From Iceland — Airwaves Debutantes: What’s New And Who’s Who At Airwaves 2019 #1

Airwaves Debutantes: What’s New And Who’s Who At Airwaves 2019 #1

Published October 2, 2019

Photo by
Patrik Ontkovic

Airwaves is coming! As per tradition, the Grapevine is here to show you the freshest faces at this year’s iteration. From folk to heavy metal to lo-fi indie pop, here’s part one of our Airwaves debutantes extravaganza.

Now, this is one to look out for. Ásta (Kristín Pjetursdóttir) is a young folk music artist with a unique voice in the same range as Joni Mitchell or Joan Baez. She competed in the legendary music competition, Músiktilraunir, earlier this year and got all the way to the finals. There, she was awarded especially for her lyrics, which are all in Icelandic. We can vouch for them though—they are pretty good. “Sykurbad” is a particular favourite. Ásta has performed as a soloist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra on the violin, and grew up in Flateyri, which is probably one of the most remote places to live in Iceland. If that doesn’t give you an edge, nothing will. VG

A heavy distorted guitar riff. Subtle but pervasive bass. Drums that keep a strict beat. A lyrical phrase repeated in rough vocals. This is the formula Blóðmör—Icelandic for “blood pudding”—uses to craft their music, and it is delicious. Each of their songs still sound unique though, and despite the skeleton on their cover art that indicates heavy metal, Blóðmör defies the genre. They are most definitely heavy metal, but while many artists go for an evil sound, Blóðmör embodies mischief. The winners of Músiktilraunir, Iceland’s Battle of the Bands competition, the band brings this mischief to their live act. No wonder they won. SPO

Flammeus is the stage name of Tumi Hrannar Pálmasson, a multi-instrumentalist from Akureyri. He recently put together a band with Guðjón Andri Jónsson on the keys, Hafsteinn Davíðsson on the drums, and Jóhannes Stefánsson on electric guitar. They just released a new single, which utilises blues and jazz scales to make something that sounds like old rock and roll. It’s catchy. It’s fun. It’s not to be missed. SPO

You owe it to yourself to check out this lo-fi indie pop group. Characterised by deep, smooth vocals and dark lyrics, Flekar writes music perfect for daydreaming. The clean guitar picks out a harmonic melody to accompany the vocals, which is backed up by a keyboard, drums, and bass. There is also a tambourine. What’s not to love? SPO

Self-produced musician Frid has a sombre pop sound. Her enchanting voice echoes through her tracks, which are punctuated by a heavy beat and invigorated by wavy synths. A relative newcomer, she broke into the music scene in 2018 with her single, “I Know”, which is accompanied by a mesmerising music video. She also released two new singles this year, with “Touch” dropping first in March, and “I Won’t” in September. SPO

Iceland Airwaves will take place from November 6th to November 9th in Reykjavík. Tickets are 19,900 ISK and can be bought here.

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