Tag Archives: Knife Fights

14 Iceland bands you ought to be listening to: Introducing Iceland Whatever, Vol. 1

It’s finally time to announce the next release on Theory of Whatever records, Iceland Whatever Vol. 1.   A 14 track compilation of bands I really enjoy and think you should as well.  Spanning multiple genres all brought to you for as cheap as I could get away with.  The liner notes will be available on the Theory of Whatever website, and will include a bio of the band and links where you can hear and purchase more of these bands music.

Much like the old independent compilations I grew up with, the point of this album is to help these bands get a bit more exposure and hopefully increase your music library.  So, here’s presenting “Iceland Whatever Vol. 1 it will be released on October 20th, and you can pre-order here. pre-orders get a dollar off, making the physical CD $5.50 and the digital download $5.  If you would like to purchase the physical CD and are out of the United States, please contact us and we will arrange it

The compilation cover is by the incredibly talented Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir, a musician (FM Belfast), illustrator, and cartoonist (Lóaboratorium) She frequently contributes to the Reykjavik Grapevine.  The cat on the album cover is Roxy A.K.A. Doom.  She was the only cat I’ve ever gotten along with, ornery as hell but a sweetheart.  She passed away earlier this year, and so I felt compelled to put her photo on the album cover.

There are new and classic tracks from the artists, if the song isn’t available online to listen to yet, I’ve selected another song from the band I enjoy.  Click the band name to go to their Facebook pages.

1. Knife fights – “Panic Later”

knifefights

Knife fights is a refreshing nod to the Northwest United states in the 90’s.  Consisting of Sigurður Angantýsson, Helgi Pétur Hannesson, Gunnar Petur Hauksson, and Þórir Bogason.  They are energetic, slightly noisy and well composed.  They were one of my favorite new bands from last year.  I am pleased to open the compilation with their track “Panic later”

You can read an interview I did with them at the release of their first album here.  Very energetic, slightly noisy and well composed the compilation opens with their new track, “Panic later::

2.  Þórir Georg – Hunger

thorirgeorg

Þórir Georg comes in many flavors.  I first was introduced to his music from his band, My Summer as a Salvation Soldier, and have enjoyed every project he’s come up with since, from folk to crazy to goth.  The track on the compilation is a new song from an upcoming album of his solo stuff.   and so I have put a track from his previous album, Ræfill “The idiot song” here for you to listen.

3. Plúseinn – Empire

pluseinn

Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson is Plúseinn.  He is one of the founding members of FM Belfast, the energetic party band that typically leaves folks pantless by the end of their sets.   While Plúseinn and the track “Empire” can be safely listened to without fear of losing clothing, it is one of the best earworms you’ll experience for quite a while and you’ll be on repeat for quite a while,  electro-pop heavy on the synth.

4. Bambaló – Impress the Boy

KSbam

Kristjana Stefánsdóttir is Bambaló.  Kristjana has helped Icelanders with their singing for years.  Her past projects and albums have been Christmas hymns, Jazz and she frequently performs at Iceland Affair in Connecticut every October.  Her very rich and full voice dominates this song about Impressing a boy.

5. Vigri – Breathing

vigri

Vigri is the creation of two brothers, Hans and Bjarki Pjetursson.  I heard them first at Airwaves years ago and if they are playing I make sure to attend.  Their music floats effortlessly between atmospheric moments and heavy beats and I’m pleased to offer a new track from their upcoming album.  The song above, “Animal” is one of my favorites from their first album, “Sinking ships”

6.  KVÖL– Dropar

kvol

KVÖL is Þórir Georg and Júlía.  It’s Goth punk with dark, strong beats and moody synths.  Dropar is a new track from them not available yet.  So I present, “Get Away” from their first E.P.

7. Kælan Mikla – Ekkert Nema

km

Kælan Mikla is an all female poetic punk band.  Consisting of Sólveig Matthildur Kristjánsdóttir Margrét Rósa Dóru- Harrysdóttir Laufey Soffía, they blast away with raw vocals and hard rhythms. They’ve quickly become one of my favorites over last couple of years.

