From Iceland — Grapevine New Music Picks: Xiupill, Juno Paul, Klemens Hannigan & More

Grapevine New Music Picks: Xiupill, Juno Paul, Klemens Hannigan & More

Published April 21, 2023

Photo by
Magnus Andersen

It’s a bit cruel that we had a Thursday off to celebrate the Norse calendar’s first day of summer, and now we have to pretend to work again on a Friday, innit? At least we have another awesome delivery of new music today, making it easier to bop our way into the real Saturday! (Not like that fake Saturday that almost got us fired.) This week we’ve got some Gen Z-oriented rave-inspired gabber-rap (how do you do, fellow kids?), a solo pop-punk project that will make you check your bank account, indie-rock from an OG in the scene, punk rock from a brand-newcomer, neoclassical goodness, and the first single from a Eurovision icon going solo. You can also listen to us play and wax poetic about half of these tracks on the latest episode of our new music podcast, freshly re-minted 66 Degrees of Sound!

Xiupill – “Justice”

Released April 13

Gabbers of the world unite — you have nothing to lose but your drugs. There’s a lot brewing in the Icelandic underground. One of the more exciting acts coming out of the scene right now is the industrial hip-hop group Xiupill. Back with another single, “Justice.” In an impressive feat, Xiupill ties together a relaxing, melancholic soundscape with aggressive vocals and twitchy, hardcore breakbeat. With their latest single, Xiupill continues to display their talent, proficiency and innovative production style. Their music is best experienced live, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming shows. JB

Juno Paul – “Brokeboi”

Released April 14

Juno Paul brings us this 90s slacker revivalist punk-pop gem all about the nuisance of being broke. Relatable, right? Although you wouldn’t believe it after listening to “Brokeboi,” Juno Paul is a solo musician — the moniker of Andri Franz Baldvinsson. He participated in this year’s Músíktilraunir, making it all the way to the finals. Ending his set with a slow, melancholic song, I sat back and watched as he obliterated his acoustic guitar when he finished playing. A true rock star act which I’ve never seen happen before at Músíktilraunir. There’s always a first. JB

Jón Þór – “Oh My”

Released April 19

Jón Þór, former Lada Sport member, released a double-sided single off his upcoming record. Featuring the songs “Oh My” and “Love and Kisses”, Jón Þór tries his hand in the English language, having exclusively released music in Icelandic before. It’s a good look, exhibiting Jón Þór’s songwriting capabilities. “Oh My” is a minor-keyed indie-pop delight, the off-beat centred rhythm reminiscent of what is found on his debut album, Sérðu mig í lit? “Love and Kisses” is somewhat of a different beast, highlighting the artists’s pop sensibilities, resulting in a happy-go-lucky song perfect for the upcoming summer days. JB

Indris – pönkið deyr aldrei (Vol.1) EP

Released April 20

The artist Indris released his EP, pönkið deyr aldrei (punk never dies) on his 23rd birthday. Indris told us that he accidentally recorded an EP one weekend, after listening to nothing but punk music one Saturday and becoming heavily influenced by it. The album’s opening track has a computer-generated voice reading aloud the definition of punk in Icelandic, concluding with the statement, “punk never dies.” If we continue to have such endearing and prolific artists producing works like these, I’m indeed convinced that punk will never die. The album itself is a mix of genres such as no wave, pop-punk and hip-hop, to name a few, resulting in an eclectic yet interesting contribution to the punk canon. JB

Klemens Hannigan – “Never Loved Someone So Much”

Released April 21

Hatari’s vocalist returns with a solo gem that sounds like a confession — “Never Loved Someone So Much.” Klemens’ first single from the upcoming album Low Light (out in the fall of 2023) has it all: catchy lyrics, upbeat dance vibe and enticing cover art.
The track is bound to “charm the hearts of any emotionally conscious being,” and we must admit — we’ve fallen down this trap already. The video directed by Klemens in collaboration with Baldvin Vernharðsson premieres next week and will feature the artist stuck inside several sculptures. The countdown is on! IZ


Released April 21

While writing, I needed to look up the meaning of the title of Ástþór Örn’s third album. I’m not one to hoard knowledge, so I’ll share with you that “epimorphosis” is, as per Wikipedia, the “regeneration of a specific part of an organism in a way that involves extensive cell proliferation of somatic stem cells, dedifferentiation, and reformation.” I remain unclear what Ástþór Örn is referring to. Perhaps it’s the proliferation of the technorave, gabber-like soundscapes that seem to be popular with them kids these days. Sort of a 90’s kid “nature is healing” moment. Whatever the meaning, Ástþór Örn’s offering is full of hardcore electronic beats, colossal bass sounds, and prickly synth lines suitable for the club or a party that goes hard. JB

Sævar Jóhannsson – “In light of recent events”

Released April 21

Formerly known as S.hel, composer Sævar Jóhannsson releases the second single to his upcoming album, Where the Light Enters, today. Describing the song as written between the states of overthinking and absent-mindedness, the process behind “In Light of Recent Events” utilised mindfulness techniques, at least subconsciously, Sævar has said. “In Light of Recent Events” is one of 12 solo piano compositions Sævar compiles into his upcoming album, which was recorded in only two days. Starting out with a relatively simple melody, Sævar manages to introduce and conclude movements that are always appropriate and constantly surprising. JB

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!