mánudagur, júní 30, 2008

The Sugarcubes Live @ Akureyri anno 1989

The Sugarcubes on stage @ Sjallinn venue, Akureyri (1989), the Capital of the North

"The Plan" by Vicky Pollard is 67. Song of the Week

Vicky Pollard's song "The Plan" is the 67. Song of the Week.
The band is working on their Debut Album (in the mixing !).
This 5 piece rock band started in November 2006: 4 girls & drummer Orri.


Nature Concert Organizers Special Friends of the United Nations

The organizers of Náttúra, a nature awareness outdoor concert held in Laugardalur park in Reykjavík last Saturday, have been named special friends of the United Nations, including Björk, the members of Sigur Rós and Einar Örn Benediktsson of Ghostigital.
Árni Snaevarr, the UN information officer in Iceland, said although their initiative is localized, their message on environmental protection is relevant to the entire planet, Morgunbladid reports.
The United Nations Regional Information Center (UNRIC) for Western Europe will participate in the creation of the group’s website nattura.info, which was launched on Saturday, to raise further awareness of environmental protection efforts in Iceland.
According to www.nattura.info, around 30,000 people, or ten percent of the Icelandic population, attended the nature awareness concert in Laugardalur park on Saturday.

sunnudagur, júní 29, 2008

Icelanders on Stage in Belgium this Summer: Sigur Rós - Ólöf Arnalds & Ólafur Arnalds - Bang Gang

Even after the end of the Iceland on the Edge Festival in Brussels this year, Icelandic music is still hot in Belgium this summer.
First of all a Review of the 5th Sigur Rós Album "með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust" in Belgian HUMO Magazine By CV (I want to have that beer !).
The new Album sounds "trusty". But the CD is everything except a revision exercise.
Við spilum endalaust” is een sharp song with powerfull climax provided by the windinstruments “
Gobbledigook” is even more radio-friendly, with even a lalala-chorus and a video full of nudists running like hippies through forests and fields
Illgresi” is a folky ballad with in the end some strings
Ára bátur” starts with 4 minutes of piano, followed by The London Sinfonietta and The London Oratory School Schola delivering the final orgasm
All Alright” is Sigur Rós first song in English

Sigur Rós Two Times on a Belgian Festival Stage this summer:
5. July @ Rock Werchter Festival
14. August @ Pukkelpop Festival

Bang Gang
22. August @ Brussels Summer Festival

Ólöf Arnalds & Ólafur Arnalds
25. August
@ Feeërieën Festival @ Warandepark, Brussels

19.00: Ólöf Arnalds
For the first time on stage in Belgium - the Icelandic Vashti Bunyan - she worked together with Mugison and Slowblow - was on tour with múm - Debut Album "Við Og Við" (produced by Kjartan of Sigur Rós)

21:45: Ólafur Arnalds
He brings epic piano music with strings & electronics - Debut was "Eulogy for Evolution" - He recently released the EP "Variations Of Static" - For the fans of Max Richter and Icelander Jóhann Jóhannsson


Unofficial Icelandic Music Videos

"Army of my" inspired by "Army of me" of Björk's "Post" Album

múm's "Winter" (What We Never Where After All) of the "Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy" Album


Kira Kira Released New Album "Our Map to the Monster Olympics"

The second album by Icelandic musician Kira Kira (Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir), "Our Map to the Monster Olympics", was released this week. Record label Smekkleysa describes the album as versatile, sometimes scary but mostly magnificent and breathtaking.
Kira Kira uses many different and some unorthodox instruments like trumpets, guitars, a casio keyboard, glockenspiel, music box in mixture with various other curious sounds.
Many other musicians lend Kira Kira a hand on her latest album, including Finnish drummer Samuli Kosminen, who has played with Icelandic band múm for years.
Kira Kira will tour the Nordic countries to promote her album in August and play in China and Japan in October.
Kira Kira’s first album "Skotta" was released in 2006, which is quite different from Our Map to the Monster Olympics. She used to be a member of the band Spúnk, which released a vinyl record in cooperation with múm in 1997.

Kira Kira @ www.myspace.com/trallaladykirakira

laugardagur, júní 28, 2008

Náttúra - Nature or Nothing

Náttúra - Nature Awareness Concert @ Laugardalur, Reykjavik
28. June 2008

Náttúra – Nature or Nothing
Nature Awareness in Iceland

A short note by Wim Van Hooste

Recently Iceland got some bad publicity because of shooting polar bears. Unwanted visitors, came to Iceland on icebergs and/or swimming, as a result of the melting of Arctica ‘cause of global warming. Instead of bringing these dwindling species back alive to Greenland, animals were shot dead. Another shooting issue is the whale hunting of the Icelanders. The tourist industry offers now whale watching tours, which bring more money because selling the whale meat is difficult today.
This as an illustration of the fact that Iceland is on a crossroad. The Icelandic nation has the choice between ecology or economy. Coming from a sort of middle ages to develop into a modern society à la Scandinavia in 1 century was the first step. In the 21st century, Icelanders have to decide what kind of second step in evolution they want for their unique landscape of fire and ice, of which most areas are still unspoiled nature. This year, a big part of the geographically young landscape became the largest National Park of Europe, includes Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull. A good start of thinking green.
Although a lot of politicians, and the materialistic Icelanders, are in favour of choosing for the big money by allowing aluminium companies (heavy industry) who can profit of the cheap electricity that is necessary to make aluminium out of bauxite. But to have plenty of electricity to supply these factories, Iceland has and had to change the environment (e.g. glacial rivers). But the industrialization has its price. Like most other countries in Europe already paid their price and lost the panorama views. To see an unspoiled wilderness, tourists have to visit Iceland. Athough the mass tourism has its price of course.
The concert of last night, is the opportunity for the Icelanders to think about the future of the island in the Atlantic Ocean. I think they have to attrack another kind of industry, like Ireland did to maintain a green island (e.g. Microsoft). In my opinion, Iceland has the power and the young creative brains to be on top of the world in computer c.q. software and ICT business. Hope they’ll make this choice so they can change the name to “Ict-land”, instead of Ice-land; specially with global warming (Greenland ?).

