After cutting his teeth in San Diego's hardcore scene, Jimmy LaValle went post-rock with Tristeza, and he's never looked back. The Album Leaf started out as a side project, but it's turned into LaValle's main gig, attracting the attention of such notables Sub Pop Records and Sigur Rós. The latter's Jónsi Birgisson once again helped out on the new A Chorus of Storytellers, the first Album Leaf disc recorded with a full band.
"I figured since we've been playing together for over seven years, it seemed like the right thing to do with this record," says LaValle. "I've always felt like I've had permanent guys in the band. It's never a question when we go on tour who I'm going to ask."
Bassist Gram LeBron is a new face in The Album Leaf who should look familiar to Bay Area audiences. He used to play with Rogue Wave, and the local connection doesn't end there. LaValle recently moved to Santa Cruz, and eventually hooked up with San Francisco's Magik*Magik Orchestra, which will be accompanying The Album Leaf tonight at Slim's.
"There's songs we'll be playing that give me chills each time," says LaValle of the string section. "It adds a lot to the overall power of the show. We've added other things too--lights and trumpets. We'll have 11 people onstage. It feels really amazing to have put this together."