Leapling certainly lived up to its name this year. Since the band is named after someone born on that extra day in a leap year, Leapling dropped news of its upcoming second album, “Suspended Animation,” on that day last month. “We announced our record on the 29th of this year, because it comes every four years,” says singer/guitarist/founder Dan Arnes, 28, calling from his Brooklyn, N.Y., home base. “So, you want to make a big deal of it.”
For Long Island native Arnes, who came up with the band’s name “just because I couldn’t think of anything,” Leapling has mostly been a big deal for him. The whole thing started in 2013, when it was just him recording and releasing a five-song EP, “Losing Face.” He eventually formed a four-piece band for live shows and to collaborate on a full-length album, last year’s “Vacant Page.”
“It was a lot more fun to kind of do it as a band,” Arnes says of recording the LP, “and kind of craft it a little more and have it be a little more spontaneous and loose and live-feeling. And it’s a lot more fun, because you get to work with really good musicians and friends and stuff. So, that’s kind of been the mood ever since.” The band is now a trio, consisting of Arnes, Alejandro Salazar Dyer on drums and Cindy Lou Gooden on bass. (Gooden also has a band, Very Fresh, which is currently touring with Leapling.)
While Arnes, whose influences range from Yo La Tengo to Radiohead to The Kinks, refers to what he writes and performs with his bandmates as, quite simply, pop music (“I kind of subscribe to the belief that everything is pop music a little bit,” he says), Leapling has gotten a more specific digestible rep for being an experimental pop outfit. Arnes says he’ll take that peg for now.
Never miss a local story.
“We perform as a rock band, so it’s rock,” he says. “But the songs are pop songs, and it’s a little weird at points in dissonance. It’s just a mishmash of different things, and I find experimental pop to be a catch-all.”
“Suspended,” which is scheduled for a June release, promises to be more inventive musically, especially since Arnes threw in string arrangements on some songs. “It was something I’ve kind of been thinking of right from the get-go,” he says. He mentions a friend of his, Ava Luna frontman Carlos Hernandez, who did strings on a song from “Vacant,” which pushed him to include strings on the new album. “I always had the idea of doing it, and I’m like hugely influenced by a lot of people who do strings really well, like Jim O’Rourke and Jon Brion and all these people.”
Arnes is looking forward to bringing his eccentric musical stylings back to Raleigh, where he’ll be performing Tuesday at Kings. The last time he was here, he spent three days playing all around the city during the Hopscotch Music Fest.
“That was a lot of fun,” he remembers. “We did (Austin’s South by Southwest Festival) before that, but that was our first Hopscotch experience. It was our first time playing in Raleigh, but we had a blast. Hopscotch is amazing. I mean, we’re going to South by now and that’s exciting, but Hopscotch is just – it’s different. It’s a little more manageable. Also, the ratio of good bands is just absurd. Like, everyone was great, even bands we hadn’t heard of. That’s the ideal environment to get exposed to new stuff.”
Something tells us that Leapling will definitely bring their weird, leap year-loving selves back here come September.
Who: Leapling, with Less Western, Very Fresh and Echo Courts
When: 9:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Kings, 14 W. Martin St., Raleigh
Info: 919-833-1091 or kingsbarcade.com