Like Leaves
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Like Leaves

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia | SELF

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia | SELF
Band Rock Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Like Leaves Album Launch @ Jive"

The local Adelaide music scene got off to a flying start for 2011 with the launch of the self-titled debut album by Like Leaves. These psych heroes put on a monster of a show to give the highly anticipated album the introduction it deserves.

Having released their own debut album last year, Steering by Stars knew what they needed to do to build up the mood as first band on the bill. Their steady bass and guitar repetition, on top of a diverse range of beats, was like an experiment in building tension. By the last song of their set, the band was smashing out a wall of sound so loud and complex it was hard to focus on anything else.

Like Leaves had obviously put some thought into programming the gig, as the second act, Lady Strangelove, continued on this trend of building songs from a single psychedelic repetitive riff into a massive explosion of sound. I hadn’t seen this band before, but it became obvious pretty quickly that Lady Strangelove are the best fucking band in the world.

Lead vocalist Brendan Shaw has the perfect voice for the psychedelic, guitar driven prog rock Lady Strangelove play. The band combines elements of Tool, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Mars Volta – they play old music for new times and create simple sounds with unbelievably complex compositions. In terms of 70s psychedelic revival, Lady Strangelove are everything Tame Impala lacks.

Lady Strangelove are an incredibly tight, well rehearsed unit, driven by Fox Faehrmann’s relentless drums. Josh Van Looy’s guitars drown in effects, while Azz Shaw plays not only pounding, repetitive basslines but also adds keys and a sampler to the mix to create additional intriguing layers to their sound.

By the end I kind of felt bad for Like Leaves, because I was so impressed with Lady Strangelove that I was hoping that it wouldn’t detract from my enjoyment of Like Leaves own set. Regardless, I couldn’t detract from Like Leaves for long, as they started their set with what I felt was one of the standout songs of the night. An instrumental piece, it epitomized this theme of psychedelic tension building that was carried throughout the performances. Over a repetitive rhythm section Dan Varricchio began a choppy climbing progression of chords on guitar. The simple melody built into an ongoing, noisy rhythm that was captivating the crowd.

After barely a pause between tracks, Like Leaves began to express their diversity, beginning with simple and soft guitar, and reserved vocals by Dan with harmonies by Juliet Hunter. When the big bass and drums kicked in, you knew the band was really settling in to the swing of the set. Ryan Manolakis is often remarked as one of Adelaide’s best drummers, and the complexity in his drumming was mind blowing. Ryan’s beats accented the song as the guitars moved into much heavier, distorted strumming. Juliet’s haunting violin was introduced to the mix, with stunning results.

By the third song, Like Leaves had convinced me they were not some soft, arty new folk band. The track was short, sharp and tight, with a heavy element and a super fast arpeggio on guitar. Combined with a PJ Harvey/John Parish spoken style vocal part the song created a harsh and unforgiving atmosphere. The resurgence of Juliet’s piercing violin contributed further to this vibe. Like Leaves display the complexity of guitar work and drums of bands like The Mars Volta, but couched in some kind of horrific nightmare vibe that makes you feel like your losing your mind. It's terrifyingly excellent.

Although the crowd was already losing their shit, it was clear Like Leaves were only getting warmed up. In their fourth track the boys pulled out the biggest, most complex, technical riff I'd ever heard outside of math metal or some similar genre. With sudden structural changes to soft verses with dark undertones the band was now bringing more of a Tool vibe to the show. Pat Saracino’s deep rumbling basslines added a lot of depth to the sound and kept the mood dark. It was also at this point that I noticed Ryan’s awesome gaffer taped crash cymbal, a unique piece of kit that brought a refreshingly new sound to drum tracks.

The band pulled out an older song - the self titled Like Leaves - and slowed down the pace with a soft guitar part accented by quiet crash rolls. Juliet came in with sweeping harmonies over Dan’s vocals. But of course this reprieve was short lived as the band began to build up the track once again. It was amazing to hear the skill put into the composition of these songs, and how they continued to build, even when you thought they had nowhere left to go. Those haunting violins came back in and continued to be the perfect high end to counter the guitars. I don't know how long this song went for, as Dan’s massive soloing seemed to stretch for hours and the crowd got lost in the music.

While vocals definitely take a back seat in Like Leaves’ sound, it's hard to go past the purity of Juliet’s vocal parts. She has a simplicity in her voice, but so easily unleashes a harshness that reflects the bands own style so well and this was illustrated in the last few songs. With soft starts and pleasant, soft vocals, Like Leaves lure you into believing this might be a nice softer change in their style. But it never lasts long. The vocals take on a darkness, the guitars get heavier, Ryan continues to bust out the most insanely difficult beats. And then so perfectly the violin comes screaming back at you to remind you that Like Leaves don't play nice. They're here to make your mind explode. Mine did.
- The AU Review/ review by Adam Monkhouse

"Like Leaves Album Launch Review"

t will be hard to find another local line-up to match this one. Three bands, each of which, depending on who you ask, could make a case as the best act in town, all one in venue for perhaps the most anticipated album for a local act in the last few years. Like Leaves are well known to most of the local music punters in Adelaide. They feature two of the most respected sound afficianados in town in Dan Varricchio and Pat Saracino, both of whom have mixed more than half the bands in town, at the very least. They’ve won over a cult following amongst local music fans, plugging away for years at various venues, supporting some big names, in fact, blowing away some of the main acts they’ve supported. Their fans are not scene-specific and notably, as expected, bands from an array of genres were showing their faces on the night. Indeed, there’s a lot of respect in this town for this band and Jive packed out expectedly.

