While Muck and Pink Street Boys are out there slaying us day and night, the rock scene in Reykjavík is actually the best it’s been in years—notably since the dissolution of bands like Skátar, Reykjavík!, DLX ATX, and so many more (RIP). Here are some more extremely good bands worth checking out right now. You might even catch them playing with Muck/PSB.
This fast-paced post-punk quartet makes intense and positive music poised to smash oppressive systems. They took the scene by surprise last year when they released a killer LP and blew everyone away at Airwaves. They’ve just returned from their first US tour and are playing ATP Iceland this July. They also really love pizza and their frontwoman is a roller derby player. So bad-ass.
Another post-punk band, although this husband-wife duo keeps things really minimal with a live setup of bass, vocals, and a tight playback system. The lead singer here is one Þórir Georg, otherwise known for his low-key solo acoustic work, and he unleashes his angry inner goth all over the place. They have a tight self-titled 7” available now.
These three art-punkers are the spirit of riot grrl incarnate here in Iceland. They are doing something truly unique and subversive with their raucous and disarming yet captivating form of poetry goth rock. It’s not always as serious as it sounds but it’s always beautiful, bolstered by a strong DIY aesthetic and attitude. They have an album due to come out this year.
Another set of lovers on this list, this boygirlfriend noise-punk duo is comprised of Krummi Björgvinsson, of Mínus and Esja fame, and top vegan-chef Linnea Hellström. With his powerful voice and guitar and her stoic intensity on keyboards they deliver reverb-heavy, borderline industrial tracks that are mesmerising and ear puncturing. Catch them live as soon as you can.
When he isn’t one of the busiest musicians in Iceland with his band Fufanu, Guðlaugur Halldór Einarsson keeps his guitar-hands stretched with this sexy, distortion laden solo project. His supercool desert blues slow jams sound like they are straight out of a Lynch movie and his first album ‘Old Stories’ was praised as one of the best albums of 2014. Turn it on, tune in and drop out.
Panos From Komodo
These two guys from the fantastic doom-surf band Godchilla moonlight as a pair of debauched beach punks. Using the clinically proven instrumentation recipe of drums and bass only, they switch between short sloppy-noise tunes and almost ambient dreamy jams, always maintaining high energy. They are about to go tour Poland and release an album this summer.
Steve Albini devotees will go wild for this atonal bummer rock band that harkens back to early 90s indie. These guys are incredible musicians in terms of technical ability and translate those chops into some of the most unexpected, heavy and fantastically off-putting rock music. This isn’t even scowling music, just really intense glaring and head-nodding. There should be an album on the way, or catch them this summer up at Norðanpaunk.
You may also be interested in the following articles:
The Rock Renaissance
Rock in Iceland has been overshadowed by some of the great things happening in the indie, hip-hop, metal and pop genres over the last decade, but there appears to be a rock renaissance in Reykjavík at the moment. It’s dirty, it’s loud, it’s provocative, and it’s fantastic.
Where Elves Dare Not Tread
The first weekend of August is known as Verslunarmannahelgi (“Merchant’s Weekend”), a national holiday that sees numerous festivals taking place around the island, with plenty of drunken debauchery on offer.