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SOLD OUT: Kaleo

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  • Date: September 8, 2018
  • Time: Show time 9pm
  • Location: Portland, ME
  • Venue: Aura

Kaleo – SOLD OUT

with special guest Builder of the House
Saturday, September 8, 2018

18+ Show
Tickets Start At $39.50
Doors 8PM :: Show 9PM

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ABOUT Kaleo: Every story has two sides, and that adage is certainly true for Kaleo, the four-piece band from Iceland who now call the US home. Call it a split upbringing: the isolated heritage that results from coming of age in Iceland has paired with the fresh inspiration of moving to America, and the band has built a sound to match the disparate landscapes. A gorgeous and raucous blend of rock, folk and blues, Kaleo’s debut LP embodies that very spirit of duality: titled A/B, the album showcases the band’s multi-layered dynamics and ability to play different genres with equal skill.
Best friends since attending elementary school outside of Reykjavik, bandleader JJ Julius Son, drummer David Antonsson, and bassist Daniel Kristjansson began playing together at the age of 17 before adding guitarist Rubin Pollock to the mix in 2012. They named the band Kaleo, which means “the sound” in Hawaiian, and started their career in with a handful of well-received shows at the 2012 Iceland Airwaves music festival. The band signed to Elektra/Atlantic and moved to the States in early 2015, choosing Austin as their new base.

“It has obviously been a big change coming from a small country of 300 thousand people in Iceland to the USA with over 300 million people,” says JJ Julius Son. “We’ve learned a lot, and we are more experienced now than when we first came. Overall it’s been a great adventure.” The past year has been a busy one for the band, as they’ve played nearly nonstop—including over 45 US states—as well as notching a spot on the soundtrack to HBO’s hit show Vinyl and recording a full length album with the producer Jacquire King in Nashville.

The concept behind A/B comes from Julius Son’s love of the split sides of vinyl records and their ability to showcase an artist’s different sides. “I write very different songs that many would like to label into different genres,” he says. “The idea of A/B is to show the diversity and the two sides of the band.” The “A” side is more rock and roll and blues (opener “No Good,” “Way Down We Go,” “Hot Blood”), while the “B” side is a bit softer with more ballads (“All the Pretty Girls,” “Vor I Vaglaskogi,” and closer “I Can’t Go On Without You”). But no matter which side you’re on and which song is playing, the sound can only be that of Kaleo.
A/B was primarily produced and recorded with King, the esteemed production icon whose past work with talented artists as varied as Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, Buddy Guy, James Bay, and Of Monsters and Men helped Kaleo showcase both their louder and softer sides. In addition to the sessions in Nashville, Kaleo wrote and recorded in various other locales around their new home in the US as well as a few different sessions around the world, from their home of Iceland to Spain and London as well. Additional production contributions to the album in these various sessions came from Mike Crossey, Arnar Guðjónsson and the band.
Starting off A/B with a bang, “No Good” welcomes in the “A” side with its crunching, bluesy stomp-rock. Julius Son’s deep, raspy growl is perfectly paired to the band’s snarling assault, and sets the bar high for the rest of the record to come. “Kiss your baby goodbye,” he purrs, and with that, we’re off and running.

“Way Down We Go” is filled with bluesy angst and anchored by piano and rhythmic, pounding drumming. Julius Son’s vocals shift into the higher registers just as easily as they find their home at the bottom.
“All the Pretty Girls” leads off the “B” side, and in a sense it was the song that started it all for Kaleo in the beginning. In the spring of 2014, they recorded the lush, introspective song and in one night their destiny to outgrow their small, island nation was cemented, as it spread like wildfire across the airwaves.

“Vor I Vaglaskogi” is a traditional Icelandic love song, and the only one sung in the band’s native language. The song’s beauty and power transcend the fact that most in their newly found worldwide audience will not be able to understand it. And for Julius Son, that notion fits right in with how he likes his lyrics to be interpreted anyway.

“I prefer to let the listener decide what each song means to them instead of me telling my own personal connection,” he says. “Some of the songs are very personal for me, though—some more than others. But it seems that different people connect to songs in a different way, often based on personal experiences or things that you are going through at that time.”

 

ABOUT Builder of the House: Utilizing various strains of folk music Builder of the House welcome their listeners in from the cold digital world to enjoy a warm potpourri of all-embracing indie pop.

In 2011 Rob Cimitile moved to Portland, reignited a relationship with his Martin guitar and began experimenting with his baritone voice which he left dormant for over three years, dismissing it when it failed to complement the grunge music he loved as a teen. But now, after soaking in some serious life experience and obtaining a Master’s degree in music composition, its warm tone felt just right when applied to a more diverse musical palate.

A year later Cimitile was releasing Builder of the House’s debut EP I Am a Tidal Wave and pushing forward as a solo act until a chance meeting with Elliot Heeschen. They had both joined a Zimbabwean marimba band and seemed to trust each other’s sensibilities implicitly from the get go. Heeschen began holding down the drums and triggering samples for Cimitile who started implementing vocal loops over his intricate acoustic riffs.

Now functioning as a full-fledged collaboration, the band’s live act began to pick up steam with opening slots for Pearl and the Beard & Dylan Leblanc as they toured the Northeast while buzz from their second EP, 2015’s Hourglass (sonaBLAST! Records), resulted in features on Consequence of Sound and We All Want Someone to Shout For. Around this time Cimitile discovered a passion for adding visuals to the music of Builder of the House, something that has become a trademark of their evolving aesthetic. Their music videos have gone on to be written about by Paste Magazine and have been venerated on the international festival circuit with several nominations and 1st place honors for Best Music Video at MOVE Music Festival and Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema.

The band recently headed to Acadia Recording Company to work with engineer Todd Hutchisen on their first full length album, Ornaments. The detailed arrangements and production nuances were overseen by Cimitile who is prone to sweat the details in every aspect of the group’s music. Ornaments already has a stellar music video to complement its release in “Look at the Man” which draws attention to gender identity issues while conjuring up the kindred vibes of Feist, Timber Timbre, Lumineers & Fleet Foxes