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Music
Review
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Snorri Helgason: I’m Gonna Put My Name On Your Door (2009)

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Published March 16, 2010

This debut solo album takes in country-blues (The Silence Of The Night) , a kinda hoedown rock (Freeze-out) and purer, Donovan-ish folk (Carol, She’s A Meadow) in its flighty meander through familiar, non-groundbreaking but undoubtedly excellent songwriting. This is the kind of thing McCartney would dash off before breakfasting on weed sandwiches and writing songs about frogs and pipes of peace; something like Don’t Let Her the kind of sound that Lennon would sing to himself staggering down the street drunk. It occasionally misses the mark (Gone would be better to take its own advice). But let’s face it; there are worse influences to have than The Beatles, and whether lovelorn stomp or wistful slap-back FX and sparse acoustica Helgason just about gets it right more than wrong.


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BÖRN

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BÖRN’s self-titled début is what some of us have been desperately waiting for: an album that properly echoes the misery of living in Reykjavík. Unlike mediocre bands who sing their happy tunes in broken English—with heavy doses of repetitive claps and heys!—BÖRN manage to portray Reykjavík as it really is. It’s neither cute nor civilized; it is in fact a typical Icelandic podunk backwater town (“krummaskuð”) on steroids. Gray, wet and windy. This Reykjavík death punk band initially called themselves NORN (“WITCH”), and in 2011 released a self-titled cassette of some rather noteworthy tunes. When a local black metal band

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Hugar

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I found myself six tracks into Hugar’s self-titled instrumental debut before realizing that the first song had ended. This could mean one of two things: either the lack of lyrical stimulation reaching my brain sent me into an inert mental state, or the neo-classical duo, consisting of producer-instrumentalists Bergur Þórisson and Pétur Jónsson, has achieved the type of cohesion that we are so rarely afforded in today’s single-obsessed musical dominion. I choose the former. The band’s website explains that after “many years in all kinds of different bands,” the two of them started putting together demos in 2012 that eventually

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47

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Japanese Super Shift’s ’47’ is an unexpectedly emotional album. The record, which marks the newest creation from producer-instrumentalist Stefnir Gunnarsson, offers a healthy mix of dance-y instrumentals and mature, lyrical songs, representing a multifaceted album that feels as though it could fuel an entire evening, from the first drink to the sombre walkhome. The lyrics are thoughtful and well-crafted, and a comforting break from what we have been trained to expect from contemporary electronic music. Stefnir’s production chops begin to warm up four tracks into the album with “Voxotronic,” a nearly four-minute epic of drum-and-bass-heavy lurching, reminiscent of something a

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Home

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With several albums under her belt, two No. 1 singles on the Icelandic music charts, and world touring with Gusgus as a teen, Hafdís Huld has a lot of previous musical experience to draw upon. She’s nearing her mid-thirties now, but has that certain Icelandic agelessness about her. Hafdís’s solo album `Home’ is a simple collection of original folk songs and lullaby-like tunes arranged and orchestrated by the singer’s partner, Alisdair Wright. The warmer, more densely arranged tracks on the album are the most effective and, with a reverberant piano, guitars and percussion, all very radio-friendly. A ukelele even makes

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Mexico

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Gusgus didn’t seem like a band that was in it for the long haul. Starting as a loosely strung collective of musicians, filmmakers, producers and vocalists, they seemed to the outsider like a mercurial proposition—a bubbling experimental formula with equal potential to expand, evaporate or explode. But after nine studio albums made over almost two dec-ades, Gusgus would be an essential inclusion on the Periodic Table of Icelandic Bands. They’ve not only continued, but thrived, recently coming into a run of form so rich as to become happily confounding. Along the way, they’ve shed skins more times than an old

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In the Eye of the Storm

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The trio of musicians in Monotown (two of them brothers) released their first album, ‘In The Eye Of The Storm,’ this year. The album is a mix of folk harmonies, rock ballads, and up-tempo tracks. The title song is one of the most memorable on the recording, beginning with a Grizzly Bear-like arrangement of strings and layered harmonies, which pauses to transform into a more traditional rock number with warm electronics in the background. Sadly the close of the first track is where most of the excitement leaves. The album’s lyrics strive for simplicity, but end up with clichés: “my

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