From Iceland — Grapevine New Music Picks: Birnir & Bríet, Gugusar, Sideproject & More

Grapevine New Music Picks: Birnir & Bríet, Gugusar, Sideproject & More

Published May 31, 2024

Grapevine New Music Picks: Birnir & Bríet, Gugusar, Sideproject & More
Photo by
Joana Fontinha for The Reykjavík Grapevine

Can you imagine that after this weekend Iceland will have its next president? It seems like yesterday when outgoing president Guðni  Th. Jóhannesson sparked international controversy, expressing his disdain for pineapples as a pizza topping. While pineapples get all the hate, its more disgusting cousin of the fruit kingdom bananas are allowed to roam freely in this nation’s pizza joints. Where is the outrage towards them? I can’t wait to hear what our next president has to say about bananas. Until then, keep your ears happy with this selection of brand-new Icelandic music. Head on over to our Spotify playlist to keep the party going, and tune in to 66 Degrees of Sound in the meantime. 

K.óla — Sex on a cloud
Released May 28 

Excuse my probing, but have you ever had sex on a cloud? My brain gets increasingly confused the more I think about the logistics of it. I imagine it’s impossible? Anyhoo, perhaps sex on a cloud is a more figurative description of really — really — good sex. Or, y’know, a lesser-know cocktail overshadowed by its attention-seeking, beach-loving peer. With “Sex on a cloud”, artist K.óla keeps ramping up to her eventual album release, due this summer. The saxophone-heavy track will make you want to run to your nearest dive bar to order an obscure cocktail. Good luck with that. JB

Sideproject — Sourcepond
Released May 30 

The newest release by experimental electronic trio sideproject came out earlier this week. With 12 tracks of dizzying, glitch-heavy beats, the band also create strange, distorted images pop up in your head with their creative track titles such as “wet cement”, “swamp merchant” and “captcha land art”. One of the vanguards of progressive electronica, sideproject have outdone themselves when it comes to uncharted territory. JB

Birnir & Bríet — 1000 orð
Released May 31

When two pop juggernauts come together on an album, the result usually leans into two camps: a smashing success or a whopping failure. Following their albums Bushido in 2021 and Kveðja, Bríet, Birnir and Bríet found themselves joining forces on their latest 1000 orð. Heartfelt and endearing at times, you can feel the artists turning inwards, while pumping out emotional pop fuelled by club-inspired beats. As time goes by, I can imagine it revealing more layers than its premise laid out, making me lean closer to the “smashing success” camp. JB

Gugusar — Merki
Released May 31 

Having recently scored the theatre piece Orð gegn orði (Prima Facie by playwright Suzie Miller), rising phenomenon Gugusar released the first track off her upcoming soundtrack. Gugusar’s star keeps shining, demonstrated by her win at the 2024 Reykjavík Grapevine Music Award for Best Live Act, and the some of the artist’s first ever international performances in 2023.   As a single, the track feels like it loses some of its poignancy outside of the play’s context, but Gugusar’s production and songwriting talents are still clearly visible. JB


Mighty Bear — Angurværð
Released May 31

Starting with the brooding, dramatic track “The Empress”, you can feel the transformation happening within Mighty Bear’s output. Rich with tension, the artist’s latest EP sees a stark shift from their previous material, characterised by experimental ambience and electronica. Here, Mighty Bear embarks on a journey, working with grief and hope through the background of neo-classical arrangement. It is not without wonder the album seems heavy with emotions, as it explores Mighty Bear’s experience of losing a loved one. I’m pouring one out, while celebrating this enormous, dynamic piece of art. JB 

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