Tag Archives: airwaves

Iceland Airwaves 2015

And, the final announcement is out. Almost 230 bands will be at Iceland Airwaves 2015, and while we’ll definitely miss Björk and Mammút, The Airwaves staff have outdone themselves with the roster this year. This is the most bands I have seen yet, 155 of the 230 bands are Icelandic, and they span the spectrum of every genre. Here is the new announcement, Directed, edited and created by the wonderful Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir, Sin Fang once again is credited with the music, and… Now we all know who Gangly is.

Also announced for this year is a festival within a festival. On Sunday, the final night of the festival,the mini-festival called Extreme Chill will happen at the Vodafone Hall. One last hurrah and “laid back” night of music, featuring Hot Chip, Introbeats, dj. flugvél og geimskip, Agent Fresco, Emmsjé Gauti, Sleaford Mods, Úlfur Úlfur and FM Belfast. You can learn more about it here. It’s a fantastic idea, because if you have done Airwaves right, nothing will sound better than only having to go to one place to finish off in musical bliss.

As I did for 2014 and 2013, I’ve listed all of the Icelandic bands playing into loosely divided into genres on this page.  Clicking on their name will open a new tab with the Iceland Airwaves info page for that artist, which includes Soundcloud, Social media links, and a short bio.

This list is just the Icelandic bands playing, if you want to see the full line-up go to the Iceland Airwaves Line-up page.

RocknRoll – Indie Rock – Pop Rock – Rock Rock
Agent Fresco Bárujárn Borko CeaseTone
Dikta Dr. Gunni Elin helena FM Belfast
Fufanu Geislar Hallelewah HAM
Hide your kids Himbrimi Hjaltalín John Grant & the ISO
Just Another Snake Cult kimono Kiriyama Family Klassart
Lára Rúnars Low Roar MAMMÚT Mosi Musik
Mosi Musik Mr. Silla Oyama Red Barnett
Rhytmatik Runar Thorisson Russian.girls Sindri Eldon & the Ways
Teitur Magnússon Toneron Trúboðarnir Valdimar
Var The Vintage Caravan Vio Þórir Georg
Singer/Songwriter – Folk – Blues/Jazz – Composers – Classical
Árstíðir Aurora Axel Flóvent Beebee and the Bluebirds
Brim DALÍ Fura Grúska Babúska
Helgi Valur Hymnalaya Jónas Sen Júníus Meyvant
Justman Lucy in Blue Magnús Leifur Máni Orrason
Markús & The Diversion Sessions  Mógil My Bubba Nordic Affect
Par-Ðar Soffía Björg Sóley TUSK
Þórunn Antonía og Bjarni Ylja
All things Electronica – Dance / DJs / Composers / ambient / ElectroPop / noise
Agzilla Arni Vector Arnljótur Art is Dead
Asonat Auður Berndsen Bistro Boy
Brilliantinus Daveeth dj. Flugvél og geimskip DÖPUR
Dream wife Exos Futuregrapher Gangly
Ghostigital Good Moon Deer Gunnar Jónsson Collider Gus Gus
H.dór Hekla HimBrim Jack Magnet Quintet
Jóhann Eiriksson Jón Ólafsson & Futuregrapher Kiasmos Kippi Kaninus
LaFontaine Lord Pusswhip M-Band Mafama
Mankan Milkywhale Miri Mikael Lind
Mike Hunt Mr. Signout Odinn OHM
Royal Ruxpin Serengeti by President Bongo Skurken
SMURJÓN Snooze infinity Súrefni Sykur
Thor Tonik Ensemble Trptych Vaginaboys
Vök Waage Yagya Yamaho
Young Karin
Punk – Hardcore
Æla Börn Caterpillarmen Grísalappalísa
In the Company of Men Kælan Mikla Muck Pink Street Boys
Skelkur í bringu
All Shades of Metal
Beneath Bubbi Og Dimma Endless Dark Kontinuum
Misþyrming Momentum-Malneirophrenia Severed Sinmara
Svartidauði
Hip-Hop – Rap – Reggae
AmbAdama B-Ruff Cell 7 Cheddy Carter
Emmsjé Gauti Epic Rain Gísli Pálmi Herra Hnetusmjör
Kut Grapje Ojba Rasta Reykjavíkurdætur Shades of Reykjavik
Sturla Atlas Úlfur Úlfur

