An emerging electronic act with an eccentric name caught our eye recently: two guys who go by the names of Johnny Blaze & Hakki Brakes. They just put out two music videos, and one of the songs is an ode to an always popular penetrating oil. The sonic vibe of “WD-40” is all new-romance, ‘Miami Vice and muscle cars, but the video in contrast features very goofy and lo-fi 360-degree wackiness, set in an auto repair shop. The other song is called “Feng Sví” (“Feng shui”), and also sports 80s-sounding synths and tongue-in cheek lyrics—but the video is a still frame of the two guys in turtlenecks in front of a map of Europe, singer Johnny Blaze holding a cat and stroking it in his best sinister Godfather/Dr Evil imitation.
Katrín Helga Andrésdóttir, a member of rap groups Reykjavíkurdætur and Hljómsveitt, recently put out a four-song solo micro-EP, clocking in at just four minutes, forty-five seconds. It’s called “Ég hefði átt að fara í verkfræði” (“I should have studied engineering”), and in the first song—which is only 40 seconds long—she sings about her mom having been 24 when she gave birth to her, who is now 24 herself but has no money and lives in a basement, because she didn’t study medicine like her mom did. It’s uber-cutesy with high-pitched vocals and trebly keyboards sprinkled all over it.
In “Djammviskubit” (a special Icelandic term for a bad conscience after too much partying), she sings “About once a week she poisons herself, puts on a tight black dress and red lipstick, takes in the poison, sometimes alone—sometimes with others, she is free.” It’s unabashedly “krútt,” which is sort of refreshing in this age of macho hip-hop and slick electro, and the super-short running time is an interesting approach to the usually rigid forms of “song” and “album.”
A surprise summer festival was just announced: Night + Day, hosted by one of our favourite indie groups of the past decade, The xx. Located right by the beautiful waterfall Skógafoss in the south of Iceland, the festival boasts a selection of domestic and international bands handpicked by The xx, who fell in love with the place when they came to Iceland a few years ago to record at Greenhouse Studios, operated by the label Bedroom Community. The xx are playing, naturally, alongside wunderkind rapper Earl Sweatshirt of Odd Future fame, British soul phenomenon Sampha, indie rockers War Paint, and of course The xx’s own Jamie xx, in his solo guise. There is no way it will be anything other than a blast by the waterfall.