This week’s featured band is San Francisco’s Leopold and his Fiction, a trio who turn pieces of garage rock, folk, psych and Americana into a remarkably cohesive and engaging mix called “vintage rock”. Detroit native Daniel James grew up around music and musicians, but it wasn’t until he left home that he really took stock of the music scene around his upbringing. The singer-guitarist eventually ended up at a writing program in San Francisco, where he met Kentucky transplant Ben Cook and the two bonded over a love of classic rock and vintage sounds. After some unsuccessful attempts to find a third member, they decided to go at it as as a duo and released a self-titled album that gathered critical praise and substantial college radio airplay.
Several years later, the band now celebrates the release of Ain’t No Surprise, a second full length album that strikes our ears as a sign that 2009 will be another great year for Bay Area music. It’s no easy feat that the group has accomplished, turning its melting pot of influences into songs that, for all the talk of “vintage”, feel both innovative and exciting. After the record was completed, Cook left the group to pursue his career in 2008, meaning that along with the new release James is also introducing Leopold and his Fiction Mark II, a trio that includes Micayla Grace (bass/vocals) and Jon Sortland (drums/vocals/organ). The new members bring new sounds and ideas to the mix and James is clearly excited about where the band is headed. Judging by the terrific new album, we are too.
We sat down with Daniel James last week to speak about Ain’t No Surprise, the songs he’s now creating with his bandmates, and the influence of his upbringing on his musical interests. We’ve got four great songs from the new album included in the episode.
Tuesday, March 10th
Bottom of the Hill
with Spindrift and The Upside Down
9pm, $8, All Ages
– Visit the band’s MySpace page to purchase Ain’t No Surprise on vinyl (with free digital download).
– Check out the band’s performances during Sundance 2009 here, here and here.
– You can currently buy Leopold and his Fiction’s self-titled debut album on iTunes.
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