Leopold and his Fiction: “Waves (Golden)”
We tend to remember artists that walk that fine line between chaos and control. Teetering on the edge of oblivion, and just stepping back always makes art, in any medium, that much more exciting. In pop music, when an artist or group works from a formula, and warps and bends that formula, it’s a beautiful thing. San Francisco group Leopold and his Fiction is one of those groups. The band is a stripped-down outfit that spices its folk-inflected rock ‘n’ roll with heavy doses of garage and bits of psych.
At the center of the machine is songwriter and Leopold founder Daniel James. He grew up in Detroit, a melting pot for music if there ever was one, and found his way to San Francisco where he studied writing at San Francisco State University. The group started out as a duo, before morphing into a trio and then a quartet, finally settling on its current lineup: James on guitar and main vocal duty, Peder Gilham on bass, Dorian Colbert on drums and Jazz Mills also contributing vocals.
There’s been a third Leopold and his Fiction record in the works for quite some time, but it has yet to be released. Even though we haven’t gotten a full-length record yet, the band has put a few songs here and there, and one of them is today’s song of the day. “Waves (Golden),” which came out in May, is a fuzzed-out, garage-rock stomper that wouldn’t sound out of place wedged between The Shadows of Knight and The Seeds on the Nuggets set. Even though it’s definitely got plenty of that good ol’ retro garage-rock swagger, the song still feels completely contemporary. Part of the reason, other than the awesome production, might be James’s voice. He’s got the tough gritty rasp, but he also sounds vulnerable, like a tough guy trying really hard to hide his sensitive side. It makes for a dramatic, and pretty darn far out song.