laugardagur, júlí 12, 2008

Hafnarfjörður, The Town in the Lava: Famous for its Viking Festival & Bands

According to Wikipedia, Hafnarfjörður is considered to be the Rock n' Roll capital of Iceland (a title that once belonged to Keflavík). Popular Icelandic bands such as Botnleðja, Jet Black Joe, HAM, Sign, Úlpa, Lada Sport and Jakobínarína all trace their origins to the town of Hafnarfjörður.
Hafnarfjörður is the home town of the famous Icelandic pop singer Björgvin (Bó) Halldórsson.
Focus on Úlpa
By Árni Viðar
Band members:

Magnús Leifur - vocals, guitar, trombone
Bjarni Guðmann - guitar, synth
Aron Vikar - bass, synth
Haraldur Örn - drums
Formed in 1999, Úlpa is Icelands most promising act. Born of a garage in Hafnarfjörður, the band put-out a 12 track demo in april 2000, that has eaten-up Icelandic airplay since its release. And while Reykjavik-based label´s vied to sign the melody-rich Úlpa, they developed their live performance through a series of low key gigs with Trans Am twice, Stephen Malkmus, at the Mogwai afterparty held at the capital´s gigging-centre, Gaukur á stöng. By the end of that year the relatively young band were well recognized as being Iceland´s brightest musical hope. As put it, they were "best known for stealing the scene at Iceland Airwaves". In January 2001, Úlpa began recording their debut album. working with highly acclamied producer, Valgeir Sigurðsson (best known for his work with Björk), Úlpa completed their album, "Mea Culpa" in two months.
Songs from the new album were aired earlier this summer at the Reykjavik Mini Festival, also featuring Blone Redhead and Propellorheads and their performance there spurred Icelandic radio station, Rás 2, to dub them "one of the best Icelandic bands". Mea Culpa is due for release 12 October and the first single from the debut, "Dinzl", is "the best thing for a long time" according to RadioX. In the fall of 2001 Úlpa toured the east coast of USA and got excellent reviews in the Washington Post. The band was nominated for the Icelandic Music Awards 2001 and the album Mea Culpa was Nr. 3 in critics choice for the album of the year. The band is now working on their second album which will be released in 2003.
When a band has a knack of writing very good music and is also willing to put in a lot of hard work there can only be one outcome....Úlpa is one of these bands and the four members, all hailing from Hafnarfjörður, truly deserve all the praise they've been recieving. Although they're a bit baffled by their success, Maggi, Bjarni, Aron and Halli remain focused on the music and have an unwritten policy to just go where the flow takes them.
If people like their music, then fine but if not, they won't lose much sleep over it.
But how is Úlpa's music? It's hard to pin it down as the band tends to bring the best from many different worlds while adding some very nice touches of it's own. The result, guitar driven indie rock from the top drawer that is influenced by everything but still sounds like nothing you've heard before.
When the debut album "Mea Culpa" was released in the fall of 2001, Úlpa had already become a house-hold name in the indie scene and shared stage with artists such as Trans Am, Stephen Malkmus, The Fucking Champs and Blonde Redhead.
A limited edition single the preceded the full-length was also a shock hit and was aired quite often on the radio in the following weeks. The album didn't disappoint although some had probably hoped it would be more straight-forward. Instead, it took some time for it to sink in and instead of fading away, it just became better and better - a true measure of a good album.
The members of Úlpa though are convinced that they can do better and there is positively no doubt that they WILL succeed. These are truly exciting times....
Second Album Cover: "Attempted flight"

More Úlpa @

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