KEXP at Iceland Airwaves, Day 1: Tilbury

photos by Jim Bennett

Icelandic band Tilbury released their debut album, Exorcise, earlier this year on Iceland’s own Record Records. Though Tilbury is comprised of some heavy hitters in Icelandic music, their synth-ey dream-pop music has a distinctly British feel (so it seems to be no coincidence that they share a name with a small English port town). According to the band’s founder, Þormóður Dagsson, the name refers to an Icelandic TV movie from the 80’s set during WWII, when Iceland was occupied by both British and American troops.

An Icelandic “supergroup” of sorts, Dagsson’s bandmates include guitarist Örn Eldjárn, keyboardist Kristinn Evertsson, bassist Guðmundur Óskar Guðmundsson and drummer Magnús Tryggvason Eliassen, all of whom play in other successful local bands like Hjaltalín, Valdimar, Sin Fang and Amiina.

Tilbury opened their set with “Sunblinds,” a sunny, slower song, with a bit of a 50’s tempo and ooh-lah vibe. Next was “Slow Motion Fighter,” a synth-heavy mid-tempo song with an indie Brit-rock feel. This song really drew focus to drummer Magnús Tryggvason Eliassen, who really seemed to steal the show. His playing was clean, sharp, and he is clearly very, very talented. He plays in several Icelandic bands, so we are lucky enough to be hearing much more from him during airwaves.

Up next was the synth-heavy “Riot,” and then a brand new song called “Deliverance,” featuring super warm guitars — a nice reprieve in cold, dark Reykjavík. “Tenderloin,” their album’s single (which was recently KEXP’s Song of the Day), most clearly highlights their British influence. Tilbury then toned it down with “Drama, and then roared to a close with “Picture,” with piano soaring over the heavy synths, and then a heavy breakdown.

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