Tag Archives: dance

Iceland Whatever Vol. 2: 11 Icelandic bands you should get to know.

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Iceland continually maintains a wealth of musicians and bands.  There isn’t a genre missing on the small island, and there is a lot of talent found almost everywhere you look.  From atmospherically haunting soundtracks to the darkest metal, you can always find something you’ll dig.  And while this list doesn’t encompass all said genres, it’s my personal list of bands I’m enjoying at the moment.

Full disclosure, this blog post is about the 11 bands I’ve been lucky enough to compile on the new Icelandic Whatever compilation.  They are 11 bands I truly dig, and I hope you will as well.  The new compilation is released on November 11th, and is available for pre-order for $3 here.  These bands are presented in the order of the compilation.

Most of these bands will be at Iceland Airwaves 2016.  So if you’re going, make sure to check them out.  The schedule and more info for Iceland Airwaves can be found here.

Berndsen – “Alter Ego”

David Berndsen is Berndsen.  I try to describe Berndsen not as 80’s retro, or a blast from the past, but as a continuation of the 80’s, with unique beats, heavy synths, and a booming voice.  It’s not just a pinhole representation of what we loved about the 80’s, it’s a feel good modernized trip back to what we dug.  In my opinion, he’s taken what can be a very dated musical genre and made it timeless.  His music videos are also something of pure genius and are frequently on almost all of my house party playlists.  The video above is “Shaping the Grey” featuring the talented singer/songwriter Elin Ey, and Högni Egilsson of GusGus fame.  It is from his new album “Alter Ego.”  The title track  is on the compilation. Other videos you should watch are  Lover in the dark, and Game of Chance.

Dr. Gunni – “Ég er aumingi”

Dr. Gunni is a veteran punk, he’s been at it since the 80’s.  And as well as the band Dr. Gunni, he has been in the legendary bands:  SH Draumur, Bless, and Unun.  He wrote, “Blue eyed pop” which is the most comprehensive book on the history of rock in Iceland and has also has released a few compilations in his time called the Snarl series which was the inspiration for me to begin releasing compilations.  The song “Ég er aumingi” is on the new comp, and it’s from his upcoming album, “ATVIK”.

Milkywhale – “Invisble”

MilkyWhale began as a musical project between choreographer Melkorka Sigríður Magnúsdóttir  and Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson (FM Belfast, and Pluseinn.)  It’s dance pop, with unique breaks and as with their music, their live shows are filled with high energy moments that somehow bring both band and audience together almost as if everyone in attendance had rehearsed their dancing.  “Invisible” is on the compilation.

Boogie Trouble – “Moldun”

Yes, Icelandic Disco does exist, perhaps it’s not well known, but one of Donna Summers favorite songwriters was Icelandic.  I fell in love with Boogie trouble the first time I saw them at Iceland Airwaves years ago.  It’s a super group of talented and seasoned musicians, and their new album, “Í bænum” is one solid disco dance-fest.  I’ve written about it before, and I still thing the song, “Moldun” is about the quest of a lonely space cowboy to find his electric-slide line dancing space cow folk.  Thankfully, the band has let me put said track on the compilation.

Pink Street Boys – “Let it down”

I like contrast, and Pink Street Boys delivers said contrast.  Dirty, sludgy punk infused garage rock.  practically insane in everything they do, they’ve been my go-to rock out band for quite a while now.  I originally wanted “Evel Knievel” for the compilation, but they delighted me with a new gem, “Let it down” and it does not disappoint.

Æla – “Rólegur!

Æla continue to be a treat.  They are a punk band whose live shows are always a must-see for me.  Every year after their gig I say “that’ll be tough to beat next year,” and every year they beat it.  The dedication they put into their show antics are only beat by their dedication to their music, and their new-ish album, Vettlingatök (Handle with kid gloves) is solid.  “Rólegur” is the track on the compilation, and the performance above was at the Iceland Airwaves KEXP stage at Kex last year.

