mánudagur, ágúst 31, 2009

Soirée Islandaise # 2 @ Motel, Paris on Friday 4. September 2009

Soirée Islandaise # 2 @ Motel
Friday 4. September 2009
Between 18:00 and 2:00.
múm Special
Another Icelandic Evening @ Paris.
Be there
-to get ready for the upcoming Airwaves festival @ Reykjavik 14.-18. October
-to listen to the new múm Album "Sing Along To Songs You Dontt Know"
-to win tickets for the concert @ Maroquinerie on 8. September featuring Icelandic bands múm & Benni Hemm Hemm, supported by French band Landscape.

Music & Videos played all night are 100% Icelandic.

Free Admission




Place 2B:

Le Motel
8 passage Josset
75011 PARIS


Official New Video for GusGus song "Add this song" - GusGus on European "Komm Tanz Mit Mir" Tour in September & October

"Add this song", the single of the forthcoming Album "24/7"
Album Release is planned for 14. September 2009.
Six tunes on the new album:
1. Thin Ice (08:24)
2. Hateful (09:37)
3. On The Job (10:50)
4. Take Me Baby - Feat. Jimi Tenor (03:58)
5. Bremen Cowboy (07:51)
6. Add This Song (11:35)
Video was directed by Heimir Sverrisson & Jon Atli Helgason. Assistant Director was Raffaela Brizuela - Editor was Steffi Thors - Cinema Photographer was Tomas Tomasson
Watch the video here: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=62636917
or here:

Remix of Sigur Rós
A Sigur Rós remix Gluteus Maximus (President Bongo’s other band with Jack Schidt) did recently will be released alongside a Thomas Fehlman remix and the original in September.
All the fine remixes will be available at the fabulous Kompakt-store:

Komm Tanz mit mir -Tour 2009
Komm tanz mit mir – GusGus Tour 2009 begins at the end of September. The fantastic Wareika and the All-Icelandic Oculus will be on the tour as well. The German leg of the tour is promoted as a part of Norðrið, which is an innovative agreement forged by Iceland Music Export, Iceland Express & Admirals Palast in Berlin.
28. September Backstage / Munich / GERMANY
29. September Flex / Vienna /AUSTRIA
30. September Rockhouse / Salzburg / AUSTRIA
01. October Stadtgarten / Cologne / GERMANY
02. October Berghain / Berlin / GERMANY
03. October Trouw / Amsterdam / NETHERLANDS
06. October Batschkapp / Frankfurt / GERMANY
07. October Scheune / Dresden / GERMANY
08. October Distillery / Leipzig (tbc) / GERMANY
09. October Neidklub / Hamburg / GERMANY
12. October Batofar / Paris / FRANCE
14. October Kugl / St Gallen / SWITZERLAND
15. October Hive / Zurich / SWITZERLAND
16. October Rocking Chair / Vevey / SWITZERLAND
17. October Kaserne / Basel / SWITZERLAND
18. October Airwaves / Reykjavik / ICELAND
GusGus Website
GusGus @ MySpace

Song of the 127. Week: "Sindri drepa" by Skelkur í bringu

The Song of the 127. Week is Skelkur í bringu's "Sindri drepa".


The rock band's name translates as Terror in chest.
The band released their debut album"Húðlitað Klám" on Brak Records (a sublabel of Kimi).
Here's a new Video for another song called "Morð & eldingar"

Skelkur í bringu @ MySpace

sunnudagur, ágúst 30, 2009

Vicky "Tender Demand" Unplugged @ Reykjavík Arts Festival, May 2009

Vicky @ Reykjavík Art Festival, May 2009
"Tender Demand", a song of their Debut Album "Pull Hard"

Vicky @ MySpace

Interview with Ólafur Arnalds about Found Songs in Dazed Digital

Ólafur Interviewed by Dazed Digital
Songs He Found - Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds brings us his new collection of daily compositions
By Liane Escorza Published 24. August 2009
Ólafur Arnalds is a multi-instrumentalist from Iceland who composes string and piano music with post-rock sensibility and in the kindred spirit of Sigur Rós, with whom he toured as supporter in 2008 when promoting his debut album "Eulogy for Evolution". A new collection of tracks entitled "Found Songs" is to be released on the 31. August. Each one was originally composed in a day and for seven days, while making each track available in the following 24 hours via Twitter and Facebook. Ólafur talks to Dazed about his creative world, classical influences, the controversial 'Icelandic sound' and eating disorders.