You can listen to all the bands playing this year via Iceland Airwaves Spotify playlist here:

And here are the previous video announcements:

Video four was Directed, produced, and shot by Máni M Sigfússon, starring Kælan Mikla, with music by Sin Fang:

Video three was produced by Les Frères Stefson, directed and written by, Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson And the banker was Haraldur Ari Stefánsson:

Video two with Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson drumming away as band names float across the screen:

First announcement with Dj. Flugvél og Geimski:

I would suggest getting your tickets sooner than later, especially if you are planning on doing a package you’ll have more hotel options in the beginning now than you will in a month. Typically the festival sells out, but with the line up looking as good as it does this year, I would imagine it will sell out sooner than later. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of “you snooze, you lose”

If you want to see what the past has been like, here is a link to all my Iceland Airwaves related posts.  And here is the link to the Iceland Airwaves Flickr page if you want to see just how fun this festival really is.

Hope to see you there.

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Tips for Iceland Airwaves 2014

Entire Harpa audience on the ground

Entire Harpa audience on their knees at FM Belfast

Another year, another Iceland Airwaves.  It’s time again for one of my favorite music festivals of the year.   Me, you, and approximately 9,000 other festival ticket holders will be invading the city of Reykjavik for 5 days of non-stop music, art and beauty surrounded by amazing scenery and  unique culture.  I’ve revised my list of pointers I’ve gathered over the years, and here they be:

The first and probably best tip I can give you is that Positivity and awareness of the people around you goes a long way.  Iceland can be quite laid back, and while there typically is no rush, its people will do their best to help you in most any situation. It’s a small island, and there really isn’t room for ego’s or entitlements so do your best not to be rude or condescending.  if something is taking longer than usual or needs a little tinkering to be just right, just breathe and remember that 9,000+ of us just landed on the island and the folks helping us out are most likely doing their best. Getting cross or yelling at people will get you absolutely nowhere.

Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!, there are over 200 bands playing in a matter of 5 days. Learn you stuff before you even land, make primary plans as well as back up plans in the event you can’t get into the primary gigs you want to see. Spotify has an Airwaves playlist, the Iceland Airwaves website has details on all the bands with links to their music, as well as an app where you can browse bands, create schedules, and let your friends know where you are.

I have a page dedicated to the Iceland Artists loosely sorted by genres. There is going to be a lot of new music you haven’t heard, and getting a head start on previewing it will make for a broader, more musically expanding experience.   There is a free English newspaper in Iceland called the Grapevine.  They always put out a detailed Airwaves issue, and I suggest you get that as well.

Pétur Ben at an off-venue gig at Kex Hostel

Pétur Ben at an off-venue gig at Kex Hostel

There are a lot of Off-venue gigs as well, over 600 of them this year at 44 different spots around the city. Off-venues are shorter daytime gigs the bands put on in coffee houses, hostels, and other gathering places around the city. You don’t need a festival wristband to get into them, so if you are planning on seeing someone, it’s always a good idea to get there early as it’s first come first serve for the whole city.

 

Be Social, chances are you will find yourself waiting in a queue for a gig, or standing around waiting for a band to begin. Use that time to talk to the people around you. We all have our love for music in common and talking with someone near you may lead to discoveries of bands you would have never thought to go and hear. It took me a few years to get used to this, and a few of my Icelandic friends are always commenting that I need to be more social. The key advantage to being social is that there are quite a few after-parties and unplanned sets that happen around Reykjavik, being social will make attending these much easier for you.

If you really like a band, buy their merch at the festival. A lot of times you won’t be able to purchase it, or have to pay huge shipping costs otherwise.  Reykjavik is home to two of my favorite record shops, 12 Tónar and Lucky Records.  So make sure to include browsing these shops in your itinerary for the festival.  And be on the lookout for small-ish merch booths at the different gigs you attend.