According to the police about 30.000 people came to see the gigs by Ghostigital & Finnbogi Pétursson, Ólöf Arnalds, Sigur Rós and Björk.
The audience saw some videos about Icelandic nature in danger inbetween performances.

Björk played drums together with O. Arnalds on stage with Sigur Rós ("Gobbledigook"), and Einar Örn Benediktsson played trumpet in Björk's "I miss you".
I was hoping that Einar Örn & Björk would team up to perform The Sugarcubes song "Planet".
After all a great gig by Björk & Band. Although no big surprises or many special (Icelandic) guest appearances, and a great variety of songs.

Björk’s Band on the Volta Tour & also last night:
Jónas Sen, organ player & harpsichordist
Mark Bell (of LFO fame) on keyboards & computers
Damian Taylor, techno wizard on keyboards, ReacTable & programming
Chris Corsano (of Sonith Youth fame)
Icelandic Wonderbrass (an all female Brass Band from Keflavík & Hafnarfjörður):
Sigrún Kristbjörg Jónsdóttir on trombone
Sigrún Jónsdóttir on trombone
Harpa Jóhannsdóttir on trombone (back to enjoy Íslensk Kjötsúpa ?)
Erla Axelsdóttir on French horn
Særún Ósk Pálmadóttir on French horn
Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir on French horn
Sylvía Hlynsdóttir on trumpet (having her birthday yesterday ! Björk was singing Happy Birthday in Icelandic for her !)
Valdís Þorkelsdóttir on trumpet
Björk Níelsdóttir on trumpet
Brynja Guðmundsdóttir on tuba

Björk’s Náttúra Setlist:

Earth Intruders (Volta)
Hunter (Homogenic)
Unravel (Homogenic)
Pagan Poetry (Vespertine)
The Pleasure is all mine (Medúlla)
Vertebrae by Vertebrae (Volta)

Jóga (Homogenic) Emotional landscape – State of Emergency !!!
Desired Constellation (Medúlla)
Army of me (Post) in sort of Carcass/Skunk Anansie remix
I miss you (Post) with Guest Star Einar Örn Benediktsson (of Ghostigital and Sugarcubes fame) on his red trumpet

Triumph of a Heart (Médulla)
Bachelorette (Homegenic)
Vökuró (Medúlla)
Wanderlust (Volta)

Hyperballad (Debut)
Pluto (Homogenic)

Encore - 2 Extra Songs
Um akkari (Icelandic version of The Anchor Song) (Debut)
Declare Independence (Volta)


See some pictures on Flickr (Thx Jen goed digital for the suggestion)

Beautiful Iceland, some Sugarcubes and Björk videos to prove it:

Tappi Tíkarrass Live anno 1981

Anno 1981, or 5 years B.S. (Before Sugarcubes), Tappi Tíkarrass with singer Björk Live

Sugarcubed Dimma "Mama" Video

Today Björk and Einar Örn on stage @ Laugardalur. Not a Sugarcubes Reunion this time. Some time ago there was an Icelandic radio channel competition to cover a Sugarcubes song. Rockers Dimma covered "Mama" & were the winners, video directed by Dögg Mósesdóttir:


Purrkur Pillnikk Live anno 1982

Today, Ghostigital opens the Nature Awareness Concert.
Ghostigital, is the duo Einar Örn Benediktsson & Curver Thoroddsen. EÖB was member of Frostbite & Grindverk. Before that he teamed up with Björk in The Sugarcubes, and previous KUKL. But Einar Örn Benediktsson was the frontman of Icelandic punk band Purrkur Pillnikk.
Purrkur Pillnikk on stage in the year 1982
Part 1

Part 2


föstudagur, júní 27, 2008

Icelandic Music Giants @ Náttúra Concert: Webcast @ National Geographic World Music

Think Green !
Náttúra - Nature

Björk & Sigur Rós Team Up to perform @ a free concert in their hometown of Reykjavik. The Náttúra concert is a bid to raise awareness of the destruction of Iceland's natural landscape, and will be webcast live from from 7 pm to 12 pm GMT (3pm—8pm EST) on Nat Geo Music.
Place: the Botanical Garden @ Laugadalur Valley, near the center of Reykjavik. Iceland.
The country boasts the largest unspoilt wilderness left in Europe, and Náttúra is being organized as a response to the ongoing environmental degradation caused by Iceland's increasingly invasive aluminium smelting activity.
Sigur Rós, who recently released their fifth album "Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust" this week, believes the issue of aluminum smelting in Iceland is one that can no longer be ignored. "We are not a political band and don't think musicians should set themselves as spokespeople on anything at all, but sometimes you see things going on in your own back yard and find that just as a human being you cannot stand by and do nothing. The changes that are going on in Iceland need to be the subject of debate and not snuck through the back door because no one lives in the wilderness and there is urban apathy or a general lack of awareness" said Sigur Rós vocalist Jón Thor Birgisson.
"Too often battles being fought for nature turn into something negative and into mudslinging" Björk added in a recent press statement. "We will not go that way, we are not saying that this and that is forbidden, we are rather asking 'what about all these other possibilities?' The 21st century is not going to be another oil century but rather a century where we need to recycle, think green and design both power plants and our surroundings in harmony with nature."
The Náttúra concert will also spotlight the book Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual to a Frightened Nation by Andri Snær Magnason. The book, a best-seller in Iceland, is published in English next month by Citizen Press and has already won the Icelandic Literary Award and the Icelandic Bookseller Prize.
National Geographic are webcasting the concert with the Icelandic Music Giants on their website from National Geographic Music, will Webcast the Náttúra concert Open Air live from Iceland on Saturday 28. June 2008. Two of the world's most important and visionary musical entities, Björk and Sigur Rós, will headline the free concert. To be held in a large park near the center of Reykjavik, all of the performances will be during daylight, with Iceland’s capital city and dramatic rolling scenery providing a perfect backdrop to what is expected to be one of the biggest concerts the country has seen. The Náttúra concert looks to raise awareness of the impact of the growing aluminum smelting activity on Iceland’s natural landscape.
One of National Geographic Music’s main goals is to offer artists and experts who care about global culture and the environment an outlet to create awareness for important issues. Spotlighting these amazing artists performing live in a spectacular backdrop allows our worldwide audience to enjoy great music and become aware of Iceland’s environmental concerns and join the conversation” said David Beal, president of National Geographic Entertainment.
The Organizers expect up to 40.000 people to attend. Admission will be free for the Farm Animal Zoo and the swimming pool in Laugardalur and the concert goers can use the bathroom facilities there because of the support of Reykjavik City.
Attendees can park at the Skating Rink, the Farm Animal Zoo, Laugardalur Sports Hall and Stadium. But people are naturally encouraged to walk or cycle to the concert to be environmentally friendly.
Go to National Geographic World Music to watch the Nature Awareness Concert online:
3 pm to 8 pm ET (begins at 8 pm BST/London or 7 pm GMT/Reykjavik)
More Náttúra stuff:

