From Iceland — Grapevine New Music: Laufey, Kusk, Sigrún Stella & More

Grapevine New Music: Laufey, Kusk, Sigrún Stella & More

Published December 1, 2023

Grapevine New Music: Laufey, Kusk, Sigrún Stella & More
Photo by
Lauren Kim

Did you get your presents in order? Your home is Yule Lad proof? What about your love for the sovereign powers of the Icelandic state?

December 1 marks the date when Iceland made its first official step towards independence against the Danes — those bloody Danes. That’s right, on December 1, 1918, Iceland became sovereign, meaning that it got to (sort of) govern itself. Today also marks Rás 2’s 40th anniversary. For those who aren’t familiar with it,  the channel basically assumes the role of RÚV’s cool uncle – who’s in the know of all the hip new music those youths are listening to. Funnily enough, December 1 is also the day of Icelandic Music. Happy December 1, y’all! 

Laufey & Norah Jones – Christmas With You
Released November 10 

We’ve covered Laufey pretty well before – one might even go as far as to call us “Lauvers”. I digress. Knowing that jazz is pretty much the backbone of contemporary Christmas hits, the young superstar teamed up with no other than Norah Jones, who happens to be one of Laufey’s major influences. Christmas With You is a two-track single guaranteed to put you in the holiday cheer. You can just picture the duo in their studio, donned in bright Christmas sweaters, sipping on warm cocoa. Christmas With You is pleasant, relaxed, and mellow – the epitome of the holidays! JB

Sigrún Stella – Heart of Gold (Live Studio Version)
Released November 23

Born in Winnipeg, Canada, Sigrún Stella moved to Iceland at a young age. Although not the same song as the one by another Winnipeg local, “Heart of Gold” certainly leads you to believe that in the first few phrases. In this recording, Sigrún revisits the 2019 track, stripping back the emotional velocity which characterised the original. The revised “Live Studio Version” – whatever meaning you insert into the phrase – brings the song to a more even footing, grounding Sigrún’s artistry and allowing her musical expression to take centre stage. JB

Jóhann Egill – Sand
Released December 1

Didn’t we just watch GusGus release their zillionth album, like, two weeks ago? I think they might have forgotten to employ the services of Jóhann Egill because this sophomore single by the artist is giving serious Arabian Horse. The young musician seems to be coming out of relative obscurity as a solo artist, save for his activities with teenage sweethearts Karma Brigade. I recommend checking out Jóhann’s previous single “Raining Crystals”. With two superb singles out in a row, it’ll be exciting to follow Jóhann’s adventure. JB

Kusk & анастимоза – Kem mér út (I get out)
Released December 1

Here, pop artist Kusk joins the Ukrainian анастимоза for the escapist “Kem mér út (I get out)”. Featuring lyrics in Icelandic, English, and Ukrainian, the track certainly builds on both artists’ excellence. Ushered forward by a rapid succession of hi-hats and a noughties rhythm-guitar riff, the collaboration is an interesting move by the Icelandic artist, hopefully, one that we’ll see again soon. JB

Arctic Assembly – Arctic Assembly
Released December 1

As the name suggests, Arctic Assembly is a compilation of young, Nordic artists. Recorded in Greenland in 2022, musicians from five different Nordic countries mingled and connected, ultimately creating an inextricably diverse offering. Among the languages featured on the album are English, Icelandic, Greenlandic, Swedish, and Faroese. Iceland’s representative, Katrín Helga Ólafsdóttir – better known as K.óla, wrote the track “Seinasti Dansinn Okkar”. If you like all things Nordic, then you better check Arctic Assembly out. JB


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