|Apparat Organ Quartet||AMFJ||FM Belfast||Lay Low|
|MAMMÚT||Oyama||Pétur Ben||Sin Fang|
|Momentum||Sudden Weather Change||Þorvaldur Þór Þorvaldsson(Doddi)||Vigri|
|Iceland Airwaves 2013 Icelandic Line-Up|
Alas, I am still a day away from having an actual computer to work with, moving is such bliss and the like. But I wanted to take a moment and share with you an independent music festival that is happening this weekend in Reykjavik, May 24-26. The Reykjavik music mess is going on, and if you’re around the Island I would suggest checking it out. The gigs will be happening at the Kex Hostel, and Volta.
There are a lot of great bands that will be playing, a few that I’ve posted blogs on such as MAMMÚT and Oyama. And other great bands like Sykur, Bloodgroup, Muck and Just Another Snake Cult. Here is the full line up:
DZ DEATHRAYS (AUS)
GOOD MOON DEER
JUST ANOTHER SNAKE CULT
WITHERED HAND (UK)
Their website has a playlist where you can hear the bands, which you should go listen to even if you can’t make the festival. And if you do go, let us know how it went.
I know I know, I’m late for this one. I’m currently moving so life has been insane lately, but I failed to update the Airwaves page as well as say that they now have added 25 more bands, 20 of which appear to be Icelandic. I’ve really got my work cut out for me as I plan creating an aggregate source for each and every Icelandic band doing Airwaves this year. Hopefully I get moved in quick enough to even attempt to get caught up.
So which Icelandic bands have been added?
Ólafur Arnalds, Sólstafir, Prins Póló, RetRoBot, The Vintage Caravan, Borko, Kontinuum, Samaris, Ophidian, I, Himnalaya Angist, Low Roar, Nolo, UMTBS, Lord Pusswhip, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Blood Feud, and Magnoose.
Non Icelandic bands include Yo La Tango, El Rojo Adios, TAPE, Carmen Villain, Moon King, and the Jacob Juhkam Bänd.
As always, you can enter your email and follow my blog, and of course if Airwaves is something you’re even thinking of doing, you should go to the Iceland Airwaves website and subscribe to their mailing list. It’s non-intrusive, but will let you know right off what’s going on.
I will update my Airwaves page with the Icelandic Artists websites/Facebook/Gogoyoko profiles later this week, but until then, here is their Spotify and Soundcloud playlist, which you can always find on my Iceland Airwaves 2013 post.
and here is their Spotify playlist:
Three gals, two guys, that’s MAMMÚT. An Icelandic 5 piece that’s been on the scene for around 9 years. They have crafted the art of delivering a wall of sound both live and on record with Kata, the lead singer sending out vocals akin to an offspring of Grace Slick and Linda Perry. Kata on vocals, Ása strumming bass, Alexandra and Arnar at guitar, and Andri banging the drums and percussion.
3 or 4 months after forming, they won the coveted Músiktilraunir, the annual Icelandic battle of the bands. Two years later their first album, Mammút, was released. Basic rock in the vein of the Breeders or Linda Perry topped with a dash or three of late 60′s psychedelic rock. There are times I can play Miðnæturmetall two or three times before moving on to the next track.
The second album, Karkari, has a darker feel. It’s still rock heavy, such as the terrific bass thumping on the beginning of Geimþrá, and the album ends with an instrumentally heavy track, Í Leyni, which could easily be confused for a Godspeed You Black Emperor or Mogwai song. Very heavy, very loud, and oh so awesome on a stereo.
Between the two albums and their new track, MAMMÚT did Bakkus with KEXP:
I love that the video captures Kata’s “I’m almost going to explode, but I’ll do it very quietly” way of singing, she really is awesome to see live, and the only thing I miss from this and their records is just what powerful lungs she actually has, that fire haired girl really knows how to sing. But then again, watching this band live really restores your faith in music, as even when it’s a simple riff, or slow drum line, these guys are always into it. It’s a live gig you should make a priority to see, you’ll get into it just from the energy they give off because their into it.
I want to go off-topic for a moment and bring up KEXP, the folks who did the Bakkus video. The crew that covers Iceland Airwaves from KEXP are an incredible sort. I always end up running into them once or twice during the festival as they are incredibly hard workers. Typically out late to catch as many shows as they can, only to wake up extremely early to go here and there recording Icelandic musicians for special performances all during Airwaves. A lot of material you will find on Airwaves comes from the recordings and sessions of KEXP. Last year they were headquartered at the hostel Kex, recording off-venue gigs, broadcasting their live shows, and generally having a good time.
MAMMÚT have been teasing us about new material for quite some time now, and it looks as if it’s finally going to happen. On the new single, Salt,we get those haunting vocals, and a much darker, more prominent base line. It feels a lot more like Í Leyni than their other catalog and so yes, I’m quite excited for the new album. Also, it will be in English and Icelandic, so you won’t have to go guessing just exactly what the hell they are saying, if you’re not versed in the Icelandic language.
The band was kind enough to take the time to answer my 4 vital questions, so here they are:
1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves, or Icelandic joint to jam at? A few year ago we played a gig in Ása’s (our bassist) basement. She used to live in a huge house in downtown Reykjavík and turned the basement into an art gallery, and there we played a secret show for a few good people.
2. If you combine all of your favorite colors (for you, add your bandmates if you would), what do you get? It would be a crazy new color. We’d probably call it “Mammút blue”
3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin? Well we’d have to define “little known” first. If we’re talking about bands who haven’t experienced a huge international success (yet) then we’d have to say Samaris, Agent Fresco and Ojba Rasta.
4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song. Most likely we’d like to be a frog singing Ave Maria.
The lovely Lay Low, who features in Iceland Defrosted, is performing a live concert from her home in Iceland on Saturday May 4th, and this can be seen on the Inspired by Iceland website. I will definately be tuning in.
Monks done got dark, that’s the first thing that came to mind on my virgin listen to AMFJ. With dark, heavy and industrial instrumentals topped with AMFJ blasting over the top with aggressive high energy rants, creating powerfully violent noise rock.
AMFJ is one man, Aðalsteinn Jörundsson, and his project began in 2008. Just him, some loops and a lot of feedback smothered with powerful and aggressive vocals that bounce and shock the beats, akin to a defibrillator being applied one’s heart. He has an ability to take the mundane and turn it into something darkly evocative.
For me, AMFJ’s newest album, Bæn, really encompasses his back catalog well. There are definitely different and new sounds involved, but you get an overall feel for where he’s going and what he’s doing with the tracks. It’s heavy, and the industrial/rock feel reminds me of post 80′s Ministry. One of my favorite tracks is Klasar:
Other tracks such as Eg er Guð, to me, sounds akin to benedictine monks waking up on the wrong side of the wooden floor.
Gigs with AMFJ contain a lot of strobes, with a man front and center usually in a tank top blasting into a mic while twisting and toggling nobs and widgets creating dark loops and echoes. From what I’ve read, sets tend to be intense and just under and hour.
Another great thing about AMFJ, he’s a fair play artist at Gogoyoko. Meaning he’s allowed Gogoyoko to donate 10% or more of his album sales to the 5 charities Gogoyoko supports. So I highly suggest listening and purchasing his stuff from them.
1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves, or Icelandic joint to jam at? 1. My favorite off venue to play at would be Mjódd. It’s a bus station way up in Breiðholt. I played there last year and it was so refreshing to play for people who would have otherwise never heard of you. Everyday normal commuters on their way home. Bleakly standing around, exhausted after a long week at the grind. Seemingly not caring for the music very much but stayed inside the station anyway, probably because of the storm outside. Then one guy came up to me after the set, said he loved it and bought my cd and gave me beer can from the bag of multible sixpacks he was bringing home to drown his sorrows in. Said he was going to give it a good listen when he’d get home. I’m was very glad to provide the soundtrack for his miserable evening.
2. If you combine all of your favorite colors (for you, add your bandmates if you would), what do you get? I like primary colours. Colours that make other colours, but can also just stand on their own and be them selves. I don’t have any idea how to blend them and I don’t understand how people can come up with weird colour names such as razzmatazz. I think that’s just people desperately trying to make their lives more interesting but are looking in the wrong places. I like red. if I mix other colors into it, it would probably be a different kind of red. But still red.
3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin? Jóhann Eiríksson an electronic musician who’s been around experimenting with noises and field recordings since the late 80′s. He’s behind acts such as Reptilicus and Gjöll and is probably the most underrated artist of our country. I have never met anyone who has such deep understanding of how sound works and what can be done with it.
Norn a black-metal crust band that have been kicking ass lately. They bring a healthy
joyful attitude to a genre that isn’t known for having much sense of humor about them selves. They are working on an album these days and Krakkkbot, another great electronic musician you should know about – is dubbing over it some bone crushing noises to crust things up even further.
Logn Young guys who play fast and furious. Extremely refreshing fury in the midst of all the market friendly cuteness that plagues the scene these days.
