Even though the Icelandic rock scene is full of interesting new things, there is always something that stands out. A band swept through my mind that had stuck there since I saw them play live in Bar 11: Jan Mayen. The band contains four members: Valgeir, guitar and vocals; Ágúst, guitar; Sigursteinn, bass; and last but definitely not least, the drummer, Viðar. All good and hard-to-pronounce Icelandic names. Jan Mayen was formed originally in early June 2002 but with a few minor changes, they now play together rock solid as never before. Asked for how they describe their music, Ágúst answers that they must be “somewhere between pop and punk”. In my opinion something of a blend of Pixies and Iron Maiden, which he also says they are influenced by, along with a Swedish band called Bob Hund and the better known Sonic Youth.
Their self-titled EP album, which has sold out, shows that they simply know how to rock. It was recognised as one of the 10 best Icelandic albums in 2003 by Morgunblaðið and they were also named the most promising band of ´03. Even though the album is sold out now, you can download it for free (how sweet is that?) on their website www.jan-mayen.com which is in English and Icelandic. One of their songs, called Nonsense, has been played regularly on radio stations such as X-ið.
For interested readers, they will be playing Icelandic Airwaves, a music festival held in Reykjavík in August and are almost done with recording an album which will be released sometime next fall. Until then, Ágúst says they will stay on a mission to rock and enjoy themselves and that´s probably what they have been doing, most recently in Roskilde Festival among the 90 thousand other music fiends stuck up to the waist in mud last weekend. This time it was as guests, but they´ll probably be elevated from the mud and onto the stage before long.