Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Album Leaf

James LaValle has a love affair with Iceland. To call his band, The Album Leaf, simply the instrumental American-port of Sigur Rós would be an understatement: both their recently-released album (A Chorus of Storytellers) and their 2004 breakthrough (In a Safe Place) were mixed at Sundlaugin, Sigur Rós' home studio, while borrowing their string section, Amiina, and collaborating with lead vocalist Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson and members of (fellow Icelandic howlers) Múm.

Simultaneously, to call his music barren or repetitive would be to neglect the moments of chilling serenity found in haunting vocals blended with post-rock electronica. A piano and glockenspiel provide an ambient landscape, and its minimalist falsetto - when juxtaposed against urban, propulsive percussion - grants a lingering soundscape with a reflective mood.

As A Chorus of Storytellers was released but two days ago, I've not given it a thorough listen yet. If LaValle is still capturing moments of ephemeral beauty in narrative form, the world will not have to fret Sigur Rós going on a year-long hiatus.

On Your Way [mp3] - (iTunes)
Over the Pond [mp3] - (iTunes)

North American Tour:
Feb 5: Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge (w/Anomie Belle String Quartet)
Feb 6: Seattle, WA @ Neumos (w/Anomie Belle String Quartet)
Feb 7: Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theater (w/Anomie Belle String Quartet)
Feb 8: Bellingham, WA @ Nightlight Lounge
Feb 9: Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
Feb 11: Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place
Feb 12: San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall (w/Magik*Magik String Quartet)
Feb 13: Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater (w/Magik*Magik String Quartet)

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