Hot band alert! Please put the 4 piece Icelandic band Kaleo on your radar if they are not already. Fusing the worlds of rock, pop and folk seamlessly, Kaleo are poised to become huge. They played their first ever show in New York on July 15, 2015 and both the audience and myself loved what we heard. Even if you didn’t like their music, there is visual eye candy for days. Lead singer Jökull Júlíusson has that perfect strand of hair that falls in his face, amazing biceps and a voice that makes him sound like he’s been performing for decades. Just check out the video below if you don’t believe me. He also is an expert whistler, though you won’t hear it in the video below.
The video you are about to see is Kaleo’s soon to be hit, “I Walk On Water.” The song starts off really slow and mellow, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t get instant gratification. After a minute or two, the song picks up steam and you will see exactly why you need this band in your life.
I spoke with the band after the show (see below) and I told them about my trip to Iceland from a few years ago, and we discussed how beautiful their country is. If you have not been, I highly recommend it. They told me that they recently filmed a video inside a volcano (which will be out in the coming months) in Iceland, but for the time being, they have relocated to Austin, Texas. Look for their debut album to come out in late 2015 or early 2016. Thanks again for a great show Kaleo! Looking forward to hearing and seeing more great things to come!
Kaleo and Geoffrey Dicker (photo by a Kaleo crew member)
If you aren’t already familiar with the 4 piece band Mainland, here’s a quick primer: Jordan Topf, Corey Mullee, Alex Pitta and Dylan Longstreet have been making a splash on the New York rock scene, releasing two well received EPs, before taking a little break from touring to get signed to a major label and record their first full length album (in Los Angeles). To celebrate the release of their upcoming single, which I am told will be out in about two weeks, Mainland played an intimate set at a pop-up space located in the historic Chelsea Hotel. The scene looked like something out of an Andy Warhol film as the space was half art gallery, half living room and a whole lot of fun. Their 45 minute set included a rockin’ cover of Velvet Underground’s “I Found a Reason,” and the video which you are about to see, the infectious party rock anthem “Leave The Lights On.” Discover all you need to know about Mainland on their official site (link will open in a new window).
On May 10, 2014, British electronic music gods VNV Nation played their first of 2 sold out shows at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. It was my first time seeing VNV Nation and before I go any further, I must give VNV Nation’s lead singer Ronan Harris my utmost respect for ensuring that the crowd had maximum fun at the concert. By quickly requesting that the audience turn off their camera flashes during the first song (and he rightly pointed out that people will get better pictures anyway with flashes off), it will not distract the band and it will also ensure that people don’t spend the majority of the concert in an iPhone coma. Then he simply instructed the audience to let go, dance our asses off and have fun. I am not kidding you when I tell you that I saw 100% audience participation at the show and as you know, I’ve seen my share of concerts! If only Ronan’s words could be posted at every venue, the overall concert going experience would be improved by leaps and bounds.
And once the concert got going, it was a 2 hour non-stop dance party! VNV Nation have a new album out called “Transnational” and the video you are about to see, “Primary” is a track from their excellent new record. If “try before you buy” is your thing, you can grab a free EP of remixes called “Crossing the Divide” for a limited time at this link (which will open in a new window). The video below captures a tiny glimpse of why you should always go see VNV Nation when they come to your city – first off Ronan Harris really gets the crowd engaged. He moves all over the stage, gives the front row opportunities to sing into the mic and he has funny anecdotes throughout the show. There’s also the amazing light show and visuals that will take you to another realm, and last and certainly not least, all of their songs are anthemic and designed to make you have a great time at their show, whether you are a VNV Nation die-hard or a newbie like me. Thanks to Ronan and company for an awesome night!
And now put all these words you’ve just read to the test by watching “Primary.” You won’t be disappointed!
Just press play.
See the set list and a photo of my brief chat with Ronan after the jump.
Sometimes you CAN judge a book by its cover. If the book in question is Matthew Hemerlein aka Lo-Fang, the ‘cover’ will be a musician that is so gorgeous that even if you end up hating his music (which I did not by the way, in fact, quite the opposite), you will have better visual candy than you would see from going to many art galleries. Needless to say, Lo-Fang’s show at Bowery Ballroom on April 27, 2014 was great! Before the night was over, Matthew played violin, cello, bass and guitar and I read on line that he also plays piano! His music is moody and mellow (think Bon Iver meets Gotye) and he is not afraid to rework a beloved classic song or two and make them his own. His take on Ginuwine’s “Pony” was really unexpected and great as was the song you are about to see – “You’re The One That I Want” from the movie Grease. He turned the Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta duet into a gorgeous ballad that is sure to go viral. Pop sensation Lorde enlisted Lo-Fang to open on her recent tour of the US and he performed on Good Morning America today. The future is bright for Lo-Fang and I am looking forward to hearing more great things! Thanks for a great show Matthew!
And now, here’s “You’re The One That I Want.” Please share this with your friends and help make Lo-Fang a star!
Hot new artist alert! Tahliah Barnett, better known as FKA Twigs is a trip hop/R&B/pop singer from Britain and in addition to her gorgeous look, her music is infectious. She performed a show at Glasslands in Brooklyn the other night and whilst she kept the mood going by virtually performing in the dark, that makes for horrible photos. So in lieu of those, I will tell you that FKA stands for “formerly known as” since another artist named Twigs was upset that she took on the name Twigs, which refers to the sound her joints make when they crack. Learn more about FKA Twigs on her website. Best of luck to you Tahliah and I look forward to seeing you again!