From Iceland — Grapevine New Music Picks: GusGus, KUSK, Spacestation & More

Grapevine New Music Picks: GusGus, KUSK, Spacestation & More

Published July 7, 2023

Grapevine New Music Picks: GusGus, KUSK, Spacestation & More
Photo by
Ingvar Högni Ragnarsson

What’s guaranteed to rock you more than this series of ‘quakes we’ve been having is this list of fresh new releases coming your way. Don’t forget to subscribe to (or at least check out) our weekly music roundup podcast, 66 Degrees of Sound, if you want to stay on top of new Icelandic music. The most recent episode included music so powerful, it shook the studio. In hindsight, it might’ve been an earthquake. We’re currently monitoring the situation so you don’t have to, but so far Grapevine HQ’s in-house predictions haven’t been very accurate. Until an eruption begins, here’s some great music you can listen to. 

Katrín Lea – in case you come home

Released July 3

Equipped with nothing but an electric guitar and a microphone, Katrín Lea brings us the low-key single “in case you come home”, whose cover art is b-e-a-utiful. With faint influences from artists like Lomelda and Adrianne Lenker, Katrín Lea displays a stark story of loss and longing. The lines, “I bought some cigarettes and I don’t even smoke/I just like having them around in case you come home,” underscores the song’s subject material, so heart-achingly simple and melancholic. I don’t have something in my eye, you do. Shut up. JB

KUSK – Áttir allt

Released July 7

KUSK’s trajectory towards pop-stardom is in full swing. Conquering the 2022 Músíktilraunir (Iceland’s battle of the bands), the first solo artist to do so in the competition’s 40 year history, KUSK released her debut Skvaldur just in time for Iceland Airwaves in 2022. Now, KUSK – Kolbrún Óskarsdóttir – brings us a well polished popgem, reminiscent of Arlo Parks. Kolbrún was this week’s guest of 66 Degrees of Sound, where she recounted the idea behind the lyrics and the song. JB

Spacestation – Bæbæ

Released July 7

This is an artist I’ve followed ever since hearing their name uttered, some time in May. Spacestation moves fast. Releasing two singles and an EP in the span of four weeks (via Alfreð Drexler’s and Lord Pusswhip’s Heavy Knife Records), Reykjavík is the party the band kicks open a door to. Although not showcasing anything particularly original – the EP’s first track is a 12-bar blues about riding a train to Berlin – their delivery and confidence is the defining factor, which alongside the band’s sound and general atmosphere faint memories of fellow coolists Singapore Sling. JB

Róshildur – (v2,2)

Released July 7 

As Róshildur herself puts it, the EP’s title refers to “the album’s creative process and journey”. The album wouldn’t be the same had it received a few more hours of work, so Róshildur presents her debut EP as it is. Talk about a journey, because the album has a long trip behind itself. Having been written and recorded in Flateyri, airports, churches, and a Danish farm, to name a few places, the album conveys subtle feelings of transcience – where every part of each song had a specific, temporary, role to serve, ultimately coalescing in the eternity of the internet. JB

Áslaug Dungal – Cold Dreams

Released July 7 

Although the title of this grungey track isn’t particularly fitting for the beautiful rays of sunshine we’re getting, the song works great to lift up your spirits. Áslaug Dungal’s vocals are soft, yet menacing, and she makes stellar work of the guitar with just the right amount of chorus-effects. It sounds like Áslaug has a soft spot for the ‘90s (who doesn’t?) as the track revives the sharp but roomy sound of bands like Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots. JB

GusGus ft. Birnir – Eða?

Released July 7 

It’s always a fine day when GusGus drop a new track, and their new club-dance bop is putting a cherry on our Friday for sure! Much like the earthquakes that have been shaking us around, this hot and pumping grower of a track will get your both your insides and outsides rattling. With bright-toned chords and the added smooth, ultra-reverbed vocals of pop idol Birnir, it’s pure summery sexy vibes. It’s liquid hot magma. RX

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