It looks like a wabbit

It looks like a wabbit

Be a tourist, at least for a day. Iceland is gorgeous, there is a reason everyone freaks out about the volcanic valleys and waterfalls. Make sure to take some time to tour around. The Golden circle tour may seem to be too “touristy” but it’s not. It spans a great deal of distance, and the guides are chock-full of information.  It can all be done during the day so you can return in time for the night festivities no problem. One of my favorite new Icelandic travel blogs is I heart Reykjavik.  She has a very sweet and informative online presence, her Facebook page is entertaining and informative, and she offers daily walking tours around Reykjavik.  Be quick to reserve as she sells out rather quickly, I’ve yet to work one of her tours into my schedule when I’m there, but I’ve had plenty of people tell me how much they loved her.

And finally, It’s possible you may run into some of your favorite mythical Icelandic band members.  While telling the band thank you is typically appreciated, or casually chatting about this or that while in a queue, nobody likes a stalker.  Chasing them down the street screaming, or camping out waiting to catch a glimpse of avocados being peeled or coffee being consumed is just creepy and not the norm in Iceland.  It will make for really awkward situations, chances are if these guys are around, they want to listen and see the bands playing as well. It’s an island, not a zoo; and they are your concert going peers, not monkeys.

So, show up relaxed and ready to mingle, do your homework on what you want to see, and explore, this is the gist of it. It’s a fantastic festival put on by awesome folks.  I’ve yet to hear anyone ever say they won’t be trying their hardest to return the next year.

You can read about my previous re-caps of Iceland Airwaves here.  And you can see my photos from Last year’s festival here.  See you there!

 

 

Icelandic Artists of Airwaves 2014

airwaves14It’s almost time, and tickets are almost gone, so I would suggest getting off your duffer and getting them.  Iceland Airwaves 2014 is around the corner, and of the 215 or so bands performing this year, 145 of them are Icelandic.

I’ve sorted the musicians loosely by genres, very loosely.  Don’t judge, there are a lot of bands that walk the line between categories, but I think I’ve done an alright job of making it easy for you to find something you’ll dig.   Clicking on the band name will take you either to a blog post I’ve done on the musician, or to a page with their music or more info.  To see the full international list of all artists at the festival and for more info, check out the Iceland Airwaves website.  And you can purchases packages for the festival here, at Iceland Air.

Last year’s band list is located here, and if you are new to Airwaves and want to learn more, here is a list of my previous posts on the festival.  Here, you will find my recap posts of last years festival as well.

So here are the Icelandic bands so far:

Electronic / Dance / DJ

Ambátt Árni² Berndsen DADA
Disa dj.flugvél og geimskip DJ Margeir East of my Youth
Exos FM Belfast Fufanu FURA
Futuregrapher Ghostigital HaZar Hermigervill
Housekell Kött Grá Pje Kippi Kaninus LaFontaine
Lily the Kid M-band Nolo Prins Póló
Ruxpin Samaris Skurken Stereo Hypnosis
Sykur Tonik Thor Vök
Yamaho

Experimental / Atmospheric / Non-dance Electronic

Auxpan Einarlndra Gervisykur Good Moon Deer
Kiasmos Krakkkbot Octal Reptilicus
T.V.Thoranna Björnsdóttir & Valtýr Björn Thors Vindva Mei Yagya

Indie Rock / Rock / Disco

1860 Agent Fresco Ásgeir Benny Crespo’s Gang
Bird Boogie Trouble Brain Police CeaseTone
Halleluwah Hide Your Kids Himbrimi Júníus Meyvant
Just Another Snake Cult Kajak Kiriyama Family Lára Rúnars
Leaves Low Roar Lucy in Blue Mafama
Mammút Ourlives Oyama Pétur Ben
Rökkurró Rúnar Þórisson RVK Soundsystem Sin Fang
Sometime Steinar Una Stef Uni Stefson
Útidúr Védís Hervör The Vintage Caravan Vio

Jazz / Folk / Reggae / Singer/songwriter

Amabadama Árstíðir Atónal Blús Geislar
Hafdís Huld Hymnalaya Íkorni Kaleo
Klassart Kría Brekkan Lay Low Moses Hightower
Mr. Silla Mugison My Bubba Ojba Rasta
Ólöf Arnalds Sindri Eldon & The Ways Sísý Ey Snorri Helgason
Sóley Valdimar Var Ylja
Þórir Georg Ylja

