UV meters has been used to indicate sound level on various audio devices. You can probably find a special IC that takes care of accepting sound signal and control several outputs with comparator function. Popular chips has been LM3914/3915. But you might find that they are harder to find as more complex electronics is taking place. Danny suggests using microcontroller based UV meter instead of searching for specialized chips.
He points out what requirements for microcotrollers are need in order to assemble working example. Main of those are: ADC, I/O ports, timer and interrupts. All these functions are available in any modern microcotroller. So he put together MCU based VU meter around PIC16F690. His working example incorporates 12 LEDs, but it can be easily extended with up to 24 ad even more with proper multiplexing.