This month saw the release of ‘Polyhedron’, the debut LP from the long-overlooked one-man band Laser Life. The one man in question is Breki Steinn Mánason, a 25-year-old guitarist with roots in the east of Iceland and hardcore rock acts such as Gunslinger. As Laser Life he goes in new directions, mixing the classical synth/organ antics of Apparat, guitar hero leanings of Ratatat, and naive melodies reminiscent of old Nintendo games—with impressive results. The album was mixed and mastered by Curver (of Ghostigital fame) and sounds wonderful on a pair of headphones: dirty synth bass and crisp drum programming lay the groundwork for beautiful 8-bit melodies and arpeggios with the occasional outbursts of electric guitar noise freakouts. Listen to it or order it on his bandcamp page and re-live your (possibly unremembered) nostalgia for NES music like Mega Man mixed with a rockier edge.
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A couple months ago, we introduced you to the dynamic and mystical duo kef LAVÍK, who have been churning out detached and drugged-out autotune pop for the past year on their Soundcloud page. They released a new song this month called “Síðan Vélin Fór Af Stað” (“Since the Machine Went Off”). In the lyrics, its narrator complains about his girl smoking all of his cigarettes and proclaims his hope that she dies from them as soon as possible. “Your wounds look worse than they did, they bleed a lot more” is just one of many wonderful lines, as is “When I’m inside of her I think about you, if I only had the ability to pick up the phone.” They are also broadening their soundscape, adding melodramatic piano and strings to the electronics and autotuning, making us excited for future releases.
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The slack rockers in Stroff, who released their second album at the beginning of this year, sent a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” to the airwaves last week. Now we know how the song would have turned out if the Boss sounded a little bit more like Stephen Malkmus and was backed by Dinosaur Jr.!
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More covers! Grísalappalísa just released a brand new cover of the 50s Icelandic song “Bimbó.” The song was originally performed by Öskubuska and K.K Sextett in 1954. Grísalappalísa make the song their own and the result sounds like a mix of early punk and something from the ‘Nuggets’ compilation. The band is currently working on their third album.
Speaking of ‘Nuggets’, the legendary Northwest “garage rock” band The Sonics were just announced to play Iceland Airwaves 2016, which will take place November 2-6. We are going out of our heads, losing our minds—this Iceland Airwaves will be… WOW PSYCHO!
Straumur, Iceland’s premier indie music radio show, airs on X977, Mon. at 23:00 – daily music news in icelandic at straum.is