A festival Rolling Stone calls “the hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar” This festival spotlights the best of Iceland’s burgeoning scene alongside the most remarkable music makers from around the world.
Here are Atlantica music fan Jonas Moody Icelandic music picks:
With its lo-fi, melodious electronica, the ever-changing but always colorful line-up of FM Belfast expresses in sound the singular experience of stumbling up and down Laugavegur semi-conscious on late nights out. In fact, their cover of Rage Against the Machine’s "Lotus" has become the de facto soundtrack for any raucous Reykjavík weekend. At live shows the band actually manages to get Icelanders up and moving their asses, which is no small feat. Local color never sounded so good.
Part bar-mitzvah band, part afterschool glee club, Hjaltalín fills the stage with a ten-piece platoon of musicians, including some unexpected performances from bassoon, banjo, French horn, clarinet and harmonium. With performances filled with heart and a plaintive, theatrical sound, they manage to be an Icelandic band all their own. Their much-played "Goodbye July" has quickly become a favorite, taking audiences through spiraling melodies underpinned by meticulous instrumentation and front man Högni Egilsson’s distinctive voice. For something different, give Hjaltalín a try.
The boys in the band (only one is actually from Reykjavík) manage to tear up any crowd that’s put in front of them with anxious guitars, driving rhythms and a shrieking monkey of a front man. If their explosive stage antics don’t set you on fire, a moment basking in the rambunctious glow of Reykjavík!’s supernova performance will set your ears ablaze. Thrust yourself headlong into what is likely to be the loudest and lewdest show on the line-up. www.myspace.com/reykjaviktheband
Mellifluous and slightly melancholy, front man and founding member Sindri Már gives voice to wispy melodies over the folky, downtempo sounds he achieves with the help of his musical cohorts Örn and Guggy, who bring violin, harmonica and lap steel guitar to the mix. Now up to seven members, Sindri keeps finding new friends, transforming Seabear’s live show into a veritable commune of warm, acoustic pop. There will undoubtedly be a sing-a-long during this set. Mark my words. Feel the love with Seabear.
Ultra Mega Technobandid Stefán
Not since Einar Örn and The Sugarcubes have Icelanders stood up on stage with as much sputter and spunk as the boys in Ultra Mega Technobandid Stefán. After garnering attention at the 2006 Icelandic Battle of the Bands and riotous performances at the last two Airwaves, these unrelenting hellions have been flooring festival-goers all over northern Europe. Once frontman Siggi’s shirt comes off prepare to be drenched in teenage sweat and frenzied beats. UMTBS taps into every last ounce of primal teen-energy to put on a dazzling show. Check your sensitive indie attitude at the door; these boys are out for blood. www.myspace.com/umtbs
Source: Iceland Review www.icelandreview.com
All Photographs by Wim Van Hooste