From Iceland — A Long-Ass Note On Our Xmas Covers + Some Bile

A Long-Ass Note On Our Xmas Covers + Some Bile

A Long-Ass Note On Our Xmas Covers + Some Bile

Published December 7, 2010

What a Christmas party, eh?

The legendary Megas hanging out and smoking cigarettes with the likely soon-to-be legendary Bragi Valdimar Skúlason and Logi Pedro Stefánsson. We bet you’d love to be there, exchanging one-liners and Xmas cheer with these merry men. In fact, we were there. And it was awesome.

But why are they gracing our front pages these days? We’ll tell you why. Because we love them— and we think you should love them too! That’s why.

Besides, who better to instil Christmas cheer and good will to all men than these three? Through their inspiring music, words and attitudes, they have all consistently made Iceland a better place to inhabit. If only the rest of us had some of what they’re made of, a lot of unfortunate events might have been avoided.

Now, the mighty Megas needs no introduction (but if you’re not familiar, we suggest you read Valur Gunnarsson’s piece on page thirteen. Then you can go and purchase any of his albums for your listening pleasures – the new one is quite good). However, Logi and Bragi might be a tad more obscure to some of you. But don’t fret. Read on!

Bragi Valdimar Skúlason is probably best known in Iceland for his contributions to beloved web-zine Baggalú (sort of an Icelandic version of The Onion), who manage to be very funny while presenting some sharp social critique. Bragi has furthermore made a name for himself as an excellent songwriter and lyricist through several musical ventures (including Baggalútur – the band), every one of which seems to resonate dearly with the Icelandic nation.

His latest musical project was the intriguing ‘Diskóeyjan’ (“The Disco Island”) is an insanely ambitious concept album about a ‘Professor of Disco’ (voiced by Óttarr Proppé) who helps square kids turn hip to the beat. While the release notes claim it is a children’s album, most adults we know seem to love it even more than their kids. It is most awesome, as you may read in our review of the thing.

Then there’s young Logi Pedró. We’ve been keeping an eye on him ever since he first stepped into the limelight with his band Retro Stefson. Now, any Grapevine reader will know that we are fans of their patented brand of adventurous, indefinable and fun music. Having just released their sophomore LP, ‘Kimbabwe’, they seem on top of their game. Yet, with all their success it’s easy to forget how out of step this group of youngsters was when they first started performing around Reykjavík in 2005. Other local bands played pop, rock or electro – these guys sang in Latin while jamming bossanova beats.

Bassist Logi was 13-years old when he played his first jittery live shows alongside his brother Unnsteinn Manúel and the other Stefsons. Five years later, he’s all grown up, the young man’s spirit, vigour and dedication to music deeming him a worthy role model for all you deadbeat teenagers out there.

Megas, Bragi and Logi are all exemplary Icelanders, each in their own way. What they have in common, besides their love and dedication to music, is that they each do their respective thing in a thoughtful, meticulous and modest manner that ensures their work speaks for itself.

And they are great fun at Christmas parties.

And now you know why we feel safe to refer to Bragi, Logi and Megas as ‘Three Kings’ on our cover.

What else is there to say this month? In my mind, I had readied this big rant about how I don’t trust the Icelandic media. How countless examples (as well as some direct experiences of mine) have left me convinced that our whole media environment actively discourages the seeking of and/or representation of any sort of truth, and that, sadly, this destructive behaviour has more to do with a mixture of carelessness and laziness than any malevolent influence of the media’s owners or some unknown evil forces (at least having evil forces to fight would be interesting. Fighting apathy is much less involving. Oh yeah, at least one newspaper I know of actively and willingly distorts facts for political purposes).

But then I thought: Hell, the outlook is bleak enough without me adding more bile to the pile of awful we’re currently sitting on. Maybe after the Holidays I’ll spew some poison out there. For now, I’ll be content with wishing y’all readers a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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