Myrra Rós – “One amongst others”

Myrra Rós, is well known in Iceland for her solo project as well as a vocalist for the band Var. She is an enchanting chanteuse, her soothing  voice soars only grounded by heavy instrumentation below her.   Her new album, “One Amongst Others” is an atmospheric collection of other-wordly songs.  The title track shown above is on the compilation.

Svavar Knútur – “Wanderlust”

Svavar Knútur is the traveling troubadour.  From the west side of Iceland his folk songs are a contrast of serious topics happily sung.  He takes his audiences on comedic journeys and with or without a backing band an audience is never left without.  The song above is an acoustic version of the song”Wanderlust” from his newest album, Brot (The breaking) and the album version is on the compilation.

Cyber – MÁVAR

Cyber is an interesting duo.  Formerly they were what I can only describe as disco/metal/rap duo, and now they are hip hop. I was stoked when they agreed to be on my comp, as I really like their music + lyric combination.  Typically they rap in Icelandic, but the video above is in English. MÁVAR is the track they’ve let me use for the compilation, trippy beats, Icelandic lyrics.

Reykjavik! – Flybus!

It’s no secret that Reykjavik!  is one of my favorite bands.  They are somewhat garage/punk rock legends in Iceland, and they are a band I thought I would never get to see live.  So last year when they played a surprise gig at Kaffibarinn, I became that happy little kid on Christmas morning.  It was sweaty, and nobody could really move except for the band, which managed to hang off the ceiling, bars tops and audience members, you can see the pics I took of the gig here.  So you can imagine how happy I was when they let me put their classic track, Flybus! on the compilation.

Futuregrapher – Shemale

I was beyond stoked when Futuregrapher agreed to be on the compilation, even more so when he sent a brand new track.  he mixes multiple layers of trippy broken beats combined with the atmospheric noise to create unique songs you can’t help but get wrapped up in.  He’s a breath of fresh air to see live, and you get sucked in not only by the music, but by his unique style behind the machines.  I’ve written about him before, and the new song, Shemale, which is on the compilation is something different I’ve never heard from him before.  It’s the perfect ending to a great list of musicians on the compilation.

Icelandic Bands at Iceland Airwaves

Here it is, the 2016 Iceland Airwaves Icelandic musicians page.  I’ve loosely sorted them into categories in the hope that you can quickly reference bands to dig as you explore the many possibilities this year.  On top of the 210 bands performing this year,  Bedroom Community will be celebrating their 10th anniversary as a musician collective in Iceland and I would highly recommend you check that out.  And Airwords is back, the poetry/literature/music event that began in 2013.  All part of Airwaves and all worth checking out.  Also,  you can check out my Tips to get the most out of Iceland Airwaves.

143 of the 210 bands are Icelandic this year and they span the deck in style and genre.  This year, I split them into five categories:

  • Rock / Singer Songwriter / Jazz / Blues / Reggae
  • Pop / Rock / Dance / Electro / Disco / Indie
  • DJ’s / Electronic / Atmospheric / Classical / Composers
  • Heavy Rock / Metal / Hardcore
  • Hip Hop / Rap / R&B Soul

Diversity and genre bending are two things Icelanders are rather good at which makes defining bands a bit difficult, so if you feel a band belongs in a different spot please comment below and I will check it out.

