Video Fridays: Icelandia

Well, I owe a big thanks to my favorite radio station, KEXP in Seattle, for turning me on to all of the great music I’m featuring here in today’s Video Fridays installment.

Back in October, KEXP traveled to Iceland and set up recording equipment in the KEX Hostel in Reykjavík, capturing some incredible, intimate, and beautiful performances by artists participating in the Iceland Airwaves festival.

And by beautiful, I don’t just mean musically. Judging by the members of the various groups, it appears that every single person in Iceland is ridiculously good-looking!

Seriously, prior to checking out these videos, the only Icelandic musicians I was familiar with were Björk and Sigur Rós, so it’s a real pleasant surprise to discover all this great new music!

It’s hard to nail down specifics, but listening to all of these performances, and thinking of the Icelandic pop music I’ve heard before, there is a definite Icelandic sound that resonates throughout. The music can range from dark and moody to light and airy, and vocals tend to have a distinctive trill. There’s something ethereal going on there, born of that remote land of fire and ice perhaps, and though I haven’t listened to any traditional Icelandic folk music, my best guess is that it has a major influence as well.

There are many more clips on YouTube (search “Live on KEXP KEX”), including more artists than I’m featuring here, so be sure to spend some time browsing and listening.

First up, a band that reminds me a little bit of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, here’s Of Monsters and Men:

Next up, Sóley starts and closes this beautiful song with some looping that reminded me a little bit of tUnE-yArDs, whom I wrote about back in July:

Finally, the most unusual group of the bunch, Retro Stefson…well…um…I really don’t know how to classify them. Perhaps trying to do so would actually diminish them in some way. All I will say, then, is that there’s is happy, fun, energetic music that just brings a smile to my face.


3 thoughts on “Video Fridays: Icelandia

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by Fish & Bicycles and for your comment.

      I would LOVE to travel to Iceland and it would be delicious icing on the cake to be able to attend Airwaves!

      It’s funny, though, living as far north as I do now, when the travel bug hits I almost always go where it’s sunnier and warmer.

      That said, Iceland in the summer would probably be amazing!

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