8. kimono – Lee Harvey Oswald

Airwaves

kimono are 15 year veteran rockers consisting of Alison, Gylfi, and Kjartan.  post rock and heavy rock have been used to describe them over the ages.  We released their first single off the new album last year, and are pleased to introduce the new track, “Lee Harvey Oswald” on the album.  The track above is “Specters” which you can still purchase the 7″ for here.

9. Var- Varma

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Atmospheric, lightly feathered with darkness but with equal dashes of heavy drums and haunting vocals is a good way to describe var.  The project of Myrra Rós and her husband Júlíus.  This track is a new track from the upcoming album.

10. Brött Brekka – Genie 454

BB

Of course I couldn’t do a compilation without some hard hardcore on their.  Brött Brekka was a 2015 discovery for me, consisting of Sturla Sigurðarson, Sigurður Ingi Einarsson, and Hallvaður Jón Guðmundsson  they wildly swing from heavy rock to Hardcore.   They’re working on a new album as we speak, and I can’t wait for it.

11. AMFJ – Esja

AMFJ

Energetic, emotionally organized choatic musical noise.  Aðalsteinn Jörundsson has been at it a long time.  Part of the Falk label in Iceland, he is a veteran to performing and creation.  One of the first blog posts I did was on AMFJ.  He warned me that this new song wasn’t his usual sort of song,  I really dig it and hope you do as well.

12.  Dj. flugvél og geimskip – Draugur Í Kastalanum

Dj. flugvél og geimskip

Her live shows are ethereal environments full of color, spiraling lights and dancing disco balls.  It’s her own style of music and difficult to classify.  She’s recently been touring all over and I was pleased she could add to the comp knowing just how crazy her schedule was.  One of my favorite live acts to see when I’m in Iceland.

13. Antimony – Purity Control

antimony

The second Goth band on the compilation.  Consisting of RX, Biggi, and Siggi, Antimony are goth pop done in their own unique way.  They’re newly formed and have been extremely active around Reykjavik.  They are the perfect band to powerfully begin the compilation wrap up.

14. Ghostigital and Kimono Mash up – Codomatopoeia

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And to wrap up the compilation I bring you one of my favorite classic tracks from Ghostigital’s album Antimatter Boutique.  Ghostigital is Einar Orn and Curver Thorodsson.  Two of the longest working musicians in the Icelandic scene, their music has the ability to pump you up.  People go crazy at their shows, almost as crazy as Einar.  Simply put, I love this band.

As this is the first compilation I’ve put together, it’s filled with the bands I have always dug.  The genres are all over the place I know, but I believe I’ve ordered the CD in a manner that makes it listenable from start to finish.  I really do love all of these bands, and I am pleased they contributed to the cause.

You can pre-order either the CD or the Digital download here.  Please give them all a listen and share what you dig with your friends, regardless if you purchase the album.

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T’is the season for new music, Snarl 4

snarl4It’s been decades since the last Snarl,  and Dr. Gunni certainly exceeded expectations with this 4th edition.  The compilation contains a broad assortment of what is coming up and is going around Iceland.  It’s not just double rainbows, bowed guitars, elven harmonies or hair model horses.  It’s everything from deep dark meaty punk to folk;  trippy rock to dizzying funk.  Its all encompassing with 25 great bands anyone that appreciates music will end up digging.  What else would you expect from the author of one of my favorite history of Icelandic pop-rock books, Blue eyed pop.

You can listen and purchase the compilation here on Bandcamp.  Either get a digital copy for $10, or an actual CD including a foldout cover with pictures of the band, and a long summation by Haukur S Magnússon of Grapevine. for $20.  Here are just a few of what I feel are the lesser known bands you’ll find on the comp:

Pink Street BoysEvel Knievel

They were one of the favorite new bands of Airwaves, and justifiably so.  Dirty, punkish rock that required one to take a shower after seeing them rock the shit out of wherever they played.  I was looking forward to seeing them at Airwaves, and they didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

Kælan MiklaEkkert Nema Ég

I’ve got a soft spot for this band, they really tore it up at Airwaves, and brought back nostalgic memories of Hole before the celebrity.  Angry angry gals with heavy beats behind them.  This isn’t the song on the album, but a good representation, and it was filmed in one of my favorite bars in Iceland, Bar 11, quite possibly by a drunk individual….not me.