fimmtudagur, júní 26, 2008

Backstage with Sigur Rós @ New York Times

Backstage with Sigur Rós @ www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/06/24/arts/music/20080625_SIGUR_FEATURE.html
A YouTube slideshow

The Pixies went to an Icelandic swimming pool ;)
Their Driver was Canadian Alex, the frontman of the band Kimono. Lucky we don't have to see them in swimsuit...

By the way Sigur Rós is selling the Sundlaug studio, so if you're interested give them a call.

Náttúrutónleikunum - Nature Awareness Concert 28. June 2008 - The Program

Start with Radium
Finnbogi Pétursson & Ghostigital
(Einar Örn Benediktsson & Curver Thoroddsen)
Sigur Rós
Ólöf Arnalds
Björk Guðmundsdóttir closes
22: 00
Download the Free Ólöf Arnalds Song "Af stað" @ Monitor website www.monitor.is
Download the Special Free Reykjavik Grapevine Magazine focussing on Icelandic Nature (Náttúra) - It has Björk on the cover (artwork by Breiðholt) @ www.grapevine.is/media/pdf/grapevine_issue08_2008_lowres.pdf
Original Cover of Björk's "Vökuró"

Hraun "Thunderball" Live @ Logi í beinni (11. January 2008)

Last January I was lucky to see the performance of the band Hraun Live @ TV Show "Logi í beinni" (Logi Live) with host Logi Bergmann Eiðsson. Sitting on the first row in the Saga Film studio for TV Channel Stöd 2, after a free beer and piece of pizza. The other band performing Live was Hellvar, song "Give me gold" of their debut "Bat out of Hellvar" (Kimi Records).
(Thx to Hellvar)
"Thunderball" of their Album "Silent Treatment"

Svavar Knútur, the Singer of Hraun in the Internat. Troubadour Olympics Tour (24. June 2008)


miðvikudagur, júní 25, 2008

Smekkleysa Shop Open Again @ Laugavegur Street # 35

The Smekkleysa Shop Stopped with Stopping & moved again. Their 4. spot, for the third time a place @ Reykjavik's main shopping street Laugavegur Number 35.
Go & Check it out
or online of course @ www.smekkleysa.net

þriðjudagur, júní 24, 2008

Náttúra: Björk - Sigur Rós - Ghostigital & Finnbogi Pétursson - Ólöf Arnalds in Concert 28. June 2008

Björk & Sigur Rós
Ghostigital & Finnbogi Pétursson
Ólöf Arnalds
28. júní 2008


Þvottalaugabrekkan í Laugardal - Reykjavik
Opening @ 17:00
Start @ 19:00

Free Nature Awareness Concert

There will be a specal isssue of Grapevine Magazine with Björk on the cover and focussing on Icelandic nature
Look at the Concert online @ http://www.mbl.is/

mánudagur, júní 23, 2008

Icelandic Music Tattoos

Last night I got an idea for a post for today. Inspired by Einar Örn and Björk, the 2 tattood Sugarcubes, as well as this page of Sigur Rós about fans with band related tattoos: www.sigur-ros.co.uk/images/tattoos:

EÖB getting his tattoo on his arm in the United States
Björk's famous arm tattoo, her friend Didda has exactly the same.
She has another very small one behind her right ear:

Probably Iceland's most tattood musician is Krummi of the band Minus
Fans with Björk related tattoos:
A duck
Bachelorette lyrics in a back
Her left arm
More Björk (but looks like she's throwing up bjooaark )

Rafskinna # 2 "House/Hús" - The Trailers

Rafskinna DVD Magazine
# 2 feat. múm, Biggi Veira of GusGus, Steintryggur, Björk



More information @

Singapore Sling Live @ Organ again: 20. June 2008

SS performed @ Organ, Reykjavik again. For the 3rd time this year. I saw them in January.
Magnús Axelsson (of Dýrðin fame) was there again to shoot some videos 1. March. This time with a better sound quality.
Singapore Sling "Godman" EP: 500 free copies are put in the Grapevine Magazine (5 Years Anniversary to celebrate).


Takk Magnús !

