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Artists Take Their Pick Of Music In 2009

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Published January 20, 2010

We sorta abhor year-end lists over here at Grapevine HQ. At least when it comes to making them. That has always been a task, and whatever we’ve come up with in the past has in retrospect usually struck us as forced, rushed and ill thought out. Plus, being the ADD kids we are, we tend to change our minds every five minutes: “The Arcade who now? Fune-what? The best album of 2004 was totally Kanye West’s College Dropout. No, wait; it was Blood Brothers’ Crimes. Oh, forget it.”
ANYWAY, regardless of our feelings on the matter, year-end lists are always pretty popular, and we must admit we do enjoy perusing them as, ehrm, years end. They help one discover neglected gems, albums that passed by without a sound or one just plain never heard about, especially when those lists aren’t all uniform, vague and heavy on the U2. Fucking U2.
So we decided to compile some year-end lists of our own. And who better to consult about what’s going on in the world of music than the musicians themselves? No one, that’s who (at least since most critics all started regurgitating P4K’s listery)! So we went ahead and contacted some of Iceland’s finest musicians and asked them to write us lists on what had been tickling their ears all year.
You may imbibe the results of that in these following pages. Some musicians wrote a sentence or two about each item, some made fun lists of their favourite concerts or the best places to pick up girls, some numbered their lists, others refused to – it’s all in there.
And, yeah, we had our very own bunch of awesome music critics make up lists of their 2009 favourites, too (OK, we admit it, making lists can be sorta gratifying and fun. And no one consulted Pitchfork, swear to dog!).
In the immortal words of the great John Cage: Happy New Ears.

ARTISTS PICK THEIR TOP 5 CONCERTS OF 2009

Lilja Kristín Jónsdóttir (Bloodgroup)
TOP 5 MEMORABLE CONCERTS OF 2009
Bloodgroup – Iceland Airwaves 09! (The most fun gig in the world!)
XXX Rottweiler – Iceland Airwaves 09 (Classic hits and crazy action!)
Miri – Kaffibarinn, sometime this summer (Can’t remember when, but I do remember that they were great and they smiled through the whole show)
Me, The Slumbering Napoleon – Sódóma Reykjavík last summer (incredibly fresh)
Mugison – Rotterdam, December 19th (Stand-up comedy and a concert at the same time – it can’t go wrong)

Arnljótur Sigurðsson
(living legend)
Egill S – at Hafnarhúsið.
Haukur Gröndal with Narodna Muzika – at the Reykajvík Jazz Festival.
Kimono – At NASA, Iceland Airwaves
Skúli Sverrisson & Sería – Þjóðmenningarhúsið
Stereo Hypnosis – release concert no.2 at Sódóma Reykjavík.

Benedikt Reynisson (Skátar)
TOP 5 CONCERTS OF 2009
1. Ghostigital @ Batteríið, Iceland Airwaves 2009
2. Amiina & Seabear @ Bæjarbíó, 28. júlí 2009
3. Gus Gus @ Nikita garden, 26. september 2009
4. Reykjavík! @ Nasa, Iceland Airwaves 2009
5. Caterpillarmen @ Grand Rokk, Iceland Airwaves 2009

Örn Ingi Ágústsson
(Skakkamanage, Seabear, etc)
A Hansen’s at Grand Rokk
Entombed at Sódóma Reykjavík
Micachu And The Shapes at Karamba
Sumargleðin tour in Hvammstangi
Yo La Tengo in Berlin

Berglind Häsler
(Skakkamanage, Létt á bárunni)
1) Yo La Tengo in Berlin
The best concert I’ve seen, period.
2) Reykjavík! and Sudden Weather Change, Herðubreið in Seyðisfjörður
It isn’t often that one gets to slamdance with the mayor.  
3) múm at HAVARÍ
I missed their show at Iðnó, but got this cosy hangover concert instead.
4) FM Belfast in Grundarfjörður
I haven’t lost it like this at a concert since I saw The Prodigy in my heyday.
5) KK & Ellen and all the rest from this wonderful Icelandic Von Trapp family at Herðubreið, Seyðisfjörður
Most of all, I would like them to adopt me, really .

In Áki Ásgeirsson
(S.L.Á.T.U.R)
(1) Stelkur –February 11th at Hafnarborg
The band Stelkur from the East of Iceland performed unforgettable compositions by Charles Ross, the Icelandic nation’s secret weapon.
(2) S.L.Á.T.U.R. – September 5th  at the Nordic House
Performed compositions by the main proponents of artistical aggression in Icelandic music.
(3) Kría Brekkan – Helgileikur, December 23rd in the Christmas Village by Laugavegur
The piece was performed in a musical vending machine made to look like a nomad’s hut, where Kría connected the audience to the holy umbilical cord of the mother of god.
(4) The pots and pans revolution – January 2009 at Austurvöllur
A few hundred people banged pots for several days in a spontaneous Icelandic rhythm. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous parties brought drumkits and foreign, cultural Samba rhythms for the last few days.
(5) Monika Fryčová – Open Springs, February at Listaháskóli Íslands
International cooperation in a loaded and high strung inter-arts display from Friend Of Iceland Monika – who danced on the tip of chaos.

ARTISTS PICK THEIR TOP 5 INTERNATIONAL ALBUMS OF 2009

Þórir Georg Jónsson
(My Summer As A Salvation Soldier, Gavin Portland, Deathmetal Supersquad, etc)
1. Cult Ritual – Cult Ritual
2009 has been an exceptionally good year for those into Hardcore punk. I can´t remember the last time I´ve been as excited about this many Hardcore records in one year. But the Cult Ritual album is the best of them all. Black Flag worship mixed with artsy noise experiments played in a way only a modern hardcore band could.
2. Blacklisted – No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me
Blacklisted is another Hardcore band that really pushed the boundaries this year. Even though this album for the most parts is a logical next step for them, it surprised and amazed me how cohesive and near spotless it is.
3. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
What´s there to say about this album? It´s probably going to be on everyone’s, list and it deserves to be there. Animal Collective has always been ahead of the curve, but this surpassed all my expectations.
4. Intelligence – Fake Surfers
Garage rock/punk is obviously the big trend these days and as a result of that we got a lot of cool garage-y albums this year. This one is the best in my opinion. It´s daring and out there, but playful and accessible at the same time.
5. Urban Blight – More Reality
Hard as nails Agnostic Front influenced Hardcore from Canada. It´s raw, pissed off and intense. They may not be the most original band around but what they do, they do better than almost everyone else around.

Haukur Viðar Alfreðsson (Morðingjarnir)
1. Ladyhawke – Ladyhawke
I know, I know, it came out in 2008. But hey, I first heard it in 2009, and it’s the best!
2. Prodigy – Invaders Must Die
For me, getting a new Prodigy album – let alone such a good one – is like for your dad getting a new Steely Dan record.
3. Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You
Juuuuuust a little worse than her début, but still great. Lily snorts all these other British bimbos up her nostrils.
4. Fear Factory – Mechanize
Future-Metal for 15 year-old boys. And middle-aged fatties. Is released this February – but has long since leaked.
5. The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
This is the Decemberists’ worst record yet, but it’s still good. And it was a bad year for records.

Snorri Helgason
(Sprengjuhöllin, solo)
Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
Girls – Album
Julian Casablancas – Phrazes For The Young
Richard Howley – Truelove’s Gutter
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

Birkir Fjalar Viðarsson
(I Adapt, Gavin Portland)
Code – Resplendent Grotesque
Moutheater – Ornament
Napalm Death – Time Waits For No Slave
Propagandhi – Supporting Caste
Pulling Teeth – Paranoid Delusions | Paradise Illusions

Örn Ingi Ágústsson
(Skakkamanage, Seabear, etc)
1) Dinosaur Jr. – Farm
2) Polvo – In Prism
3) Immortal – All Shall Fall
4) Sonic Youth – The Eternal
5) Behemoth – Evangelion

Benedikt Reynisson (Skátar)
1. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Ocra
2. Micachu – Jewellery
3. Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
4. Flaming Lips – Embryonic
5. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion

Tanya Pollock (Weirdcore, Anoymous)
1. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Ocra
2. Micachu – Jewellery
3. Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle
4. Flaming Lips – Embryonic
5. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion

Lilja Kristín Jónsdóttir (Bloodgroup)
(no order)
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
Antony And The Johnsons  – The Crying Light
Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
John Fruiscante – The Empyrian

Haukur Heiðar Hauksson (Dikta)
1) Silversun Pickups – Swoon
2) Brand New – Daisy
3) Florence and the Machine – Lungs
4) Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
5) Bat for Lashes – Two Suns

Hallur Kr. Jónsson (Bloodgroup)
1. John Frusciante – Empyrean (By far the best international release of the year)
2. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
3. Bat for lashes – Two suns
4. Flaming Lips – Embryonic
5. Röyksopp – Junior

Sindri Már Sigfússon (Seabear, Sin Fang Bous)
1. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
2. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
3. Grizzly Vear – Veckatimest
4. Anthony And The Johnsons – The Crying Light
5. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

