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.