The Album Leaf look forward, and return to simplicity

While chatting with me for my story on the resurgence of vintage synthesizers (Quirky, sometimes cranky, old keyboards appeal to young musicians), Jimmy LaValle of The Album Leaf had a lot to say about the band’s most recent EP, “Forward/Return.”

So much, in fact, that his insights are a story of their own, and I’ve produced an audio postcard with Jimmy LaValle’s thoughts and music from the EP. It’s a meditation on the life cycle of a band in this day and age, and the creative process that goes into the making of a recording.

LaValle founded The Album Leaf in 1998 while on hiatus from the best-known band he’s played with, the San Diego-Tijuana-based post-rock band Tristeza. Drawn to the distinctive sound of the Fender Rhodes electric piano, the Moog synthesizer and vintage drum machines, LaValle crafts a sound that draws on his wide-ranging musical tastes: classical, jazz, post-rock and more. Despite being a native of the sunny left coast, you can hear a wistful melancholy in his music, so it’s not surprising he draws inspiration from time he’s spent in Iceland, recording at the studio of Sigur Ros.

“Forward/Return” is the band’s first recording in two years, following on 2010’s full-length “A Chorus of Storytellers.” They’re a frequently touring band, and come through Philadelphia at least once a year, usually headlining at Johnny Brenda’s or opening at the Troc or Festival Pier. Their recordings are solid, and they put on a really good live show, too.

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