photos by Chad Syme
Even if you’re not already a fan, chances are you’ve heard The Album Leaf before as you channel surf or watch The O.C. The music of Jimmy LaValle has graced not only four albums of songs and a handful of EP’s but it’s also been featured in ads for car commercials and prime time televisions shows.
About a decade ago James LaValle, then the guitarist for instrumental post-rockers Tristeza, decided to try some of his own material on the side. Ever since, The Album Leaf moniker has remained more or less a solo endeavor, though not without a bevy of world-class guests. Over the years, LaValle has brought in members of Sigur Ros, Telefon Tel Aviv, The Black Heart Procession and many others to flesh out some of the best and most memorable ambient electronica of the period. Only recently have others been granted fuller access to his recording process; he just returned from touring with Magnetic Morning, a side project with Swervedriver’s Adam Franklin and Interpol’s Sam Fogarino, and next month LaValle returns to Bear Creek Studios not by himself but with his entire Album Leaf live band in tow. Those February sessions will produce the anticipated followup to the Green Tour EP and the more official 2006 record Into the Blue Again.
As the first performance of our broadcast from the Opus Music Ventures’ studio in Berkeley, The Album Leaf couldn’t have been more amazing. Their four-song set included several older tunes that the band rarely plays, including fan-favorite “The MP” and “Wishful Thinking,” which they’ve never performed live before at all!