Leo*Leo
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Leo*Leo

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Duo Pop Rock

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"WERS 88.9FM uses new term, subgenre Nova Rock, to describe Leo*Leo"

The equally passionate and atmospheric music played by Leo*Leo can accurately be summarized by its guitarist and vocalist, Vanessa Wheeler, who said the music allows the duo (and its listeners) to “let go”. Leo*Leo, composed of Sarah Hope (drummer, synths, producer) and Vanessa Wheeler (voice, electric guitar, composition), have created a hybrid rock and jazz infused sound that evokes emotion with Wheeler’s soulful voice, and Hope’s musical restraint. This restraint allows Wheeler’s lyrics and Hope’s production to exist in harmonious union—not one aspect fully dominates another. Leo*Leo is a project that thrives as a multitude of elements that come together in unison. Wheeler’s guitar relaxingly strums against the ethereal backdrop contributed by Hope, testifying to Leo*Leo’s self-proclaimed “bicoastal”background.

The group opened their set with “Fever”, in which a swaying tempo revolves around Wheeler’s inviting lyrics “My heart beats with a fever/the sun rises and sets in the blue”. The result is a warm and satisfying concoction. Their next song, “You”, amped up the energy and showcased Wheeler’s vocals which are texturized by a collection of pre-recorded vocals. Leo*Leo produces the entirety of their sound, and these pre-recorded elements add another dimension of intimacy to their music. They closed with the warmer “Dancing Queen”, which according to Wheeler, “is not a cover of Abba”.

Music journalists have been coining Leo*Leo’s music as “Nova Rock”. The synthesis of traditional Bossa Nova, Rock, and Soul has yielded a sophistication that is hard to define. What Leo*Leo has created isn’t “Dream Pop”or “Lo-fi”, but new genre that fuses many different styles. Leo*Leo’s ambient sound carries through the entirety of their cohesive EP.

Leo*Leo released their first EP, Side One, in August. In early December, the band will tour the East Coast with Chadwick Stokes. - WERS 88.9 FM


"Leo*Leo Side One EP Review"

Boston based indie duo Leo*Leo have arrived with their debut EP titled "Side One". The effort combines the talents of two best friends who have a strong musical connection that resonates strongly the minute you first begin to hear it, and really speaks to mind about the depth of creativity and ambition that exists between these two musicians as soon as you hit 'Play'.

We begin things with "You", an ethereal, dream laced rocker with softly laced guitars and the warmly embraced vocals of Vanessa Wheeler that shows off the band's laserlike musical precision that leaves no stone unturned and does a great job of keeping things subtle and low key, which is not necessarily a bad thing by any means for any group to dabble in from time to time. "Dancing Queen" amps up the intensity somewhat, and features a more melodic twist coupled with some fantastic drumwork courtesy of Sarah Hope who also handles electronics duties that gives the duo a two pronged sword that allows listeners to explore the best of both worlds, and venture out to explore both ends of the musical spectrum that are just bursting at the seams right now as the album gets deeper and more musically complex as we go along. "Water" is my favorite track off the album that really exemplifies the creative majesty that the girls were aiming for while conjuring up these tunes in the studio, and showcases the band's musical mindset that is at its truest form on this track right here. "Fever" ends our musical stay with a somber, moody track that completes the circle of musical diversity on this effort, giving the listener a full 360 degree angle of what the girls musical blueprint is, and where their musical path takes them in the future. I was thoroughly impressed with these girls when I saw them at Great Scott earlier this year, and was particularly enthralled with their stage presence that really made them stand out in the crowd, and pushed their sound out front so that it wouldn't get lost in the shuffle to the unassuming ear.

In conclusion, a terrific and top notch effort from Leo*Leo, a local area duo that is starting to make a name for themselves by keeping things straightforward, and bringing to mind an simple and elegant blend of indie rock not seen before.

Score: 4/5 - Music Bo Pete (Peter Amara)


"Leo*Leo Give Back for the Holidays"

We’re smack dab in the middle of a week based around giving thanks, staring down a four-day holiday weekend that has most people already checked out. But at the tail-end of the oncoming festivities, Boston duo Leo*Leo are continuing the act of giving back, playing two shows at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain this Saturday to benefit the Animal Rescue League.

“Showing gratitude by giving back — even before we ‘make it’ — is part of who we are, says Sarah Hope, who along with bandmate Vanessa Wheeler count three pets in their musical stable: Meegs the cockatiel, Sophia the dutch shepherd mix, and a chihuahua/terrier named Basil. “Every artist makes a greater impact by aligning support for others. Even if it isn’t money, we all have a gift we can give someone other than ourselves. Leo*Leo doesn’t make a lot of money, yet, from music and we won’t make that our excuse to not do something for someone else.”