Song of the 66. Week is "Loftborg" by Heiða

"Loftborg", the 6th Song on Heiða Eiríks' Solo Album "Svarið" (The Answer) released on Japis Label (2000), is the 66. Song of the Week. Heiða is best known as "Heiða i Unun". The band Unun she formed together with Dr. Gunni and Thor Eldon (of Sugarcubes fame and ex-husband of Björk).
But these days Heiða is in the band Hellvar, together with Elvar, Alexandra and Sverrir.
Last year Hellvar released an Album on the Kimi Records Label, their debut is called "Bat out of Hellvar". This was the first Album that got released on the Akureyri based label Kimi !

sunnudagur, júní 22, 2008

In the days before Sigur Rós

In the year 1995 Jón Þór Birgisson, Jónsi of Sigur Rós, was the frontman with sunglasses Jonny B of the band the Bee Spiders. This band got the same year an award (Efnilegasta hljómsveitin) for most interesting band @ a contest for unknown bands Musiktilraunir (Music Experimentations). The band was compared with Smashing Pumpkins because of the long songs they played.
Also Kjartan was an occasional member of the band, serving as female background singer (Tina Turner lookalike).
Before the Bee Spiders, Jónsi already fronted a grunge rock band called Stoned around 1992-93.

Source: Trivia @ www.sigur-ros.co.uk

Björk Remix Video "It's in our hands"

"It's in our hands" Soft Pink Truth Remix


laugardagur, júní 21, 2008

The Story of the Sugarcubes on their first US Tour by North Fork Sound

Tonight I found an interesting post about The Sugarcubes hitting the States about 20 years ago @ the Blogspot of North Fork Sound.

The Kras stepped into my office and said “I want you to go to England and see Wet Wet Wet. They’re playing the Hammersmith Odeon tomorrow night...fly ‘first’, if you have to”. I had a deal with Rough Trade, a record store in London. Every week, they’d send me the new entries to the UK top 50 singles chart so I already knew what they sounded like, but what Bob Krasnow wants, Bob Krasnow gets, so I asked my assistant, Valerie, to book me a flight. A few hours later I was sitting in Elektra’s London office reading the music papers. Sounds had picked 'Birthday' by The Sugarcubes - a band from Iceland - as their Single Of The Week and their review was so...well...rave-y, I just had to hear it. Like, now! I thought about getting a cab over to Rough Trade but as chance would have it, the 45 was sitting right there at the front of a pile of singles on the floor, leaning against a&r manager Dave Field’s desk. I placed it on the turntable and must have played it 5 or 6 times, in complete awe of its sheer beauty and unique, fresh sound. Whoa! Moments like this happen only a handful of times in a talent scouting career. Most of the stuff you hear is mediocre at best, and a large part of the job is saying “sorry, not quite right for us” to musicians hoping for a recording career. Out of the blue, here was a 100% bona fide, instant ‘hell, YEAH’. I was thoroughly blown away by this record and now wanted to see the band in concert, as soon as possible. I kept playing the record as I finished reading the paper and could scarcely believe my eyes when I read there was a Sugarcubes show, that night, at a pub near Great Portland Street tube station. I called the venue (I thought it was called the Portland Arms but there's something called the Green Man there now) and learned they were due to play at 11pm. Dave was out of the office at meetings and had another band to see that night, but he told me on the phone that he would try and catch the Wets last 2 songs and meet me in the Odeon’s lobby at the end of the show. The band played a perfectly professional set and seemed to satisfy their audience of (mainly) teenage girls. However, they didn’t strike me, particularly, as a band that would sit comfortably on Elektra’s roster, or sell particularly well in the US. I found Dave and he offered to drive me back to my hotel. I asked if he could drive me to Great Portland Street and invited him in to watch the Sugarcubes with me but he begged off saying he had to pack, as we were both flying to America in the morning to attend one of our 6 monthly, company-wide a&r meetings. We made plans to meet at the airport and I made my way into the venue. Inside, I was dismayed to see practically every a&r person I knew in the UK packed into this very smoky pub room, obviously trying to coax the band away from One Little Indian, the tiny independent label that had released the single. By this point I was exhausted and had been awake for nearly 40 hours. I staked my claim on a small flight of stairs so I could see the stage better and waited for the band to start. And waited. And waited. Midnight rolled around and I was feeling a bad mood coming on. There was no room to move, it was difficult to breathe with all the smoke, I couldn’t get a drink (or I’d lose my vantage point), I was tired and my feet were killing me. When the band finally decided to hit the stage at about 12.30am I was seething, and when the ugliest, most cacophonous, unrelenting, grating noise burst out of the speakers, I was totally shocked. It couldn’t have been more opposite to what I’d heard earlier that day and I wondered whether if this was the 'right' Sugarcubes. After about 8 more minutes of this, I thought, “screw this” and made my way back to my hotel. A couple of month later, I’m reading one of the music papers in my Manhattan office and I see the Sugarcubes’ second single, 'Cold Sweat', is picked as their Single Of The Week again. I phoned Dave and asked him to have it couriered over. Once the 45 showed up, it was obvious they were a truly fantastic band - on record – and quite unlike any other I’ve ever heard, a factor high on my list of criteria needed for me to want to work with someone. I walked down the corridor to Bob Krasnow’s office and asked if I could play him a couple of tunes. He agreed, and once ‘Birthday’ faded out, he told me to call Derek and “make it happen”. I loved working for Bob. There was never any doubt, and you knew where you stood. Dave Field had been following the Sugarcubes’ progress in the UK and gave me the number of their record company and the name of the fellow in charge. I called Derek Birkett who’s in the middle of co-producing the album (with Ray Shulman) and he agrees to send over some rough mixes of what he’s done so far and to talk to Gary Casson in our business affairs department. I do not mention the show I’d seen. A deal is worked out so now it’s time to meet the band. I fly to London and take them all out to dinner at the Rasa Sayang, a Malaysian restaurant in London’s Soho district. Finally, I meet Derek, who brings some of his staff and Siggi, Bragi, Thor, Einar Melax, Einar Örn and, of course, Björk. We eat, talk, and the drinks flow. All of them struck me as smart, vital, creative, highly likeable people and I learned they weren’t above having a little fun with folks they found stuffy, or ridiculous. Planeloads of Brits had to fly to Iceland to meet with them and I’m reasonably sure the band had no intention of ever leaving Derek or OLI. Indeed, over 20 years later, Björk is still with Derek, and One Little Indian continues to release her brilliant albums. Towards the end of dinner, I was feeling very good about our new relationship, when Einar Örn (co-vocalist/trumpet), who was sitting next to me, told me how much he was looking forward to me seeing the band play live, as I was probably the only person (by then) who hadn’t. I looked him in the eye and said, "well, actually Einar, I’ve already seen you in concert."
He looked genuinely surprised and asked "Where did you see us?"
"I think it was a place called The Portland Arms...near Great Portland Street tube"
He narrowed his eyes and looked at me quizzically... "oh yeah? (pause) What did you think?"
"Well, to be honest, I thought it was terrible and left after about 10 minutes."
He leans back, a smile coming slowly to his lips. "Correct! That was our "punk" gig. We wanted to play a really obnoxious show that would confuse the record industry people who were bothering us!"
Phew! I could have easily said I thought they were "great". It certainly wasn’t easy to tell my new pal that the show I’d seen was, uh, crappy, but I’ve always thought honesty’s the best policy and – although it’s got me into trouble before – this time, it marked the beginning of a long and satisfying relationship.
"punks" Einar Örn, Siggi and Þór Eldon on the picture with Joey Ramone