Dj. flugvél og geimskipDraugur I Kastalanum

The compilation isn’t just dark heavy punk and rock, Dj. flugvél og geimskip, the alter ego of Steinunn Eldflaug Harðardóttir is one of the sweetest beings out there, and her funky trippy manner is best witnessed live.  Again not the song on the comp, but my favorite video of hers.

KVÖLWatching Me

KVÖL is the new project of one of my favorite Icelandic artists, Þórir Georg.  I first heard him when he was My Summer as a Salvation Soldier, and as he progressed through the years, so did his music, like a crazy river ever evolving, this new project has a fantastic gothic, Joy divisionist feel to it.  You can actually hear a lot more from him on Soundcloud, and I suggest you do, He’s releasing an album that will combine his two EPs as well as some newer stuff soon.

These along with a lot of Icelandic favorites, such as Prins Póló, Just Another Snake Cult, Mugison, Grisalappalisa & Megas, Börn, Knife fights, and Sindri Eldon are all included, and honestly this post could go on forever.  I highly suggest you go over to Bandcamp and give it a listen now.  This comp has definitely earned it’s spot as one of my favorite releases of the year.

15 Icelandic bands you may not know, but should

There are a lot of “top 10 Icelandic bands you should know” floating around these days.  They all seem to list the same bands, half of which we already know.

By now, any person who even knows the minimal of Icelandic music knows bands and musicians such as the Sugarcubes, Björk, Sigur Rós, Ásgeir, Amiina, Mum, Seabear, Of Monsters and Men and Sin Fang.  They are killing it on a global scope and are getting air play and reviews in almost every music mag out there, so I’m leaving them out of my list, they’re wonderful and loverly but we already know that.

There is a book on the history of pop and rock in Iceland called Blue Eyed pop.  It’s an extremely entertaining read, all your favorite bands will be in there with their histories, and it’s shocking to see just how connected even the most distant genre types really are.  It’s become one of my favorite books to loan to people, and the hardest book to get back when they’re done.

So here it is, my top 15 bands you should know, split into three categories, Veterans, Been around the blockers, and Freshies.  Aside from that, there is no rhyme or reason to their order.  Clicking on the band heading will take you to either a blog post I’ve written about them, or their respective interwebby pages:

Veterans:

Kimono

I have been in love with this band since I first heard them almost a decade go.  I love all three of their albums, and the sneak peaks we’re getting of the new album, such as the video above, make me happy indeed.  They’ve been playing for over a decade and a half, and if you’re fans of that minimal yet heavy sound, you’ll go nuts for them.  Click here for more info, including Soundcloud links.  Perfect for twilight drives through the desert or pre-night shenanigans.

FM Belfast

One of the best dance party bands out of Iceland, their live concerts typically end with hysteric crowds jamming around in nothing but their underwear.  If they ever come near your town, they are a must see, you won’t be disappointed, well unless you don’t like to smile and dance.  It’s hard to listen to their albums without jumping a little while smiling.  I reviewed the new album here, and that post also has links to more of their goodiness.  Perfect for party times and getting large crowds of people partially nekkid.

Ghostigial

Imagine that, the crazy guy from the Sugarcubes has his own crazy band.  By far my favorite band to see every year Iceland Airwaves, his break-neck rant-ish style backed up by the almost genius mixing of Curver Thoroddson make the perfect album for walking around a busy city.  Another act that should be witnessed live for full effect.  The video above also has Sóley, which I’ll get to later.  Perfect for going crazy.

Þórir Georg (My Summer as a Salvation Soldier)

As My Summer as a Salvation Soldier, Þórir made one of my favorite songs, The River.  It’s been quite a journey with his singer songwriter style, as it’s not all kumbyah’s and strumming around a campfire.  There are pop ditties, and an album of split personalities harshly contrasting each other in thrash and calmness.  It’s creative weirdness, and well worth getting into.  Depending on the album, it’s perfect for most situations.

Sóley

Part of the Icelandic supergroup Seabear, Sóley has quite the solo catalog under her belt.  She took time off to raise a family after “We Sink” but I just saw her at ATP Iceland, and she’s definitely back in the thick of it.  Her charming voice, and well orchestrated band make for a perfect evening/road trip record.