Punk / Metal / Hardcore

AMFJ Beneath Börn Conflictions Dimma
Döpur Elín Helena Endless Dark Grísalappalísa In the Company of Men
Kimono Kontinuum Kælan Mikla Mass
Momentum Muck Ophidian I Pink Street Boys
Strigaskór nr 42 Svartidauði

Hip Hop / Rap

Alvia Islandia CELL7 Emmsjé Gauti Epic Rain
Gísli Pálmi IntroBeats Lord Pusswhip Reykjavíkurdætur
Shades of Reykjavik Úlfur Úlfur Young Karen

Other stuffs or really hard to classify

Ásta F Sigurðardóttir – Poet Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl – Poet Icelandic Symphony Orchestra
Inferno-5 Kira Kira – Musician Óbó – Musician
Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir – Poet Sjón -Poet

The Soundcloud playlist for Iceland Airwaves 2014:

Airwaves pre-game

HarpaThe calm before the storm.  I arrived a day early for Airwaves to try and enjoy this wonderful city before the masses arrived.  The town has been busy in preparation, and after a brief morning walk I made it to Harpa to pick up my wrist band.

As usual, the weather changes in an instant,  for most of the day though it was clear skies with a little wind.  It seems to be the coldest Airwaves I’ve been to yet, but it’s not terribly cold…yet.

queueThe crowd actually wasn’t bad, and the Airwaves crew really have their business sorted, so getting banded and getting out was quick and painless.  I knew the schedule would be slim for the day so I took another long walk, got a beer at KEX, then headed over to Lucky Records to hear some pre-Airwaves off-venue gigs.

Lucky

Lucky records new location is pretty slick, they still have a great catalog of vinyl, and now with more space it’s easy to move around, even with bands taking up the front of the store.

They were one of the few pre-gaming, so after browsing I stuck around to hear some live music

 

Cell 7

 

Cell 7 was setting up.  It’s hip-hop from the 90’s, great lyrics and samples with a few guests to help in backing.  Even though the crowd was smallish, she kept us all engaged and interacting with her, it was a good way to start things off.

 

Camp_KLater in the evening, Camp Keighley played.  A six piece band with a unique groove, and tons of energy.  They really get into their music, and the crowd followed right behind them.  Besides, who doesn’t love bright red ties?

It was obvious crowds were moving into Reykjavik as the audience had grown from the afternoon performances.

 

Drive byNext up, and my final gig of the night was Boogie Trouble.  These guys, and gals, come highly recommended from the Icelandic music community, and a lot of locals showed up to hear them play.  Great funk twist with  a lot of disco.  Their lead singer is an awesome show-woman, and of course, there were crazy dancers at the front of audience absolutely in love with the band.  They did a Britney Spears cover that put the original to shame.

I highly recommend you check out Boogie Trouble’s full show later this week as the off-venue pre-game event was tight, and left us primed for the rest of the night.  These guys definitely deserve the praise the locals give them.

That was all for the pre-game, today the festival truly begins and the music roster is chocked full.  Enjoy everyone, be smart, be courteous, and listen away.

If you hear an Icelandic band you’re unfamiliar with, you can always look them up on my page here for links to their music and websites.

3rd Airwaves announcement

What a loverly thing to wake up to. A new email from Airwaves announcing more 30 more bands for the festival of which 22 are Icelandic. Ólöf Arnalds, Retro Stefson, Amiina, Moses Hightower, Apparat Organ Quartet, Árstíðir, Kiriyama Family, Skúli Sverrisson, Hermigervill, Captain Fufanu, Sign, Stafrænn Hákon, Leaves, Endless Dark, Nóra, 1860, Dimma, Auxpan, Þórir Georg, Emmsjé Gauti, Kjurr and Nini Wilson.

I have been rather busy with a move, and now an injury, but I truly am hoping in the upcoming week I can get a handle on the massive amount of write ups I need to cover. So stay tuned, and until then, you can read my write ups on FM Belfast, Apparat Organ Quartet, and of course there are more write ups on my Iceland Airwaves page.

Apparat Organ Quartet

AOQ

Apparat Organ Quartet, AOQ, began in 1999 and has, or does now, consist of Hörður Bragason, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Músikvatur, Úlfur Eldjárn and Þorvaldur Gröndal who was later replaced by HAM drummer Arnar Geir Ómarsson.  As of 2012, Jóhann Jóhannsson left AOQ to focus on his other projects.

Trying to regurgitate their entire history from Wiki, or their website would be a disservice, as their website is extremely entertaining so I’ll leave that to you; and just go on about their albums and live gigs.  AOQ is always an interesting band to see live. They pride themselves on not sequencing the music, and their instruments are a hodge-podge of keyboards, organs, vocoders, and synthesizers, all tweaked and modified to bring the audience and listener unique beat-heavy dance and rock pieces.

My first live experience with AOQ was unplanned. I was at NASA early to ensure my sweet spot for a band I can’t even remember that was playing after them. The lights dimmed and the stage came alive with this massive bulk of machinery and wires cranking out these incredibly forceful soundwaves of synthesized vocals, organs tweaked improper, keyboards, and I swear to God there was a cow bell. The crowd, obviously familiar with them went nuts, jumping up and down, freaking out, and displaying the bands symbol, the triangle. Lift both hands above your head, put your thumbs together in a straight line, then touch your index fingers together, making the triangle. Obviously the show left it’s impression, as I remember AOQ, but not the band I was really there to see.

AOQ

Their first album came out around 2002. The self titled album is built like an album should be, very easy to listen to and fluid. It starts off with a lot of energy, then you coast gleefully through the middle engaging the listener with ups and downs, coming to a very spacey, relaxing end. The album took almost 3 years of discovery and research for the band, and according to the band’s website, it took so long to create as it was undiscovered territory. Not many organ quartets are out there, add that to their naturally creative nature, and obsession with customizing old and new things alike,  and you have a lot of untraveled space to fly through.  My favorite tracks on the album are The Anguish of Space Time and Stereo rock and roll.

Their second full length, Pólýfónía, has the same upbeat vibe, and more pop-ish tracks such as 123 Forever as well as more rock-ish tracks like Cargo Frakt. At Airwaves 2012, instead of a bulk of instruments taking up the center of the stage, Apparat added 4 very new, very shiny instruments. A quartet of women:

Apparat Organ Quartet play at Harpa during Iceland Airwaves 2012

They first appeared on the track Konami and then appeared live, for everyone to see. The concert this time was at Harpa, a much larger venue, which the band filled with an epic light show, as well as these lovely ladies.  AOQ proved again that they know how to put on an amazing show.

The last thing I want to mention is their Pólýfónía Remixes album, with artists such as FM Belfast and Bloodgroup.  Definitely worth a listen, Fm Belfast’s remix of Konami, is my favorite track on the album.

I would definitely check out their website, they are on Facebook, and of course, their albums are all on Gogoyoko. Definitely unique, energetic, and worthwhile. And now, for their 4 questions:

1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves joint to jam at? I think we did our first Airwaves off venue gig this year at KEX and it was quite nice. They had delicious soup.
2. If you combine all of your favorite colors (for you, add your bandmates if you would), what do you get? A whiter shade of pale
3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin? DJ Musician, DJ Sexbomb and DJ Flugvél og geimskip
4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? A steam engine robot playing Jump by Van Halen

Iceland Airwaves 2012

On a tiny island bridging two continents a festival occurs every year.  Bands, fans and puffins from all over the globe take over the tiny town of Reykjavik to blast away the cold with beats, guitars and alcohol.  This was my 4th year attending Iceland Airwaves, and even with the hurricane winds making a guest appearance it was another successful year.  I try to see at least 6 bands a day when I go, and while the evenings are dedicated to my favorite bands, day time goes to bands I don’t know, or visiting friends.

