Fantasy Iceland airwaves – A blowhard music fan daydreams…

19 May

Now that the first bands have been announced for Iceland airwaves, the first shoots of excitement and feverish speculation about what other bands are likely to be announced can now begin in earnest!

When i saw the first rash of foreign acts that were playing,  i was a little…. underwhelmed. Some of the acts look really exciting and sound interesting (Oh No Ono & The Amplifetes), but the rest didn´t seem to have that “WOW! that band sounds really great! i must book my ticket forthwith!”  feel to them

Now i´m not one to tell the Iceland Music Export (who are the organisers of this years airwaves) how they should be running the festival. But i sat back and thought if I were in charge, what acts would i try to bring to airwaves?”. So while watching Holby City, i decided to write down what acts i would like to see play at the festival. Needless to say that i had  almost 70 acts written down after 20 minutes. Hmmm, perhaps a few too many me thinks. But after some pruning, i came up with several acts that if they were performing, i would be grinning like a masturbating dolphin!

Dark Disco Divas

There seems to be a rash of female/female fronted bands around at the moment that link back to post punk, new wave and 80 darkwave histrionics. A phrase that has been used for this umbrella of music is “hipster girls with machine guns”, which seems pretty apt. I´ve mentioned in previous posts such acts as Dum Dum Girls and explode into colours, both of whom are of a high quality. Then there´s the Lo-fi surf pop of Best Coast, the slightly sombre piano led pop of Ingrid Olava and the dark electro of Fever Ray (if you can get her to come to Iceland, my head would probably explode). In particular, i would try to book the following acts.

Lonelady (UK): Julie Campbell is from Manchester and is a self-styled post-punk influenced ‘army of one’. Performing with just a drumming backing, she produces forceful post punk themed disco indie, along the likes of A Certain Ration and Bush Tetras.

Lonelady – If not now

Effi Briest (US): Her debut album has is out now and it´s a mix of early 80´s siouxsie howls and brooding indie rock. I just like it´s moody sound.

Effi Briest – Long Shadow

Zola Jesus (US): I´ve mentioned her before on this blog and she would be a MUST to get on Airwaves. She is hot right now and no one is really quite doing what she is doing music-wise (Or they may be, but just not doing it that well).

Zola Jesus – I Can´t Stand

Hauntology Vs Hypnogogic
If i can arsed, i´ll get around sometime soon to writing about US Hypnagogic pop. But if you´ve read any of the hip music magazines and blogs over the past year then Hauntology is the way to go. Shit even i´ve written about it on this blog. While it is hot at the moment with acts such as Matrix Metals, James Ferraro and Small Black in the US and Moon Wiring club, Belbury Poly and The Focus group in the UK, the main issue is that a lot of acts in this genre are often a very “internal” listen and wouldn´t really provide a stellar live performance that the audience would demand. But there are a few i would probably recommend.

Broadcast (UK): Mentioned in an earlier post, they do a line in retro electronic pop thats tight, poised and would sound really great live.

Broadcast – Man is not a bird

Washed out (US): Ernest Greene from Georgia, USA makes woozy lo-fi synth pop that sounds like the Human League and OMD with a coating of vaseline over it.

Washed Out – Get up

Ariel Pink´s Haunted Graffitti (US): His current album sees him moving more a cleaned up, live band experience, even though it´s all still maniacally un-reconstructed.

Ariel Pink´s Haunted Graffiti – Round and Round

Electronic Wibbly shit
I think it´s time to face the facts that the leading driver in electronic music at the moment is dubstep and Airwaves should acknowledge this by booking leading lights from the dubstep scene such as  Ikonika, Zomby and Mount Kimbie. from the UK or Badawi or Eskmo from the US. If they are going to go for techno acts then i would probably go for Ellen Allien and Pantha du Prince for that IDM with big beats. Oh and i´m sure DJ TrenteMoeller is on retainer again for this years festival.

As for wonky electro acts, there are so many out there at the moment, you could probably just cast out a line and pull in several acts that would be good enough to play. But If i were to go for a couple a couple of acts that would guarantee some good times dancing i would plump for the following guys

Cyberpunkers(ITA): Loud and Squelchy, just the right kind of guys to fill those Post-justice boots. Perfect for anyone who wants to do a bit of fist-pumping

Delorean (SPA): Like Delphic, Delorean mix electronic beats and live instruments to create a rather hypnotic balearic sound.

Delorian – Simple Graces


now this where the headliners pull in the punters. Obviously there should be a mix of up and coming acts such as Surfer Blood or Local Natives (Or any of the cool acts from the Gogoyoko music store) as well as one BIG name from such a list as The XX, LCD soundsystem, Florence & the Machine, Animal collective, etc, etc

But if i were to have two acts then i would probably try to get the following two acts

Male Bonding (UK): these guys have just released their debut album “Nothing Hurts” and the music press, from pitchfork to the NME, have declared that these guys are HOOOOT! And the thing is, i´ve been listening to the album and alas i have to agree with them. It´s Brilliant! Bags of electric energy, mixed with reverb heavy guitars and some damn fine tunes..

Male Bonding – All things this way

Shining (NOR): Now these guys are a bit heavy and fucked up to be placed within earshot of most people´s ears, but their mad metal jazz (think Mr Bungle on steroids) would go so well with local acts like Dr. Spock, Agent Fresco and Reykjavik! It would certainly be one hell of a skull caving night out!

Shining – Fish eye

Personally i think that any festival with that lineup would be one motherfucker of a good time. Hell if only ONE of these acts gets booked, then i would at least die a happy man. Mind you i´ll probably get assigned to review the wanky folk corner at the same time.

Of course the fact is that the only way these bands would appear is if they placed sonic bids to play here. so i probably envision about a dozen passive/aggressive stalker style e-mails along the lines of “PLEASE come and play here. I think you´re really great. Plus i know where you live!”



Posted by on May 19, 2010 in Iceland, music


Tags: ,

2 responses to “Fantasy Iceland airwaves – A blowhard music fan daydreams…

  1. Aðalsteinn Jörundsson

    May 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t get it. There’s no Vialka on this list? why is that? or did I just miss it?

    • bobcluness

      May 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm

      they have already received a post all of their own last week. Of course i would love to see THEM at airwaves. I´ve even sent them the stalker e-mail. No reply as yet…. sigh…..


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