Leo*Leo are promising a few surprises at Saturday’s all-ages shows, a double-header (doors at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.) with special guests that funnels all proceeds to the ARL.

“A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Leo*Leo saying ‘we’re throwing you a benefit in a few weeks. We’ll contact you with details.'” says ARL Boston director of marketing Ami Bowen. “They took it upon themselves to plan the benefit knowing we can always use the help. We do not receive state funding and count on donations in order to meet our operational costs. This is a great time for a benefit because the Animal Rescue League of Boston gets a lot of calls for distressed, abandoned animals during the cold months.”

Check out Leo*Leo’s recent EP, August’s Side One, and keep it locked to the band’s Facebook page for more announcements leading up to the weekend. - Vanyaland


"92.9 Artist Spotlight"

Pioneering a subgenre of music and creating opportunity for others (often donating performances/EP to organizations in need). Leo*Leo’s music was recently chosen and added to the PANDORA rotation, resulting in both women choosing to raise money for a local, animal welfare, non-profit agency – before heading out on their tour with Boston’s own, Dispatch/State Radio, Chadwick Stokes. Their thoughts: “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we get the musicians in the Boston music scene to support the event?”

The Animal Rescue League of Boston will benefit from the ticket sales of 2 show performances, in addition to other materials on the rescue league’s wish list. The band is also donating their album to anyone who donates money through online ticket purchases. They would like press surrounding the event to push other musicians to take action and give back during the winter months-beginning with supporting this event through attending, donating or publicizing it. - Boston Radio 92.9


"Leo*Leo "Side One" EP Review"

Local band Leo*Leo describes themselves as “a bi-coastal duo with a deep love for warmer climates.” Whether you’re from the West coast or East, you can already relate to the duo without even having clicked play on their new EP, Side One.

Despite the band’s desire for sunny days that Boston can’t provide year-round, Leo*Leo’s sound is just as well suited for the four-seasons cycle of New England. The first song, “You,” has airy, raspy vocals that make you want to walk through a snow storm, getting mad at that ex-significant other (or the weather). It’s a song about anger, about loss, about confusion: “We fabricate / to gauge the benefit / of forgetfulness.” Even though the song is comforting in its relatability, the harsh sound leaves you feeling a little cold. That’s why “Dancing Queen” comes next. The first lyric—“ I know that look when you’re getting all depressed”—again gives the listener an opportunity to connect with Leo*Leo, but this time it’s to a blood-pumping tune. If “You” was the emotional winter, “Dancing Queen” is the blooming spring.

Next comes a drunken, boozy number, the type of song that Molly Ringwald finally kisses her prom king to in that late night 80’s rom-com you’re watching. The lyrics of “Water” describe drinking and dancing and taking “what you need.” Lyrics like “water streaming down their faces” and “looking for the setting sun” conjure up images of autumn rain and early sunsets. Gentle doo-wops murmur in the background like the tip-tap of water on a window pane.

Nowhere is Sarah’s experience as a recording engineer more apparent than in EP closer “Fever,” which begins with soft drumming and ambient soundboard effects. Pair that with Vanessa’s vocal range and style, and you get Leo*Leo’s key to success. On “Fever,” the band plays up a beachy sound with echoing melodies and wave-reminiscent sound effects. Given the band’s affinity for the heat, it’s logical that the EP ends on a summer song.

Although the seasonal changes from song to song are intriguing enough on their own, perhaps the most impressive part of Leo*Leo’s EP is its high production quality. Compared to the band’s earlier covers (such as Drake’s “Hold On,” which was recorded on an iPhone), Side One brings a level of sophistication that’s up to par with more famous alt-rock bands’ albums. For a band that spans coast to coast, Vanessa and Sarah inject a lot of cohesion and professionalism into their first release. - Sound of Boston


"Boston's The Noise Reviews Leo*Leo Live Show!"

P.A.’s Lounge has a retro, U-shaped bar with espresso machine, and rotisserie oven (sans chicken carcasses) embedded into brick, and honey-hued hardwood floors. The stage is off of the ground but intimate for the 23 folks who join in by 9pm.

All eyes are on stage when Vanessa Wheeler, Leo* Leo’s vocalist and electric guitar player, announces tonight’s set is stripped down from their usual production. Having seen them before, I’m disappointed that I won’t be hearing the deep base lines in the songs, “Fever” and “You.” Percussionist Sarah Hope dives into the cajón with grabbing, rhythmic energy. Her hands move to and from a standard high-hat while the left foot beats on the cajón’s kick pedal. Wheeler’s effortless vocals are smooth velvety streams of rock stylings pulling on the coat sleeves of jazz appropriations. A drunken man peers through the window during “Water” and ends up taking a seat on the pew against the wall.