So Elektra released their debut, 'Life’s Too Good', and I thought I'd try to catch as much of the accompanying tour as possible. Their first show in the US was at the 9.30 Club in Washington, DC where I finally got to see the group in all their glory. Margrét (Magga) Örnólfsdóttir (now a permanent member, having replaced Einar Melax on keyboards) was dating guitarist, Thor. Thor had previously been Björk’s partner and their 2 year old boy, Sindri, (aka Sparky), was with them on the road. There was no weird vibe...in fact, everyone meshed beautifully, sharing responsibilities and taking care of business professionally and with good humour. It's not usually like that with musicians on tour. There’d often be an unstable one, perhaps a jealous-of-the-singer one, there’d be somebody who cared more about the ‘business’ than the music, a married one (whose spouse resented the band), often one who’d given up a good, paying job and found themselves in a filthy van, eating crap and sleeping on floors. There was none of that here. The ‘Cubes were the most democratic, hard working, down to earth, secure band I’d worked with. They took their artistry very seriously, but not at the expense of their lives outside the band. Hanging out with them was fun and inspirational. The DC show was a solid start to the tour and it was immediately obvious Björk would, one day, become a big star. The next show – July 29th 1988 - was in a decrepit hall in NY’s East Village called The World. It had no air conditioning and the temperature was in the low hundreds. I don’t think the group had ever felt such heat before, but they played their hearts out and later, backstage, made many new friends. A full complement of Elektra staff showed up, from the mail room to the legal department, and all were hugely impressed. Later, the show was pressed up as a bootleg double LP, Have An Ice Day.
Boston was next, and I watched the show standing a few feet to the side of Siggi’s drum kit. Now this guy’s a drummer! Not because he chose to wear a fetching white dress with a ton of tulle filling the drum-stool, but because his crisp, meticulous playing and extraordinary technique was a revelation to watch and hear. His playing is a huge factor in the band’s distinctive sound and later, he showed me he could play in four different time signatures simultaneously (using both hands and both feet independently), something not many drummers I ever ran into could do. After the show, we all went to Elektra promo rep Dave Johnson’s house for a party. Mark Cohen, our Deadhead from the mail room and Mary Mancini, an assistant in the a&r dept - and these, days a popular talk radio hostess in the Nashville market (Google and listen to her Liberadio show) - had both made the journey and were happy to watch Einar and Siggi demonstrate ‘Glima’, a form of Icelandic folk-wrestling which, apparently, is best undertaken after many Heinekens. According to Wikipedia, there are four points that differentiate it from regular wrestling:
* The opponents must always stand erect.
* The opponents step clockwise around each other (looks similar to a waltz). This is to create opportunities for offense and defense, and to prevent a stalemate.
* It is not permitted to fall down on your opponent or to push him down in a forceful manner, as it is not considered sportsman-like.
* The opponents are supposed to look across each other's shoulders as much as possible because it is considered proper to wrestle by touch and feel rather than sight.
Ok, that's quite enough of that... The following day, I took the band to my favourite Boston attraction, the Mapparium in the Mary Baker Eddy Library, next to the Christian Science Monitor building. The place is a trip and after we walked across the ‘equator’ and tested the freaky acoustics inside the globe, I returned to NY feeling really happy with our latest signing. I caught them again in San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles. Word was spreading and People Magazine arranged a photo shoot at the Phoenix Hotel in SF where I introduced Björk to SF resident and NoFoSo playlist-mate, Angel Corpus Christi. According to the big map of the United States displayed in their bus, the tour had been christened NAMERIKA ’88 and, for some reason, whenever Duran Duran’s 'Notorious' came on the radio, the whole band would leap to their feet and start frantically spazz-dancing. Elektra’s Peter Philbin took us all out for sushi in Los Angeles, and once again, there was our mail room guy, Mark Cohen! How the hell did he get out here? The tour ended back in New York at the Ritz. Joey Ramone, Richard Butler and Sinead O’Connor came to pay their respects. So did Denis McNamara from WLIR, which, at that time, was the only radio station with a relatively far-reaching signal within a radius of hundreds of miles that played ‘modern’ music.
One of the best parts of being in a&r was the traveling, the seeing places I would never have gone to if I’d had a ‘proper’ job. Having hung out with the Sugarcubes for a good portion of their first US tour, I felt compelled to visit the country that could spawn such creative, open-minded and, overall, such splendid people. They were brilliant ambassadors and were keen to have everyone visit their homeland as (although they never said it) I’m sure they felt as far as countries go, theirs was a lot better than most, if not all. I rarely took vacations, since work always seemed like a holiday, but I decided to take a week off and see Iceland for myself.
