From Iceland — Grapevine Playlist: Kælan Mikla, Daníel Hjálmtýsson, Elín Hall, Róshildur & More!

Grapevine Playlist: Kælan Mikla, Daníel Hjálmtýsson, Elín Hall, Róshildur & More!

Published August 13, 2021

Grapevine Playlist: Kælan Mikla, Daníel Hjálmtýsson, Elín Hall, Róshildur & More!
Photo by
Provided by Daníel Hjálmtýsson

Is it really 15°C out? You bet. Listen to some music outside.

Kristberg – Sunrise

“Sunrise” is a good vibes song that makes you think of a chill, late afternoon drive in the sunshine. Acoustic with soft, roaming vocals, it’s got a calm, musing feel that’s, to be blunt, desperately needed right now. The video—animated by Björn Heimir—is a journey from monotony to beauty. A man, caught up in the gloom of regular life, plants a flower which blossoms into a tree of Babel that reaches the heavens. And like Jack in the beanstalk, our protagonist climbs up—staring down at the grey concrete maze under him—and falls into a world of shining beauty, full of greenery and flying cars. We could only wish for such. HJC

Floni – Demotape 01

Floni’s back. And as you’d expect, he knows what he’s doing. To be blunt, this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, a.k.a. for our readers who don’t speak Icelandic, the nuances might be lost on you. But if you’re a Floni-fan, he’s giving you what you’ve craved. In my opinion “Hreinskilinn” is definitely the standout track on this mixtape. It’s Floni at his best, with that late night sad party vibe that he does so well. “Komdu þér í fíling” is closest he gets to “dance party banger style” on this mixtape and it’s pretty great too. Expect to hear it at Prikið. And other bars. If we’re ever allowed to dance again. HJC

Supersport! – Lag í partýi

My god, how good is this song? On the scale of good and goddamn, I-feel-like-I’m-floating-in-space, -created-by-Picasso-and-Monet, -and-the-stars-are -made-of-edible-chocolate-good. Well, it’s the latter. Wonderful song, from the best indie band in Iceland, and possibly in the world. VG

Róshildur – Keyra/bremsa

Low and slow is the name of the game with Róshildur’s newest release, “Keyra/Bremsa”. The song listens like a play in three acts. You’re eased into a graceful intro right off the bat. It’s the kind of melodic building that keeps you hooked, just to see where it goes. When the beat finally drops halfway through, you feel like you’ve earned the right to hear it. It reminds you of healing and heartbreak all at the same time. Luckily, the violins stick around to transition you to the final act. What’s delivered is an unexpected finale that will have you hitting the replay button just to live it all over again. DT

Kælan Mikla – Stormurinn

Imagine standing barefoot watching the clouds roll in when suddenly, you’re whipped up into an ethereal, synth-laden whirlwind. That’s the experience of pressing play on the aptly named Stormurinn, or “The Storm” by Kælan Mikla. The moment a gentle voice appears through the thunder, you know you’re going to be okay. The song itself recharges you. With drum beats Siouxsie Sioux would bop along to, this song is the perfect weekend tune for anyone who’s hoping for a female-led post-punk revival with a twist. DT

Elín Hall – Komdu til baka

When people talk about being transported in time, it’s usually a photograph of a lost love that takes you back to a moment paused in the past. Maybe it’s a smell that brings you back to your grandmother’s kitchen. Elín Hall’s newest song, “Komdu til baka” features a low-key doo-wop sound and light, effortless vocals that don’t just transport you in time, it transcends time. This is the song you sway to while scrambling eggs for brunch and dreaming of gentler days. With all the uncertainties in life, one thing is for sure — we’ll be coming back to this song again and again. DT

Daníel Hjálmtýsson – Back To Bed

Occupying a space between gothic, post punk, singer-songwriter, and what might broadly be called “dark rock,” Daníel Hjálmtýsson’s latest single, Back To Bed, is a song greater than the sum of its parts. What makes this all hang together is Daníel’s voice, which shares great adjectival overlap with fine coffees and wines; one might say it sips well. The music video captures the atmosphere perfectly. Shot in the East of Iceland, black and white shots of the wilderness freely interplay with a child and Daníel, who flit in and out of one another throughout the video. Incidentally, Krummi the raven from Katla also makes an appearance. Play this song as you take off your weather-worn duster and pour yourself a whiskey, sinking back into your armchair as you think of lost loves and forgotten memories. EP

Thorsteinn Einarsson – Shackles

Do you like Imagine Dragons? Do you nod slowly to yourself as you listen to their hit single, “Believer”, and think, yes, this song is about me? Icelandic-born, Austria-based musician Thorsteinn Einarsson sells similar fantasies of individualism and rebellion in his latest hit, “Shackles”, which delivers on its theme with such memorable lines as “Now Imma break loose / Imma break free / These shackles they ain’t got a hold on me” and “I sing these blues bout the lonely road / But I’m not alone / Whenever life hits with a left hook I do what’s right for me.” Particularly conspicuous is the gap between the heightened emotional state the listener is expected to experience and the utterly flat and lifeless delivery of these studio-bred, over-produced lines. Make no mistake about it—this is not music in which the idea came first; this is a half-hearted stab by a marketing team to capture the 12-15 demographic. EP

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