From Iceland — Cold As Ice: A Rex Pistols Playlist

Cold As Ice: A Rex Pistols Playlist

Cold As Ice: A Rex Pistols Playlist

Published May 31, 2018

RX Beckett
Photo by
Hörður Sveinsson

When asked to make this list I started with a nostalgic list that reminded me of my first trip to Iceland in 2006, where I blew all my money at 12 Tónar. My nepotistic second was a compilation of hits by my friends released during summer 2009. I finally whittled it down to this list of gloomy songs by people I’m honoured to call mentors and collaborators—and one song that brought me back to life.

Kvöl – We Are Nothing
The couple now known as the hardcore duo ROHT had a brief foray into minimal post-punk, which I sorely miss. This synthy angsty track is quintessential 80s goth rock realness and just the stuff of self-effacing black adorned sad sacks.

Singapore Sling – Martian Arts
I was introduced to the band quite randomly through an ex-boyfriend who had once opened for them in Ottawa, playing in a band called The Expatriates. I am now an expatriate and I get to see these guys sulk around town like grumpy aliens.

Kælan Mikla – Glimmer og Aska
This slow-building melancholic dirge conjures so much visual beauty. Every time I hear it I’m transported back to my 14-year-old bedroom with midnight blue walls, silk scarves, red lightbulbs and incense filling the air.

Current 93 & HÖH – The Dream of the Shadow of Smoke
While Current 93 is not an Icelandic band, the album this song comes from, ‘Island’, was co-written and produced by Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, (composer and Ásatrúifélagið high priest) recorded at Studio Sýrland, and boasts an Icelandic crème de la crème in its credits. It’s a dreamy, soaring, ethereal incantation.

Jóhann Jóhannsson – Fordlândia – Aerial View
I will always hold a particular softness in my heart for JJ’s concept album about Henry Ford’s failed Fordlândia settlement project. I used this track for a choreography in my early 20s and spent four minutes slowly rolling on the ground. I wish I could dance like that on djammið.

Valgeir Sigurðsson – Past Tundra
The slow burn and mounting tension of this song is gripping. The increasing pace and instrumental layering that culminates in a grand mal sonic panic attack always makes me have one big George Michael Bluth cough-sob right at the end.

Godchilla – 1064°
Probably my favourite song to dance to of any active Reykjavík band, this surf-sludge banger is a loud, screechy, warbly, satanic jam fit for a sexy and scary chase scene in a Russ Meyer movie. I get to peak hip-twisting around three beers in.

Þórir Georg – Ekki Neitt
This stalwart, prolific, yet highly underrated musician has an output that makes a lot of his peers shit their pants. This track comes off a gothy af album called Janúar from 2015 that is as bleak, dark and depressing as the namesake month.

Sigur rós – Svefn-g-Englar
A month after I turned 15, my fallopian tube burst without my knowledge. I haemorrhaged for two weeks and was eventually rushed into emergency life-saving surgery. While I slept post-op, my mother put my headphones in my ears and ‘Ágætis Byrjun’ in my Discman. I opened my eyes at dawn, seeing the sun shining on the hospital’s red bricks, listening to this song. It was a decent start to my second life.

Read more about Icelandic music here. Listen to Rex Pistols here and follow on Facebook here.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Book your day tours in Iceland right here!

Go travel with Grapevine tried and recommended tours by Grapevine. Fund Grapevine journalism by booking with us.

Show Me More!