As spring threatened to appear, Icelandic musicians also seemed to come out of hibernation, with a glut of March releases. Downtown rap-lite crew Sturla Atlas, aka the 101 boys, dropped a new mixtape. This time, there are English lyrics, so you can understand that—as you perhaps suspected—their auto-tuned chatter is mostly about money, drinking, and drugs. Jófríður Ákadóttir’s long awaited solo album—released under her JFDR moniker—finally came out, on download and vinyl.
Popular low-key techno duo Kiasmos—aka Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen—announced they’re working on new material, saying: “It’s more of a dance party, with a bit of emotion in it.” Speaking of emotional dance parties, Björk hit the news by making a guest DJ appearance at London’s Corsica Studios alongside collaborators Arca and Jessie Kanda, before heading to Mexico for a live show and the Mexican opening of ‘Björk: Digital’. In the meantime, Ásgeir also dropped a new easy-listening pop track called “Stardust.” You can hear it on YouTube—or in an airport hotel lobby near you—now.
Shoegaze band Oyama hit the news recently when one of theirs singers, Júlía Hermanssdóttir, was inexplicably denied entry to the United States for a short tour, even having previously lived and studied in New York. Conspiracy theories abounded: was there a secret Trump travel ban on shoegaze musicians? Or was it because she was actually in attendance at Obama’s second inauguration? Either way, the band were not to be deterred—she rejoined them for the UK leg of the tour, during which the band released their first new track since their 2014 debut album, ‘Coolboy’. The song is called “Handsome Devil,” and you can hear it on Spotify or YouTube.
Iceland once again went into Eurovision overdrive this month as the finals of the contest to decide the Icelandic entry into the 2017 competition were held. Seven acts were in the running in the televised phone-in poll, but it was clear that only two stood a chance of winning—pop singer Svala, and “band-of-misfits” Daði Freyr. The competition was fierce, and Icelanders went crazy on social media, with some posting screengrabs of their 90+ calls, or posting the phone number to the vote for their favourite in a popular Reykjavík car-pool group—advertised as a free ride. In the end, Svala won the day.
In better news, sóley released two news songs: the first, “Never Cry Moon,” is a mournful piano ballad; the second, entitled “Grow,” came with a beautiful video by director Samantha Shay. Shot during the Iceland’s recent snowy period, it’s an intimate affair in which sóley walks the fields alone and sings to the camera, stripping away the layers of art and illustration that often cloak her in videos and artwork. Both tracks are from a new album, ‘Endless Summer’, set for release on May 19.