We listened to all 215 bands in the lineup for Iceland Airwaves 2016 to find this year’s five must-see Icelandic bands.
DJ Flugvél Og Geimskip
DJ Flugvél Og Geimskip is the solo project of Icelander Steinunn Eldflaug Harðardóttir. For those who didn’t take Icelandic as a second language in grade school, DJ Flugvél Og Geimskip means DJ Airplane and Spaceship. The name perfectly sums up her self-declared “electronic-horror music from outer space”. Onstage, with her keyboards and drum machines, she creates lo-fi mixes with cheerful beats, catchy melodies, and a childlike voice, flavored with a kind of sweet madness. She sings about evil cats ready to conquer the world, alien experiences, demons hidden in the shadows, and the strange world beneath the ocean’s surface. In short, she’s eccentric and unique. Heads up: if you crave more, DJ Flugvél Og Geimskip also fronts the band Skelkur í Bringu, also in this year’s Iceland Airwaves lineup.
Pink Street Boys
Don’t be misled by the sweet-sounding name. Pink Street Boys pride themselves in being the loudest band on the island…an ambitious claim in a country with so many excellent metal bands! As for the Pink Street Boys members, they prefer garage punk, and they play it with the boundless energy of the genre’s 1960s pioneers.
FM Belfast is by no means a newcomer to the Icelandic scene. Their hit “Underwear” was released in 2008 and eight years later, it still gets people bouncing until they’re in their underwear! Since the band is preparing to release its fourth album, you can bet their set at Iceland Airwaves will once again be completely out of this world.
Rolling Stone magazine described their music as sounding like “Disclosure attending Bela Lugosi’s funeral, Joy Division’s secret jam band phase, a glacier on fire.” Fufanu was even named one of the “10 New Artists You Need to Know” in October 2014. Flattering, right? And the folks at Rolling Stone aren’t the only ones who believe in their potential—they’re signed with One Little Indian, the same label as Björk and the Sugarcubes. Speaking of the Sugarcubes, Kaktus Einarsson, Fufanu’s lead singer, happens to be the son of Einar Örn, who sang with Björk in the Sugarcubes. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
We don’t know much about Kórus aside from what we could learn reading their description on the Iceland Airwaves website. But that was enough to convince us that Kórus would be a must-see at the 2016 festival. Kórus is basically a supergroup made up of some of the most exciting musicians of the island. See for yourself: Borko and María Huld d’Amiina (who previously collaborated with Sigur Rós), Kira Kira, Pétur Ben, Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir (former member of Múm). Together they have formed a choir of 30 musicians whose set promises to be as surprising as it is captivating.
Photos: Courtesy of the bands mentioned in the article