Live at All Tomorrow’s Parties Iceland 2015, Day 2: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mudhoney, Iceage, and more


All photos by Victoria Holt

Day two of All Tomorrow’s Parties Iceland was off to a flying start with sets by locals Oyama, NYC’s White Hills, and Philadelphia’s Bardo Pond. Festival attendees crawled out of bed, rubbed sleepy eyes, and stumbled towards Keflavík’s Atlantic Studios in the morning dew. The sky still drizzled, but the rain was slowly clearing, and by the afternoon a bright northern sun had flooded the grounds. Unfortunately, Clipping. had to move their set to the third day due to travel complications, but Younghusband gladly stepped in to play a set. By 9PM, the light was still radiating brilliantly in the doorway from the outer food truck area to the dark show space within. If there ever was a night that epitomized the “land of the midnight sun,” it was last night. Here are our favorites from Friday, July 3rd.

Iceage’s Sludgy, Angst-Ridden Numbers


Hailing from Copenhagen, Iceage barely cracked a smile during their entire 45-minute set, but they had no lack of charisma. Their opaque songwriting makes their live show even more compelling, as vocalist Elias Bender Rønnenfelt sauntered around the stage, looking like a young Jim Morrison and sounding like Pete Doherty on tranquilizers. There was less of the explosive insanity of Doherty, but that suits Iceage just fine, as they lean in a more brooding, sarcastic direction. “Glassy Eyed, Dormant and Veiled” and “The Lord’s Favorite” frothed with the band’s expert layering of elements, as Rønnenfelt’s vocals of molasses rode the syrupy waves. The latter, a track full of contradictions, opened with a twangy country riff, an optimistic melody rising, as Rønnenfelt slurred his words darkly, almost in disregard to the feel of the rest of the song. Eating fish and chips outside before the set, one attendee remarked that Rønnenfelt sings as though he’s deaf. It wasn’t an insult, but an observation of his slow, deliberate style, dragging out notes and over-exaggerating certain words. Each line of music bleeds over into the next, blurring the boundaries of traditional structure, a wall-of-sound canvas for their blend of hardcore and Gothic post-punk. When they first appeared on the scene in 2008, the members’ ages hovered around 17. “Forever” and “It’s in my Eyes” perfectly exemplified their abrasive feel, one which comes not from unbridled teenage angst, but from a place of genuine sensibility.




Local Unsigned Talent Ceasetone


This year, ATP rolled out a new feature of the festival: the Unsigned Talent Competition. Icelandic collective Bedroom Community and leading Icelandic broadcaster Rás 2 Radio curated the Andrews Theatre lineup, and the openers of that stage for Friday and Saturday were selected by each of these contributors. This was a great way to get even more local Icelandic talent on the lineup, and Ceasetone was no disappointment. The band is originally the project of guitarist and vocalist Hafsteinn Þráinsson, but has expanded to include four other members. His sets can range from acoustic, simple compositions to electrified, experimental, even jazzy soundscapes. After playing a few acoustic numbers, Þráinsson exclaimed, “Let’s pick up the rock and roll alright? I mean it’s a Friday!” His excitement to be playing was palpable, and made the set all the more fun. When the rest of the band joined him onstage, a low, heavy electronic grumble began, and the songs grew into their full potential. Rolling textures confounded the room, and “Full Circle” took these soundscapes in an unexpectedly dance-able direction. Ceasetone have their hands in many pots, and are sure to develop into something in the next few years. To add to the fun, Þráinsson was spotted later that night in the dance crowd, unleashing a torrent of happy energy during The Field‘s set. It was a celebration well deserved!



Mudhoney’s Seattle Legacy and Icelandic Debut


For those who follow the Seattle music scene, Mudhoney are an institution. Starting more than 25 years ago, releasing ten studio albums, and arguably setting grunge in motion, the band are legends but have yet to enjoy the commercial gains of their successors. Their name goes hand in hand with now-famous label Sub Pop, and two years ago, for the label’s 25th anniversary, the band performed to a very limited audience (and our video cameras) on top of the Space Needle. Sneering vocalist Mark Arm (who is credited with first using the term “grunge”) carries a dry wit, and last night, he asked, “So how many people saw Clipping. tonight?” When no one answered due to the band’s rescheduling, Arm replied in a dejected, disinterested voice, “Yeah, me neither.” A few people chuckled, and the band launched into one of their raucous punk numbers. This back and forth between passionate playing and sarcastic comments made them very entertaining. The band also symbolized for me an important aspect of music in Iceland: its friendly exchange with the musicians of Seattle, a “sister city” of sorts. During the annual Iceland Airwaves festival in the fall, members of the KEXP team travel to Reykjavík and set up live broadcasting from the KEX Hostel. In return, Icelandic musicians travel to Seattle to perform at a free event called Reykjavík Calling, showcasing Icelandic music. This collaborative exchange between cities helps break down the limited notion of North American versus “World” music, moving towards a more open minded appreciation of all music as equally influential. But inventing the word “grunge” is pretty major.





The Brain-Melting Glory of Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Photo by Eva Vermandel / Constellation Records

Photo by Eva Vermandel / Constellation Records

Legendary 9-piece Godspeed You! Black Emperor from Montreal are lauded for their intense, beautiful live shows and long, complicated compositions. The group started in 1998 and gained a cult following until 2003, when they went on an indefinite hiatus until late 2010, when ATP invited them to curate one of their festivals in the United Kingdom. This reemergence sparked an international tour, and the band went on to release ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND! in 2012, their first release in a decade. By 2015, they had released Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress, which their website says includes all of their “inimitable signposts and touchstones: huge unison riffage, savage noise/drone, oscillating overtones, guitar vs. string counterpoint, inexorable crescendos and scorched-earth transitions.” All of these elements were present as they dominated the stage at Atlantic Studios.

Line after line, the band explored variations. Reverb wound in and out of compositions seamlessly, and the boundary between organic and effects-laden sound was blurred. One drummer and one standing percussionist created earth shattering rhythms. A surprising hint of vocals could be heard, unexpected in the overwhelming wash of string and guitar instrumentation. The musicians faced inward, inviting the crowd to watch, but not necessarily partake, in such wondrous creation. This communicated an impressive level of skill and precision, and all who watched felt privileged to be allowed into this sacred space. Projections of 16mm film, created by the band, scrolled past, layered over the members as thickly as the music layers over itself. Images of documents, lists, and diagrams scrolled past, and the dark music made one think immediately of such calculated horrors as the Holocaust. Pages of writing flashed, pausing long enough to catch words like, “front door,” “homeless,” and “task.” Seemingly random, the viewer’s subconscious worked overtime to string the imagery together. As the tension increased from the implied violence, the music grew in complexity and discordance, and emotions swelled. GYBE are experts of push and pull, slowly feeding the listener more and more, building a story, growing to exasperated heights, then allowing portions of relief until only a few elements remain, fading to silence.

The band created the fantastic soundtrack to 28 Days Later, and this haunting perfection was peppered throughout the set. The opening notes of “East Hastings” started up, and a low whistle of approval came from the crowd. Imagery of peace marches were inter-spliced with a detailed shot of a window’s silhouette against flickering red light. The stock market ticker scrolled past, and viewers were left to their own devices to interpret these juxtapositions. As they were carried along this emotional roller coaster, the crowd reacted in various ways. Some couples kissed passionately, other heads hung low in deep, nodding thought, and a few hands were dragged tenderly across wet eyes. Despite how late it was, the crowd was dedicated, standing for two and a half hours to watch the sonic landscape of GYBE unfold.

As epic as their set had been, their departure was equally unforgettable. One by one, each member ceased playing, gingerly setting their instrument on the ground. With a modest wave to the crowd, each left to overwhelming applause. When only one remained, he walked to each amp, turning them off. Slowly, each light was extinguished, leaving only an empty stage and the thoroughly spent crowd. Despite the generous set length, the next band was listed for a whole hour later, so when the house lights came on, someone yelled, “Fuck you! There’s an hour left!” Though we could have stood for another hour or more, we returned from our prolonged spiritual trance to the land of the living.


More Beauty From the Midnight Sun

ATP Iceland 2015 Day 2

ATP Iceland 2015 Day 2

ATP Iceland 2015 Day 2

Lobster Shirt (one of the food options is Lobster Soup)

ATP Iceland 2015 Day 2


Dance Party During The Field and Beyond

The Field

After being emotionally exhausted by GYBE, festival goers were ready for something fun. The Field, stage name for Swedish electronic producer Axel Willner, was up last on the official bill for Friday night, starting at a whopping 2:30 am. His minimalist techno takes micro-samples of pop songs and weaves them together, creating a rhythmic and easily-digestible experience for the listener. Those who were still awake flocked to dance on the almost empty main stage floor, enjoying the chance to spread out, wave their arms, and jump up and down. Hafsteinn Þráinsson of Icelandic band Ceasetone danced in the front row, and Tyler Coray of Seattle’s Newaxeyes was also spotted getting down. Members of Younghusband bopped around, awaiting their DJ set. The late night DJs had been moved from the Officers Club after the previous night’s fire extinguisher fiasco. This dance party felt like the best way to end the festival’s second night, all grooving together under the strobe lights, lost in the music. People wandered home around 4am to get what sleep they could before the final day.

The Field

Hafsteinn Þráinsson from Ceasetone

The Field

The Field

ATP Iceland 2015 Day 2

The Festival Grounds at 4am


Check out reviews from Day 1 here and view more photos here.

Posted in KEXP, Live Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Video Roundup: 50 States/50 Bands

Take a musical road trip with DJ Kevin Cole: today, on The Afternoon Show on KEXP, he presents 50 States/50 Bands. From 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM, he’ll be playing a band from every state in the U.S.A. in celebration of Independence Day. Tune in and see who he chooses for your home state. You don’t have to live in Washington; KEXP streams around the world at KEXP.ORG

If that’s not enough for your patriotic pleasure, scroll down and enjoy this Video Round-up, inspired by our great country! Happy Fourth of July!

Read More »

Posted in Kevin Cole, KEXP, Video Roundup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

  • Tame Impala will release their highly anticipated album Currents on July 17. They’ve shared a cool behind-the-scenes look at the the making of the album and a glimpse frontman Kevin Parker’s creative process. It’s amazing how less than two minutes of video can build so much excitement. [Pitchfork]

Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Music News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Music That Matters: Forget It’s a Dream

Check out some of the KEXP DJ’s favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world on-the-go. KEXP’s Music That Matters weekly podcast brings you an exclusive mix of new music from the world’s best independent artists.

photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller

Mates of State // photo by Beth Eisgrau-Heller

Currently, you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 467 – Forget It’s a Dream
Morning Show host John Richards presents a new mix that weaves its way from loud, shoegazerish psych-rock through brooding, bluesy rock, to grimy hip hop with some ‘90s-steeped stops along the way. Featuring new songs from Flyying Colours, Du Blonde, Kate Tempest and more.

1. Magic Potion – Booored
2. T. Hardy Morris – My Me
3. Flyying Colours – Like You Said
4. Communions – Forget It’s a Dream
5. Pinkshinyultrablast – Holy Forest
6. Pfarmers – Work for Me
7. Mates of State – Staring Contest
8. Speedy Ortiz – The Graduates
9. Joanna Gruesome – There is No Function Stacy
10. angelic milk – IDK How
11. Du Blonde – Black Flag
12. Kate Tempest – Lonely Daze

Listen here: (MP3)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You can subscribe to all of our podcasts here.

Posted in KEXP, Music That Matters Podcast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Live at All Tomorrow’s Parties Iceland 2015, Day 1: Iggy Pop, Belle and Sebastian, Public Enemy, and more

Iggy Pop

All photos by Victoria Holt

Now in its third year in Iceland, All Tomorrow’s Parties returned Thursday to the former NATO U.S. Air Base Ásbrú in Keflavík. Music lovers from around the world came for the weekend’s killer lineup, including Iggy Pop, Public Enemy, Belle & Sebastian, Swans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and local favorites like Kippi Kaninus and Grísalappalísa. Tons of well dressed Europeans (and a few Americans in the know) flock to this quiet region, just 45 minutes from the capitol city of Reykjavík. This magical festival fosters a spirit of intimacy between attendees and musicians: what backstage there is seems small, and artists are prone to hang out in the main crowd, showing their support for other acts. The crowds are fluid and friendly, and it’s fairly easy to get up close, even for huge acts, because nearly everyone steps outside between acts for a smoke or some fresh air, and there’s less of an attitude of entitlement over your “spot.” Read on for some of the best moments from Day One, and check back throughout the weekend for our coverage of the rest of the festival.

ATP Iceland 2015 Day 1
Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Live Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day: Hibou – Dissolve

photo by Jenny Jimenez

photo by Jenny Jimenez

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Dissolve” by Hibou from the upcoming self-titled album on Barsuk Records.

Hibou – Dissolve (MP3)

Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Local Music, Song of the Day Podcast | Tagged | Leave a comment

Album Review: Class Actress – Movies

Class Actress - Movies

When we were spinning Rapprocher back in 2011, we knew it was only a matter of time before Class Actress became a full-fledged pop star. There’s just something magical about the high tension melancholy Elizabeth Harper has on her records. It’s a very “this is where I find myself for better or worse” type of approach to love songs that we don’t see bared as openly by her competition. Then, accompanied by a brilliant synth pop soundtrack, every one of Class Actress’s songs dance and dive into your soul at equal speeds. Well, four years down the road, it has happened! Movies sees Harper jumping to Casablanca for a shimmering, bigger budget entry into a larger pop world. The product of this entry is Movies, a short and sweet concept record with not a minute going to waste. Harper takes her signature sound to Hollywood for a study of the real versus the perceived. She plays around with plenty of cinematic metaphors and motifs, and it all sounds like it came as natural as can be. Night time is Harper’s time, and the fleeting hours bring all kinds of adventures in the throes of love.

Read More »

Posted in Album Reviews, KEXP | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Thursday Music News

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

photo by Brittany Brassell (view set)

  • If you’ve ever wanted to put Nick Cave in your pocket, now’s your chance! LA-based toy company Plasticgod will release six different variations of a mini-figurine based on the iconic frontman, each named after a different song of his. Just check out the detail in the “Red Right Hand” model! Each lil’ guy will set you back $40, and only 200 of each design will be produced. The little Nicks debut at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, July 9-12. [Pitchfork]

Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Music News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Review Revue: The The – Mind Bomb

Mind Bomb

Matt Johnson’s The The is yet another band (or musical project, if you prefer, since it seems to have been Johnson and whatever troupe of brilliant musicians he could round up when it came time to make a record) that I never listened to in their heyday/my youth, and I can’t quite figure out why. Maybe Mind Bomb was just a bit too grown-up for a pre-teen such as myself when it came out, and then I never got around to it? That’s what I’ll go with. It’s too bad, because there’s a lot to like here: plenty of brilliant musicianship and songcraft, and scads of cutting, brutally dark lyrics for a teenager in the early ’90s to memorize and write on his wall. In fact, listening to this album today, it sounds almost like a slightly more reserved version of Jim Thirlwell’s Foetus, which I adored: brainy and bitter, yet still catchy as hell.

The KCMU gang seem to have been just the right age to dig Mind Bomb, although apparently some folks were digging it just a bit too much, as it started to wear out its welcome in heavy rotation. Perhaps the rumored first new album of The The songs since 2000 will do the same when it comes out in (fingers crossed) 2016! Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Review Revue | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Live Video: Bowling with Shakey Graves

photo by Amber (Zbitnoff) Knecht (view set)

Raising money is fun! As we think of new ways to connect KEXP supporters with their favorite artists during our KEXP’s New Home campaign, no idea is off the table – not even bowling with Shakey Graves. As it turns out, the young Texas troubadour and his band are big-time bowlers, so much so that they got matching 12-pin tattoos on their arms, and Shakey was more than happy to play live right on the lanes of Garage, a swank Seattle billiards and pool hall, and then throw rocks for a few games with his fans. It couldn’t have been a more perfect afternoon for everyone. If you weren’t there to witness Shakey’s hambone, you can watch his full performance, which we’ve captured here for you. We even pulled out a one-of-a_kind moment as fan Cody backs up Shakey as his Esmé (Patterson) on “Dearly Departed”. Check out the videos and photos from this amazing event, and stay tuned to KEXP for more opportunities like this to support the station where the music matters on our campaign to build our new home:

Read More »

Posted in KEXP, Live Video | Tagged , , | Leave a comment
Donate Now!

Donate to KEXP Today!
  • Listen Live:

    High Quality AAC+
    Excellent for PC, Mac, iPhones/iPads, Android Devices, tablets, iTunes, Winamp, and VLC. High quality audio, low bandwidth

    MP3 Stream
    Best for computers running OSX or Windows with iTunes or the open source VideoLAN Player installed


    The University of Washington Logo KEXP is an
    affiliate of the
    University of Washington
  • iTunes and KEXP

    iTunes Logo
    You can now find KEXP under "Eclectic" in iTunes after the demise of the "Public" category, to better represent the diversity of our daytime variety shows and numerous specialty programs.
Sponsored By
Become a KEXP Sponsor!
  • KEXP Post Categories