Shoegaze quartet Steering By Stars opened the night with a couple of stunning new numbers. The tracks are more immediate, with driving drum tracks, a thicker denser sound than before. There were a few more familiar tracks and the act sounded as good if not better than before. It’s a little sad that they sounded a lot better tonight than at their own launch given unfortunate technical issues, but these things can’t really be helped. At least tonight, the sound was pitch perfect with Lochie’s distorted vocals totally on song and guitarist Rory’s guitars shining through more than any ever before, perhaps due to some new effects. The new beats were addictive and intriguing and as always the overall sound was lush and huge. One thing is certain, their material certainly suits the venue and it’s a pity they didn’t play for much longer. This is one band which is simply crying out for more recognition interstate. They have the makings of one of the best acts in the country, it could just be a matter of luck, more frequent airplay or landing a coveted major support act. Their newer direction will only help things along.

For the past few years Lady Strangelove have long been revered as one of the best live acts in Adelaide. Probably most easily defined as psychaedelic rock, this is one of those acts with which you can safely say every single member is at the pinnacle of their game. Due to clashes and what not, it’s actually been at least a couple of years since I saw them last. They certainly hadn’t faded although have had a few minor lineup changes, losing a saxophonist at one point. The more recent pared back structure, perhaps doesn’t grab me quite as much as has been the case previously, maybe losing a bit of ambience and not relying on vocal effects as much. The band seem, in a way, more blues influenced at the moment. They still perfectly nail what they are going for, but aside from a few songs where guitarist Josh’s flashy lead riffs stand out, they didn’t blow my mind as they have in the past. Bearing in mind, even with their newer direction, they are still, clearly, one of the top acts in Adelaide. Yet, at their most ‘trascendent’ I used to think they could match it with nearly any other rock act in the country. Now, I’m not sure I can still say that. All in all, I still really enjoyed their set, but I’d love to see them push their sound to its absolute limit.

Like Leaves should really play Jive more often. Some of their best shows have been at this venue and Matt Hills is a mixer tailor made for this band. When the headliners launched into their set they immediately demonstrated why so many local punters and indeed other bands, hold them in such high esteem. Their professionalism, fantastic sound and mere presence once again lit up the stage and the entire venue and the crowd gave them the respect they richly deserved.

Tracks like Fruit have become signatures to the revellers, many of whom, like myslf would be completely unable to count the number of times they’ seen the band. The absolute standout to my mind, came earlier in the set. Falling for a Fleeting moment has the makings of an alt rock epic, with murky shoegazey guitar, a slow driving beat and an addictive bittersweet melody. It’s the one track that is not only the most radio friendly but in my opinion one of the best songs by any Adelaide band at this point in time.

There were a number of other highlights throughout the show. There were some moments when singer-violinist Juliet Hunter’s vocals were transcendent. Entirely mesmorising. In other songs where she took over the lead vocals from main singer Dan, one of which had an air of a sorta hippy protest track through a warped prog rock filter. At other times, Dan’s guitar with it’s droney choruses, ambient swirls, sharp chimes and piercing lead simply soared above all else. But, with no disrespect to his compadres, as often is the case at Like Leaves shows Ryan Mano’s drumming was the stand out element in the overall ensemble. Certainly this isn’t a reflection on the rest of the act, but the ambient nature of the other performers, including the warmer sounds of Dan’s Gibson SG, allowed for the crisper percussive elements to cut through. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for audiences to be fixated on Mano’s drumming. Extra credit should also go to Matt Hills for his superb mixing. This man personally knows the best bands in Adelaide and knows how to get the best sound out of them.

I can’t say it was definitely their best gig, given they’ve had some incredible shows in the past. Yet, I can confirm it was flawless – a sign of a band absolutely at the top of their game. My only gripe was the lack of an encore, but then that’s as much a compliment as it is a criticism. - Faster Louder / review by Winter Boy


Still working on that hot first release.



Like Leaves was formed when Daniel Varricchio & Patrick Saracino, both former touring members of fellow Adelaide psychedelic outfit Wolf & Cub, began collaborating with Ryan Manolakis, drummer for respected ambient-rock act Mr.Wednesday late in 2007. Juliet Hunter (previously of Artax Mission) joined Like Leaves soon after, contributing vocals, violin & synthesizer (& more recently, second guitar) & subsequently the group's sound expanded exponentially, her distinctive vocal presence & unconventional violin work adding yet more layers to their heady electric tapestry.

Like Leaves cemented their reputation as a strong live act on the Adelaide circuit, with performance highlights including their live 2009 collaboration with infamous psychedelic guru & Krautrock legend, former CAN vocalist, Damo Suzuki, as well as shows with acts as diverse as Leader Cheetah, Fire! Santa Rosa! Fire!, Die! Die! Die!, Wolf & Cub & DZ Deathrays to name a few.

Like Leaves' individual take on the psychedelic genre was also appreciated from others across the border, in the form of fellow astral travellers, Tame Impala. After the success & camaraderie of an early gig supporting the lads from Perth, Like Leaves were invited to support Tame Impala on several of their subsequent Adelaide visits, joining them on tour & opening for their sold out album launch at the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel in 2010.

Having gained somewhat of an underground cult following, Like Leaves entered Broadcast Studios in mid- 2009 for the first of two sessions where the bulk of their self-titled album was recorded w/ Evan James (The Mark of Cain, Ben Folds) engineering. Additional recording & overdubs were carried out by Daniel & Patrick (both sound engineers by trade) in the bands home studio before returning to Broadcast Studios (& their lovely vintage equipment) a year later for the final mix. The album was mastered in Ventura, California by John Golden, whose credits include Sonic Youth, Melvins, Comets On Fire & Mono. The original cover artwork was hand drawn & painted by Melbourne artist Ross Paxman (of Young & Restless fame).

Independently released by the band Like Leaves are currently seeking wider distribution for their self-titled debut & will undertake national touring in the coming months.