Dazed Digital: When was the first time you ever thought of becoming a musician?
Ólafur Arnalds: First time I thought about it seriously was probably when I was 13 or so and had just been moved to a more professional music school for grown-ups. I was studying drums back then and wanted to be a professional drummer.
DD: What draws you to the tempo and genre of music you create as opposed to other styles?
Ólafur Arnalds: Well I’m drawn to pretty much all styles so I’m not sure if 'as opposed to' is the right way to say it. But what mainly draws me to this style is the harmony. How you can have all these different voices in different instruments going in all different directions and then when they come together they all sound like one… The challenge of making that sound right and the theory behind it is very interesting to me.
DD: There has been much talk about the Icelandic landscapes influencing musicians. Do you think it has much of an input or is there more at play?
Ólafur Arnalds: It might have some input but I think this 'Icelandic sound' that everyone keeps talking about has nothing to do with Icelandic landscapes. I think it has to do with the community, we are a small country and playing music is just something that everyone kind of does… and we all do it together, we influence each other. That being said, I love nothing more than going away to my family’s summerhouse, which is in one of the most beautiful places on earth, setting up a mini-studio there and write. But I think it’s the peace and the nothingness that’s inspiring rather than the view.
DD: Tell us a bit more about the 7 songs in 7 days odyssey.
Ólafur Arnalds: Well I realized that I had loads of song ideas that I never really had any reason to finish cause they didn’t really fit with what I was doing on my albums. I wanted a chance to finish them and get them out of my system, to clear my head even. I thought that giving them away was fitting as they weren’t necessarily supposed to be fully developed ideas. So I decided to take one week where I would dig up these old ideas (hence: 'Found Songs') or come up with new ones each day, finish the song, record it and release it. It was really just a personal challenge, but it was also kind of a social experiment because I released all the songs just through my Twitter and Facebook pages and I let people follow the whole process really closely. They were also able to submit their own artworks to the songs then and, now, as we are releasing the songs in a physical format we are using those fan submitted artworks in the album booklet.
DD: As a challenge, do you feel you reached the satisfaction you were looking for?
Ólafur Arnalds: Definitely, working like that really makes you grow as a composer. I do this regularly now; just go away for a few days and do absolutely nothing else than composing and set myself rules about not staying for too long on each idea so I don’t get stuck.
DD: What music have you been listening to lately?
Ólafur Arnalds: I’ve actually not been listening to much music lately apart from my own because I’ve been really busy writing. But when I allow myself to take a break I have been listening quite a lot to The National, Phoenix and Fleetwood Mac.
DD: If you had to choose a dish of food that represents your music, what would it be?
Ólafur Arnalds: Haha! You’re asking a guy who has an eating disorder and pretty much hates all food…
DD: What’s the best thing about recording in a studio? And the worst?
Ólafur Arnalds: Well I’m kind of a perfectionist so the fact that I can spend as much time as I want on perfecting the production and bringing new creative ideas to the table is pretty awesome. I find it very easy to be creative in a studio environment. But sometimes I get impatient, cause everything takes quite long. I don’t always like having to spend many weeks in a studio just to record a few minutes of music… it’s kind of a love/hate relationship, really. The worst thing is probably how expensive studios are!
DD: What is the most amazing moment you encountered when recording this album?
Ólafur Arnalds: When I noticed how inspired I was getting by my producer Barði Jóhannsson. The first song we worked on is a song with the working title 'Síðrokkarinn' and just hearing that coming to life and taking complete changes was really amazing.
DD: What has been your biggest influence when making 'Found Songs'?
Ólafur Arnalds: It’s hard to say because the original ideas come from really different time periods. Some stuff is definitely influenced by Debussy and Bach and some other stuff influenced by the more modern Max Richter. Some of the ideas were originally ideas for TV Advertisement scores that I didn’t use, so they were just inspired by whatever the storyline was. But I think the biggest influence was actually the concept of the whole project, the fact that I was locked inside my room for a week by myself.
DD: What makes this album unique and different to the others? Do you feel there is an evolution musically and personally?
Ólafur Arnalds: Well this is more just a collection of 7 individual songs rather than one concrete piece of work. That alone makes it very different from the others. The music is much less fixed on a certain style, like I said, the concept of the project was to get songs out that didn’t fit in elsewhere. There is definitely an evolution and I feel like a better musician after the experience.
DD: Musically, where would you NOT like to be in the future?
Ólafur Arnalds: Doing only one thing… being stuck in the same place. Although the music may stay essentially the same, I need to evolve.
DD: When will we able to see you play live again?
Ólafur Arnalds: That is a good question! I’m not going to be on tour again until the next full-length album is out (I’m guessing early 2010) but I do say yes to the occasional offers for one-off shows if they are good, so there are a few things coming up. But I will also be performing my score to Wayne McGregor’s new Ballet 'Dyad 1909' at Sadler’s Wells in London for 5 nights in a row in October. I recommend checking that out!
Ólafur live @ Evangelic Church @ Off Festival, Poland 9. August 2009

Ólafur Arnalds @ MySpace

New Ghostigital Album on its way

Also Curver & Einar Örn aka Ghostigital are very busy recording a New Album.
Keep updated @ Ghostigital's Website
Artwork I made a time ago (inspired by live gig @ Sirkus (R.I.P.) venue)

