The Music Mess Needs To Get Messier

Published May 26, 2012

I figured a festival dubbed a ‘music mess’ would serve as a nice introduction to the Reykjavík music scene on my first Thursday night in the city. Here come the mosh pits, here come the deafening choruses, I thought.
But the mess – the second annual Reykjavík Music Mess that will feature 18 bands over  four days – was far too tidy.
Tilbury, a folk pop group that released its first album this month, was among the four bands to hit the Nasa stage Thursday night. A buzzworthy band plus an iconic music venue, mixed in with a weekend festival of local favourites; I braced for a swarm of music devotees, and I wanted a sweet first taste of Reykjavík rock.
But a half-empty room and vacant dance floor tempered my expectations. Hipsters head-bobbed and nursed their drinks, diverting attention from the poppy quartet who played six songs off of their debut album “Exorcise.” The band rolled off songs like the toe-tapping “Sunblinds,” chord-heavy “Eclectic Bungaloo” and critically accalimed “Tenderloin,” displaying a versatile mix of breezy tunes made for relaxing on a patio and those that make you want to jump around.
The band deserved better than the patrons sitting on the sidelines, relegating the girl in a blue summer dress awkwardly dance alone in the middle of the floor. A drunken bearded man tried helplessly to get the crowd into it. At least he tried.
Tilbury, made up of members from other bands like Hjaltalín, Valdimar, Sin Fang and Amiina, has been called a supergroup of Reykjavik staples. The group’s first album, ‘Exorcise,’ has generated talk around Reykjavik music circles for good reason. The record weaves easy melodies from track to track. The live performance was weakened by founder Þormóður Dagsson’s hushed (and somewhat strained) vocals, which hold the band back from stirring any drama in their self-described “dramatic folk pop” sound.
 The good vibes that the group generated were a fine lead-in to the rest of the Reykjavík Music Mess, an independent festival that will continue Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Kex Hostel and Faktorý. Other bands like Cheek Mountain Thief, Reykjavik! and Benni Hemm Hemm will hit the stage throughout the weekend—and hopefully draw stronger crowds. The crowd makes the festival.



Culture
Music
Five Icelandic Christmas Songs That Don’t Suck

Five Icelandic Christmas Songs That Don’t Suck

by and

Like we noted in last year’s Straumur Xmas Special, the holidays can be hard on the ears for folks who have a modicum of taste for decent music. It’s a well-known fact that most Icelandic Christmas songs suck pretty hard, but of course there are always some exceptions. You can add the following to last year’s selection. Skakkamanage “Costa Del Jól” This lost pearl of a Christmas song was released by indie band Skakkamanage (led by Svavar Pétur, the man behind Prins Póló) just before Christmas of 2005 and is named after one of Iceland most popular holiday destination, Costa

Culture
Music
Who Are GANGLY And Why Are They So Great?

Who Are GANGLY And Why Are They So Great?

by

Earlier today, long-time Grapevine contributors Straumur premiered a song/music video by a new, apparently “local” band that calls itself GANGLY. Now, this in itself wouldn’t be that interesting (lord knows there are plenty of bands out there making songs and videos), except for the fact that both song and video are fucking S T U N N I N G ! Here, see and hear for yourself Right? Right? Let’s hear it again: OMG so great! And that video? How could you make that video and not want to tell everyone about it? WEIRD. So who are GANGLY and how can we

Culture
Music
Just Go Join A Freakin’ Snake Cult Why Don’t You?

Just Go Join A Freakin’ Snake Cult Why Don’t You?

by

Just Another Snake Cult have released a weird and awesome new video from their lauded LP “Cupid Makes A Fool Of Me”. Premiered recently in the UK by Clash Magazine, and in Germany by top blog i.am.no.superman, we’re happy to present the Icelandic debut here. Says band mainstay Thor Bogason: “Spell of Platonic Reversal” is our only song that’s survived and evolved through all the band’s lineup changes, remaining a constant part of our live set through the years. At first it surprised me every time people would tell me that the song stood out to them, because when I

Culture
Music
The Best Of What We Saw At Iceland Airwaves 2014

The Best Of What We Saw At Iceland Airwaves 2014

by

Iceland Airwaves 2014 came and went, and oh what a blast it was (it was. It’s crazy. You should come next year). We very much like the Iceland Airwaves festival. Indeed, every year since 2005, we’ve operated a gargantuan team dedicated to reviewing EVERY SHOW by EVERY BAND on the official festival schedule. Through the years, this has proved a fun and often rough process that has resulted in some great writing, several nice quotes for a band’s press kit, a few broken hearts, several heated phone calls and more than one death threat (including that time in the late

Culture
Music
The Accidental Airwaves

The Accidental Airwaves

by

A press pass fell in my lap unexpectedly and I felt compelled to go to the Airwaves festival. Although the pass fell too late for me to catch the only worthwhile show at the festival this year, the one that had Kontinuum following Momentum, who performed after Svartidauði, who, in turn came on after Ophidian I, I still got to see some truly memorable stuff this year. Some by design, and some through pure happenstance. What follows is my recollection: Wednesday to get my groove on On Wednesday afternoon I happened by Bar 11, where Future Figment were playing some

Culture
Music
Sónar Adds SBTRKT

Sónar Adds SBTRKT

by

Sónar festival continues to power up it’s bill, this time adding some impressive firepower in the shape of UK producer SBTRKT (that’s pronounced like the regular “subtract”, rather than a phlegmy, cough-like mumble of “sbtrchkt”, hipster faux-pas avoidance fans). This comes in addition to an already pretty sweet lineup that includes Matrix-villain tween-goth pop idol Skrillex, as well as TV On The Radio, Kindness, Paul Kalkbrenner, Todd Terje, and a whole crop of diverse Icelandic talents. The whole thing is held in Harpa, which will no doubt provide a grim form of entertainment in itself as thousands of sweaty, gurning

Show Me More!