The Leaf Library are a north London band playing drone pop, post rock and experimental dream-like music built on layers of chiming guitars, pulsing electronics, noise and looping drones. Their hypnotic songs combine Stereolab’s repetitions with the warm fuzz of Yo La Tengo, the twilit wanderings of Bark Psychosis and Movietone’s coastal melancholy.
The band formed in the mid 2000s around singer Kate Gibson and ex-Saloon guitarist Matt Ashton. After the departure of original drummer Rob Smoughton (Hot Chip, Black Peaches) the band (including bass player Gareth Jones of Wintergreen) recruited drummer Lewis Young, guitarist Simon Nelson and singer/percussionist Melinda Bronstein, releasing their debut album Daylight Versions (5* - The Guardian) in 2015.
Their second album, The World Is A Bell was released in 2019 and gained reviews from, amongst others, Uncut (“World-weary yet innocent, blissful dreampop”, 8/10), The Quietus (“an expansive and rich listening experience, full of wandering basslines and disorientating rhythms”) and Electronic Sound (“brims full of their slowly rolling blend of drone pop... a real pleasure to explore”).
In their live shows the carefully constructed and occasionally delicate sound world of their records is replaced by a much noisier and intense experience, helped by the addition of vocalist/percussionist Melinda Bronstein, saxophonist Daniel Fordham (The Drink, Steven Adams and the French Drops) and flugelhorn player Laura Copsey of fellow drone pop travellers Firestations.
Earlier in 2019 they released ‘About Minerals’ (“could be the only bliss out tape you’ll need this year”, The Quietus), a minimal ambient tape on the Berlin-based Inner Space Travels label that is due for reissue on LP in spring 2020. The band have also recently released the first three CDs in their Monuments series (electronic and experimental side projects by various band members), as well as a number of long-form drone and space rock pieces, and tracks for several compilations.
Since their debut the band have released ‘Nightlight Versions’ (Uncut, 8/10), an ambient companion piece to ‘Daylight Versions’, and an album of remixes (‘Versions’, of course) featuring re-workings by Cavern of Anti-Matter (Tim from Stereolab), and others. In 2017 they released ‘On an Ocean Of Greatness’; a single track, 77 minute album celebrating the 21st birthday of WIAIWYA, as well as the double A side 7” ‘City In Reverse’/’Kendrick Road’.
The last album featured collaborations with Ed Dowie, Far Rainbow and Iskra Strings, and over the years they have have remixed various artists including Bryde, Black Peaches, The Declining Winter, Firestations and Hologram Teen.