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 DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “If I Was” by Vök from the 2015 self-released EP Circles.
2013 was a huge year for Iceland band Vök. Friends and collaborators, Margrét Rán (vocals) and Andri Enoksson (saxophone) formed the group to compete in Músíktilraunir, Iceland’s battle of the bands, whose previous winners include other KEXP faves like Mammút, Samaris and Of Monsters and Men. With only three months to write songs, Vök still managed to win the prestigious award and draw attention nationwide. They soon added guitarist Ólafur Alexander, recorded a moody multilingual EP, and won new fans on KEXP’s Iceland Airwaves broadcast – all in less than 12 months!
They’ve since honed their skills, deepening the songs’ dreamy production and propulsive beats and relying less on treated sax and guitar – all in effort to send Margrét Rán’s airy vocals further aloft on their new EP, Circles. Of course, comparisons to The xx, Fever Ray, Björk, and trip hop of any kind, are inevitable, but the young trio sounds more confident than ever on the new songs, which, broadening their appeal, are sung completely in English yet never lose any of the inventiveness we’ve come to expect from Icelandic bands overall. Today’s featured song, “If I Was”, is perhaps the EP’s most dynamic track, as it follows an engaging narrative progression, building from its chill, glitchy opening to a climactic release, questioning at first but somehow finding the answer in the question itself. Without a doubt, though, Vök is a band to watch now and in the years ahead.
If you’re in Europe, you can catch Vök at a few festivals coming up, including Green Man in Wales and Reeperbahn in Germany, and you can be sure that KEXP will catch up with them at Iceland Airwaves, where they’ll be returning this November. Find out more about Vök and listen to more music on their their website and Facebook page. For now, watch the video for “Waterfall”, another great song from the Circles EP: