Sounds Like: Icelandic blues-folk that combines Delta riffs, somber balladry and frontman JJ Julius Son's falsetto wail.
For Fans of: Both Bon Iver and the Black Keys
Why You Should Pay Attention: Not long after beginning in a garage in the small town of Mosfellsbær, Iceland, the band became a sensation back home, scoring five Number One singles on the Icelandic charts. Their hushed sing-along "All The Pretty Girls" helped score them a deal with Elektra/Atlantic Records and last year they moved to Austin, Texas, to draw from the city's blues history. But they haven't seen much of it: They played 40 different states last year. "I can't complain because we're very fortunate," says Julius Son. "All The Pretty Girls" has since gathered more than 10 million Spotify streams and their stomper "No Good" can be heard on the soundtrack to Vinyl. Last week, Kaleo kicked off its first U.S. headlining tour. "It's obviously a new experience being a headliner," says Julius Son. "We have to prove ourselves again in a totally new market. It's been an exciting journey."
They Say: While the band often get mistaken as American, Juliusson sees the band's hometown as important as any musical influence. "Growing up in Iceland, you definitely are very inspired and connected to nature," he says. "We do have long and dark winters and summers that are very special to us. So you can hear that, in a way. That probably has something to do with the music."
Hear for Yourself: The band's dark, spooky ballad "Way Down We Go" is the perfect showcase of Julius Son's otherworldly vocals. The band appropriately performed the song live inside Iceland's Þríhnúkagígur volcano last year. "We were actually down there for 22 hours," Julius Son says. "We got a helicopter to hove the whole rig to the mountains and then we had to carry it down an elevator. But the best thing were the acoustics down there. They were amazing." Patrick Doyle