Tag Archives: top icelandic band

Boogie Trouble – Í Bænum

Iceland is one of the most musically diverse countries in the world.  You can find everything and anything your heart desires so it’s no surprise to find a full-fledged Disco band in 2016.  Disco isn’t all that strange for Iceland, Þórir Baldursson was rather successful in the 70’s working with Donna Summer during the global disco hay-day, and I’m pretty sure there are closets and caves with hidden disco balls and way too tight disco pants all over the island.

Klara Arnalds, Ingibjörg Elsa Turchi, Sunna Karen Einarsdóttir, Sindri Freyr Steinsson, Arnar Birgiss and Sigurður Tómas Guðmundsson are all Boogie trouble.  I first saw them a few years ago at Iceland Airwaves, their live gigs are more parties than gigs and it only took a short time before they became local favorites.  I’ve written about them before And this review is about their highly anticipated new album Í Bænum.

Quite frankly,  Í Bænum is the perfect rump shaking album for summer.  There are layers of horns, percussion, strings and a good share of bwap-bwap guitars all wrapped around a solid dancing beat that just doesn’t quit.  Klara Arnald’s voice is perfect for this style of music, strong enough to rival the brass yet nimble while it dances in between the other musical players, such as on the title track:

My second favorite track on the album, “Gleymmér ey.” opens with almost a disco-80’s fusion type of sound before Arnalds voice comes to us in a lower pitch.  The beat remains a highly energetic roll of percussion reminiscent of a stampede of horses rolling over the countryside.

I wasn’t going to translate any songs as my Icelandic is limited to colors, time, and asking where the bar is.  But  “Moldun” has become my favorite track on the album because when you listen to it, it basically translates itself.  It’s fairly obvious that the song is about a disco space cowboy who has landed on a strange planet in search of his beloved disco ball which has gone missing.  Feeling all alone and run out of town for being a strange disco space cowboy, he finally finds the disco ball in rafters of an old Icelandic countryside church shining down on many disco cowpeople grooving away.  I mean, I could be wrong but I’m 99.2% sure I’m correct:

All in all this album will make you dance.  It has become a necessary album on our party playlist,  and DJ sets.  Even my local bar has begun playing a few tracks off of it to keep the night interesting.   You can listen to the entire album and purchase it here on Bandcamp, and I highly suggest you follow them on Facebook.

 

 

 

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Sóley, Ask The Deep

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It’s been 4 years since Sóley’s last full-length album, and as they say good things come to those who wait.  Sóley Stefánsdóttir, of Seabear and her own fame has delivered one hell of a finely crafted piece of art with the new album Ask the Deep

While We sink‘ was dark,  Ask the Deep goes further down the rabbit hole.  An internal argument of staying with or leaving devils.  Multiple layers of tribal-like percussion, floating synth, and cascading keys weave a sophisticated and emotional dance creating the perfect background to Sóley’s haunting and rhythmic vocals.  I honestly feel you’d be hard pressed to find such sweet serenades about devils, darkness, and despair anywhere else.

Each listen I give this album brings out a new emphasis in both the instrumental and wording in the songs.  I’ve given it enough listens to safely say it’s far from getting old, this is definitely one of my favorite albums of the year.

The album starts off with the track, ‘Devil’ where Sóley asks if she’s danced with devil, and does he still love her?  A person realizing a personal struggle, or perhaps someone they care about, may be harming them but they’re afraid to live without them.  As the album progresses, it becomes less about how the devil feels and more how the chanteuse realizes her own power and self-worth.

By ‘I will never’ we realize she’s made it through the muck and mire and has come out stronger and standing tall leading into an almost euphoric, cloud clearing/sun shining ‘dreamers’, the most upbeat song on the album.  The album ends with ‘Lost ship’, a final contemplation and realization that letting go will make her responsible for her own life, and is she willing to let the devil go to do so.

The first music video from the album, ‘Halloween’ is surreal and beautiflly done, you can see here:

You can follow Sóley on Facebook, and on her website.  She is touring, see her schedule here.  And she will be in the United States in October for Iceland Affair up in Connecticut.