Between “Lake Street Dive” and “HAIM” Leo*Leo feeds the crowd jokes, that are light-hearted check-ins. “Dancing Queen” is different from their radio single. We sway as Hope oscillates with reggae and Haitian beats. Wheeler’s baby-pink Fender guitar has rich ’60s tones and she plays it with soul. The duo’s music is a combo of different genres—soul, bossa nova, funk, and rock. They end with a reminder that Mother’s Day is approaching. These girls put on a hell of a show and share sincere appreciation for their listeners.

LEO*LEO
P.A.’s Lounge, Somerville, MA
5/7/14 - The Noise


"Natural Awakenings Artist Spotlight: Leo*Leo"

The story of pop duo Leo*Leo is a bit of a music industry anomaly. The band features longtime pals Sarah Hope on percussion, synthesizers and vocals and Vanessa Wheeler on electric guitar, bass and vocals. Often noted for their “difficult to pin down” sound, Hope and Wheeler create a fusion of rock, bossa nova, reggaeton and jazz.

Leo*Leo has captured the interest of music critics, industry experts and labels. Their music has been described as sexy, seductive and scandalous, yet built on a foundation of friendship and wellness. Hope and Wheeler are as passionate about building positive communities and donating to Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals fundraisers and ovarian cancer awareness groups as they are about making music.

“We are incredibly grateful to do what we love while giving back to the communities we connect with,” says Wheeler. “Sarah and I have women in our lives that are currently going through their own battles with cancer, and we want to promote healthy eating and daily exercise as preventative measures.”

Hope, who has been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), says that she needs to keep up with regular exercise to keep her symptoms at bay. In an industry where drunk, raucous behavior is often rewarded, these two women are more likely to be found sipping Kombucha tea than beer. “Even if you took the healthy out of us, we’d still be artistic nerds without much recklessness to brag about,” says Hope. “I think our manager sometimes wishes we’d do something crazy just to get more press.”

Both women started their relationship with music through the piano, while Wheeler switched to the electric guitar at age 12 and went to the Berklee College of Music before completing a master’s in Music Composition at the New England Conservatory of Music. Hope, after obtaining degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from the Wentworth Institute of Technology, taught herself how to play drums. The two met in a Boston coffee shop.

“I was already an ‘adult’ by societal standards when Vanessa encouraged me to take the up drums,” says Hope, shrugging. “Here we are, six years later, making music and representing everyone who dreams but has yet to dare.”

Leo*Leo can be found on Facebook (Facebook.com/leoleotheband), iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and Google Play. The band is scheduled to perform from 4 to 5 p.m., May 3, on Berklee radio station BIRN. Other performances include a community fundraiser at Tres Gatos, in Jamaica Plain, on May 6, and Great Scott, in Allston, on May 28. For details, visit LeoLeoBand.com.

Micah Lysette is a writer and illustrator based in El Paso, TX. Connect with her on Twitter @BeYourGenius.

This article appears in the May 2014 issue of Natural Awakenings Boston - Natural Awakenings


"Leo*Leo (VAVÁ) Chats about new EP, Ligers, and Mustaches Ahead of 6/25 Tommy Doyle's Show"

Two weeks ago we announced that the M&T crew will be jumping back into the local concert scene to present a show at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square with our friends Young Giant. The show will feature two amazing local bands that we’re very excited about at the M&T headquarters, We Avalanche and Leo*Leo (VAVÁ). Recently we had the chance to chat with the latter of the two acts and what resulted was quite the insightful yet comical conversation. Read on for the full interview below and make sure to keep your calendar free for Tuesday June 25th at 930pm at Tommy Doyle’s. It’s only $5, how can you say no?

Maimed & Tamed: Tell us about how your band was formed, but tell it in the style of a fairytale…

Vanessa: Once upon a time a big city girl and a country boy met in a small town. They learned that the other loved to play music, and soon began playing music all over the place to whomever would listen. This went on for several years, but then the girl began to miss the city, and boy his country home. So, they went their separate ways but continued to write and perform.

While in the city, the girl met another girl who loved to make music, too, and they worked together for many years. The boy visited the girls for a long time and they all became good friends. But, one day the girls both decided that they wanted to spend some time learning more about music, so they both moved back to the small town. They worked separately for awhile, but then something magical happened: the boy moved back to the small town! They all began playing music together and they lived happily ever after.

