I was raised around all genres. I’m never one to shy away from giving a new song or band a try. My playlist ranges anywhere from Hannah Montana to AC/DC to Elvis Costello to Beethoven to Thalia. My parents were constantly introducing me to new artists growing up.
I like to find artists unexpectedly. That’s how I became a fan of the Icelandic band Kaleo. You’re probably wondering how on earth I heard about a band from Iceland when I clearly live in the United States (assuming that I don’t travel around the world). Well, wonder no more… I discovered this awesome band through my love for Austin, Texas. The band moved to Austin after they were signed by their label a few years ago…
Kaleo consists of four band members: Davíð Oddsson (drums), Daníel Kristjánsson (bass), and Rubin Pollock (guitar), and Jökull Júlíusson (lead singer), but most people call him JJ. I thought the name of the band sounded interesting. Kaleo means “sound, voice” in Hawaiian. The band knew this when they choose the name. An interesting choice. I was wanted to learn more about this band from Iceland. Their debut album was released in Iceland and their sophomore album titled A/B was released in the US in June 2016. Before they released A/B, I was immediately drawn to the songs from their older album online. However, it wasn’t until I saw them live at the House of Blues in Chicago that I really fell for them.
Local Austin, Texas, band The Wind & The Wave opened the show. When Kaleo came onto the stage, the venue remained dark and the only sound was the whistle that opens “I Can’t Go On Without You.” I was excited that this was the opening song because it is one of my two favorite songs from A/B (but it’s hard for me to actually pick one, I really do love all of them). Jökull’s voice immediately captured me in with the beginning lyrics, “They thought they were made for each other … Only thinking of one another … Never thinking just for one second … She would take a different attraction.” I was amazed at how much better they sounded live. I loved their record, but there was something so much better about the rawness of their live performance.
Whenever I am introducing this band to someone new, the thing I like to point out most is that you won’t hear the exact same sound in any of their songs. There is a similar tune in some of their songs, but never one that is exactly the same. That is what I like most about this band. They don’t limit themselves to one genre. In an interview for their website, JJ said, “The idea of A/B is to show the diversity and the two sides of the band.” The band plays whatever works the best with their lyrics and I think this is one reason they will be around for a long time. It allows them to do whatever they want with their music. It makes them very versatile. I think this is something more bands should be open to doing because it doesn’t put them inside of a single box.
Make sure to keep an eye on Kaleo because I definitely think they will be making a big entrance in the music scene VERY soon.
xo, A. Nicole
Here are some photos from the show at House of Blues in Chicago Oct. 2016.