Attention span-challenged fans who got turned on to San Diego's the Album Leaf (aka Jimmy LaValle) upon hearing "The Eastern Glow" on The OC may be disappointed by the mostly instrumental, experimental one-man-band's live show, which, with lots of sitting enlivened only by tripped-out visual effects, can be a staid affair. LaValle's music requires concentration and a fair amount of zoning out in order to lock into the ambient grooves, a weave of orchestral sounds (the guy's a classically trained pianist) and jazzy improv, with found sound from outer space salted in for good measure (think OK Computerera Radiohead or Album Leaf tour buddies/ studiomates Sigur Rós). It's a postmodern aesthetic LaValle perfected during stints in formidable S.D. acts Tristeza, Black Heart Procession, GoGoGo Airheart, and the Locust (of all bands). Sharing the Album Leaf's love of visual projections is opening local group the Rum Diary . Swiping its name from an early Hunter S. Thompson novel, this North Bay foursome, better known to some as the Cotati Sound Machine, blends delicate, Elliott Smithish vocals with blissed-out, moody space-rock. Roots of Orchis opens on Friday, Jan. 14, at the Independent; call 771-1421 or visit www.theindependentsf.com for more info.
-- Maya Kroth