Happy Friday readers! Here’s your weekly dose of tunes.
Sturle Dagsland – Kusanagi
Honestly, it took me a while to work out if I enjoyed this song or not. I think I did… in the end. The colourful, children’s storybook-esque music video—which I could happily sit and watch on loop for a considerable amount of time—did not prepare me for the music that was to come. Sturle’s vocals sit somewhere between singing, rap and screamo, and is that a real language he’s singing in or something he’s making up on the spot? Not a clue. It’s a vibe though, for sure. One that would probably be enhanced by acid and lots of flashing lights. JD
JFDR – Drifter (Dream On Version)
This song and JFDR’s soft, lilting vocals scream ‘Iceland’. But they scream it ever so gently and ever so calmly. With simple piano and strings, “Drifter” weaves whimsy, romance and melancholy together to create a song that will break your heart and simultaneously fix it back up over and over again. JD
DuCre – Here’s Hoping (Pop The Glocken)
Ok, first off—this video is making me extremely sad it’s winter and I can no longer frolic in the Icelandic countryside grass under luscious sunshine. Second off—this lovingly calming debut brings me back to those delightful childhood moments of natural beauty. Remember when walking through the forest used to be a magical experience? That sense of possibility in every nook and twig? Add to that some jumping melodies on what I think is marimba (maybe?) and you’ll be swaying in the wind waiting for the fireflies to appear. HJC
Redwood Moon – The End Of The World
Can a cover song improve upon the original? Yes, especially if the music fits the lyrics better. This can be heard in Van Halen’s cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”, and also in Redwood Moon’s cover of this torch song, originally performed by Skeeter Davis in 1962. Here, Redwood Moon take this genuinely heartbreaking song (especially for those of you who saw the film ‘Girl, Interrupted’) and make it even more devastating. Almost whispered vocals, naked acoustic guitar work, and a general mood of resigned doom surpass the original’s maudlin strings and overwrought vocals like no other. The perfect song for laying on the floor and crying. ASF
Robot Koch and Viktor Arnason – Stars As Eyes (Hugar Rework)
Wow—this stripped-down version of Robert Koch’s “Stars As Eyes” by duo Hugar is a truly stunning surprise. In fact, the opening piano progression made me stop in my tracks, turn over my phone, and allow myself to get swept up in their sea of despairing aural beauty. As the song goes on, waves of white noise approach and leave almost like a deep calming breath in the midst of cinematic restrained anxiety. In my imagination, I feel like I’m sitting in a closet having an increasingly intense (yet, of course, romantically beautiful) mental breakdown as my uncaring S.O. holds a dinner party downstairs full of people I just don’t *connect* with. At the beautiful piano melody at 2:33, I smile and remember I’m still worth life. HJC
Daði Freyr – Every Moment Is Christmas With You
Get screwed Mariah Carey. Fuck off Michael Bublée. Josh Groban? Get that shit out of here! Yes, finally, there’s a Christmas song that we can play in public and be proud of. Daði Freyr, the King of Eurovision, has given his electric touch to winter now with this very soothing, charming ballad about holiday love. We imagine it playing while we sit on a cosy couch drinking coco sharing our trauma with a childhood friend that we’ve recently reconnected with after a torrid break up and return to our hometown. Is he the one? Obviously, he is—it’s Christmas! Is that mistletoe? HJC
Jónsi & Robyn – Salt Licorice [Thomas Gold Remix]
I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a Jónsi track and thought, “Man! I’d love to get drunk and wiggle around on a dancefloor to this!” Well, 2020 is a crazy time. Enter “Salt Licorice”, the collab of the year between Jónsi and Robyn, which gets an even more club-friendly edit by Thomas Gold here. Warning: Listening to the build-ups and drops in this remix might just make you sob as you sit in your pyjamas, sad and alone in lockdown. HJC
Sigur Rós – Stendur æva
An orchestral collaboration with Steindór Andersen, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson & María Huld Markan Sigfúsdótti, “Stendur æva” is an ethereal sound even for Sigur Rós’s standards. Jónsi’s voice tempts listeners into the spiritual world. From the album ‘Odin’s Raven Magic’—named after the Icelandic Edda poem—this album is finally being released after premiering at the Barbican Centre in London almost two decades ago. The perfect soundtrack to a moody and emotional Icelandic winter, this can be listened to whilst staring out to sea and imagining yourself as a lost Norse warrior. IRW
Like the songs? Follow our weekly playlist, where we add the best and brightest of Icelandic music.
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