With that hectic Iceland Airwaves week still simmering in our hearts, we feel obligated to bring you a list of the top acts we saw at the festival. Here they are, in no particular order.
It’s that time of the year again. That time when the unholy festivus trinity of capitalism, stress and over-consumption slowly overtakes our lives, while some really bad music blares out of every corner. Christmastime in Reykjavík city, baby.
Paddling through that annual, inescapable shitstream of adult contemporary Christmas music can be hard work. However, we always encounter rare nuggets of aural holiday delights that serve to make the season more bearable, and this year is proving no exception.
To wit, one of the best new bands to emerge from Iceland this year, Vaginaboys, have blessed us with a wonderful Christmas song that’s somehow simultaneously ironic and romantic. Over a tune that contrasts warm keyboards with icy-cold 80s pop synths, the ‘boys deliver lyrics that liken Christmas to “a pink ice cream that never melts” in gorgeous autotune. “I think Christmas songs are boring,” the chorus goes, “but I bear them when I’m with you.” Beautiful. Paradoxically, they go on to namecheck many of Iceland’s most popular Christmas songs in the following verses. Vaginaboys have been on a streak lately, delivering a great EP and an amazing music video—and now they have a non-sucky Christmas song to boot! We will surely be bumping Vaginaboys throughout the festival season.
Straumur’s Christmas celebrations will commence with a screening of the documentary ‘Jingle Bell Rocks!’ at Bíó Paradís on December 5—our fourth music-related movie screening at the theatre this year. With an eclectic cast of characters and songs, ‘Jingle Bell Rocks!’ focuses on original, alternative Christmas music. Filmmaker Mitchell Kezin uncovers the stories behind twelve of the most amazing Christmas songs you’ve likely never heard. Equal parts social history, pop culture pilgrimage and revealing character study, ‘Jingle Bell Rocks!’ confronts the Christmas music mainstream, reinventing the seasonal soundtrack for a new century. Before and after the screening, our friends from Reykjavík Record Shop will be offering some great alternative Christmas music at good prices. Merry Christmas!
Óli Dóri and Davíð Roach document the local music scene and help people discover new music at www.straum.is. It is associated with the radio show Straumur on X977, which airs every Monday evening at 23:00.