The last time we had the pleasure of covering the mysterious Chicago collective known as Leaf Set they had just released their single “Propeller/Nosebleed”, in anticipation of their second EP titled FILM. Well the long wait is finally over, but if we thought their singles were an indication of what was to come- we were dead wrong. There are 12 tracks total on FILM, meaning there are 12 distinct scenes that each possess a mood of their own accompanied by colorful, surreal cover art. These scenes flow and crash into each other so cohesively, comparable in effect to a Quentin Tarantino or Wes Anderson movie, but this is a Leaf Set FILM and is like no other musical release we have seen this year.
“Who is Leaf Set?” is a question you may find yourself asking, and one that does not exactly have a correct answer given the groups organic knack of creating and collaborating with many artists in the city- leading to many honorary members I am sure. However, the talent behind the majority of the production lies with Jordan Dillman and Kwame, who bring sonic life to the mind bending photography and edits of Leaf Set’s visual talent, Rachel and Drake. FILM is definitely a team effort and it shows with the wide range of features who come along for the wild ride. Dax plays live drums on the opening track, “Under The Bed”, which creates a build up of the dramatic, storytelling that awaits the listener in later songs. “Propellor/Nosebleed” recruits Dave G’s bass skills, Emily Blue’s heavenly voice, and Dax’s raw rhymes to create one of the more reflective scenes in the sequence. The next song is called “All Day Hate”, a pure instrumental but I need to touch on it because the fiery single art featuring an upset woman reading matches perfectly with the heavy flickering production and self-loathing ambience, making it one of my favorite songs on the entire project. Dave G. returns with the bass along with Brian Sanborn for “Trip”, which also features hypnotic vocal contributions from singer/songwriter CathO. Just as every track has it’s matching artwork, a lo-fi photo edit of a man holding a map backdropped by mountain scenery is employed to emphasize the trippy journey the listener has embarked on. “Crime” brings the vibe to a mellow, psychedelic moment where Blake Davis and Dax fill the sound waves with passionate cries and romantic reds making it another one of my favorite scenes. A special cameo in this cinematic experience is Abel Gray from the U.K., who has mean talent for drawing but shines on “Time” overflowing with “stream of consciousness” lyrics that will make you want to check out his solo musical work. The closing track ironically titled, “Opening Ceremony”, features fast rising Chicago lyricist Elton Aura who absolutely outdoes himself, assisting in the spectacular final scene of this genre-less FILM. Having curated an organized, clutter of emotions that imitate the lows and highs of life as timeless art often does, Leaf Set has shown us they are a creative force not to be slept on. So grab your popcorn, roll your blunt, or whatever it is you enjoy your favorite movies with, and prepare to experience the best FILM of the year below!
If you are lucky enough to be in the city Saturday December 2nd, you won’t want to miss the EP release show/party hosted at Rutcorp featuring support from Fundamental Kinks, Lettuce Head and 10 Toes Down. It will definitely be an unforgettable night of performances, friends, and celebration. 9pm 5$
Mixed and Mastered by Jasper Macrae