Morðingjarnir cover Manowar

Morðingjarnir (The Murderers) did a cover of Manowar @ Sódóma Reykjavík. The band is coming with a New Album very soon.
On the site of Kimi Records we read:
Morðingjarnir have just finished recording their third album, released in October on the Kimi Records label. Roughly one year ago the band released their critically acclaimed "Áfram Ísland!" and now they are back with 12 new songs. The album is yet to be named, but one of the songs has been made available.
"‘81 (Sé þig aldrei meir)" is the name of the song and now it’s getting very hard for Morðingjarnir to deny their obvious love for pop. The song is written from an old yet classic recipe, popular among the American hard rock bands of the early 80’s. Enjoy it while it’s warm. One can purchase the song on Gogoyoko and support a charity whilst at it.
"Brothers of Metal"

Morðingjarnir @ MySpace

laugardagur, ágúst 29, 2009

Nóra "Skóflaðu mér" / "Shovel me" Video

Nóra members are:
Egill Viðarsson on guitar, vocals, keyboards
Auður Viðarsdóttir on keyboards, vocals & percussion
Hrafn Fritzson on bass & guitar
Bragi Páll Sigurðarson on drums, guitar, vocals & harmonica
Frank Arthur Blöndahl Cassata on guitar, bass, keyboards & mandoline.
This video was made by Thirty Thieves Moving Company,
Ingólfur Júlíusson & Seanie Blue.
"Shovel me"

Nóra @ MySpace

Q4U Video of Unreleased Song "Ego"

Q4U, the legendary punk band, played the song "Ego" @ RUV Studio of the State Television of Iceland back in 1997, when the group reconvened.
Q4U is planning another come back, but the same line-up as in 1997: front lady Ellý, Gunnþór, Árni Daníel, Ingólfur & Gummi.
Read the history of the band in a previous post here.

Icelandic Artists Guide Visitors through Exhibition @ Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum 30. August 2009

Icelandic Artists Guide Visitors through “Rhyme”
Two of Iceland’s most beloved female artists, actress Gudrún Ásmundsdóttir and singer-songwriter Ólöf Arnalds, will give visitors a guided tour through the exhibition “Rhyme” at the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum tomorrow. Ásmundsdóttir and Arnalds will tell stories (in Icelandic) about the artwork on display and provide their own interpretation of it though music. The event, which starts at 2 pm, is open to all and entrance is free. Before the artist and singer start their tour, Alma Dís Kristinsdóttir, the museum’s education project manager, will give a brief introduction to the exhibition Rhyme.
Start @ 14:00.
Museum Address: Sigtún, IS-105 Höfuðborgarsvæði Reykjavík
More Ólöf Arnalds @ Her Website & @ Her MySpace
Source: Iceland Review Online

The History of Icelandic Rock - Part 9

The History of Icelandic Rock
Part 9
Hard Rockin’ In The Early Seventies
Dr. Gunni in Grapevine Magazine (Issue # 13, September 2009)
The Icecross album from 1973 has in recent times fetched high prices on the international psych record market. This is due to the fact that various noteworthy collectors have raved about the “legendary and mysterious” album. For instance, the Dead KennedysJello Biafra is quoted in the tome Incredible Strange Music Vol. II (1994) saying: “Iceland has produced one of the darkest, grimmish and most brutal psych records I’ve ever heard: Icecross. At times they even remind me of the early Meat Puppets, especially the song 1999.
The truth, naturally, isn’t all that mysterious.
The band rose from the debris of Tilvera ("Existence") in 1971. Tilvera had been bound for glory, as it contained some heavyweight Icelandic stars, but the band’s output only amounted to two passable singles. Icecross played dance balls and was successful even though they only performed original songs written by guitarist Axel Einarsson and bassist Ómar Óskarsson. They both sang, while the power trio line up was completed by drummer Ásgeir Óskarsson. The band got known for being gloomy, even though the members never dabbled with the occult. They were also without doubt the noisiest band in Iceland. The band had eight Marshall boxes with four teninch speakers in each, and Ásgeir had built his own drum kit out of aluminium.
In 1972 the band moved to Copenhagen were very favourably received when they played at the main club of the time, Revolution. Says Axel: “When The Who played in town, the members came to watch us play. There must have been some reason why Pete Townsend stayed and watch us for 55 minutes. He sat facing the stage with his beer and didn’t move until after we had finished our set.”
Icecross recorded their eponymous and only album in Copenhagen with Danish pop star Tommy Seebach on the mixing board. Only 1000 copies were made of the album that reached Iceland early in 1973. By that time the band had split up because of tensions that built during their stint in Copenhagen. The album has never been officially re-released, but many bootlegs, both on CD and vinyl, have been made. An Icecross comeback—and even a second album—have been discussed, but nothing has materialised as of yet.
Ævintýri, the former bubblegum band lead by pop star Björgvin Halldórsson, got hard and heavy on a 7” single in 1970 (two songs, "Evil/Depression", in Icelandic). The band made more original songs and wanted to do a LP, but split before carrying out their plans. Two Ævintýri members, guitarist Birgir and drummer Sigurður, went on to form the similarly hard and heavy Svanfríður, named after a barmaid at Club Glaumbær. Other Svanfríður members were bassist Gunnar from Tilvera and vocalist Pétur Kristjánsson, who had sang with Pops and Náttúra. Svanfríður called their music “rock” which hasn’t been a fancy name to drop for many years, as it reminded too much of the corny fifties rockers. Svanfríður was a popular ball band during 1972. The band played the hits of the day with jam sections in-between to keep things interesting for the members.
In the summer Svanfríður went to London and recorded nine songs, which ended up as the album "What’s Hidden There". The music is progressive and hippy-ish in parts, especially the lyrics, the transaction from hippy innocence to rock toughness not wholly complete. That transaction would come through in 1973 when Svanfríður split and Pétur and Gunnar went on to form Pelican, Iceland’s most popular seventies rock band. Svanfríður’s album is though considered a rarity amongst psych collectors and has been bootlegged severely, as no official reissue exists.
Dr. Gunni
Based on his 2000 book Eru ekki allir í stuði? (Rock in Iceland). A revisited update of the book is forthcoming in 2010.

