From Iceland — Countdown to Airwaves: 5 Weeks

Countdown to Airwaves: 5 Weeks

Published September 7, 2007

Countdown to Airwaves: 5 Weeks

Iceland Airwaves is a month or so away, taking place from October 17–21. You will, of course, be there. Over 170 bands and solo artists will perform – most of them are pretty good, if not outright awesome. Below are some you should check out in no certain order:

<3 Svanhvít!
Arcade Fire sure have a lot to answer for. Every garage band in existence has suddenly added a lute player, an accordionist and eight xylophone bangers to their lineup. Take Reykjavík upstarts <3 Svanhvít!. There’s like… eleven of them on-stage at any given moment, some of who serve such purposes as “air guitar” and “vacuum cleaner”. However, Svanhvít (mostly) avoid the trappings of their chosen pseudo-arty genre by leaning heavily on an element that some of its key players all but ignore: humour. And they write some pretty damn good songs, too. These runners-up in this year’s Battle of the Bands contest are always a sight worth seeing, and they just might have a trick or two up their sleeves this year. Sudden Weather Change
I hadn’t even heard Sudden Weather Change a month ago, but ever since their début EP made its way onto my CD player I have been brimming with the kind of excitement I rarely get from new bands these days. The music sounds like a perfectly flawed blend of Wolf Parade and Cap’n Jazz and I can’t wait to see them in concert – it just has to be a chaotic and bloody experience.

Weapons are a staple of Reykjavík’s live scene and can be found playing shows at some dive or the other most weekends of the year. Their dedication to their craft has ensured that they are an extremely tightly knit trio, featuring stage moves par excellence. Their take on garage is conventional without being derivative, and melodic without being poppy. To boot, they usually get fists pumping, all of which means Weapons are a most welcome addition to any rocker’s late night pub-crawl. And Iceland Airwaves, of course.

I saw Annuals perform at this year’s SXSW festival and have been looking forward to a repeat performance ever since. At a festival dominated by drab guitar bands with nothing to prove and (somehow) even less to say, these guys (and gal) stood out like a sore thumb on a dominantly indie-rock hand (when did indie rock become a synonym for BORING anyway?). Their energetic, drum-heavy performance was sprawling and chaotic, yet tuneful and enticing. And while they do employ guitars for various means, their use is inventive, their sound solemn. And I wouldn’t miss it for anything on TV.

of Montreal
It makes sense that of Montreal are playing Iceland Airwaves. Their latest piece of plastic, ‘Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?” was reportedly conceived of and recorded in a tiny Norwegian bedroom, and features many, many odes to Scandinavian darkness, cold weather and Lutheran leanings. And the music? While “indie-disco” has become such a redundant and cringe-worthy a term that it has long since passed the borders of meaninglessness (remember The Bravery?), of Montreal’s music proudly evokes both elements, albeit with a heavy dose of classic pop sensibilities and a sense of poesy that their peers could only dream of. Plus, they’re supposed to kick ass live.

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