From Iceland — Grapevine New Music: Hipsumhaps, Jelena Ciric, Benni Hemm Hemm & More

Grapevine New Music: Hipsumhaps, Jelena Ciric, Benni Hemm Hemm & More

Published October 6, 2023

Grapevine New Music: Hipsumhaps, Jelena Ciric, Benni Hemm Hemm & More
Photo by
Brynjar Gunnarsson

It was 15 years ago today, that the Icelandic economy officially crashed, much to the dismay of – well – everyone. A colloquial phrase pertaining to the 2008 economic crash is ‘Hrunið, þið munið’ (Remember the crash), although nobody really remembers and nobody really learnt anything. Anyways, without getting all political, check out the newest releases in Icelandic music. If you hadn’t been told, we’re back on with our podcast, 66 Degrees of Sound – your one stop shop for new Icelandic music. While you’re at it, subscribe to our playlist, updated every Friday.

Hipsumhaps – Ást og praktík

Released October 1

Hipsumhaps has managed to an impressive career for himself, releasing an LP every two years since their debut Best Gleymdu Leyndarmálin. Hipsumhaps – now run by musician Fannar Ingi Friðþjófsson – achieves the spectacular feat of making mundane things sound slightly more interesting than they are in actuality, catering to a very middle-class mentality. But don’t let its simplicity fool you, as all of the songs hold up to a rigorous pop-song standard. Co-written by artist Atli Bollason, this suburban pop gem will have you repeating “Góðir hlutir gerast hæææægt” before the day is out. JB


Laura Secord – The Nation’s Greatest

Released October 2

The international alt-rock band Laura Secord is back with a bang since their 2019 release Ending Friendships. Hailing from the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Iceland, and coming from acts such as Kimono, BSÍ, and World Narcosis, Laura Secord is a powerful supergroup – surpassing even NATO in firepower. “The Nation’s Greatest” is a healthy dose of North American jangly guitars and 00’s self-deprecation. However, the best thing about Laura Secord is their joy of playing music together, which shines all throughout this track. The first track of their forthcoming album, the band will celebrate their release with this event, Sunday, October 8. JB

Jelena Ciric – Inside Weather

Released October 5

As we move into the season of inside weather, Jelena Ciric’s “Inside Weather” is a perfect track for that moment when you stare out the window while trying to gauge how to dress for the temperature. “Can’t put my finger on it,” sings Jelena, which is exactly what I think when the autumn sunshine glows but the thermostat says 1 degree. Jelena’s voice is serene, exuding peace and tranquillity over mellow accordion and piano. “Inside Weather” is Jelena’s second single off her forthcoming album, Shelters Two, out October 26. JB

Flesh Machine – Problems

Released October 5

“Problems” is the third single from the synth-rock band’s album The Fool. Accompanied by a dreamy video directed by Snæfríður Sól Gunnarssdóttir, this lyric-free track serves as a reminder of the million tiny but significant problems we encounter every day – from dirty dishes and the need to make time for sport (specifically, the pool) to unclarified issues in relationships. It’s sad and soothing. IZ

Supersport! – húsið mitt

Released October 6

Inspired by frontman Bjarni Daníel’s obsession with houses, húsið mitt, is a slight deviation from Supersport!’s usual full-kit, guitar-heavy output, being a totally acoustic album. A minimalist effort recorded in a summer cottage, Supersport turn their indie quirkiness to the max, featuring songs about grandmas, cinnamon buns, and watering flowers. Supersport! Is celebrating their release at Smekkleysa, Friday, October 6 and subsequently starting a European tour. Maybe not  JB

Benni Hemm Hemm – Í loft upp

Released October 6

Noughties indie-royalty Benni Hemm Hemm releases his 15th LP today. Being active since 2003, Benni has probably seen it all. Last February, Benni fled the Icelandic cold and winter darkness for the warmer climate in Athens, Greece. There he met interesting characters who make their way into the album, such as taxi driver Kostas and the mysterious Alexandra. The album tracks were all written in Greece, inspired by Benni’s experience between Athens’ anarchist neighbourhood and the Acropolis. Despite the Mediterranean locale, Benni’s distinctive Icelandic indie-pop is prevalent on the record. JB

Jónfrí – Aprílmáni

Released October 6

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jónfrí would turn out to be a time-traveller. The artist has now released a string of 80’s inspired tracks celebrating the everyday. His latest, “Aprílmáni”, highlights the feeling of going out for a drive in spring’s twilight. Jónfrí’s latest is a perfect feel-good track for your well-curated evening of cocktail-mixing before a sophisticated night out. JB

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