Lay Low

I’ve called her the offspring of Nancy Sinatra and June Carter.  Her voice is full with the slightest hint of a smokey, well rounded accent.  Her back catalog has quite the folk/country feel.  And the new album, “Talking about the weather” has a more full, larger band approach.  It’s one of my favorite road trip albums, and was on my top list of albums to come out last year.  The video above is from the new album.  For me, pretty much perfect anytime.

Apparat Organ Quartet

A stage completely filled with tubes, wires and organs.  These guys are amazing live as nothing is typically preset.  They are a fun, high energy band synthesizing the hell out of their organs for the audience and listeners enjoyment.  In 2010 I saw them by accident at Airwaves, and I’ve been an uber-fan since.  Perfect for all musically inclined nerds, for rocking out on the weekend, and for when you need a climatic build up before taking on the world.

Been around the blockers:

Oyama

They’ve been called shoegazers, and I s’pose it fits.  They won me over last year at Airwaves with both their interruptive irreverence at Harpa and their actual full gig.  Heavy instruments and floating lyrics, excellent music for afternoon BBQ’s and video gaming sessions.  Perfect for getting your jam on, I’ve yet to gaze at my shoes when seeing them.

Samaris

Imagine if you will, walking right after twilight in the desert or across a foggy field of snow.  Nothing but the wilderness casting strange shadows all around you as you trek forward towards your final destination.  That’s how the very poetic sound of Samaris hits me.  Their new album not available in the US yet, Silkidranga, is less atmospheric and more dance-like.  But the trio’s ability to captivate my ADHD addled brain is quite impressive.  Perfect for druidian chants in the countryside.

MAMMÚT

This 5 piece could almost be considered veterans as well, they’ve been at it for over 9 years.  Their lead singer with her Grace slick style singing, over heavy instrumentation makes for great albums and great gigs.  Perfect rock out music, the above video is their new, first official music video.

Hjaltalín

What started out as a high school songwriting project has turned into quite the band.  They’ve had local success for years, but the new album has projected them into the global realm.  Fantastic band live and on record, I highly suggest checking out their new album, Enter 4. Perfect for get togethers with friends, as well as swooning sessions over that damned sexy long blond head of hair.

Freshies:

Knife Fights

Simple, yet energetic, I love this new band out of Iceland.  It completely reminds me what we’d listen to on our way to the big city for gigs during the summers of my youth.  There’s a sunny, west coast type Violent Femmes era feel to the music, and I haven’t come close to being sick of their album, “I need you to go to Hell.”  Which I highly suggest you give a listen to.  If this sucker gets heard, I really think it has potential to make a lot of folks happy this summer. Video above is their new video for my favorite song off their album.

Boogie Trouble

Ohhh, sweet funky disco.  This band won my favorite new act of 2013, incredibly fun to watch and the locals go crazy for them.  Right this moment they have a crowd funding effort to put out their new album, so go help them out.  And try to listen to their music without wiggling your butt…ain’t gonna happen.  I was going to put an original track as the video, but I think this cover is pretty awesome.

Pink Street Boys

Nooo shit, there’s a garage punk band that has emerged on the rock.  A little Ramones, a little Deadbolt; A lot of Trans Am and Camero mullets.  They are trashy, thrashy, and a completely new guilty pleasure of mine.  Sometimes it’s the slimy little things in life that make one smile.

Recap and final band:

It’s difficult to limit my list with 10 or 15 bands,, as the scene is constantly changing, and there are always bands coming up that you should know.  The best way to keep up on it is to check out The Icelandic Music Export website, blogs such as mine, or rok musik.  There are still an epic amount of bands left, such as Grísalappalísa (punk), Snorri Helgason (folk), Sudden Weather Change (harder rock), For a Minor Reflection (Post-rock), Mr. Silla, Fufanu (electro-rock), and the old greats such as HAM, SH Draumur and etc….. 

There is one band, of which I will never get to see live regrettably so.  They were a great noisy punk experiment, and their music get played regularly at my house. Great for rocking out, and shaking your head when there really is no other way, I present Skátar playing Mahatma Gandhi with Gylfi of Kimono:

Update: Due to the overwhelming response this got, I have made a second list based on the readers suggested additions to this original ist.