M&T: What’s on the horizon for the band? Any new music, videos, or content that you want to share with the M&T faithful?

Leo*Leo (VAVÁ): We are in the final month of recording our first four song EP, for which an August release date is predicted. The EP will be released on vinyl and electronically via websites like iTunes, Amazon, and BandCamp. Other merch is in the works as well, and we are gearing up for several shows (TBA) on both the west and east coasts. Check out facebook.com/vavamusique or vavamusique.com for updates!

M&T: What’s your favorite gig that you’ve played?

Sarah (drums) – Midway Café, March 2013.

Vanessa (lead vox, guitar) – Middle East Upstairs, Sept 2004.

M&T: What is your favorite food to eat on the road?

Sarah– apples and fruit n’ nut mixes

Vanessa– fresh apricots

M&T: What’s your band spirit animal and why?

Vanessa: The Liger.

First, here is a little overview of the liger’s parentage:

The liger, as its name suggests, is a cross between a lion (male) and a tigress. Lions hunt in a pack to increase their advantage over prey, so it is not so coincidental that they possess a highly developed set of social cues. When they are not hunting, they primarily spend their time together relaxing in the sunshine.

Tigers are the largest of the cat species. They are territorial animals that keep a limited home range and lead mostly solitary lives, but congregate under special conditions. As opposed to the desert dwelling lion, tigers are fond of swimming and spend much of their time in a lakes, ponds, or high up in a tree.

The lion/tiger hybrid does not occur in the wild as they come from different habitats. Ligers are only found in captivity in zoos, wild life parks, or with people oddly interested enough in their breeding.

The liger possesses both the social and fun loving exuberance of the lion, but is tempered by the calculated nature of the tiger. This hybrid speaks to us as individuals, as a group, and to our music, which is both unique and yet deeply referential.

M&T: Who has a better mustache, Tom Selleck or Hulk Hogan?

Leo*Leo (VAVÁ): Hulk Hogan. It’s not as classy as Tom’s, but it’s not as sleazy either. - Maimed & Tamed


"Tame the Giant Presents: We Avalanche and VAVÁ (Leo*Leo) at Tommy Doyle's"

It’s been a long while since we presented our last show in the Boston area, but we’re back now with our friends from Young Giant to present our first local show as part of our new collaboration, Tame The Giant. On June 25th we will be bringing two local bands that we are very excited about to The Loft @ Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square for only $5. Yes you read that right people, two bands for a measly $5 cover.

For all of you M&T playlist followers out there you’ll recognize We Avalanche from our March 2013 Spotify playlist with their self-titled track off of their new album Time Travels. As forLeo*Leo (VAVÁ), if you’re not familiar then you’ve got a little more than a month to get acquainted with their shimmery guitar rock. Read on below to discover more about each band and make sure to mark your calendars for Tuesday June 25th.

The designation of folk-rock certainly doesn’t do this group justice as they incorporate a menagerie of instruments to create a sound that can go from a whisper to pure cacophony at the drop of a hat. Through a combination of guitar, strings, and vocal harmonies, We Avalanche weaves together layer upon layer of sound that makes for quite the active listening experience. Take a listen and a look below to a performance of “From Nowhere” off of Time Travels.


Led by singer/guitarist Vanessa Wheeler, Leo*Leo's (VAVÁ's) sound is equal parts Warpaint, Beach House, and Tennis. Their music is influenced by Wheeler’s Brazilian heritage as well as her classical background from New England Conservatory. Familiarize yourself with Leo*Leo (VAVÁ) and check out the sonic delight that is “You” below. - Maimed & Tamed


Discography

Dancing Queen - Single Release - 01.16.2014

Photos

Bio

Leo*Leo is breaking ground into a new genre: Nova Rock.

Bossa Nova inspired Rock & Roll with a dusting of Soul and Disco. The duo is comprised of long-time friends, Vanessa Wheeler (songs/guitars/lead vocals) and Sarah Hope (drums/electronics).

Sarah, a seasoned recording engineer/producer and drummer, matches Vanessa’s background as a classically trained Brazilian composer and lyricist. Together they record, produce, mix, and perform their songs on stages from Boston to New York to Los Angeles, USA.

Similar artists: The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, ABBA, Sergio Mendez, The Roots, Bonnie Raitt, Wilson Pickett, Haim, Gary Clark Jr., MGMT, The Staple Singers, Mavis Staples.

Like it? Find us!

Facebook - www.facebook.com/LeoLeoTheBand

Twitter - www.twitter.com/LeoLeo

Soundcloud - www.soundcloud.com/LeoLeoBand

YouTube - www.youtube.com/LeoLeoBand

Band Members