In this age of the digital download, Spotify and YouTube, it’s hard to imagine a record label inspiring any sort of “brand loyalty.” But there was a time when certain labels could be counted on for consistently putting out a quality product regardless of the artist.

Motown certainly had that reputation in the ’60s. If you were a head-banger in the ’80s, your stack of cassettes probably featured many titles sporting the Metal Blade Records logo. Nineties punkers could always count on the Epitaph label to get their DIY fix.

All these labels had their own unique identities, and when music fans saw certain label names on an album, they already knew a little bit about what the album was going to sound like before they heard a single note. These days, seeing the Sony/Universal logo on a CD doesn’t exactly have that same kind of impact.

Thankfully, Portland has its own record label that’s doing its best to resurrect the idea of the record label as family. Founded in 2012, Lorem Ipsum Recordings has quickly established a reputation for quality, thanks in part to the brilliant idea of releasing quarterly samplers featuring one track from each artist on the label’s roster.

“From Lorem, With Love (Volume 1),” released in January, served as an excellent calling card for the label. After just one listen, listeners could tell right away what Lorem Ipsum was all about; the artists all had their own unique sound but shared a certain artistic integrity. With the release of that first sampler, Lorem Ipsum almost instantly established an identity for itself.

“From Lorem, With Love (Volume 2)” maintains the high standards set by that first sampler.

Returning with new tracks are label favorites Indre Styrke, Brett & Lena, Rural Ghosts, Young Readers, Oliver Waterman and For Morning. Most are solidly grounded in the indie-folk style, but all the artists add their own touches.

On “Limbo,” Rural Ghosts continues to develop its sound with a fuzzed-out guitar (something we’ve not heard on previous recordings from the band), providing a fascinating contrast to the haunting cello.

Brett & Lena blend their gorgeous harmonies with a touch of the psychedelic and just a hint of traditional country on “Better Than You Know,” and Jordan Herrera of Young Readers turns in what is perhaps the compilation’s best vocal performance. His impassioned singing on “Hymnal” is one of the most memorable moments of the entire collection.

Two of the stand-out tracks on “Volume 2” come from the two newest Lorem Ipsum artists, Muckie Mittens and Starlight Cicada.

Muckie Mittens is the only act on the sampler not working in the indie-folk tradition. Instead, it delivers some terrific indie rock on “Leaving Day,” with a wonderful pop sensibility that marks this particular song as the sunniest, catchiest tune on the whole collection.

Ethereal but arresting, Starlight Cicada’s “Green & Grey” is notable for its compelling lyrical content. Lines such as “I gave you my body … and you buried it” are delivered by Elizabeth Traillon in a voice reminiscent of early Sarah McLachlan, and will stay with you long after the song is over.

Like “The Godfather, Part II” or “The Empire Strikes Back,” this collection is that rarest of all artistic commodities: a sequel that is actually as good as, if not better than, the original. Label Founder Erik Neilson has managed to cultivate a roster of talented artists who are like-minded artistically but all sonically different.

If you’re new to Lorem Ipsum, this sampler serves as a great introduction. And if you loved “Volume 1,” you’ll be happy to know that “Volume 2” is just as good, and well worth the wait. Thanks for the love, Lorem Ipsum. Rest assured, Portland loves you right back!

Stream and download the latest Lorem Ipsum Recordings sampler for free at Learn more about the label and all the artists at

Rick Johnson is a freelance writer and radio host from Westbrook. He can be reached at:

[email protected]


filed under: