I’ve been waiting for a good time to write a post about Kimono,and as their new EP, Aquarium,was just released on Bandcamp; T’is a good time to write.
On my first trip to Iceland a crazy Icelander sold me a massive stack of CD’s and from that stack, Kimono’s Arctic Death Ship quickly became a favorite. It’s also the only album that has had the privilege of being played at full volume on my old Klipsch stereo system in order to kindly let my neighbors know I don’t appreciate mid-week 1-5am drunken guitar circles. That was a glorious early morning listen, and while ear plugs were required for my roommates, the drum circles moved to a more tolerable time period.
The members of Kimono have been making music for quite a while, currently a three piece consisting of Gylfi Blöndal and Alison MacNeil on Guitar; and Kjartan Bragi Bjarnason on Drums, they pride themselves on doing what they want when they want. Despite the multiple album of year awards and other accolades they have received, it seems their biggest accomplishment is their ability to ride under the radar while still collecting fans that appreciate their sound and pick up on the musical references and theifdoms in their songs.
Their albums only have one consistent element, they are all different and well crafted. I would describe Mineur-aggressif as a heavy sludge rock album, while Arctic Death Ship is the intense electricity you experience right before a storm, the opening track Standing Wave is actually in my “Top 5 songs I’ve ever liked and will ever like” list. Their last full length album, Easy Music for Difficult people is a well done post-punk prog-rock album akin to bands such as Wire, and is great to listen to while maneuvering your car through windy roads. Wire and Tomorrow are two of my favorite tracks from the album.
In keeping with tradition, the new single Aquarium has it’s own unique sound. It’s smooth, really smooth, and there is a more noticeable jazz influence throughout, especially in the drums. As Alison posted online, it’s definitely an album “for when you are cooking, relaxing or making sweet love.”
The track meanders along with bursts of ghostly guitar fading in and out floating on a background of subtly changing sound. And while it’s not as heavy it definitely fits right up there with Godspeed you Black Emperor and Cancer Conspiracy.
I find it interesting that the video for the new EP is aquatic themed, because listening to the track made me want to get a tube and float down a river sipping beer and soaking up the sun.
You can listen to the band on Soundcloud, Kimono has one of the best organized Soundcloud accounts I have seen to date and there are extra tidbits from the band members there as well. They are also on Facebook and you can always visit their website.
Alison was kind enough to answer my 4 questions:
1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves, or Icelandic joint to jam at? My favorite off-venues are usually the ones where someone figures out how to put on a show where there’s never been a show before. Early in kimono’s life, we played the backyard of a jeweller’s on Skólavörðustígur and that was crazy awesome. So, in other words, the middle of the street suits me just fine.
2. If you combine all of your favorite colors (for you, add your bandmates if you would), what do you get? If memory serves me right: brown.
3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin? Kukl, Þeyr, and Sófandi
4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be, and what is the song? Shiva. Many arms = many guitars. I could do a one-woman performance of a Glenn Branca orchestra, which appeals to me greatly since actually organising a group of people to play that music is a veritable pain in the ass.
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