Two for One Special, Reykjavík! and Nolo Reviewed

I was really conflicted about what to review this month. Not only is this prime Christmas shopping time but Icelandic music has been on a major roll and this fall has seen a flurry of musical releases. So I’m looking at two newish releases: Nology by popular duo Nolo and Locust Sounds by Reykjavík!

Dreamy Landscape: Sóley – We Sink

We Sink is both a charming and whimsical pop record with soulful ballads. Listening to it makes you feel as if Sóley takes you by the hand and leads you into a dreamy landscape of soft, whispering voices, beautiful piano sounds and melancholic melodies.

GusGus- Arabian Horse

Finally, the new GusGus album is out! And I've been waiting excitedly for its release.

Electronic Joyride to Party Town

Apparat Organ Quartet’s new album Pólýfónía was as much fun as buying self-serve soft ice at Ikea. Listening to the album is like acid-colored rainbows, kittens hopping into gumdrop ponds and riding a bicycle into outer space. No, really.

Rocking Me to Sleep? Rökkuró Knocked Me Out, Literally

Rökkuró’s new album í annan heim (“in another world”) wanted to take me on a journey to a beautiful alternative universe but it just drained me. In fact, it quite literally put me to sleep and I can’t decide if this is a good thing or not. Probably not.

Same Old Scene: Megas & Senuthjófarnir – (Hugbod um) Vandraedi

(Hugbod um) Vandraedi is the fifth album that comes out of a fruitful collaboration between veteran rocker Megas and his backup band Senuthjófarnir. The album swings perfectly; Senthjófarnir provide a beautiful smooth background for the main man’s rough voice. Yet somehow it feels a little too...

Not Thrilling but Nice: Ballid á Bessastödum

Since I'm not a child, I am forced to review the children's musical CD, Ballid á Bessastödum , with the following question in mind: If I were a parent, would I want to stab myself with a fork after my child became obsessed with this CD and played it all day every day for three months? While the...

Dial M for Malneirophrenia

According to my dictionary, Malneirophrenia is the sadness you experience after a pressing nightmare and this Icelandic so-called chamber punk band captures the feeling immaculately. The strings and piano conjure up strange imagery of dark distorted realities and then pull you into a state of...

Bubbi: Greatest Hits Minus the Grey Hairs

A personal pet hate of mine is when musicians who have been around for a year or two release a greatest hits album. If you are releasing a greatest hits album, you should have a grey hair or two. Or in Bubbi’s case, no hair at all. Although the album is a little big, it’s a dream to listen to.

Tasty Reggae Pancakes: Hjálmar – Keflavík Kingston

When Hjálmar started no record label would touch them because no one had any faith in the commercial appeal of Icelandic reggae. But what place needs sunny joyful music more than Iceland in winter?

Banal Christmas Laughs: Baggalútur, Naestu Jól

Baggalútur is an Icelandic institution. If I were to try and describe or introduce Icelandic humor to a foreigner, Baggalútur would probably be my first stop. Seeing is how this band and their music is an Icelandic cultural treasure I have to be careful what I say or I might get some stink eye at...

On The Road: Stafraenn Hákon – Sanitas

The mastermind behind Stafraenn Hákon, Ólafur Josephsson, knows how to put together an album. On Sanitas , which is rockier than his previous records, each song weaves into the next like a tightly-knitted sock. It actually sounds like a road trip—that is where this album belongs: In your car, on a...

Sound Bites – Iceland Airwaves Preview

Airwaves does this well, drowns ticketholders with choice, that is. Pitchfork Media dubbed it “a five-day orgy of live music and debauchery” but even the debauched need an idea of what to see and where to go to sate their hunger for music and questionable needs. Here’s a list of IR’s Nanna...

I Love It Loud: Miri – Okkar

What sometimes bothers me about instrumental albums, such as Miri’s debut Okkar , is a certain need to show off. However, Miri manages to avoid this pitfall completely. The album is in fact quite melodic, the guitar usually serves as a singing voice of sorts and you can pretty much hum along to it...

Just Another Night: Helgi Björns & reidmenn vindanna – Thú komst í hladid

Helgi Björnsson is a rock legend in Iceland, the frontman of the notorious SSSól; some even say he is the Mick Jagger of Iceland. Two years ago Björnsson popped up with a new band, Reidmenn vindanna, and a new country sound. The follow-up, Thú komst í hladid , sticks completely to the winning...

Growing Up: Bloodgroup – Dry Land

It is always nice to hear a band develop between albums. But to hear a band grow in leaps and bounds like Bloodgroup have done is nothing short of amazing. The debut was a pure dance album and a little chaotic. It was a bit like children with lots of new toys, they just had to play with them all...

We Didn’t Start the Fire: Seabear – We Built a Fire

We Built a Fire is a pretty straight-forward indie-folk album, like many other of that genre. In the forefront is Sindri Sigfússon’s low-key voice enriched by an ideal blend of vocals and strings. The harmonies and string arrangements are skillfully composed; every note seems to be well conceived...

People are Strange: Kimono – Easy Music for Difficult People

Kimono has been around for a while without ever making a huge impact; Easy Music for Difficult People is their third album. The production is very limited and suits the music perfectly. It is recorded more or less live which is vital for the fresh sound of the album. In general, minimalism is a key...

Black Diamond: Mordingjarnir – Flóttinn Mikli

Mordingjarnir have been in the forefront of a small but steadily growing punk scene in Iceland in the last couple of years. Their two previous albums were raw and energetic in the classic punk do-it-yourself manner. On Flóttinn mikli the rough edges have been rubbed down and the sound is much more...

Never Let Me Down: Hjaltalín – Terminal

The difficult second album. An infamous rock and roll dilemma. Where do you go with a second album when the debut was a huge hit? Hjaltalín’s debut was loved by both critics and the public but for completely different reasons. So how do you please both fan bases? Well, Hjaltalín’s answer on...

Redemption Album: Hjálmar – IV

The new album of Icelandic reggae band Hjálmar, IV , is the product of their pilgrimage to Kingston, Jamaica. It is clear that the band had a ball recording it; the holiday feeling transfers into the music. The album has such a groove that it is almost impossible not to swing a little from side to...