Published February 10, 2014
The first couple of months of the year are usually pretty uneventful music-wise, but the upcoming Sónar festival later this month is something to look forward to. The festival was born in Barcelona in 1994, and has since been held there every summer in addition to travelling to a number of other cities. This year marks the second Reykjavík edition and, having attended last year, we can attest that it is a sensory experience on all fronts.
This year we’re psyched to see international acts like bombastic dancehall project Major Lazer, Danish techno wunderkind Trentemoller, the progged out electronica of James Holden and ambient techno maestro Jon Hopkins, whose set at Iceland Airwaves astounded us. On the domestic front, we’re also looking forward to seeing some bands that don’t play very often like GusGus, Einóma and Mind in Motion, a pioneer band of the Icelandic rave scene in the early ‘90s that will be reuniting for the occasion.
While Sónar is underway, other festivals are in the planning stages. A new festival called Secret Solstice was announced for June with Massive Attack as the main act. ATP also announced the first artists booked for the July festival at Ásbrú. Legendary Bristol trip hop group Portishead and New York rockers Interpol will be headlining on Friday and Saturday. Kurt Vile will play on Thursday. His latest album, ‘Walking On A Pretty Daze,’ scored high on our list of best albums of last year. Other notable international acts are the electronic noise terrorists Fuck Buttons, experimental rock group Swans, who were supposed to perform at Iceland Airwaves in 2012, but were stopped by hurricane Sandy, and Neil Young who will play a gig at Laugardalshöll in an extended programme dubbed the ATP Takeover Series.
Iceland Airwaves, which takes place November 5-9 this year, just announced the first 17 artists who will perform. The festival will close with the legendary American indie band The Flaming Lips, which actually played Airwaves in 2000 when the festival took place for the second time. That was our first Airwaves and one of our finest festival memories. We can’t wait to have Wayne and the gang back!
Other artists announced are East India Youth, Jungle and Blaenavon from the UK, La Femme from France, Jaakko Eino Kalevi from Finland, Tiny Ruins from New Zealand and John Wizards from South Africa. The Icelandic artists Muck, Snorri Helgason, Tonik, Samaris, Mammút, Grísalappalísa, Vök, Just Another Snake Cult and Highlands are also playing.
Not only are the Flaming Lips returning to Iceland this year, but also the acclaimed alternative band Pixies, who played two shows in Hafnarfjörður back in 2004. They are slated to play a show at Laugardalshöll in June.
We have a lot to look forward to…
Straumur has been active since last summer, with writers Óli Dóri and Davíð Roach documenting the local music scene and helping people discover new music at straum.is. It is associated with the radio show Straumur on X977, which airs every Monday evening at 23:00.