As a huge kimono and World Narcosis fan, I’m really looking forward to this new album. This song is Minimal, yet full of both energy and tension keeping you engaged throughout, ending in utter chaos. I really love this track and can’t wait for their new album, “Ending Friendships” Which you can pre-ordered here. It will be released November 1st.
Laura Secord is Alison MacNeil from kimono, Ægir Bjarnason of World Narcossis and owner of the record label, Why Not? Plötur, Erik Deluca from the band Den, and Julius of Stormy Daniels and BSÍ
Sindri of Sin fang seems to never sleep with multiple projects including Gangly, Team Dreams (with Sóley & Örvar Smárason,) and the reappearance of Seabear. So it may be odd, or justified, that this song is about taking a sleeping pill. His classic vocals flow through the music, which has exemplary lullaby qualities. The video, with soft, out of focus imagery coupled with a grainy film feel is surprisngly soothing in an oddly dark way. The Song is off his upcoming album, “Sad Party.” You can pre-order here.
The video was directed by Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir. She has done some of my favorite videos including artists such as Sóley and Sigur Rós. Pay attention to the “lyrics” on the screen as they drift off into thoughts of the artist, not his words.
I’ve blogged about Cyber and their videos before. Absolutely one of my favorite Icelandic hip hop bands, and one of my favorite acts to see live. Their beats, the energy, and their presence is always commanding on stage as well as in their videos. Their new video, Hold, is from their EP “Bizness” The video is about the the time we spend waiting, waiting for xyz and such. English lyrics are in the description, as the song is in Icelandic.
You never know what to expect with Mr. Silla, and I have to say that her singing with Páll Ivan frá Eiðum is a pleasant surprise on her new album. unlike her normal floating vocals this track carries more of a funky folk feel. The new album, “Hands on Hands” will be released later this year.
Still dirty and raw, Pink Street boys have a new song. Lots of beer, a fish head or two, and a country cabin filled with punk rockers, emphasis on the rock. I still listen to their previous albums frequently, it’s great road trip music. I’ve no idea when they’ve got something new coming out, but hopefully soon.
And, as I was writing this blog post, a notification for this new video popped up:
Jófríður Ákadóttir is one of the hardest working Icelandic musicians out there. With multiple bands and projects such as Pascal Pinon, Gangly, and Samaris she continues to innovate and craft insanely gorgeous music. “Taking a part of me” is a delightful surprise, and hopefully hints at new material coming soon. You can stream it here.
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.
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 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.
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 troublethe 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.
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 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, 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 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 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.
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.
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.
I first heard Börn when I was up in Iceland last year. After hearing a track or two I was excited to get the chance to hear them in person at Iceland Airwaves ’14. Alas, their time slots never seemed to work, and when I did finally get to see them, I had to split the time as I really wanted to see another of Iceland’s punk bands, Kælan mikla, who were playing directly below Börn at the same time. So I got to see a half show but really wanted more.
Luckily for me, this past Saturday they stopped by a random Boston basement on their U.S. tour to play a gig with Laika’s Orbit and Leather Daddy. put on by the outfit, Grandma’s house.
Laika’s Orbit was a pleasant pop-punk band, more punk than pop, but their melodies and rhythms worked well in being the first band of the night. Leather Daddy, an all female band, growled and thumped causing the crowd in this tiny basement to move around to the absolute limit they could.
Börn, up next, is comprised of 4 members; Alexandra on vocals, Anna Guðný on Guitar, Júlíana on bass, and Fannar on drums. Their riffs remind me of Christian Death and their hard-edged vocals amplify the complex and somewhat forcefully dark energy that erupted from their playing area. There is a lot of energy, Fannar almost knocked the bass drum over twice, Alexandra had to put two cinder blocks in front just to keep it still. There may or may not have been a kick pedal casualty during the set. When they were finished, the crowd politely asked for more, and the they obliged with one more song.
From what I’ve been told, and what I’ve Google translated, their lyrics cry out against the horrible way we treat folks over body image and stereotypes. And they are living proof that no matter what folks think, you can do whatever it is your mind is set to do, and you can do it well.
They still have a few weeks left. I highly suggest you go see them, rock out, and pick up their merch. They have their 7″ single, and a cassette of their long sold out full length album, as well as T-shirts and buttons. I’ve included their U.S. tour poster here; they still have gigs spread out over the U.S.
You can keep up with them on Facebook, or visit their website here.