From Iceland — Grapevine New Music Picks: Sævar Jóhannsson, GDRN, IceGuys & More

Grapevine New Music Picks: Sævar Jóhannsson, GDRN, IceGuys & More

Published June 23, 2023

Grapevine New Music Picks: Sævar Jóhannsson, GDRN, IceGuys & More
Photo by
John Pearson

It’s another grey rainy summer day over here and that means one thing: staying inside and listening to some fresh tunes. Whether “inside” for you means at home, in the office, at the bar, or at your bestie’s, hopefully it’s warm and has good snacks. This week’s new music batch is a bit of an oddball mix – we’ve got some moody piano music, also moody lo-fi art-pop, some chill vibey ballads, and manufactured-for-radio pop singers and “super”-groups. Opinions are split, but as always, you be the judge! Stay dry out there and have a good weekend.

Sævar Jóhannsson – “Rest Sweet Prince Or I’ll Break Your Bones”

Released June 16

On Sævar’s new single from his upcoming album Where The Light Enters, we find him going almost full 20th century classical. Where his two first singles skirted a more contemporary and experimental blend of neo-classical piano composition, this new track calls to mind the works of Satie and Debussy. This is in no way a read, far from it. It’s beautiful and expertly expressive in its taciturn simplicity. Sævar continues to prove he’s one of the greats. RX

Pink X-Ray – “Apocalyptic Connection”

Released June 16

Having just dropped their first single “Plastic Surgeon” two weeks ago, brand newcomers Pink X-Ray are wasting no time in showing that they are h-e-r-e. With downtempo off-kilter fuzzy production and melancholic harmonies, their second release is a full 180 from their first, but both prove that these arty zoomer weirdos are gonna do whatever the fuck they want. Along with their silly-goose social media presence, they are they unhinged clown-pop we need right now. RX

ÁSDÍS – “Angel Eyes”

Released June 23

Tailor-made for a Netflix queer teen dramedy, the new single from Berlin-based Icelandic artist ÁSDÍS is a certified glossy banger. Hitting all the checkmarks of mainstream radio content, the track features bouncy Nordic synth riffs and new wave drum machine beats with power-pop r&b-tinged vocals. The lyrics hint at the kind of “gals being pals” energy we need during pride month, which will leave music critics asking for years to come: were they roommates? RX

Spacestation – “Hvað ertu að reykja?”

Released June 23

Following up with their last single “Hvítt Vín”, out June 9, Spacestation is back with yet another shoegazey track. These guys sound like they just found out about chorus and reverb effects, and listened to loveless for 72 hours straight. The mystery remains about who these indie rockers are, but we’re really into what they’ve released so far and can’t wait to gaze at our shoes with them some more. JB/RX

GDRN – “Parísarhjól”

Released June 23

One thing a person like myself, who grew up in a place with county fairs, truly misses here in Iceland is a good spin on a ferris wheel. GDRN’s new single’s name translates to “ferris wheel” and it really gives that dreamy warm feeling of going around and around while just watching the world go by. The funky, r&b tones transport you to somewhere warmer and sunnier, with GDRN’s gentle and soulful vocals feeling like a comforting hug. It’s the kind of summery tune for a introspective stroll. Just wish I could get on a ferris wheel right now. RX

IceGuys – “Rúlletta”

Released June 16

Among one of the top news in Iceland this week is the establishment of the country’s newest boy band. A super group, if you will. Here, pop singers, rappers, and a football player join forces to convert their incredbly good looks into the song “Rúlletta”. The band is comprised of Árni Páll Árnason (better known as Herra Hnetusmjör); Aron Can; Friðrik Dór and his brother, Jón Jónsson; and former football player, current influencer, Rúrík Gíslason. What a breakthrough moment in contemporary pop culture. JB

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