Knife Fights

knifefights

Simple yet energetic and noisy, there’s a new album from a new band in Iceland; I need you to go to hell, by Knife Fights.  Consisting of Sigurður Angantýsson (Vocals, guitar), Helgi Pétur Hannesson (drums), Gunnar Petur Hauksson (Bass), and Þórir Bogason (synth and guitar.)   Knife Fights have released the perfect summer album.

I need you to go hell is chock-full of modernized noisy 90’s American west coast style rock.  A smorgasbord of The Breeders, Jane’s Addiction, R.E.M type sounds, with a dash of grunge. The opening riff sucks you right into the smooth-ish track,  Stay Forever in Doubt, and rolls along into more raw, rock/punk tracks such as Gnarbone, one of my favorites on the album.

They’re on Soundcloud, you can stalk them on Facebook, and you can listen to and/or purchase the album on Bandcamp.  It’s $10, and I promise you’ll get your money’s worth, every time I hear the thing I like it more.

siggiknife

 

As there is little out there on the band, this is my first attempt at an interview type thing.  I emailed them a bunch of questions alongside my nonsensical ones and Siggi was nice enough to reply with answers:

 

 

1. I know you’ve been around in a few forms for a year or two now, what do you officially consider your start date?  We released our first video sometime in October 2012 and had our first gig in April, 2013 so somewhere around that time I guess. This project had been gestating for a long time in my head so it’s hard to tell.

2. Can you tell me a little about how you started, and why?  It all started when I decided I was finally not shy about singing anymore or at least that I really wanted to overcome my shyness. I had slowly been learning how to play guitar in my early twenties so it took a lot of time to feel comfortable writing music and singing and stuff. I had difficulty being the focus of anybody’s attention really. By the end of 2011, I had actually written a bunch of songs or riffs and started recording them on my Macbook Pro. Really hi-fi stuff. I started sending them to my talented music friends who then offered to help me flesh it out and maybe form a band, which we did. God bless them.

3. What other bands have you all been in before or are in now?  Our drummer Helgi Pétur and bass-man Gunnar are both in an awesome band called Gang Related. Helgi is also in legendary punk band Morðingjarnir and recently started playing with our pal musician Þórir Georg. Busy man really. Our newly recruited synth-and-guitar man Þórir Bogason is of course the leader of the wonderful Just Another Snake Cult.

4. Who are your musical influences?  I’d say these are my basics: R.E.M, Pavement, Bowie, Pixies, Springsteen, Built To Spill, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cure, The Smiths… you get the idea. With Knife Fights I just wanted to make something loud and contemplative at the same time. We were conscious about not just repeating our favourite music but rather just go with whatever we feel like. We don’t really care what we sound like as long as it keeps us interested. I also think that music is very therapeutic and that you can really tell if a musician is sincere or not in their approach. That’s what unites all my favourite art is that it seems to stem from this need that we have to communicate something or other.

5. If you had to describe your style what would say?  I’d say my personal guitar style is melodic, sloppy, wired, spaced out, organic and very un-professional. Our bassist Gunnar is like a bastard child of Jaco Pastorius and Fieldy. Drummer Helgi possesses a machine-like quality while also being really organic in his approach and Þórir’s synth-playing puts Tangerine Dream to shame. Basic.

6. You’ve been playing a lot of gigs in RVK, are we going to see you at ATP or Airwaves this year?  Airwaves maybe. Depends on wether we’re deemed worthy of entrance. ATP would be amazing obviously. Buttloads of awesome bands there this year.

And of course, my nonsensical questions:

1. What is your favorite place in Iceland to play?  Harpa concert hall was really nice and grand but I think honestly Dillon Rock Bar is always the most energetic and fun. It’s all good though. I’ll play anywhere.

2. If you combine all of your favorite colors, what do you get?  Turquoise, pink and orange make this kind of dark olive green. Which is nice.

3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin?  I’m a little biased here but I have to say Gang Related, Just Another Snake Cult and Þórir Georg.

4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song?  I have a deep fascination with gorillas so I’d be one of those and the song would be ‘The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite’ by R.E.M. It brings instant childhood nostalgia and mixed feelings.

Give them a listen, and if you’re around Reykjavik, keep your ears peeled as they are playing a lot of live gigs these days.