Rock / Singer Songwriter / Jazz / Blues / Reggae
Amabadama Amber Amber Axel Flóvent
Benny Crespo’s Gang CeaseTone DALÍ Dikta
Fufanu Helgi Jons Hinemoa Jónas Sig & Ritvélar framtíðarinnar
Júníus Meyvant Kórus Ljóðfæri Major Pink
Magnús Jóhann Máni Orrason Markús & The Diversion Sessions Moji & the Midnight Sons
Moses Hightower Mr. Silla Myrra Rós Par-Ðar
Pétur Ben Prins Póló Rósa Guðrún Sveinsdóttir Skelkur í bringu
Skrattar Soffía Björg Snorri Helgason Stafrænn Hákon
Stroff Teitur Magnússon Una Stef Valdimar
Ylja
Pop / Rock / Dance / Electro / Disco / Indie
Árstíðir asdfgh AUÐUR AVóKA
Berndsen Boogie Trouble Crystal Breaks Dream Wife
East of my Youth FM Belfast Gangly Glowie
Grúska Babúska Hausar Hildur Himbrimi
JFDR Karó Kiriyama Family Konsolat
Lára Rúnars Milkywhale kreld Lily the kid
múm Of Monsters and Men One week wonder Oyama
Puffin Island Rythmatik RuGL Samaris
Steinar Sóley Sykur Tilbury
Tonik Ensemble Útidúr Vagina Boys Vio
Vök Wesen
DJ’s / Electronic / Atmospheric / Classical / Composers
Ambátt Ayia Bára Gísladóttir Ben Frost
BLKPRTY DJ Yamaho dj. flugvél og geimskip EinarIndra
Futuregrapher Glerakur Halldór Eldjárn Hermigervill
Hugar Iamhelgi Jafet Melge Kosmodod
Kristin Thora Mike Hunt Reptilicus RVK DnB
Sigga Soffía & Jónas Sen Sigrún sxsxsx Tómas Jónsson
Trptych
Hip Hop / Rap / R&B / Soul
Alexander Jarl Aron Can Alvia Islandia B-Ruff
Bróðir BIG Cryptochrome Cyber Emmsjé Gauti
Epic Rain GKR Glacier Mafia Herra Hnetusmjör
Kött Grá Pje Krakk & Spaghettí Landabois Lord Pusswhip
Mælginn Reykjavíkurdætur Rímnaríki Shades of Reykjavik
$igmund Sturla Atlas Þriðja Hæðin Tiny
Úlfur Úlfur Valby Bræður
Heavy Rock / Metal / Hardcore
Auðn Beneath Dimma Dr. Spock
Endless Dark Hatari Kælan Mikla Legend
Mammút Pink Street Boys Singapore Sling SÓLSTAFIR
Tófa

And here is the Spotify playlist, it includes ALL bands playing Iceland Airwaves, not just the Icelandic musicians:

Iceland invasion in Boston, Ólöf Arnalds and GusGus

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There will be two different Icelandic acts performing this weekend in Boston. On Saturday the 11th,  Ólöf Arnalds will be at the Paradise Rock Club for the sold out Jose Gonzalez / Ólöf Arnalds gig, and GusGus will be performing at the Sinclair on Sunday the 12th. Two completely different genres of Icelandic music in one weekend.

Ólöf Arnalds has one of those voices that translates well over many different types of music. She’s a former member of múm and has collaborated with a good deal of the Icelandic musician populace while finding the time to release 3 of her own albums. This video is from her newest album, Palme:

Við og Við is the album that I was introduced to her by, and it’s a sweet traditional album of what I have always felt were folktales. Her newer albums have taken that sweet traditional style and incorporated unique beats and modern sounds creating an individual style of troubadour-ism, and she’s started to sing in English which is good for us poor souls that, try as we might, can’t seem to get the Icelandic language down. I’ve had the opportunity to see her a few times around Iceland and each time felt as if this was a personal gig for friends hanging out, as if she had just shown up with a guitar and wanted to play, catering to the atmosphere of the individual venue she was at.

She’s playing with another talented singer-songwriter named Jose Gonzalez. Of Argentinian descent, Jose was born and grew up in Sweden. There’s a great cross culture of pop, latin, and northern found in his songs.

Ólöf Arnalds comes from a diversely musical family. She’s the cousin of Ólafur Arnalds, and she’s the sister of Klara Arnalds of Boogie Trouble. And as you know, I am a massive fan of Boogie Trouble.  Lucky you if you are going to the gig, it’s going to be a great way to spend a Saturday evening.

