Published November 13, 2013
We have to start by mentioning what a blast we had at the Iceland Airwaves festival. Some highlights from the dozens of shows we saw included Goat putting on a psychedelic tribal ritual, Jon Hopkins turning Harpa’s Silfurberg Hall into a giant nightclub, Sean Nicholas Savage ripping out his heart and feeding it to the audience and Mac DeMarco charming everyone with his tasteful guitar rock and unrestrained stage presence. Transvestite rapper Mykki Blanco also put on a truly unique performance at the Art Museum that was punk rock as fuck.
In the Icelandic department, electronic musician Tonik killed it with his set of soulful and melancholic techno at Harlem Bar while Nolo and Emilíana Torrini were also amazing. The Kraftwerk show on Sunday was the extra icing on this huge gourmet cake, which the festival was. The pioneer electronic group blasted your senses from all angles and the 3d retro-futuristic visuals were hypnotically beautiful as they ploughed through most of their greatest hits with German precision. The festival ran very smoothly with every act on time and hardly any queues into the venues. We just wished it wouldn’t have ended—back to life, back to reality.
One band though that didn’t play Iceland Airwaves is Just Another Snake Cult. They released the album ‘Cupid Makes A Fool Of Me’ on October 30 and we are very fond of it. It’s a lo-fi synthpop album with a lot of left turns and oddball flourishes. Þórir’s voice is very delicate, but has a whimsical quality and sincerity that is unmistakable and there’s an abundance of ideas in the songwriting and arrangements. The title song is jaunty indie pop number with a lot of brass and a catchy sing-along chapter while “Birds Carried Your Song Through The Night” echoes Angelo Badalamenti’s dreamlike soundtrack work for ‘Twin Peaks.’
The San Francisco/Reykjavík three-piece Low Roar released the first single of their second album at the beginning of this month. The song, “I’ll Keep Coming” is dark electronica and we highly recommend giving it a listen. Low Roar’s self-titled debut album came out in 2011. At the time, Low Roar was a solo project of the San Francisco musician Ryan Karazija who recorded the album by himself with GarageBand. This time around the band went into a studio for the their first album as a band.
Straum.is has been active since last summer, with writers Óli Dóri and Davið Roach documenting the local music scene and helping people discover the best new music. It is associated with the radio show Straumur on X977, which airs every Monday evening at 23:00.