By the time this paper comes out we will be up and away at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark enjoying bands as hip as Outkast and as institutional as the Rolling Stones. But we have quite a few music festivals in Iceland this summer and we had the pleasure of going to the Secret Solstice festival in June. The outdoors setting with multiple stages in Laugardalur created a unique experience and acts like Schoolboy Q, Disclosure and Massive Attack rocked a huge crowd which mainly consisted of foreigners and drunken Icelandic teenagers. Hopefully the festival will return in 2015.
All Tomorrow’s Parties, which had its Icelandic debut last year, is returning to the old Nato base Ásbrú on July 10–12. Last year’s festival was a raging success and we’re really look forward to this year’s lineup, which has acts like the ‘90s trip hop legends Portishead, slacker rocker Kurt Vile and the prog-rock institution Mogwai. Also the cream of the crop of the Icelandic roster includes but is not limited to Sin Fang, Low Roar, Ben Frost and Singapore Sling.
In other news, chamber-pop outfit Útidúr, which are currently touring music festivals in Germany, just released a new single, “Þín augu mig dreymir” (“I Dream Of Your Eyes”). It’s the first to come from the band since the electronic influenced ‘Detour’ EP came out last year. The song is a highly melodramatic ode to Bollywood soundtracks and it has been a staple of their live performances for the past three years, usually being their final song. The band has a new LP coming out next autumn. The album supposedly sees the band exploring complex song structures under the influence of soundtrack maestros Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota, and golden age pop from continental Europe.
Finally, Unnsteinn Manúel Stefánsson, the singer and songwriter for Retro Stefson, just released his first solo material under the name Uni Stefson. The song ‘Enginn Grætur’ (“Nobody Cries”) is an emotional ballad that sounds like nothing his band has ever done. The lyrics come from a 19th century poem by Jónas Hallgrímsson. Unnsteinn is currently working on a solo EP as well as the next Retro Stefson record.
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. It is associated with the radio show Straumur on X977, which airs every Monday evening at 23:00.