ARTISTS PICK THEIR TOP 5 ICELANDIC ALBUMS OF 2009

Þórir Georg Jónsson
(My Summer As A Salvation Soldier, Gavin Portland, Deathmetal Supersquad, etc)
1. Tentacles of Doom – Dansað við lík.
Tentacles of Doom are my favourite band around. It´s as simple as that. Dark and melodic post punk influenced by the proggier side of 80s hardcore. Cannot recommend this enough.
2. Kimono –Easy Music For Difficult People.
Kimono just get better and better with every album they release. Some might think that losing a bass player would create a gap in their sound, but it´s quite the opposite. Kimono have never sounded this good.
3. Me, The Slumbering Napoleon –The Bloody Core Of It
Kids playing noisy indy rock. Makes me think of Polvo, Harvey Milk and I’m being good. Heavy and aggressive and really awesome.
4. Dys –Andspyrna + Ísland brennur
Iceland’s anarcho punk legends. A “new” EP recorded about five years ago, but finally released this year with their first album added on as bonus tracks. If you´re into punk rock, this album is a must.
5. Sólstafir – Köld
The definitive Icelandic metal band. On this album they take their sound to a new level, stepping further away from their Black Metal roots and in a more gothic direction. I´ll be very surprised if this album doesn´t end up on a lot of peoples list.

Haukur Viðar Alfreðsson (Morðingjarnir)
1. Signy H. – This Is How I See It
You’ll only find this on-line (and you’ll have to do some searching), but this material thrashes everything else that was released this year.
2. Dr. Gunni – Inniheldur
“Taka í rass, taka í rass, allir voru að taka einhvern í rass!”
3. Buxnaskjónar – Þriðja heimsstyrjöldin
Iceland’s most promising punk band. And they can’t buy liquor for another four years.
4. Bloodgroup – Dry Land
This one took a while to grow on me, but it’s great. Less party action than before, but better sounding, better singing and more grown up.
5. Kimono – Easy Music For Difficult People
Nerd-rock for middle-aged mini-celebs. This is kimono’s most solid offering. Their best? Possibly.

Berglind Häsler
(Skakkamanage, Létt á bárunni)
1) múm – Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know
2) kimono – Easy Music For Difficult People
3) Prins Póló – Einn Heima
4) Egill S – Egill S
5) Bloodgroup – Dry Land

Snorri Helgason
(Sprengjuhöllin)
Egill S – Egill S
Hjálmar – IV
Hjaltalín – Terminal
Sigga Toll & Heiðurspiltar – Á ljúflingshól
Snorri Helgason – I’m Gonna Put My Name On Your Door

Birkir Fjalar Viðarsson
(I Adapt, Gavin Portland, Grapevine writer)
Blood Group – Easy music for difficult people
Death Metal Supersquad – Dead Zeppelin
Dr. Gunni – Inniheldur
Kimono – Easy Music For Difficult People
Solstafir – Köld
 
Arnljótur Sigurðsson
(living legend)
Berndsen – Lover in the Dark
Egill S – Egill S
Haukur Gröndal – Narodna Muzika
Stereo Hypnosis – Hypnogogia
Tyft – Smell The Difference  

Örn Ingi Ágústsson
(Skakkamanage, Seabear, etc)
1) Kimono – Easy music for difficult people
2) Nolo – No Lo Fi
3) Prins póló – Einn heima EP
4) Sudden Weather Change – Stop! Handgrenade In The Name Of Cribdeath ´Nderstand?
5) Skátar – Goth báðum megin

Benedikt Reynisson (Skátar)
1. Kimono – Easy Music For Difficult People
2. Bloodgroup – Dry Land
3. Sudden Weather Change – Stop! Handgrenade In The Name Of Cribdeath ´Nderstand?
4. Koi – Sum of All Things
5. Steve Sampling – Milljón mismunandi mann

Bóas Hallgrímsson (Reykjavík!)
(TOP 7 – no order)
Ben Frost – By The Throat
Hildur Guðnadóttir – Without Sinking
Morðingjarnir – Flóttinn mikli
múm – Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know
Prins Póló – Einn heima
Snorri Helgason – I’m Gonna Put My Name On Your Door
Sudden Weather Change – Stop! Handgrenade In The Name Of Crib Death ‘nderstand?

Lilja Kristín Jónsdóttir (Bloodgroup)
Bloodgroup – Dry Land (but of course)
Hjálmar – IV
Skátar – Goth Báðum Megin
Sudden Weather Change – Stop! Handgrenade In The Name Of Cribdeath ´Nderstand?
Sykur – Frábært eða Frábært

Haukur Heiðar Hauksson (Dikta)
1) Dikta – Get it Together :)
2) Ourlives – We Lost the Race
3) Lights on the Highway – Amanita Muscaria
4) Ólafur Arnalds – Found Songs
5) Svavar Knútur – Kvöldvaka

Hallur Kr. Jónsson (Bloodgroup)
1. Bloodgroup – Dry Land (The best album of the year)
2. Sykur – Frábært eða frábært
3. Skátar – Goth báðum megin
4. kimono – Easy Music For Difficult People
5. Hjálmar – IV

Tanya Pollock
(Weirdcore, Anoymous)
Björk – Voltaic
Hermigervill – Leikur vinsæl íslenzk lög
Kimono – Easy Music For Difficult People
Ruxpin – Where Do We Float From Here
Weirdcore – Weirdcore2 Compilation



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