GusGus have been around for 20 years now and have 10 albums under their belt, 9 studio albums and one live. It’s an ever evolving beast that has been home for many musicians, including Emilíana Torrini, and Magnús Guðmundsson. It now consists of 3 members, Birgir Þórarinsson, Daniel Ágúst Haraldsson, and Högni Egilsson.

Their albums are all in the wide spectrum of electronic, sometimes moody but mostly energetic tracks that come across well both on album and live. Forever will always hold a special place in my collection, as during the time I lost 200lbs, Forever was one of the most frequently used albums as the beat just happened to run parallel to mine at the gym. While they do have a darker feel occasionally, there’s a high energetic wave-band that flows out of them.

I promise no one will be just standing around Sunday night. I’ve seen them play massive gigs with many people on stage in Iceland as well as dj sets in bar-like atmospheres with only a few of them, and they always put on a fantastic show.

It’s going to be a fantastic weekend of music around Beantown so I suggest you get up and out and do something.  There has been a great deal more of Icelandic bands visiting our city, and I hope it continues as it’s been great seeing these folks off the island.

Futuregrapher

futuregFuturegrapher, otherwise known as Árni Grétar, is a staple of the weirdcore scene in Iceland.  Multiple layers of trippy broken beats combined with the atmospheric noise he’s famous for recording, his music is known to cause spontaneous outbreaks of dancing when played.  This result isn’t limited to just the crowd of onlookers, but Árni himself is known to break out violently into his cooky style of dance behind all the knobs and buttons on stage:  Exhibit 1 of his awesome dance style can be seen on the song he did with Guðjón Heiðar:

Partnering up with fellow musician, Skurken he owns the Icelandic record label Möller records which gets it’s name from the famous Icelandic singer Helga Möller from the 70’s band Þú og ég.  Möller is an electronic label with other Icelandic acts such as Skurken, Bistro Boy and Subminimal.  Futuregrapher is also famous for his remixes, including the following remix of Samaris’s Viltu Vitrast  And Kimono’s newest release Aquarium:

Futuregrapher is working on a new album, SKYNVERA, it would be his second after 2011’s LP, aptly called, LP.  As it gets more and more expensive to do a proper release, it’s kind of cool that artists can pre-sell the album as crowd sourcing to get their music out.  And Arni has a lot of music, love and hugs to give out, as well as other goodies if you’re willing to help him get the new project up and going.  So go here to his Karolina fund campaign, read what he has to offer and help him out.  At the very least, you’ll get a hug.

He has quite the extensive Soundcloud page, his Instagram account is active (ftrgrphr), and you can find more about him on Facebook.  See him live if you can, because it’s always a party.  He was nice enough to answer my 4 questions:

1.  What is your favorite place to play at in Iceland:  Drangsnes – and Kaldalón, Harpa

2.  If you combine all your favorite colors, what do you get?  Pink

3.  What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin?  LaFontaine, Snooze Infinity, Modesart

4.  If you could be any creature playing any song, what is the creature, what is the song?  Gizmo – and the song will be ‘Aja’ by Steely Dan.

gg

 

 

 

 

Iceland Airwaves 2013

Typically I stay away from categorizing bands, as I find the lengths some people go to box a band in silly. But now that the final list of bands for Iceland Airwaves 2013 is out, I wanted to make an easier way for you to learn more about, and listen to the Icelandic bands that will be performing.

Of the 216 or so bands at this year’s Airwaves, 150 of them are Icelandic. With everything from a national symphony to death metal, electro-pop to hip-hop, you’re pretty much covered with things to listen to.

