From Iceland — Grapevine New Music Picks: Kristín Lárusdóttir, Virgin Orchestra, Cell7, Óreiða & More

Grapevine New Music Picks: Kristín Lárusdóttir, Virgin Orchestra, Cell7, Óreiða & More

Published May 12, 2023

Grapevine New Music Picks: Kristín Lárusdóttir, Virgin Orchestra, Cell7, Óreiða & More
Photo by
Supplied by Kristín Lárusdóttir

It’s a dark day in Iceland as our collective Eurovision dreams have been dashed upon the rocks. Last night, the voters of Europe did not send Dilja forward to the grand final, making it the first time we’ll be watching from the sidelines since 2018. We were so sure that she had the power to go through! But alas, it was not meant to be. Luckily we have some new music releases to distract from the loss.

It’s an interesting mix this week: glossy radio-ready pop, cello and electronic Icelandic dark-folk, weird no-wave ballads about milk, experimental vintage goth-rock, emotional poetic rap and full on black metal realness. Let’s power back up, people.

Oh, and remember listen to the new episode of 66 Degrees of Sound for our hot takes on even more Icelandic music.

Inki – Destructive Interference
Released May 5

As Inki — Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir — explains, the concept of destructive interference relates to the meeting of two soundwaves which effectively cancel each other out. This is the inspiration for Inki’s second single off her upcoming album Thoughts Midsentence. Inki brings us this alt-pop gem, playing around with tonal characteristics, bending and swaying the melody as the music ebbs and flows. Ingibjörg wrote the music and all album lyrics were written by Ingibjörg’s friend, journalist Anna Marsibil Clausen. JB

Kristín Lárusdóttir – Kría
Released May 6

There have been so many musical reinterpretations of traditional Icelandic rímur poems throughout the years, and Kristín Lárusdóttir’s new album is an incredible take on the form. With an extensive background in Iceland’s classical music world along with electronic music training, she’s turned her love of old Icelandic art and nature into intense, powerful cello-based electronic darkfolk. Strongly reminiscent of the music of Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, high priest of the Ásatrú Pagan Society, in his collaborations with Current 93, Kristín’s music is deeply gothic and nordic. It’s tailor made for wrapping yourself in heavy capes, escaping into the mountains, and dancing in the lightness of night. RX

Lilja Sól – Mjólkin
Out May 8

Let’s admit it, a song about milk is long overdue. We’ve got plenty of songs about champagne, tequila, rum and cola, and, of course, margaritas, but Lilja Sól, a member of Músíktilraunir contestants’ band Sigurlilja, has just released a single titled ‘Mjólkin’ (meaning ‘the milk’ in English) that instantly gets our approval. A mixture of no-wave and dark-wave the track features mysterious saxophone tunes, and will either make you crave milk and cookies or suspect that a carton of milk in your fright has just committed a crime. On the cover art, Lilja Sól is holding milk in a champagne glass and it can only mean one thing — Oatly is the new Moët. IZ

Virgin Orchestra – fragments
Out May 12

When we said it wasn’t a phase, mom, we really meant it, and so did experimental post-punks Virgin Orchestra, whose debut album fragments comes out today on Smekkleysa Records. Brought together by their shared love of cannonic dark music, the trio met while studying in the music department at LHÍ. Their lineup comprises the guitar-bass-electronics classic of post-punk, but oh wait, is that a cellist in the band? Hell yeah it is! Merging their diverse skillset into a mutual love of nostalgic angsty dreamy goth-gaze, they are a must-listen for fans of Kælan Mikla. You can hear them tell you all about it themselves on our latest podcast episode, too! RX

Cell7 – Fix It
Out May 12

After not releasing any music since her last album in 2019, Cell7, a pioneer of the Icelandic hip-hop scene, is back with a new single titled ‘Fix It.’ Despite having dominated the scene for years, Ragna Kjartansdóttir still knows how to keep things fresh, bringing deeply emotive and poetic lyrics over super vibey beats. “Stop feeling, stop fixing,” raps Cell7 in her unique and delivery style, and we admit it happened again — the song will be stuck in our heads for days. Always smooth, eternally cool. Cell7 is back. IZ

Óreiða – The Eternal
Out May 12

It’s been months of anticipation and buildup, Óreiða’s incredible new album The Eternal has finally made the journey out of the darkness and into our earholes. Óreiða is the one-man black metal band of Þórir Georg Jónsson, aka Þórir Georg, who’s had about 47 different musical projects on the go at any time and just released a compilation album under his given name. Released by the label Debemur Morti, The Eternal is truly an uphill journey of an album, each track named for a part of the course and each one driving you forward at a nervous system-shocking pace. Culminating in the transcendent, terrifyingly euphoric title track, it’s 36 minutes of non-lyrical, melodic, transporting, black-metal excellence. Turn off the lights and blast it. RX

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