing guitars take a backseat to the crucial phrases to make sure they are heard. In a strange mix of anger and optimism, 'Weight Of Nations' comes across as an album made by a bunch who sound - and perhaps feel - older than they are. Particularly engaging about this record are the subtle and well-placed expressions of disaffection with the contemporary political climate. 'Pontchartrain' begins with the line, 'We should not hide the scars of elections lost / But there's a dead man and he's floating in Pontchartrain.' In 'Hawks Die,' the vocals cry, 'The steam ship sank as the archers fired ... while senators think of the things they'll have to say.' The low-fi production is well suited to most of the record. However, the quality of the drum sound often drifts apart from the rest of the instruments, sounding disconnected. This flaw is unfortunate, considering that the songs are provocative and well-written. The title song wraps up the album with a banjo-picking dirge. In a most disturbing confrontation, Low Red Land asks, 'Will you be there when my face turns blue?' It feels more like a thinly-veiled request." - Ali Marcus of West Coast Performer

(3 out of 5 stars) "Low Red Land plays spooky, loose, and furious rock and roll. Hailing from San Francisco, the band creates a sound similar to early Crazyhorse meets Jesus Lizard, with sweltering guitar freakouts supported by loud, clamorous drumming. The trio traffics in something that sounds like post-apocalyptic folk via tunes like 'Elijah's Church' and the quiet, rural-inflected title cut. Others, such as 'You're Alive' and 'Dreams That Heroes Dream,' have as much in common with the mainstream as they do with rock's dark underground. If there is fault to be found with LRL, it's that occasionally the group's sheer volume might squash everything in their wake. A promising start, though, guaranteed to entertain and inspire enthusiasm." - Jedd Beaudoin of Wichita City Paper

"The last act of the evening was local trio Low Red Land. The band, comprised of Ben Thorne on bass and vocals, Neil Thompson on guitar and vocals, and Mark DeVito on drums, delivered an explosive set with earnest, heart-felt lyrics. Underneath the heavy rock was a forlorn and somewhat haunting Western feeling. 'This race has been run, take me back where I came from / Let me return what I took from the ground / And when this body won't carry me no further / Take me home, lay me down,' Thorne sang on 'Elijah's Church,' taking the crowd home." - West Coast Performer

"Low Red Land, comprised of Mark, Ben, Neil, and for this night Adam, take the floor and play an absolutely mind-blowing second performance. Low Red Land could travel many paths in their musical career and tonight we get a glimpse of what they might sound like as old rock fathers sitting not on our floor but on a front porch of a mighty Montana ranch. Stripped of their much celebrated volume, Neil and Ben's vocals still sit proudly above the steady rhythmic momentum of Mark and Adam and the resulting sound is possibly even more powerful than when they are fully cranking air." - Ghost Mansion

"Complimentary words from a fellow who then proceeded to rip a stand-up bass, as Mark, Neil, and himself played in support of Low Red Land's first acoustic release and [Ghost Mansion Records'] 6th release. All hand-made in the simple DIY fashion that GM is best known for this release is amazing and offers you the listener the root of what makes Low Red Land's music so amazing. It's party story-telling, part window into the band's originations, and part what we hope to see more from them in the future. As an acoustic trio, the band retains their incredible chemistry and crafts subtle textures that still manage to fill the entire room. It's a different aspect of volume worship where in you are overwhelmed not by shear movement of air but rather movement within, swept away by heartfelt harmonies and their sweet meditative melodies. Thanks again friends and newest members of Ghost Mansion." - Ghost Mansion

"The folks at venerable Bay Area collective Thread Productions treated the crowd to a slew of San Franciscan talent at their dual CD release soiree for Sky Pilots' Enjoy a Day Off and their own compilation Dragon Slayers Volume II.
Low Red Land kicked off the night with a meaty set of muscular, driving rock largely reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr.'s heyday classic, You're Living All Over Me. Touched with the slightest bit of twang, their explosive performance featured bassist Ben Thorne and guitarist Neil Thompson sharing vocal duties in a moody meshing of Alice in Chains-style harmonies. Thompson's willowy, nasal voice easily suggested Neil Young, while Thorne's raspy, guttural groan evoked hardcore influences. The pairing of their vocal styles created excellent tension against the backdrop of Mark DeVito's thunderous drumming. Low Red Land rocked harder live than their recordings suggest — their countrified souls wrapped in beguiling layers of vintage flannel grunge drive." - Andres Jauregui of West Coast Performer

"Saturday night I missed Death On Mars, but got to see Low Red Land from SF. They played loud and fast, but their vocals were really clear (at least with my plugs in) and their music was passionate. I liked the dual vocals and reminded me of the hardcore 'emo' stuff I was into in high school before 'emo' was hijacked by a bunch of pussy MTV boy bands with guitars. For $10, they sold me all of their CDs, including a live CD, a full length, a couple eps, and a sneak peek of tracks from their next full length." - San Diego: Dialed In

"I first heard Low Red Land on the Dragon Slayers Vol. 2 comp put out by Thread Productions. There isn't a bad song on that disc, but Low Red Land's stuck out in my mind because their song, 'West Texas,' is named after my home state. And also because the guitars and vocals would stay in my head long after the disc stopped spinning.

"Their live show was everything I'd expected: Loud, swelling guitars and desperately earnest, often shouted vocals. Indie punk and hardcore riffs atop driving rhythms. Sheer blasts of echoy guitar noise. It's kinda like Fugazi meets post-rock, if you will.

"But a surprise was in store at the end of the night, when the band closed their set with a quiet, all-acoustic number on banjo, guitar, and accordion. Singer/guitarist Neil Thompson didn't sing into the mic, either, instead letting his vocal chords provide their own amplification, just as the other instruments were doing. It was a brilliant way to end the show, demonstrating a completely different side to the band's talents.

"Low Red Land has actually released one acoustic EP and plans to release another this year. They'll also be releasing their second electric album in 2008. You can catch Low Red Land play an all-acoustic show before they head out on tour through most of March.

"Whether they're electrified or not, the Low Red Land live experience will amply reward your attendance." - Mike of Wire Tap Music