So, I have very loosely divided the bands into 5 different groups. Hip Hop, Composers and classical, Hardcore and all the metals, Electronic/Dance/close-to-dance, and the last, but definitely, largest group I will just call rock+, it consists of reggae, funk, blues, rock, harder rock, indie-er rock etc..etc…

As anyone can look up a band’s website, I had a process for picking which links to use. If I’ve written a piece on them the link will take you to that blog post. If not and they have a Gogoyoko or Soundcloud page, the link will take you there. After that it’s either their website or facebook page. I believe most the bands will take you to a page where you can stream at least some of their music.

If you don’t have a Gogoyoko account yet, I strongly urge you to get one. It’s free, and you can create your own playlists to share what you find, but more importantly, a great deal of the bands linked via gogoyoko have their own playlists making it easier for you to hear the songs they really like from all their albums. Like I said, it’s free and takes little to no time to sign up, so just do it. Think of it as an Icelandic Spotify account that actually gives back to the artist.

After the list of bands you will find both the Spotify and the Soundcloud playlists for all Airwaves artists. And, clicking here will take you to the full Schedule so schedule away.

If I’ve missed a band, or you feel strongly that a band should be classified differently let me know. And now, for your researching and listening pleasure, here are the bands, in order from smallest to largest table:

Hip Hop

Cell7 Emmsje Gauti Epic Rain Kött Grá Pje
Original Melody Ramses Ulfur Ulfur

Classical/Composers

Biggi Hilmars Daníel Bjarnason Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Jónas Sen Nordic Affect Skuli Sverrisson
Þóranna Dögg Björnsdóttir AKA Trouble Úlfur Eldjárn Saktmodigur

Hardcore / Metals

Æla Agent Fresco AMFJ Angist
Blood Feud Dimma Endless Dark In the Company of Men
Kimono Kontinuum Momentum Muck
Ophidian I Sign Skepna Sólstafir
Strigaskór Nr 42 Svartidauði Trust the Lies Wistaria

Electronic / Experimental / Dance

Apparat Organ Quartet Árni² Aux Pan Berndsen
Björk Viggósdóttir A.K.A. Lala Alaska Bloodgroup Captain Fufanu DJ AnDre
DJ Flugvél og Geimskip FKNHNDSM FM Belfast FutureGrapher
Ghostigital Gluteus Maximus Hermigervill Housekell
Kajak Kippi Kaninus Kira Kira Legend
M-Band Magnoose Nolo Nora
Oculus Pedro Pilatus Prins Polo Quadruplos
Oculus Reptilicus Sísý Ey Skurken
Sometime Subminimal Sykur Tanya & Marlon
Terrordisco ThiZone Tonik Vök

Rock / Indie Rock / Reggae / Blues / funk / etc..etc…

1860 Amaba Dama Amiina Árstíðir
Aragrúi Ásgeir Bárujárn Bellstop>
Benny Crespo’s Gang Bob Justman/a Boogie Trouble Borko
Caterpillarmen Dikta Dísa Eldar
Elín Ey Emiliana Torrini Fears For a minor reflection
Gang Related Grísalappalísa Grúska Babúska Halleluwah
Hellvar Hjaltalín Hudson Wayne Hymnalaya
Jan Mayen Hjaltalín Jóhann Kristinsson John Grant
Kaleo Kiriyama Family Kjurr Lára Rúnars
Lay Low Leaves Lockerbie Loji
Love & Fog MAMMÚT Mono Town Moses Hightower
múm Nini Wilson Ólafur Arnalds Nolem
Ojba Rasta My Bubba Myrra Rós Oyama
Pascal Pinon Pétur ben Ragga Gröndal Retro Stefson
RetRoBot Rökkurró Runar Magnusson Samaris
Samúel Jón Samúelsson Big Band Sin Fang</a Sindri Eldon & The Ways Snorri Helgason
Sóley Stafrænn Hákon Stroff The Wicked Strangers
Þórir Georg Tilbury UMTBS Útidúr
Valdimar Vigri Valdimar Vintage Caravan YLJA

,
and here is their Spotify playlist: