KEXP Live at Iceland Airwaves 2017, Day 2: ГШ (Glintshake)

Photos by Jim Bennett

Next on the broadcast live from Kex Hostel at Iceland Airwaves was Russian punk band Glintshake. Formed in 2012, much of their early music was in english, but they’ve since switched to making music in Russian, even re-recording some of their English songs in their native language and changing their name to the cyrillic characters ГШ (GSH). One of very few non-Icelandic acts on this year’s broadcast, their unique blend of psych, post-punk, and pop evokes a nostalgia for cold-war era punk from eastern Europe. Their 2016 release ОЭЩ МАГЗИУ has been well-received, and is garnering attention for Glintshake all over the world. 

They opened with “Handsome Man,” a song with jangly guitars reminiscent of the Cure circa Wish, but dripping with attitude. While I couldn’t understand the Russian lyrics, frontwoman Katya Shilonosova’s performance style didn’t need any translation. She’s expressive and weird in a Karen O way, and commands your full attention from the first note to the last.  My favorite song of the set was “Без пятнадцати пять (Quarter to Five).” It’s poppy and upbeat, but bratty and defiant in a tongue-in-cheek way, and Shilonosova uses the full range of her voice: shouting, singing, and even giggling to affect the tone of the song. The crowd was with them the entire time, dancing along to their fun songs and thundering with applause at the end of each song. They ended the set with “Мой Новый Стиль (My New Style),” moving between distorted notes, searing riffs, and an extended instrumental section that felt a bit like stumbling on a fun jam session some friends might be having at home. We were having so much fun, the set went by in a flash, leaving the crowd begging for more from these energetic Russian punks.

Last up on day two of the Airwaves broadcast is Icelandic punk band Hórmónar. You can join us live on air or stream live video of the performance at 8:30pm local time/1:30pm PST/4:30pm EST

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