From Iceland — Grapevine New Music: Purrkur Pillnikk, Ex. Girls, Torfi & More

Grapevine New Music: Purrkur Pillnikk, Ex. Girls, Torfi & More

Published November 17, 2023

Grapevine New Music: Purrkur Pillnikk, Ex. Girls, Torfi & More
Photo by
Kaja Sigvalda

November 16 was Icelandic Language Day. What better way to celebrate it than by listening to Icelandic music the day after? Although not all of the releases listed here feature Icelandic lyrics (or any lyrics at all for that matter), Icelandic musicians have really turned the tide when it comes to writing in Icelandic. You don’t have to look far back to find English being the predominant choice of language in Icelandic pop music. But whatever the language, music is universal. We swear these tracks will make your weekend.

Eðvarð Egilsson & Páll Ragnar Pálsson – Skjálfti
Released November 10

After collaborating on an eponymous film score, composers Eðvarð Egilsson and Páll Ragnar Pálsson took their mutual efforts a bit further and released an album. Skjálfti (Quake in English) is a psychological family drama, but listening to the album without connection to the film, the songs stand out as completely independent pieces. What started as a musical exploration of the two artists, can easily serve as a soundtrack of your morning walk, bus ride, you name it. Additionally, the cover art by James F Johnston perfectly reflects on so many winter mornings in Iceland. IZ

Diamond Dolls – Slow Melt
Released November 10

This debut album by Diamond Dolls kicks off with the honest-to-god rock song “Lost Rain” – reminiscent of obscure 90s Britpop tracks. Diamond Dolls’ first long-playing offering captures a familiar soundscape, carried out by highly entertaining and energetic songs. The group’s efforts lend themselves to almost be described as sophisticated garage rock. The band hosts a release show on November 25. You should check it out. JB

Ex.girls – Verk
Released November 17

Don’t let the cover art of the latest Ex.girls’ record Verk scare you away. Although it borders on being violent with its greyscale aesthetics and number of shovels, Verk is a surprisingly mellow album. It checks all the regular Ex.girls boxes – esoteric, strange even – but manages to stay interesting throughout the almost 50 minutes of music. Verk sees the trio continue to tackle similar nihilistic subject matters as before. For example, the lyrics of “Drepa Mann” exclusively include a list of human actions. However, by twinning this Scandinavian pain with bouncy beats and pop hooks, Ex.girls present a spectacular piece of art. JB

Released November 17

Guaranteed to pull your heartstrings, dancer and musician Torfi is back with a sweet and sensual romantic ballad. In one of his more minimalist songs, the artist went with guitars, some synths, and his voice to carry this beautiful track. This is one of Torfi’s earliest tracks and one which he performed at the last Músíktilraunir competition. Let Torfi wash all your worries away with “Ofurhægt”. We hear there’s a debut album coming out soon, so keep your eyes peeled. JB

Purrkur Pillnikk – Gluggagægir (2023)
Released November 17

Recently, seminal punk band Purrkur Pillnikk announced an anthology album to be released, Orð fyrir Dauða. The album includes previously unpublished songs, as well as the full remastered discography of the short-lived group. Purrkur Pillnikk operated between 1981-1982 and was featured in the influential 1982 music documentary Rokk í Reykjavík. Some Purrkur members moved on to found the Sugarcubes along with artist Björk in 1986. “Gluggagægir” is originally off their 1981 album Ekki Enn, but was re-recorded as part of the anthology album Orð fyrir Dauða. You can pre-order the complete works now, out December 1. JB

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