Upcoming gigs in Reykjavik: This Weekend & September 2009

This is post # 2500
I'm getting a lot of questions like where to go to enjoy some good live music while visiting Iceland.
This previous post is about this issue.
Another resource is: This is Reykjavik
You can look for flyers & posters is the streets & shops, or ask the friendly people @ Record Stores.
Or have a look @ this blog of course ;-)
Saturday 29. August 2009 @ Sódóma Reykjavík venue:
LEX Games Concert with Dr Spock, Bróðir Svartúlfs, Sykur, Dust & Shogun

Thursday 3. September 2009:
Svavar Kn
útur @ Café Rosenberg venue@ 22:00
Kreppukvöld/Economic Crisis Night
@ Bar 11 @ 22:00

Friday 4. September 2009:

Jacobsen Greet The Fall - Thank God It's Friday
@ Jacobsen venue
with Hosts Gisli Galdur & Sammi Jaguar & with a Concert of Sometime @ 23:00
Free drink with entry fee
Friday 4. September 2009:
Gogogoko & Grapevine present Grapevine Grand Rokk #9 @ Grand Rokk venue with Dr. Gunni, Hellvar, INSOL & Blóð @ 22:00. Dr. Gunni plays his album "InniHeldur" for the first time live.
Admission: 1000 IKR

Saturday 5. September 2009
@ Sódóma Reykjavík venue:
Northern Music Night with Klive, Kira Kira & Guests

Thursday 10. September 2009 @ Sódóma Reykjavík venue:
Lights on the Highway Launch Show of New Album "Amanita Muscarina"

Friday 18. September 2009: Grapevine Grassroots # 8

þriðjudagur, ágúst 25, 2009

Weapons & Nolo @ Karamba Friday 28. August 2009

Weapons & Nolo
Karamba, Laugavegur 22, Reykjavík
Friday 28. August 2009

Free Admission
Weapons have the Icelandic Single of the week, the song "Up Tight" of the Début "A Ditch In Time"
Nolo makes lo-fi music.

Dr. Gunni, Hellvar, INSOL & Blóð @ Grand Rokk Friday 4. September 2009

Grapevine Magazine & Gogoyoko
4. September @ Grand Rokk venue
Grapevine Grand Rokk # 9
Dr. Gunni plays his album "Inniheldur" live
Supporting Acts are: Hellvar (a band from Keflavík) (recently released the song "Falsetto")
INSOL, a troubadour from Kópavogur
Blóð (remember the song "Icesave")
Start @ 22:00
Admission: 1000 IKR
Buy Dr. Gunni's Album "Inniheldur" here

mánudagur, ágúst 24, 2009

Menningarnótt - Culture Night @ Ingólfstorg, Reykjavík on Saturday 22. August 2009 - The Movies

Menningarnótt @ Ingólfstorg 22. August 2009
Videos by Finnbogi

Megas & Senuþjófarnir



Song of the 126. Week: "Up Tight" by Weapons

"Up Tight" is the 126. Song of the Week. A song by the band Weapons, and to be found on the Debut Album "A Ditch in Time" (2008), out on Icelandic Future Records.
Weapons came to when two childhood friends, Hreinn & Oli Dori, began recording songs together in a loft in Reykjavik where Hreinn lives. Without any musical schooling, but with great interest in the musical art form, they taught themselves to play their instruments and started right away finishing recordings by doing everything themselves. With similar taste in music and art the two began to develop the style and sound of their new band. In search of a third member to play the drums Weapons didn't have to look far as Hreinn's younger cousin, Moni, took the sticks and began playing the drums with passion and therefore perfecting the mix. Weapons have been gigging and touring around Iceland since then, giving intense performances one after another. The summer 2007 the trio recorded their first LP, "A Ditch in Time". They hooked up with the NY producer Gordon Raphael (The Strokes, Regina Spektor) as he was excited to mix the album, which he did. A Ditch in Time met the public’s eye in the beginning of December 2008. A true blend of early rock ‘n roll music and punk rock with modern emphasis....
Weapons on MySpace

sunnudagur, ágúst 23, 2009

For a Minor Reflection @ Sundlaug Studio Recording 2. Album - Part 2

For a Minor Reflection in the Sundlaug Recording Studio
Part 2

FaMR @ MySpace

Benni Hemm Hemm (BHH) Live @ Grand Rokk 29. July 2009

Benni Hemm Hemm, the band of frontman Benedikt H. Hermansson (BHH), did a live gig with 2 drummers @ Grand Rokk venue on the 29. July 2009

BHH @ MySpace

Björk in Cartoons - Funny Björk Stuff

Selection of Björk related cartoons, caricatures, ...

Play the Björk Make Up Game

Best Icelandic 7 Inches ever made

Bestu smáskífur íslensku rokksögunnar
On the blog of Jens Gud, the Best Icelandic 7" - Single ever made was chosen:
1. "Katla kalda/Ástin sigrar" Mosi frændi (28,4%)

2. "Spáðu í mig/Komdu og skoðaðu í kistuna mín" Megas (19%)

3. "Gvendur á eyrinni" Dátar (15,6%)

4. "Dánarfregnir og jarðarfarir" Sigur Rós ( 11,7%)

5. "Dimmar rósir" Tatarar ( 8,8%)

6. "Glugginn" Flowers ( 5,2%)

7. "Jenny darling" Pelican (4,4%)

8. "Tilf " Purrkur Pillnikk (3,9%)

9. "Yacketty yak, Smacketty smack" Change (3,2%)
Source: Blog of Jens Gud

laugardagur, ágúst 22, 2009

Björk's NY House for Sale

You can buy Björk's house in the States. Have a closer look @ Realestalker blogspot:
SELLER: Björk Gudmundsdottir
LOCATION: Woods Road, Snedens Landing, NY
PRICE: $1,800,000
SIZE: 2,975 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: This Unique & Rare home offers 6 large bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and a powder room. There is also a large room that has been transformed into an artists studio surrounded by walls of glass. The enormous kitchen rivals that of most restaurants, with all top of line over sized appliances as well as an eating area. There are skylights and a wealth of windows throughout the house that provide for fabulous natural light throughout the day as well as views of the Hudson River. The Master bathroom is made out of natural stones. There are 2 main patios or decks off of the house from different rooms of the house, from the kitchen, foyer, and artists studio...

Skelkur í bringu Live @ Sódóma Reykjavík Video

Skelkur í bringu (Terror in Chest) is a five piece comedy-rock outfit. Their first Album "Húðlitað Klám", was released on Brak Records this month.
"Fóstur í slími" live @ Sódóma Reykjavík venue (May 2009)

Skelkur í bringu @ MySpace

Popppunktur: Sigur Rós vs. Bloodgroup

Last night, Icelandic bands Sigur Rós & Bloodgroup played against each other in the popular music Quiz Popppunktur on the Icelandic television.
One of the items is to cover a song, with only a short preparation time.

You can watch the whole show @ RUV

Videos shot in Iceland - Part 10: Irene Nelson

An update for my posts about Videos shot in Iceland.
Irene Nelson went to the black beach. Video reminds me (too much) of a Madonna Video, as well as a Björk Video shot in Iceland.
Compare the 3 female singers for yourself:
"Sunrise" by Irene Nelson

"Frozen" by Madonna

"Who is it" by Björk

Icelandic Record Labels: Borgin Hljómplötur

A new record Label on the Icelandic musical horizon: Borgin Hljómplötur. Label was founded by Steinþór Helgi, Guðmundur Kristins & Baldvin Esra. Baldvin is the man behind 2 other labels: Kimi Records & Brak Records (sublabel of Kimi).
Artists on the label are: Hjálmar, Megas & Senuþjófarnir, Baggalútur, Hjaltalín, Sigríður Thorlacius, Egill Sæbjörnsson, and many more.

Hjálmar: Fourth Album "IV" out on 20. September 2009
Baggalútur: Album "Sólskinið í Dakota" out on 26. Augustus 2009 (borg001cd)
Sigríður Thorlacius (singer of the band Hjaltalín): Album release on 7. September 2009
Egill Sæbjörnsson: Album was released on 20. August

Borgin's Website
Borgin @ Grapewire

Bragi Ólafsson: from punk to poet & vice versa

Bassist gets bookish: The Sugarcubes' Bragi Ólafsson
Michael Shaub reviews the novel "The Pets" by Bragi Ólafsson
20. August 2009
With its 99.9% literacy rate (seriously), and a roster of great authors (Halldór Laxness, Hallgrímur Helgason) that belies the fact that it has a smaller population than Bakersfield, the nation of Iceland could fairly be called a book lover’s paradise. (There’s even a "Library of Water" there, which, according to my Icelandic American partner, delivers exactly what it promises.)

It could also be called a rock lover's paradise -- it's home to the acclaimed band Sigur Rós; the world’s most beloved swan-clad chanteuse, Björk; and -- because no nation can claim rock cred if the stiffest available beverage is lemonade -- Brennivin, nicknamed Black Death, an ungodly strong schnapps that tastes like rye bread soaked in sulfuric acid and then set on fire. (I speak from experience here. Bitter, bitter experience.)

With that in mind, it's not entirely surprising that Iceland has given the world one of the best novels written by a former rock musician. Granted, that's not a long list to begin with. If you don't count Jimmy Buffett's mystery novels -- and you really, really shouldn't -- you're left with a pretty sparse hand. (But one with some high cards -- Joey Goebel's "The Anomalies" and Frank Portman's "King Dork," both excellent novels by American punks.)

The Sugarcubes on stage - Short interview with Bragi about shoes

So enter Bragi Ólafsson, former bassist for the Sugarcubes, the legendary post-New Wave band that made Björk a star. After the band broke up, Bragi turned to literature, writing poetry and fiction, and translating Paul Auster's "The Glass City" into Íslenska. The indispensable Rochester publisher Open Letter released Bragi’s first novel rendered into English, "The Pets" translated beautifully by Janice Balfour, in October of last year.

"The Pets" is not about rock, at least not overtly. The novel follows two Icelanders who have recently returned from abroad: Emil Halldorsson, who's been vacationing in London after winning the lottery, and Havard Knutsson, Emil's former roommate, who's been on a more involuntary vacation in a mental hospital in Sweden. Emil is a mostly nice guy, although he's a mostly nice guy who seriously wants to cheat on his girlfriend with a stranger whom he first lusted after 15 years ago. Havard is a mostly unreconstructed psychopath.

Havard comes to Reykjavik with a rare copy of "Moby-Dick" and a model ship, trying to track Emil down after several stops for vodka, coffee and felonies along the way. Emil hides under his bed when he sees his old roommate approaching, and stays there for the bulk of the novel, too embarrassed and frightened to reveal himself after Havard breaks into his apartment. Emil is forced to listen to Havard play his records, drink his liquor and smoke his cigarettes while Emil's friends and acquaintances come over, one by one. The night turns into a freakishly awful party that Emil is increasingly unable to escape from.

So what we have is 157 dark, scary and unbelievably funny pages, much of which is narrated by a man hiding under his own bed. That might not scream "rock" at first blush, but the novel is infused, in its own way and very much on its own terms, with music. Emil is a borderline-obsessive jazz fan who takes maybe a little too much pleasure in his Miles Davis collection; Havard's musical tastes run toward playing Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" ad nauseum and, at one point, buying a ukulele for no discernible reason. Kraftwerk's paranoiac "Computer World" makes a brief appearance, too, at just the right claustrophobic time.

But if you were building an argument for the true rock novel being as unselfconscious about rock as possible, "The Pets" could be Exhibit A. More than most fiction that concerns itself with music, Bragi's novel captures the dark side of rock -- paranoia, fear, self-doubt and the cowardice that's sometimes, maybe often, the flip side of rock-star braggadocio.

Of course it's possible that this is all rock-nerd wishful thinking, and that Bragi didn't intend to write a slyly great rock novel, but rather just a less slyly great novel. Perhaps it's just his biography getting in the way. I don't think so, but either way, we win. So how long do we have to wait for English versions of his other books? Open Letter, get Janice Balfour on the phone. Takk!

Michael Schaub is a freelance writer and a contributor to the literary webzine and blog Bookslut.
Bragi as bass player of punk band Purrkur Pillnikk, live on Icelandic television in 1982

Thanks to Jen goes Digital.

föstudagur, ágúst 21, 2009

Menningarnótt (Culture Night) Concerts 2009

Rás 2
or Culture Night @ Reykjavík
22. August 2009
@ Hljómskálagardurinn
Start @ 19:30
Program: Páll Óskar, Þursaflokkurinn, Paparnir, Lights on the Highway & Ingó & Veðurguðirnir.
Lights on the Highway's "Long Summer Dining" (LSD)

@ Ingólfstorg square
Program: Hjaltalín, Hjálmar & Baggalútur, Retro Stefson, Leaves, Megas & Senuþjófarnir, Pascal Pinon

@ Skólavördustígur, the artis road that leads up to Hallgrímskirkja church

Other concerts:
Bakkus: Retrön, DLX ATC & Caterpillarmen

@ Dillon Rock Bar: Dr. Spock, Ultra Mega Techno Bandið Stefán, Benny Crespo's Gang, Bróðir Svartúlfs, Ferlegheit & The Acoustic Blues Buzz

fimmtudagur, ágúst 20, 2009

Gogoyoko: Grapevine Grassroots #6 @ Hemmi & Valdi 21. August 2009

Grapevine Grassroots #6
Snorri Helgason, Gnúsi Yones & The Crackers & Calf Method
21. August 2009 @ 21:00
Nýlenduvöruverzlun Hemmi & Valdi, Laugavegur 21
Free Admission

Debut Album of Nögl "I Proudly Present" released on 21. August

Debut Album of the band Nögl will be in the shops on the 21. August. CD is entitled "I Proudly Present". Released by the band & distributed by Record Records.
Guests on the album are Stefán of the band Buff & Sigurður of Ultra Mega Technobandið Stefán (UMTBS).
"Don't leave" Live @ Rock Bar Dillon, Laugevegur, Reykjavik

Nögl @ MySpace

Who Knew Support Gig @ Grand Rokk 21. August 2009

Who Knew
Supported by: Mammút, Agent Fresco & On Jupiters Orbit
Friday 21. August 2009 @ 22:00
@ Grand Rokk, Reykjavík
Admission: 1000 IKR
Concert to support the German Tour of Who Knew.
"Sharpen the knife" Live @ Aldrei fór ég suður Festival, Ísafjörður

Who Knew @ MySpace

miðvikudagur, ágúst 19, 2009

Björk Tribute @ Mexico 15. August 2009

Mexican Tribute to Björk

Woodpigeon, Retro Stefson & Míri @ Batterí (previous Organ) 20. August

The Canadian band Woodpigion plays tomorrow 20. August @ Batterí (previous Organ). Icelandic supporting acts are Míri & Retro Stefson.
Organised by OkiDoki
Start @ 21:00
Admission: 1000 IKR
Tickets @ MIDI

For a Minor Reflection @ Sundlaug Studio Recording 2. Album

For a Minor Reflection (FaMR) in the Sundlaug Recording Studio

FaMR @ MySpace

Kippi Kaninus in the Spotlight @ IMX

Kippi Kaninus - Can Kippi Do It? Yes He Kaninus!

Kippi Kaninus is the alter ego of Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson from Reykjavík. He creates subtle multilayered electronica with melodic evolutions, microbeats, sampled instruments and manipulated sound. Kippi started small, with a self-released album in the year 2000. He made only fifty copies and sold them at his local record shop in Reykjavik. But as is often the way, from humble beginnings came great things. The follow-up, "Huggin", was released throughout Europe and America, culminating in a tour of the US with fellow Icelanders múm.

Kippi has since worked on a variety of projects with many of Iceland's most well-known musicians - be it providing electronic textures for the string quartet Amiina, creating percussive experimental music with former Sugarcubes drummer Sigtryggur Baldursson, or singing in a choir with Sigur Rós and Björk.

"Happens Secretly" is Kippi's first release with Brainlove Records, and is released this October 8th as a ltd edition CD digipack.

Your working techniques have always veered towards the experimental – what were some of the more interesting sounds or processes you employed on Huggun?

The sounds on Huggun are mostly done with contacts mics - I would just try to attach them to anything and see what came out -my favourites being inside a pencil sharpener, inside an apple and in the foam of a bubble bath.
Your background in music is deeply tied in with the church and choral music. Can you give us some background?
I started singing in a choir in high school, mostly because the choirmaster was a legendary punk bass player, and after high school I sang with different choirs and ended up in the choirs at Hallgrimskirkja [the rocket shaped church towering over Reykjavik]. One of those two choirs is a small group of singers that have also done some session and live work for Björk on the “Medulla” album, and for Sigur Rós on Hrafnagaldur and shows in Iceland, Norway and France. I have some training in singing, but I never fell for it as a career - I actually prefer singing in harmony in choirs than solo.
Do you explore the parallels between these seemingly disparate music forms (choral and electronica) or treat them separately?

I explore the parallels, but mostly in sound quality and such. I try to pick up things that help in both worlds of music.
When did you get interested in working with electronic music?
I somehow never was drawn to other kinds of music than that of the marginal genres and what lures me in is the open possibility of surprise and lack of tradition, rules and length in minutes.
Which artists – Icelandic or otherwise – have been an influence on your electronic music career?
Growing up my brother made me listen to a lot of Mike Oldfield, punk and New Wave, which is fine I guess, but now my musical diet is all over the place and almost impossible to pinpoint one influence over the other.
How did you fall in with the Kitchen Motors crew -- and are you still working with them?

They came across an album I made at home and was selling in 12 Tónar, a local record shop in Reykjavik. Together we went through my library of songs and made "Huggun" in 2001. Since then we have done shows together and toured. Lately I have been working a lot with Kristin Björk (Kira Kira), the head lady of Kitchen Motors.
What are your main pastimes outside of music?

I make videos and cook, attend to my family and make things whilst thinking with my hands.
You toured with múm for a while – what were the highlights of that tour for you, and what did you learn?
That tour was an adventure all the way trough, I had only played live once in Iceland before leaving to the USA to open for múm. The first show was at The Knitting Factory in New York, I performed with two MD players, a small mixer, a sampler and a foot controlled dictaphone that was always breaking down. During the show I prayed that people would not boo me down, but it turned out that they liked it and after that show my confidence went uphill.
You’ve also been busy with various projects since Huggun…
I have been lucky to get the chance to work with some wonderful people, such as the ex-Sugarcubes drummer Sigtryggur Baldursson, in the band Steintryggur, also arranged for and toured with Kira Kira. I have also worked a lot with Amiina for the past year them, myself and a drummer have been writing music together, touring and plan to do a full length album in the fall to be released in 2010. These projects are brilliantly fun and fulfilling. I am also doing music with two double-bass players in two separate projects. The methods are very different there since it is based around live improvisation and manipulation of one instrument.
If you could rewind time to any point in history, where would you pause it?
I'd like to party in Paris of the 1920s.
What aspects of music creation do you enjoy most?
I enjoy the whole process and it is deeply satisfying to get result out of some fumbling around and then take it from there, these fumbling can range from 10 minutes to 10 years.
Kippi Kanínus “Happens Secretly” – what does the title of your new album allude to?
Actually to the world of my music making, both the actual process of finding, recording and making sounds and arranging them, which to me sometimes feels a mysterious process and, secretive, and the fact that I am alone. But also to the idea that really big changes to the world tend to happen secretly, and the graphics of the album refer to that also.
Would you describe yourself as a mysterious person?
No, but sometimes my shyness paints that picture of me.
I haven’t heard the record: how would you describe it in one sentence to someone?
Melodic at times, rhythmical, imaginative and harmonious.
Is it a natural successor to Huggun would you say?
Yes, I'd like to think so. The structure of the music on Happens Secretly is more disciplined than on Huggun and the soundworld is thicker and juicier.
Who else is on it, except you?
A few friends, the choir and my children - but all recordings I found or somehow ended up in my hands, cut up, rearranged and put together to form something different.
Which instrument would you like to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
Something very durable, a jaw harp maybe or a kalimba given there's no electricity.
How did you hook up with the Brainlove label?
In the wonderful world of the internet, through MySpace if my memory serves me right.
Are there plans to tour ths year?
The next Kippi gig will probably be at the Airwaves Festival here in Reykjavik in October, hopefully with other Brainlove acts, I am really looking forward to that. Myself and Brainlove are also working on some dates for the UK in the coming fall and winter.
And what have been your favourite records so far in 2009?
Maybe "Clangour" with Sin Fang Bous and "Merriweather Post Pavilion" with Animal Collective to name two that pop up in my head.
Kippi Kaninus @ MySpace
Source: Iceland Music Export IMX

Weapons Album Release Party @ Sódóma 20. August 2009

Release Party of
Album "A Ditch In Time" out on Future Records
20. August 2009@ 21:00.
Admission: 500 IKR or Free if you buy the album (1500 IKR)
Supporting Acts are: Sviwe, Útidúr & Helgi Valur
Live Video @ Airwaves 2008

Weapons @ MySpace

þriðjudagur, ágúst 18, 2009

Who Knew on German Tour to Promote Debut Album "Bits and pieces of a major spectacle"

Who Knew on Bits and pieces of a major spectacle Tour 2009
The Icelandic six piece indie power pop band Who Knew is mixing some tightly written and sung lyrics, with obvious vocal influences from Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hand's Say Yeah and other similarly face-paced falsetto-voiced indie bands, they leapt aboutin a manner reminiscent of an early performance by The Libertines. The sound is best described as an enthralling mix of American west coast rock, new wave and a dash of sixties-psycedelic.
Who Knew sounds tight, tuneful, energetic and that's now hearable on their Debut Album "Bits and pieces of a major spectacle" or live to see at one of their concerts.
Tourdates in Germany:
28. August @ 20:00 @ BerlinPrivatclub
29. August @ 19:45 @ BremenViertelfest
29. August @ 1:00 @ Bremen - Tower Musikclub
31. August @ 21:00 @ DresdenSocietaetstheater
1. September @ 22:00 @ HannoverCafé Glocksee
2. September @ 21:30 @ Leipzig - Moritzbastei
Who Knew @ MySpace