English musician Kiran Leonard trades in a literate, off-kilter version of indie rock inspired in part by Dirty Projectors.
His explorative discography has included experimental solo pop (2013's Bowler Hat Soup), a chamber trio LP inspired by literature (2017's Derevaun Seraun), and singer/songwriter-oriented indie rock with a live backing band (2018's Western Culture).
A native of Greater Manchester, Leonard was raised in a musical household with multiple guitar-playing siblings and a father who was formerly a professional musician and worked in radio. Kiran had begun playing mandolin by age five and graduated to the larger guitar at eight, around the time he started writing short, classical-type pieces. By the time he was 13, Leonard was uploading his work to music-sharing sites. The precocious teen played over 20 instruments on his debut LP, Bowler Hat Soup, a spontaneous, sometimes rambling set of experimental pop released by Hand of Glory in 2013. The self-released Abandoning Noble Goals EP followed in 2015. Leonard introduced his sophomore album with a 16-minute lead single ("Pink Fruit") before Moshi Moshi Records issued the full-length Grapefruit in the spring of 2016. He followed it a year later with Derevaun Seraun, a set of five movements for voice, piano, and string trio, each inspired by a different literary work. Early in 2018, Boira Discos released a onetime tour-only CD-R, A Bit of Violence with These Old Engines, both digitally and on limited-edition cassette. His next album saw him record with his live backing band and in a professional studio for the first time. The resulting Western Culture arrived via Moshi Moshi in October 2018. ~ Marcy Donelson, Rovi