4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song. A Sloth, playing Last Dream of Jesus by Haus Arafna
Oyama was everywhere at Airwaves 2012, I believe they gigged every day. Very hard workers especially when you consider the band members are from a lot of other Icelandic bands. Úlfur Alexander from Fist Fokkers, Swords of Chaos, and Útidúr. Kári Einarsson from Fist Fokkers. Rúnar Örn Marinósson from Me, the Slumbering Napoleon. Júlia Hermannsdóttir from We Painted the Walls, and Berger Anderson from Just another Snake Cult and Sudden Weather Change. (You can go here for my post on Sudden Weather Change.) For as calm and soothing as Oyama’s music is, the members themselves are a tornado of musical activity.
I’ve never gotten used to the term shoe-gaze pop. As this type of music makes me feel more like watching a kaleidoscope projector on my ceiling nestled in my over-sized beanbag than staring at my shoes. Either way Oyama’s album, “I wanna” makes you just want to kick back and float away while gazing at ceilings, shoes, or just into space. Great beats that keep your attention from straying while vocals float over the top grabbing you and bringing you up there with them. One of my favorite tracks on the album is Sometimes:
A lot of the album reminds me of a very young Spaceman 3/Spiritualized, especially the track Sometimes. Oyama is excellent at producing harmonized vocals that drift over a very spacey set of instruments without sounding too washed out. They have a great way of crossing over and mixing their male and female vocal set to create not so much a duet, but a singular stream of interchangeable notes, most noticed on Wasted (Dinosaur).
Oyama will be at Airwaves again in 2013. I suggest you check them out. To keep up to date with the band, their tumblr is here, their Facebook here, and of course you can find them on Gogoyoko. Júlía and Berger were extremely kind and went to great detail in their answers to my four questions, and here they are:
1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves, or Icelandic joint to jam at?
Júlía: Kex hostel and Stúdentakjallarinn fed us good food, plus they are out-of-control trendy places that make anyone who enters (= me) seem hip just by existing within that context (Stúdentakjallarinn has an entire wall of live vegetation).
Bergur: The whole atmosphere surrounding the off-venue program of Iceland Airwaves is fascinating. I love how unformal they all are, really nice plug and play concerts, preferably at venues like Bíó Paradís, Bar 11 or Kex Hostel. Stúdentakjallarinn is also very good, a new venue that actually feeds bands that perform there!
2. If you combine all of your favorite colors what do you get?
Júlía: I keep a running list of all my favorite colors with me (on my phone) at all times. I wish I were making this up. The list goes: eggplant, egg yolk, duck egg, neon green, hunter green, salmon, light pink, lilac, peridot, pale blue, royal blue, navy, mauve, cream, oatmeal, light grey, bright yellow, true red, red orange, burgundy, gold, silver
Bergur: I like most colors that relate to autumn; brown, mustard-brown, moss-green, and then some black and white… They all look good together in layers, but super-mundane if you’d mix them together.
3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin?
4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song?
Júlía: I’m a lemur playing Krawtwerk’s Computer Love
Bergur: A Koalabear playing bass on Darondo´s “Didnt I”
So, give them a listen and some attention. They are another example of great Icelandic musicians coming together to create their own type of music. Also, You can also see my other posts on Icelandic bands that will be at Airwaves ’13 here.
Momentum’s roots are in black/death heavy metal and consists of Kristján on Drums, Sigurður for Guitar/Vocals, Hörður with Vocals/Bass, and Ingvar on Guitar/Vocals. They are one of my favorite metal bands from Iceland, and I am looking forward to catching them at Airwaves 2013.
When describing metal everyone has a word for this and that. Call it what you will, I find them to be akin to metal such as Envy and Isis. Their songs are well produced, and progressively send you through epic journeys of heavy, soft and complex arrangements. Instead of one song, I would highly suggest you take 15 minutes and listen to my favorite E.P. of theirs. The Requiem. It’s one of 2 E.Ps they have available. There is also their full length, Fixation, at rest. Check out As the skies break, one of my favorite tracks on the album. Enjoy the delightful music montage of As the skies break being performed live.
They have a new album soon to be released, titled “The freak is alive” and you can hear the title track here. The band was kind enough to answer my four questions, so here they be:
1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves, or Icelandic joint to jam at? Our favorite icelandic joint is probably the one in our fans pocket.
2. If you combine all of your favorite colors (for you, add your bandmates if you would), what do you get? A sausage wearing a bandana.
4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song. We would definitely be a Manbear Pig playing Brown Shoes Don’t Make it.