Airwaves is unlike most festivals.  The gigs are held in different venues around the city, so while it is a festival, you still get the feeling of pub gigs and concerts.   And with so many bands going on at different times, you get to see some impressive bands up close and personal.  As there were so many bands, I am foregoing the normal link to individual songs and sites, there will be a playlist in Gogoyoko with all the bands if you are interested.

First night of Airwaves landed on Halloween.  This by far is my favorite holiday of the year, in fact one of the few I happily celebrate so of course a costume was in order.  My luggage consisted of a small amount of clothes, Root Beer for my friend Dr. Gunni, and of course, this:

Yes, I was Chewbacca for Halloween.  My wonderful friend Alison was Princess Leia and we attended the FM Belfast gig at KEX, as well as a few bands at Bar 11 before heading to Gabríel.  We stood front and center for Gabríel, and it was entertaining to watch them try to perform while avoiding looking directly at the Wookiee.  To be honest, I thought many times about wearing the Wookiee costume the rest of Airwaves as outside it was heavenly warm.

A college friend of mine and her husband joined me on Thursday, they had to detour to London and back to Iceland due to the hurricane and missed the first night but we started off the day with coffee and more off-venue shows.  My goal was to hit at least 6 shows a day, these guys didn’t slow me down a bit.  And even though they made me break my sacred rule of no food, just Vodka after 6, we were able to stay out until early morning every night, and for the most part still get up early enough to enjoy the day.

I also was able to spend quality time with some of my Iceland friends, coffee’s and house visits abound.  This trip was my favorite so far as I got more of a homey feeling on the island, in fact it wasn’t until I was leaving that I realized I barely had taken any photos.

my favorite gigs of this year had to be Apparat Organ Quartet, and of course the Sigur Ros show at the end of the festival.  I am going to write on Apparat Organ Quartet later, but even with only 4 of the 5 musicians present, they did a fantastic job.  My friend and her husband had never heard of them before, and the look of satisfaction on their faces when it was over made the gig that much better.  They truly do put on an amazing show and I hope they make it stateside sooner than later.

As for Sigur Rós, I have seen them countless times in a lot of different settings, from little bars in Park City to massive arenas here in Boston, they have always played outstanding shows, but this show was the best performance I’ve seen since 2008.  They appeared to really up the ante in their home country.  Part of enjoying Sigur Rós is the uniqueness and new-ness they bring to the table.  The quality of the show made another first for my friend even better, and the new song gave me the chance to experience that new-ness again, I’m really excited with the direction they are taking and looking forward to the 2013 tour


I also was able to spend some time with Dr. Gunni.  He’s kind of a jack-of-all trades in the Icelandic music world.  My first contact with him was years ago when he worked at Smekkleysa.  At that time  he did the job of sending me the Icelandic music my store in Utah sold.  I actually met him face to face 3 years ago at Airwaves, and I stalk him on Facebook as any “normal” person would do.

This year he released a very well put together, cool book on the history of Icelandic music.  For now the book is in Icelandic but I was able to get a copy and I love the way it’s put together.  I’m also very flattered as he used a quote from a Facebook note I had written in a very delayed, very groggy state at an airport a while ago on why I loved Icelandic music and the musicians so much.  Here is a photo of the book:

if you search the archives of the grapevine website, you will find some English translated entries of his from an old History of Icelandic music book he wrote years ago.  If you speak Icelandic, or can deal with horrific google translated text here is his blog.  Again, another Icelander who takes pride in what he does, and has an incredibly humble and strong work ethic.

overall this was a fantastic Iceland Airwaves and I look forward to another fantastic one next year.  I’ve listed below the most notable acts that I saw by the days that I saw them.  You can get to the playlist here at Gogoyoko.  My next artist review will be Lay Low and hopefully it happens a little quicker than the last.

Wed:  Apparat Organ QuartetSteindór AndersenGabríel / Sin Fang /

Thur:  Ólafur Arnalds / Echo Vamper / Sudden Weather Change / Ewert and Two Dragons

Fri: WoodpigeonSin FangApparat Organ Quartet (full show) / Nico Muhly / Ben Frost

Sat:  Rico’s Band / Rökkurró / Epic Rain / GhostigitalÆla / Gus Gus / Sykur

Sun:  Sigur Rós