The flight from JFK to Keflavik takes just over 5 1/2 hours, but soon I was checking into the Hotel Holt, one the band had recommended. I was immediately struck by the smell in my room. A bit like like rotten eggs. I thought of switching rooms, but on my way down to reception, I noticed everything smelled like that. I mentioned this to the girl at the check in desk and she told me “you’ll get used to it, it’s just the sulfur in the geo-thermal heating system”. She smiled, and said “is that all?” Later, Einar explained that Iceland derives its power and hot water via geothermal activity and many rivers and waterfalls are harnessed for hydroelectricity, availing its population to cheap, renewable energy. Fortunately, the smell comes and goes, and after a short while, you hardly notice it. I was surprised to see so many mobile phones, too. Technologically, Iceland seemed far ahead of any other country I’d been to and today, it tops the list of most developed countries in the world, having just overtaken Norway (according to the Human Development Index, which measures life expectancy, literacy, education, standard of living, and GDP per capita for countries, worldwide).
I was there during October, so it was chilly, but not too bad. Unfortunately, the conditions weren’t good for seeing the ‘northern lights’ but the volcanic terrain outside the city made it seem like you were on the moon. During my stay, Siggi and Einar took me on a sightseeing trip (Golden Falls, some hot pools and erupting geysers), showed me their “national forest” (a small clump of ‘trees’ about 30 inches high – I think they were joking) and introduced me to their ‘alchemist’ friend and fellow musician, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, a fascinating guy with an interest in Alistair Crowley and owns large collection of his original works and memorabilia. Before I left, as a present, he gave me 'Egil’s Saga' and 'Najal’s Saga' both epic stories written in the 13th century, about Icelandic life during the 9th -11th centuries…fantastic stuff about Viking times! Everywhere I went, people gave me presents: Björk gave me a cap with an Icelandic flag on it and a necklace with a snowflake pendant hanging from it, Bragi gave me a published volume of his own poetry, Einar gave me a book about a dark, Icelandic surrealist, Alfred Flóki, I was given albums at the Bad Taste record shop, featuring pre-Sugarcubes works by Björk, Einar and Magga and other local bands like Ham and Reptile. One night, Thor and Magga invited me to their house for dinner and Magga cooked roast puffin, a seabird which (for a change) tasted like fish, not chicken. Everyone I met was super-friendly and very proud of their heritage. I don’t remember seeing any policemen (apparently there are 700 in the whole country) and the crime rate is so low, they only have 137 prisoners, 4 of whom are women. When I was there, the population was about 245,000 and the band had been booked to play a charity concert, to be broadcast live on the national radio station. Listeners pledged approximately $110,000. I think it says a lot for a band - and a country - where the equivalent of the entire nation donates about 40 cents for a good cause. Evenings were spent drinking Brennivin, a ‘potato moonshine’ (also known as Black Death), in one of the many bars there and, on my last night there, the group decided to throw an Oktoberfest party, so sausages were strung around a room, beer was ordered, Siggi ‘became’ Heidi in another dress and curly, blonde wig and - as always with these guys - much jollity ensued. Björk blew a horn and led the conga line.
I had such a good time, it was a pleasure to take record producer Paul Fox out there a couple of years later. The first thing we did was help look for Einar's brother Arni's horses who'd bolted from their pen having been spooked by some fireworks a couple of days earlier. We drove through the snow-covered countryside for about an hour, 90 minutes maybe, and somehow managed to find them in, corralled in some random farmer's pen. I was amazed. While we were there, a 'Cubes side-project, Konrad B (a variable 10+ piece jazz band consisting of members of the Sugarcubes, Reptile and other local musicians was booked for a concert and Bragi asked if I would like to join the band for the night. The thing about Konrad B is that all the musicians have to play an instrument they don't normally play. They had a euphonium lying about, so, what the hell...why not? That’s how I found myself making my stage debut, in front of approx. 200 Reykjavik locals, sitting next to Björk (clarinet), and across from Siggi (vocals), Magga (accordion), Einar and others. I was asked to take a solo during ‘I’m In The Mood For Love’ on an instrument I’d never touched...so I did. It probably wasn't very good, but one look at the front row showed me exactly why it's so great to be a musician.
In 2006, when The Sugarcubes reformed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of their incredible single, ‘Birthday’, I found myself back there watching them play a one-off to a sold-out crowd in a basketball arena. They were just as great as ever.
Photographs found @ www.flickr.com/photos/26412141@N05/sets/72157605021165244
The Sugarcubes in Iceland @ www.flickr.com/photos/26412141@N05/sets/72157605025637794

