Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, is “Made Believe” by Who Knew from their soon to be released album Bits and Pieces of Major Spectacle on 101 Berlin.
Born in a heat-less garage in Reykjavik, Iceland, six-piece indie rockedelic band Who Knew is the real deal. Musically endowed, witty as hell and not to mention cute (lead guitarist Snorri stars and models in Icelandic commercials), the band whose name is all about “doubting knowledge in general” sticks out from other musicians of the subpolar oceanic island. Unlike the more well-known Icelandic bands such as múm, Sigur Rós and Gusgus, Who Knew isn’t trying to encapsulate the chilling vastness and serenity of the land. Instead, they aim to “mediate happiness” according to bassist Jökull, and would “rather... inspire than to complain” and write depressing music explains frontman Ármann. In fact, these silly brutes define their music as “a blend of magic... orgy and a lot of party in your ears.” And believe me, it is.
After more than four years, Who Knew is finally doing themselves justice by releasing their jovial debut album “Bits and Pieces of a Major Spectacle.” Breaking with an optimistic chant of “oos” and a modified version of what sounds like “na, na, na, na’s,” confident Ármann bellows “time will bring down!” in a jubilant West Coast indie meets British New Wave tone. He’s soon vocally accompanied by Baldur (also on guitar) who amps up the hope and we’re-in-this-together ambiance of the piece. Add in some clashing symbols, psych guitar and bop keyboard and you have yourself one feel good song.
By the looks of their MySpace photos, the guys of Who Knew are all about letting loose while performing. Toward the end of their live show photo albums, you’ll notice all six drenched in sweat, half with their shirts off and the other half either lying on the ground, falling against the audience or giving each other piggy backs. As evidence of their energetic live show, here’s a clip featuring “Sharpen the Knife” live at Sodoma in Reykjavík this past Spring: