We spent our third day in Reykjavík during the Iceland Airwaves festival again at RÚV, the National Icelandic Broadcasting Service, with five more Icelandic bands showcasing a diversity and across-the-board rad musicianship you just won’t find anywhere else. Our host once more was the very amusing elder statesman of Icelandic rock Einar Örn (The Sugarcubes, Ghostigital), who managed to make even the most reticent interviewee open up, if not crack up. Once again, you’ll hear just a sample of the diversely unique unique qualities of Icelandic music:
Starting the morning was Retro Stefson, a band with members so young they had to skip school for this performance (note: KEXP does not advocate skipping school!). Despite their age, the six band members have learned their music history well and create a Talking Heads-ish blend of contemporary rock, funk grooves, Afro pop rhythms, Icelandic lyrics, and a whole lot more.
The next band, Who Knew, might be familiar to our listeners, as their album Bits and Pieces of a Major Spectacle, went into rotation after we saw them last year at the Airwaves festival. Like a happier Wolf Parade, Who Knew write songs that make you want to throw a party.
Whether you want to call them post-rock, prog, math fusion or whatever, Miri create layered, dynamic (mostly instrumental) jams that will appeal to listeners of any genre:
Eight dudes, four on guitar! Stafrænn Hákon (“stav-rite how-con”) make moody, dramatic music that would appeal to fans of Red House Painters.
One of the most engaging live bands you’re likely to see, in Iceland or anywhere, Mammút are five youngsters who rock out!