The Reykjavík Grapevine continue their Iceland Airwaves debutantes guide, where they introduce the freshest faces who are playing Airwaves for this first time this year. From murderous lo-fo pop to bro-rock to comedy rap, here are some brand new bands to check out.
The music of KUL is elusive—they’ve released nothing, and have no media presence. That said, some of them were in classic Icelandic rock band Botnleðja, and they’re supposedly releasing some material that they recorded this summer any day now. We’re waiting with bated breath.
Ljósfari vaguely fits into the singer/songwriter/folk/indie folk category, but mixes that with catchiness and humour. After making a splash at this years Músíktilraunir contest, they’re at Airwaves hoping for more of the same.
Madonna + Child
Theatrical, murderous lo-fi goth-pop duo Madonna + Child are a kind of evil-kawaii vibes project. Performing in masks and with all kinds of onstage accoutrements like religious statues and ceremonial knives, their short, sharp performances are hella creepy, but absolutely hypnotic.
A singer, songwriter and producer from Reykjavík, Matthildur only recently started releasing material under her own name. Her wonderfully soothing debut song, “Wonder,” came out just last month. With her seductive, Mariah Carey-ish voice, Matthildur’s pop sound has already caught the ears of locals, and propelled her onto the Airwaves lineup.
Mókrókar serves up experimental and improvisational music based on funk and jazz vibes. The band has an unusual sound that’s almost unclassifiable; a product of their lineup, which features artists with backgrounds ranging from classical music to black metal. So they’re basically the best type of musical melting pot, if you’re into that.
A member of Reykjavíkurdætur, Ragga is a female rapper fighting to rebel against the patriarchy. Now debuting her work as a solo artist, she’ll perform some original pirate material at Airwaves.
Rock Paper Sisters
Rock Paper Sisters’ first live show was at Laugardallshöllin, where they opened up for Billy Idol. Holy shit, right? The band serves up an early 2000s tone in the vein of At The Drive In or The Mars Volta—relaxing melodic bro-rock. So grab a beer and your buddies, and come headbang for a minute.
You believe no one plays rock’n’roll like in the good ol’ days and the world is now devoid of real drums and good melodies? If you identify with this description, SHAKES agrees completely with you. Their album, ‘Red Motel,’ comprises six songs about sex and drugs to revive the real tunes of rock’n’roll.
Sprite Zero Klan
The fact that Sprite Zero Klan is playing at Airwaves shows that some people still have a sense of humour, or that the worldwide IQ really has dropped. The only comic rap group in Iceland, Sprite Zero Klan explore such topics like being at the wrong bus stop or wearing sunglasses on a sunny day. Their humour will definitely be lost on those who don’t speak Icelandic, but their stage show will probably still be entertaining.
Þura Stína or SURA is one of Reykjavík’s resident hip-hop queens. This ain’t her first Airwaves rodeo—she’s actually performed previously with Cyber and Reykjavíkurdætur. This time, though, she’s on her own, serving up her own pop music. While her tunes don’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, they’re chill and enjoyable. It’ll be a fun gig.
Unapologetically romantic, the songs of Sycamore Tree give off a nostalgic vibe. Agusta Eva Erlendsdóttir’s beautiful voice compliments Gunnar Hilmarsson’s calming guitar, and together they create a dreamlike and delicate musical world. Their sound has brought success—since forming in 2017 they’ve reaching the top 20 on the Nordic chart five times.
If you’re a fan of those inspirational soundtracks from teen movies—like the songs they play when the main character realises their mistakes and fixes them—don’t miss Tara Mobee. She’s innocent, idealistic, sweet and an escape from the seriousness of many of the other acts.
Yung Nigo Drippin
If you like party music, Yung Nigo Drippin will not disappoint. With lyrics that revolve around selling dope, hooking up with girls, partying, and other typical cloud rap topics, it’s probably the only Airwaves concert where sipping cough syrup is not only accepted, but encouraged.