Leo London loves old things. His Eugene apartment is filled with vintage movie posters, vinyl records and a typewriter.
“I’m a digger,” says London. “I love to find the kernel.”
As a child, London inherited a record collection from his dad and uncle — the “good shit,” he clarifies, like the Beatles and the Clash. He grew up with a printing press and linotype in the garage, sparking a young man’s romance with relics from another time.
And this love affair with the past shows up in Leo London’s songwriting, inspired by big names like Nilsson, Newman, Lennon, Cohen and Reed. His latest release Television Kids pays tribute to these icons and more. And it’s good, really fucking good — both too good for our modest city, and as good as Eugene’s unheralded music scene is capable of being.
“So Long” is a big soulful weepy piano ballad with London’s voice at times a dead-ringer for Damon Albarn of Blur. “Sun Punches” is an Elliott Smith-style, lo-fi folk guitar interlude. And “PDX” recalls `70s New York post-punk revamped via early Strokes.
All of this makes sense, because London recorded Television Kids at former Eugene musician Justin King’s Brooklyn studio, allowing a bit of big city soot to creep into his sound. The songs feature a New York drummer who played in exchange for only a pecan pie — a debt London has yet to repay.
Planning a “soft release” of the record at Sam Bond’s (CDs will be given away), London will press Television Kids to vinyl by the end of April. So come to the show and help London’s drummer finally get that pie.
Leo London plays with Boom Chick 9 pm Saturday, April 7, at Sam Bond’s; $7.