I’ve been back for a few days now from Reykjavik and still find it difficult to put into words how Iceland Airwaves 2012 was… amazing, cold, epic, windy, sleepless, beautiful? All of the above! It’s still a bit hazy to me what actually went down. Did Sigur Rós perform a new song? Did Útidúr actually play six shows? Did I fall in love with Sóley? Did the Blue Lagoon turn into the Ice Lagoon thanks to Hurricane Sandy? All of these things happened, but it still feels like a dream. So many musical highlights that it’s hard to name just a few, but when Sigur Rós took the stage at Laugardalshöllin Arena on the final night of the festival, I knew that there was no other place in the world I’d rather be. While I missed seeing Björk around town and a rather brief appearance by the Aurora Borealis, I did manage to make some new friends, eat a ton of Pylsur (Icelandic hot dogs), and discover EXITMUSIC who took my breath away at Harpa. Early bird tickets to next year’s festival go on sale December 1st and like every year, it’s gonna be sold out before you know it.
You’ve seen his beautiful videos for Lana Del Rey (Blue Jeans and Born to Die) and now director Yoann Lemoine aka Woodkid brings his own musical experience to life with a few live shows in the US next month including a stop at New York’s Irving Plaza on Nov. 1, Bimbo’s in San Francisco on Nov. 2, and LA’s Luckman Fine Arts Complex on Nov. 3. I recently watched his performance from Le Grand Rex in Paris via our friends at The Creators Project and it blew me away. Woodkid recently spoke with Filter Magazine and said, “We will be eight on stage, two symmetrical drummers, one keyboard, one ‘machine’ guy who plays percussions on a computer and three brass. There will also be massive projections, yes, the same one I developed on the Grand Rex Show I just did in Paris. The whole show is about symmetry and black and white, it recalls visuals from the videos but in a more abstract way.” Are you excited yet? Watch the performance below and definitely get your tickets via Ticketmaster to what’s sure to be an amazing night.
I first saw Retro Stefson perform back in 2009 at an off-venue Iceland Airwaves party at a downtown clothing store in Reykjavik. The name of the store escapes me, but not the lasting impression this young band had on me. People were going crazy for this band I had never heard of, so I immediately bought their CD and followed them around wherever they played. Three years later, I’m about to head back to Iceland and low and behold, they have a new record and video out and will most likely be one of the highlights of this years Airwaves festival. I challenge you to not bounce your head up and down while watching the video for their song Glow.
Ultraista who I just saw perform their U.S. debut at the Echoplex just last week have a new video for their single, Our Song. The band was in great spirits as they performed most, if not all the songs from their self-titled debut and made great use of their colorful videos during the set. The trio features Nigel Godrich from Radiohead producing fame, drummer extraordinaire, Joey Waronker and Laura Bettinson on vocals. They are playing at (le) poisson rouge in New York on October 24th so be sure to check them out before they head to much larger venues.
Sister’s Colette and Hannah Thurlow make up 2:54 who opened up for The xx at their recent LA dates and also played one powerful in-store set at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. I chatted with Colette after their Amoeba performance and she told me how much they love Los Angeles and want to move here… yes please! I for one have always been obsessed with female fronted bands of the 90′s like Cocteau Twins, Lush, and Curve (one of my all time favorites) so it didn’t surprise me that Alan Moulder produced their debut self-titled record (he’s married to Toni Halliday from Curve/Chatelaine). Check out their new video for their single Sugar after the jump and see them live when they head back to Europe later this month.
I’m heading back to Reykjavik, Iceland at the end of the month for my fourth trip to the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival! While I’m super excited to see Sigur Rós and Of Monsters and Men on their home turf, I’m just as excited to see Útidúr (pronounced: ooh – detour). There are so many amazing bands in Iceland and the Airwaves festival really gives you the opportunity to see most of them in various small venues around Reykjavik. Útidúr has this magical quality about them, kind of like the country itself – I’m talking to you Blue Lagoon. If you like Beirut, you’ll definitely want to check these guys out. You can stream and buy their debut album at Bandcamp and watch the live performance video for their song, Fisherman’s Friend below.
British composer Anna Meredith just released her debut, Black Prince Fury EP on limited edition vinyl from the Vinyl Factory/Moshi Moshi in the UK. It’s limited to only 300, so if you want one, you better act fast. You can stream the full version of Nautilus and check out the animated video via Noisey, directed by Tony Comely.