Are these the 100 Best Icelandic songs ever ?

Compilation CD Box containing 5 Albums on Sena Label (2008)

CD 1
1. Söknuður - Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson
2. Don´t Try To Fool Me - Jóhann G. Jóhannsson
3. Þú fullkomnar mig - Sálin hans Jóns míns
4. Þó líði ár og öld - Björgvin Halldórsson
5. Tvær stjörnur - Megas
6. Kvöldsigling - Ólafur Þórarinsson
7. Rúdolf - Þeyr
8. Mýrdalssandur - GCD
9. Í bláum skugga - Stuðmenn
10. Austurstræti - Halli og Laddi
11. Hvers vegna varst’ekki kyrr? - Pálmi Gunnarsson
12. Minning um mann - Logar
13. Vor í Vaglaskógi - Hljómsveit Ingimars Eydal
14. Til eru fræ - Haukur Morthens
15. Ég veit þú kemur - Elly Vilhjálms
16. Þú og ég - Hljómar
17. Gegnum holt og hæðir - Þursaflokkurinn
18. Rómeó og Júlía - Bubbi
19. Fram á nótt - Nýdönsk
20. Brúðkaupslagið - Todmobile

CD 2
1. Ammæli - Sykurmolarnir
2. Þitt fyrsta bros - Pálmi Gunnarsson
3. Einhversstaðar einhverntímann aftur - Mannakorn
4. Blindsker - Das Kapital
5. Stúlkan - Todmobile
6. Húsið og ég - Grafík
7. Higher And Higher - Jet Black Joe
8. Án þín - Trúbrot
9. Allt fyrir ástina - Páll Óskar
10. Garden Party - Mezzoforte
11. Can´t Walk Away - Herbert Guðmundsson
12. Sódóma - Sálin hans Jóns míns
13. Ég lifi í draumi - Björgvin Halldórsson
14. Gvendur á eyrinni - Dátar
15. Ástarsæla - Hljómar
16. Ó borg mín borg - Haukur Morthens
17. Í sól og sumaryl - Hljómsveit Ingimars Eydal og Bjarki Tryggvason
18. Þú átt mig ein - Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson
19. Afgan - Bubbi
20. Murr Murr - Mugison

CD 3
1. Fjöllin hafa vakað - Ego
2. To Be Grateful - Trúbrot
3. Ég er á leiðinni - Brunaliðið
4. Ég er kominn heim - Óðinn Valdimarsson
5. Okkar nótt - Sálin hans Jóns míns
6. Bláu augun þín - Hljómar
7. Stál og hnífur - Bubbi
8. Hjálpaðu mér upp - Nýdönsk
9. Ó þú - Mannakorn
10. Draumur um - Nínu Stefán og Eyfi
11. Rain - Jet Black Joe
12. I Don't Like Your Style - Bara flokkurinn
13. Strax í dag - Stuðmenn
14. Partýbær - Ham
15. Polyesterday - Gusgus
16. Betra en nokkuð annað - Todmobile
17. Þrek og tár - Haukur Morthens og Erla Þorsteinsdóttir
18. Vegir liggja til allra átta - Elly Vilhjálms
19. Ég fann þig - Björgvin Halldórsson
20. Ísland er land þitt - Egill Ólafsson

CD 4
1. I Think Of Angels - Ellen Kristjánsdóttir
2. Lítill drengur - Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson
3. Horfðu til himins - Nýdönsk
4. Vegbúinn - KK
5. Fílahirðirinn frá Súrín - Megas
6. Barn - Ragnar Bjarnason
7. Sirkus Geira Smart - Spilverk þjóðanna
8. Serbinn - Bubbi
9. Traustur vinur - Upplyfting
10. Reyndu aftur - Mannakorn
11. Álfar - Magnús Þór Sigmundsson
12. Undir þínum áhrifum - Sálin hans Jóns míns
13. Stórir strákar fá raflost - Ego
14. The Long Face - Mínus
15. Hit - Sugarcubes
16. Skýið - Björgvin Halldórsson
17. Hótel jörð - Pálmi Gunnarsson
18. Capri Catarina - Haukur Morthens
19. Litla flugan - Sigfús Halldórsson
20. Sveitin milli sanda - Elly Vilhjálms

CD 5
1. Ást - Ragnheiður Gröndal
2. Vetrarsól - Björgvin Halldórsson
3. Talað við gluggann - Bubbi
4. Slá í gegn - Stuðmenn
5. Hjá þér - Sálin hans Jóns míns
6. Mary Jane - Magnús og Jóhann
7. Leyndarmál - Dátar
8. Bíddu pabbi - Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson
9. Dag sem dimma nátt - Í svörtum fötum
10. Einskonar ást - Brunaliðið
11. Braggablús - Mannakorn
12. Þá kemur þú - Nýdönsk
13. Kyrrlátt kvöld - Utangarðsmenn
14. Brúðkaupsvísur - Hinn íslenski Þursaflokkur
15. Spáðu í mig - Megas
16. Vertu ekki að horfa svona alltaf á mig - Ragnar Bjarnason
17. Frostrósir - Haukur Morthens
18. Heyr mína bæn - Elly Vilhjálms
19. Dagný - Björgvin Halldórsson
20. Það brennur - Egill Ólafsson og Sigrún Hjálmtýsdóttir

As you see no songs by Björk, neither Sigur Rós in the list. A lot of artists are not (well) known abroad (outside Iceland), but are "Big in Iceland" and sell a lot of records on the local market. And vice versa.
Or is it just the inappropriate way of selecting these "Top 100" songs ?

Do you have any suggestions for "better" songs than these 100? www.sena.is

Icelandic Music Releases in 2008 - And what to expect ?

Last year we had debut albums by Benny Crespo’s Gang, Bloodgroup, Elíza, For A Minor Reflection, Hjaltalín, Hellvar, Jakobinarina, Mr. Silla & Mongoose, Ólöf Arnalds, Rökkuró, and Sprengjuhöllin.
Successful albums last year were by GusGus, Megas, Mugison, múm, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Páll Óskar, and others.

Icelandic albums released in 2008
Bang Gang released “Ghosts From the Past”, Barði’s third album in Bang Gang outfit (COD Music/EMI)
Benni Hemm HemmMurta St. Calunga” (Kimi Records Label)
BergÞóra ÁrnadóttirHeildarútgafa” (Dimma Label)
BorkoCelebrating life” (Kimi Records Label)
Bubbi Morthens’s new album “Fjórir naglar” (4 Nails) (Sena Label)
Album with help of Pétur Ben (guitarist of Mugison fame)
Compilation100 bestu lög lýðveldisins” (5CD)
This compilation of the 100 Best Songs in Icelandic music history was released the 17. June, Iceland’s National Holiday.
Cortes aka Garðar Þór Cortes, Iceland’s answer to Pavarotti, came with his second album “When You Say You Love Me” (Believer Music Ltd http://www.believer.is/)
Second album
Debut Album of Bryndís Jakobsdóttir, got a lot of radio airplay in Iceland.
Evil MadnessDemoni Paradiso
Traveling Wilburys of Icelandic electronic music
Grjóthrun í HólshreppiGrjóthrun
Rock album
Video of Grjóthrun

KliveSweaty Psalms” (released by artist, distribution by Kimi Records)
Electronic music
MorðingjarnirÁfram Ísland!” (Kimi Records Label)
Icelandic punk band

Skiptar skoðanir”(Different Opinions)
Debut folk/rock album
My Summer As A Salvation Soldier (Þórir)Activism” (12 Tónar)
Númer NúllLykill að skírlífisbelti” (released by band)
Ólafur ArnaldsVariations of Static” (Erased Tapes Records / Progression (Germany))
Ómar GuðjónssonFraman Af
Guitar music
Sesar AOf Gott
“Grandfather” of Icelandic hiphop Sesar A (real name Eyjólfur Eyvindarson) ’s third album, after 5 years and collaborating with IFS crew
Sigurður Guðmundsson og MemfismafíanOft spurði ég mömmu” (Often I asked my mom)
This member of Hjálmar and Senuþjófar released a solo album with 11 covers
Sigur RósMeð suð í eyrunum við spilum endalaust
Sigur Rós’s first record made outside of Iceland & first studio album since Takk (2005).
SteintryggurTrappa” (Smekkleysa)
Their second album is out
We Made GodAs we sleep” (released by band)
Postrock/ Postmetal genre
YohannaButterflies and Elvis” (Hljóðsmiðjan)

Forthcoming Albums - In the pipeline - To be released in 2008 (?):

Apparat Organ Quartet
AtomstationExile Republic
This album has to follow their debut album “New York, Baghdad, Reykjavík” (2003)
Bob Justman "Happiness and Woe"
Bob Justman aka Kristinn Gunnar Blöndal (KGB) aka Unsound aka Phil Stadium will release on Smekkleysa label
Waiting for their second album
DJ B-RuffRólegur í kvöld” (Quiet in the evening)
Dr. Spock
FM Belfast
Debut album
Gavin Portland
Ghostigital feat. Finnbogi Pétursson & Skúli SverrissonAero
Waiting for their second album (debut “Shampoo” (2006) on Smekkleysa Label)
HraunSilent Treatment
Jeff Who?
Waiting for their second album (Debut “Death before disco” (2005) on Smekkleysa Label)
Johnny SexualNifty fingerwork” out soon on 12 Tónar ?
Kippi Kaninus

Kira KiraOur Map to the Monster Olympics
Release Party 26. June 2008 @ Idno

Lay Low

Waiting for her second album


Waiting for their second album

Motion Boys
Waiting for their debut album
Retro Stefson
Waiting for their debut album
Retrön Debut on Grandmothers Records (GMR)
ShogunCharm City
Singapore SlingGodman
Skúli Sverrisson

Steed Lord
Ultra Mega Technobandið Stefán (UMTBS)
Viking Giant Show

fimmtudagur, júní 19, 2008

Singapore Sling @ Organ 20. June 2008

Singapore Sling @ Organ Venuewww.myspace.com/singaporesling

Reykjavík by night Video

Reykjavík by Night

Cool Iceland: Listen to Japanese Sotokoto Podcast goes Icelandic Music

Sotokoto Podcast
1. Morðingjarnir / Ekki í dag
2. Klive / Commonwealth
3. Ólafur Arnalds / 3055
4. Hafdis Huld / Hometown Hero
5. Mongoose / No innings
6. Valgeir Sigurðsson / FocalPoint
7. Dikta / Breaking the Waves
8. Steintryggur / Mousehunt
9. Stereo Hypnosis / Parallel Island
10. Jara / Come
11. JFM / The Squid And The Moon

There is also the "Hot Land, Iceland" Sotokoto Magazine with an Album with more songs :
1. Valgeir Sigurðsson / FocalPoint (written: Valgeir Sigurðsson)
from the album: Ekvílibríum
2. Seabear / Libraries (lyrics: Sindri Mar, music: Sindri Mar)
from the album: The Ghost that Carried us away (published by M+s Industries/warner Chappell, (P) 2007 Morr Music, under courtesy of morr music)
3. Rökkurró / Ferðalangurinn (written: Rökkurró)
from the album: Pod kolnar i kvöld....
4. JFM / 87th Floor (written: Jakob Freeman Magnusson & Addi 800)
from the album: Piano!
5. 7oi / Við eigum allt eftir (written: 7oi)
from his upcoming album
6. Ólafur Arnalds / 3055 (written: Ólafur Arnalds)
from the album : eulogy for evolution
7. Védis / A Beautiful Life (lyrics: V. H. Arnadottir (Védis), music: V. H. Arnadottir / J. Maher)
from the album: A Beautiful Life - Recovery Product
8. Calder / Vessel
9. Hraun / Astarsaga ur fjöllunum (lyric: Svavar Knutur, music: Hraun)
from the album: I can't believe it's not happiness
10. Mr. Silla & Mongoose / Foxbite (written: Mr. Silla & Mongoose)
from the album : Foxbite
11. Hjaltalín / Traffic Music (lyrics: Eggert Petursson, music: Hogni Egiilsson)
from the album: sleepdrunk seasons
12. Hellvar / Give Me Gold (written: Hellvar)
from the album: Bat out of Hellvar
13. Hafdis Huld / Hometown Hero (written: Hafdis Huld Thrastardottir / Boo Hewerdine)
from the album: Dirty Paper Cup
14. Dikta / Breaking the Waves (Acoustic) (lyrics: Haukur Heiðar Hauksson, music by: Dikta)
This is a special acoustic version, not included on any of Dikta's albums.
15. Borko / Spoonstabberinn (lyrics: Björn Kristjánsson, Örvar Smárason, music: Björn Kristjánsson)
from the album: Celebrating Life (published by Copyright Control,(P) 2008 Morr Music)
16. Steintryggur / Mousehunt (music : Steintryggur)
17. GusGus / moss (radio edit4) (written: Daniel Agust, produced and mixed by gusgus)
from the album: Forever (published by greatstuff edition)
18. Frank Murder / Poster Boy (written: Frank Murder)

ICELANDia音楽ショップ http://icelandia.shop-pro.jp/