From Iceland — Spring Bangers

Spring Bangers

Published April 15, 2014

Five songs to celebrate the coming of spring

Spring Bangers

Five songs to celebrate the coming of spring

Since our winters are very long and dark (with seasonal affective disorder being a national epidemic), the coming of spring is something the whole nation looks forward to every year. Although we don’t really have a spring break tradition, we have a lot of songs that celebrate the season, both in spirit and content. Here are five of those.
Lóan er komin by Grísalappalísa
Ever since the 19th century poet Páll Ólafsson wrote a poem about it, the plover (‘lóan’) has been forever linked to spring and it’s an accepted fact in Iceland that as soon as this particular bird has been sighted, spring is upon us. This Grísalappalísa song takes its name (‘The plover has arrived’) from said poem and it arrived last spring to kick-start the band’s career with a bang. This is energetic post-punk at its giddiest and most playful, and it makes you want to new-wave dance the winter away.

Vorvísa by Hallbjörg Bjarnadóttir
Recorded in 1955, “Vorvísa” (“Spring Verse”) was written by Hallbjörg Bjarnadóttir, the first Icelandic woman to sing jazz and a renowned international entertainer at the time. The bright jazzy piano chords flow like newly defrosted rivers and her super throaty low register voice is like a force of nature waking from hibernation. The plover also makes an appearance.

Reykjavíkurnætur by Megas
Somewhere between Bob Dylan and Serge Gainsbourg, Megas is a strange beast indeed. He is a socially conscious king of sleaze, adored by the usually politically correct intellectual left. His song “Reykjavíkurnætur” (“Reykjavík Nights”) is a decadent ode to sunny Reykjavík nights, and the lyrics take you on a tour through some of the city’s best-known slacker and lowlife hangouts during the time he was growing up.

Vor í Vaglaskógi by Hljómsveit Ingimars Eydal
“Vor í Vaglaskógi” (“Spring in Vaglaskógur Forest”) was recorded in 1966 by Hljómsveit Ingimars Eydal. The legendary radio host Jónas Jónasson wrote the song with lyrics from the poet Kristján frá Djúpalæk about a spring night shared by two lovers in Vaglaskógur forest in the Northeast Iceland. The vocals on the recording are none other than Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, one of Iceland’s most adored singers of all time. Icelandic sleaze rockers Kaleo’s cover of the song was a hit last year, but please don’t play that version. It lacks the original’s bouncy riff and its ever-so-catchy hook.

Advent In Ives Garden by Sin Fang
“Advent In Ives Garden” is Sin Fang’s debut single from 2008. Beautifully glitched electro pop, it is best enjoyed walking outside at the early stages of spring with your iPod volume pumped up.

Crossfade by GusGus
So far, this spring’s biggest hit has to be GusGus’s new single “Crossfade,” which dropped just this week. It awed us when the band premiered it at the Sónar festival over a year ago and now it’s finally here. The thumping rhythm is both dubby and robotic and Daníel Ágúst’s verses have a sensual swagger that’s uniquely his own. But it’s the glorious chorus, where Högni and Daníel trade lines that fade into each other, that lifts it from the dance floor and into the psyche. It is soaked in dance music/DJ Culture nostalgia that make us long for the raves we were too young to have experienced: “Do you remember the days/When we started to crossfade.”

Finally, to further celebrate spring, we are throwing a concert at KEX Hostel on May 3. The amazing Montreal-based band Phédre, which released our favourite song of 2012, “In Decay,” is coming to play a show at the Gym & Tonic venue at KEX. Supported by their friend Ken Park and an Icelandic artist, the ticket price is only 1,000 ISK. Come and celebrate with us!

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