The great summer of concerts begins with a bang on June 11 with the legendary American indie band Pixies playing at Laugardalshöll. We were fortunate enough to catch them the last time they rolled into town exactly 10 years ago when they played two packed shows at the Kaplakrika stadium in Hafnarfjörður. We’re hoping that they put on an equally great show and that the summer of 2014 is as exciting as 2004 was for concerts.
About a year since releasing their debut album ‘Ali,’ Grísalappalísa are back with a vengeance and a new single titled “ABC.” Clocking in at 2:22 minutes, it’s a short romp boasting an up-tempo ska-like beat and a whole lot of saxophone. The accompanying music video is a colourful feast in which the shirtless, suspender-wearing vocalist Gunnar Ragnarsson pulls out some new-wave dance moves on a surface that seems to be a gigantic piece of ham.
The track reminds us quite a bit of the English ska band Madness, and Grísalappalísa do indeed seem to be heading into poppier territory. “ABC” has the same energy and style that made their debut album such a treat, which bodes well for their new album, titled with tongue firmly in cheek ‘Rökrétt framhald’ (roughly translating to “Logical Step Forward,” a music review cliché used to describe sophomore albums). It will come out on Iceland’s Independence Day, June 17.
Right on the heels of that celebratory release date is the brand new Secret Solstice Festival, which takes place June 20-22 at various stages in the Laugardalur area in 105 Reykjavík. The festival, which focuses on electronic dance music and hip hop, will see more than 150 local and international acts. Some of the highlights are trip hop legends Massive Attack, star rapper ScHoolboy Q, dubstep maestro Skream, and British garage-house brothers Disclosure, who will play a DJ set. (We rated Disclosure’s ‘Settle’ the second best album of 2013.)
Speaking of electronic dance music, the Akranes trip hop group Worm Is Green is gearing up to release their fourth LP ‘We Are Only Shadows’ on July 6. We’ve been enjoying the album, which is their poppiest to date–full of glossy electronic beats mixed with chilling vocals. So there’s that to look forward to as well.
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.