my trip last fall via reykjavik was filled with music. the airwaves festival is such a cornucopia of music that the overlapping shows have you first devastated: you find yourself standing in line for phantogram and patrick wolf while you know you're missing out on some other great name. later on it is a relief to realize that just sitting down, sipping a beer anywhere in the city offers something great to listen to. even the off-venue program is so extensive that your brain will be intoxicated with sound.
stella reminded me of one of the songs i sang and hopped along during the long weekend, and i realized that there were so many sounds i was unfamiliar with before that i should probably share the gems – not all of them icelandic – with y'all.
sóley's quiet, dreamy pop reminds me of stina nordenstam. her acoustic gig at a cafe was amazingly calming and soothing.
danish nelson can, a girl group with a rough lo-fi sound, rocked a small bar venue. it was definitely one of my absolute favorites.
of monsters and men seemed to be the band of the moment in the icelandic music export. they were the most buzzed and anticipated local show in harpa and had the international crowd singing along excitedly.
the double take of elín ey – as the singer songwriter with a guitar and as a part of the sisy ey electronic group – displayed a stylish queer talent that was understandably followed around by a doting entourage everywhere she went.
another visible presence around town during the weekend was retro stefson and their lead singer unnsteinn manuel stefánsson who featured in several of the live sets we stumbled into from the smallest bar venue – including a great hip hop show with icelandic lyrics that just took away although we had no idea what was going on – to the their own show at the harpa main stage.
the bubblegum queen thorunn antonia offered a set of happy pop songs the likes of annie that brought a smile on our faces and a wiggle to our toes.
bloodgroup had harpa dancing with their electronic beats late into the night.
finally, elektro guzzi and their intoxicating live set at the little upstairs club venue. sweat. no cloakroom. more beer, more sweat.
if you ever wanted to visit iceland, airwaves is definitely a bad choice to book a trip for.