“There’s a unique sound from Iceland. Musicians are not trying to copy anyone or go in any kind of direction to go mainstream or get hype. In Iceland you can just be a musician. People just make music for themselves”
Asgeir Trausti in an interview with gigwise.com. His album “Dýrð í dauðaþögn” is the biggest-selling album in Icelandic history.
Artist: Starwalker | Single: Losers Can Win
Bardi Johansson is a veteran of the Reykjavik music scene. Back in 1996 he started Bang Gang, initially a surf band (?) that has lived on and transformed since then, releasing merely three albums through the years. He’s also released music with singer/songwriter Keren Anna under the name Lady and Bird.
Last year he stumbled upon Jean-Benoit Dunckel from the French mega-band Air and the two of them paired up to form Starwalker.
Why such a lame band name you may ask? In an interview with A Music Blog, Yea? the duo explains: “Starwalker comes from the deep liquids of our heads. In our first video, we walk in Icelandic nature and it looks like planet Mars. So walkers on Planet became Starwalker. We had other names like “Sex“ for example, the best band name ever.”
The first single “Bad Weather” was a melodic pop delicacy that grew on us with every listen. The follow-up single “Losers can win” can’t quite match up to that dish. But the fantastic video –with its not so subtle wink at this eighties classic by Robert Palmer – certainly makes up for any lack of catchiness.
Artist: Various | Live concert: Tónafljóð
On Sunday night some of Icelands best musicians come together in the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik.
Headlining Tónafljóð, or “Songbirds” in Eldborg, to name but a few are: Vök, Lay Low, Ragnhildur Gísla, Mammút, Ragnheiður Gröndal, Greta Salóme, Sunna Gunnlaugs and “Eldur” by Þórunn Viðar will be performed by members of the Icelandic Symphony.
KÍTÓN is short for “Women in Music” in Icelandic, is a recently founded organization in Iceland pushing on equality in the music business, visibility and nurturing the up and coming young female musicians, composers and performers.
KÍTÓN is a diverse pool of fantastic female artists who all have the same agenda: creating a positive dialogue, awareness, equality and a working platform between female musicians in Iceland.
The video below is from the Icelandic TV show Hljómskálinn and brings together grand old lady of Icelandic pop Ragnhildur Gísla, and the popular singer-song-writer Lay Low. Both of them will perform at Tónafljóð on Sunday.
Artist: Steed Lord | Single: Curtain Call
Are they reviving disco? Or popping up electronic house? Well, we couldn’t tell you, cause Steed Lord seems to defy traditional genre labels. You might even argue if they are an Icelandic band these days. Demo, Mega and singer Kali started their career in Iceland, but nowadays they are steadily based in Los Angeles with their own studio in Silverlake, California.
The band is currently working on a new album called The Prophecy pt. 2 and the video of Curtain Call is the first in their monthly audio/visual performance project ‘The Live Sessions’ where they perform tracks live from the studio.
Steed Lord have been been playing together for over eight years. The new single is fun and funky as always, but lacks any major surprises. Let’s hope that they dare to shake up the formula a little bit more with the upcoming singles. That might be just what it takes to brake this euphonious trio to a bigger audience…
Artist: Mono Town | Album: In The Eye Of The Storm
Mono Town is a three piece band from Reykjavik that seemed to pop out of nowhere at the end of last year. In interviews they have been talking about their international approach to their career, releasing their debut album globally through Deezer and other online media before putting out a physical CD. This strategy seems to have been successful, earning the band a major breakthrough in Iceland but also gaining a lot of attention internationally.
But I hope that the guys also will focus on the qualities of their music in future interviews. Because their debut album “In the eye of the storm” certainly is filled with well-crafted songs, rooted in the British pop tradition. Names like Travis, The Coral and The Verve spring to mind. Those are not typical references when it comes to Icelandic music, but this band seems to go it’s own way and they deserve the attention.
Artist: Highlands | Mixtape: n°1
OK, let´s do this. In our first post ever on Icytopics, we check out the first video from pop duo Highlands.
Logi Pedro Stefánsson from Retro Stefsson discovered 17-year old student Karin Sveinsdóttir’s incredible voice when he was on the jury of a talent show. They got together and started recording in his home studio and last year they released their first single Hearts.
Last week saw the release of this ambitious video for Hearts. Watch out for the cameos by the members of Retro Stefsson. The song headlines a mixtape with six new songs called n°1. And since Highlands are a very generous and giving couple, the tracks are available for free download on Soundcloud.
Download it now, they’ve even thrown in a free remix by the foremost electronica pop ambassadors of Iceland – múm!