From Iceland — Grapevine New Music Picks: JFDR, neonme, Tilbury & More

Grapevine New Music Picks: JFDR, neonme, Tilbury & More

Published March 31, 2023

Photo by
Joana Fontinha

Don’t you love it when the last day of the month happens to be a Friday? You arrive into April refreshed, energised and ready to take on the world. What’s also great about Fridays, is we have a fresh batch of hot tracks for you to wiggle to at your place of work, at home or even on your commute. Dancing isn’t illegal — not now, anyway.

Until a few years ago, dancing and other forms of entertainment were sort of illegal during religious holidays, such as Easter. Even the innocent game of bingo couldn’t escape the law’s long arm. Today’s New Music Roundup includes a Kate Bush cover, a new JFDR track, electronica, alternative, and all the other good stuff.

Have you checked out our new podcast yet?

The Grapevine’s Icelandic Music This Week podcast is online for your streaming pleasure. There’s a new episode out every Friday at 17:00 GMT. Listen to this week’s episode right here, right now. And if you’re in the mood for a binge, check out last week’s episode right here.


neonme – Tea

Released March 24

Known for her previous work with hip-hop groups CYBER and Reykjavíkurdætur, neonme is the name of Salka Valsdóttir most recent offering to the music scene. The Grapevine recently named neonme “One To Watch” in our 2023 Music Awards. A prolific songwriter, producer and artist, Salka is not one to shy away from challenging herself. Moving away from the hip-hop and hyper pop motifs that characterise her previous work, neonme incorporates those elements into a package one can describe as a facet of baroque pop. The use of a modulated double bass is prevalent in the song “Tea”, with the melody conjuring up images of Lana Del Rey in an opium den. “Tea” is off her forthcoming album, to be announced. I, for one, can’t wait for it. JB

JFDR – Life Man

Released March 29

JFDR, Jófríður Ákadóttir, blesses us once again with a new track from her upcoming album. The album in question, Museum, is set to be released on April 28. The third single in anticipation of her release, “Life Man” is both mysterious and accessible at the same time. Incorporating a thumping bass and drum line, the choice and utilisation of instruments brings about a transcendental soundscape – comfortable yet distant. Although this seems like a new trajectory for the artists, JFDR has always been excellent at joining together worlds. Like her previous singles, “Life Man” is a Grade A example of creativity and craftsmanship. JB

palmi. ft. RAKEL – 1000 x Já

Released March 30

Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson is what you would call the man behind the scenes. Whenever there’s a chart-topping pop track out, chances are palmi. has had a hand in it, in one way or another. The producer behind Bríet’s phenomenal album Kveðja, Bríet and Iceland’s  Eurovision Song Contest contribution “Power” (performed by Diljá), Pálmi gives us a rendition of the classic Icelandic ‘80s hit “1000 sinnum segðu já”. Originally performed by the Helgi Björnsson fronted band Grafík, Pálmi is joined by musician Rakel Sigurðardóttir, who imparts her magnetic singing talents onto the track. Transforming it into a club-friendly dance banger, Pálmi and Rakel make a great duo. JB

LadieLex – Ocean Of Emotion

Released March 31

“I’m tired of dealing with all these feelings,” sings LadieLex in her new song “Ocean of Emotions” and we couldn’t agree more! But TGIF and Easter break is just around the corner.  The track is the first single from LadieLex’s upcoming EP and it’s a cathartic musical experience — a soaring declaration of emotional exhaustion with dynamic shifts in tone and tempo. If LadieLex was able to reach such great depths with her single, we can only imagine the journey that the full album will take listeners on. IZ

Tilbury – Frail Light

Released March 31

Tilbury broke out in 2012, with their smash hit “Tenderloin”, a catchy electronica track which was all the rage way back when. Ten years later, they’ve released the third in a series of singles. “Frail Light” continues the band’s tradition of indie electronica. Driven forward by an ensemble of the rhythm section, the track’s most prominent element is the tremoloing implementation of the vocoder. The line, “Nothing ever grows out here”, resonates within me in particular as lifelong inhabitant of this beautiful, yet barren island. JB

Kvikindi – Heiðin Há

Released March 31

Iceland’s aspiring pop-punk phenomenon Kvikindi has been making lots of buzz in music news this year. The band has just played the release show of their album Ungfrú Ísland and they’re already back with new stuff! “Heiðin Há” is a cover of Kate Bush’s iconic “Wuthering Heights” – and, trust us, there’s nothing more satisfying in hearing timeless classic in Icelandic! It’s a real gem. Kvikindi is now in the process of their crowdfunding campaign to release their latest album on vinyl. Show them your support here. IZ

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