Tag Archives: iceland

FM BELFAST – DON’T WANT TO SLEEP (Indie/Pop- Iceland)

FM Belfast

An organically grown, highly addictive electropop outfit from Iceland, FM Belfast have been capturing the imaginations of constantly growing audiences throughout the world ever since they first appeared on Iceland’s notoriously vibrant music scene in 2006.

Some time last Spring, this happy bunch released their highly anticipated sophomore album, Don’t Want To Sleep, via Kimi Records in Iceland and Morr Music internationally, introduced by punchy lead single “New Year”.

FM Belfast - New Year     

Adventurous, joyful and exciting, FM Belfast’s latest album is bound to put the entire world at their feet, or better yet, to make everyone jump to their feet and dance! It is melodic, electronic pop music with an incredibly uplifting vibe…

FM Belfast - Vertigo (Pink Ganter Remix)     

For more info find FM Belfast on Facebook or check out their official site. Buy their music on FM

MONDAY MIXER #12 [SCANDINAVIAN HOLIDAY]

Anyone who has ever read this blog knows that umstrum goes all out for Scandinavian music, so it is only natural that when asked to pick this week’s theme for the already classic interblog Monday Mixer, it had to be about Scandinavia.

Despite its fairly small population, this region has managed to put itself on the world map with its many musical talents and has consistently brought to the world some amazing pop music, starting with ABBA, who sold a total of 380 million records around the world, making them the second most successful group ever, after The Beatles.

This was in the 70s, some will say, what about now? Well, it turns out Scandinavian music seems  to have gone through a real renaissance in the past 5 to 10 years, with many acts making it big internationally (think Robyn, WhoMadeWho, Lykke Li, The Cardigans). So, what is it that makes Scandinavian music so appealing? Here’s what our blogger friends have to say…

Chris @ dailybeatz

When Saints Go Machine - Add Ends     

When Marc told me that the theme for this week was Scandinavian bands, it was almost as if he knew that I’d been obsessing over Konkylie, the upcoming debut album from Copenhagen band When Saints Go Machine. They’ve got a really unique sound and write some really bright melodies along with some great dark, new wavey heavier tunes as well.  This particular song has been on repeat lately and I’ve got to believe it’s one of the more beautiful songs ever written.

Mikayla @ LOOSE L!PS

Lindstrøm & Christabelle - Lovesick     

I definitely let out an appreciative “WOOHOO!” when I saw the theme for this week’s playlist. I’m a total Scandophile.  Ever since visiting Sweden and Norway this past winter, I’ve been plotting ways to move to the Nordics.  It’s come down to the option of either attending graduate school there, or finding a nice guy (funny thing is THEY’RE ALL NICE) to marry.  Or you know, both.  One such future-husband contender is Lindstrøm, who has been my favorite producer ever since the 2008 release of “Where You Go I Go Too,” a magnum electronic opus and my absolute favorite song in the world; hands down. I’m not going to make you listen to a 29-minute-long piece during this mix (though you should definitely check it out on your own), so here’s one of his more accessible, popper tunes, “Lovesick.”

Marc @ umstrum

Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks     

Probably one of the best known Swedish song abroad (Abba doesn’t count), here’s “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John. You might not know its title but you have most probably heard its notable whistled refrain somewhere or other. “Young Folks” was used in a number of European commercials and television shows in 2006 and 2007. It was ranked #5 on Pitchfork Media’s “Top 100 Tracks of 2006” list and reached #2 in the 2006 NME Track of the Year poll. Not bad, huh?

Owen @ Wine & Bowties

Little Dragon - Constant Surprises     

Little Dragon is an absolute aberration. Swedish-born, half Japanese vocalist Yukimi Nagano and her high school mates dropped their first album in 2007 and have been getting funky ever since with a new album out this year. I chose their bread and butter track “Constant Surprises” for the reminder that the world can be a magical place if you cede a bit of control of your life and let it take you where it will. If you’re digging it, “Nightlight” is a favorite  track off the new album, Ritual Union. Cheers. Let a song make you shiver.

Ben @ The Metropolitan Jolt

The Knife - Heartbeats     

My knowledge of Scandinavian music, sadly, is minimal. “Heartbeats” is not how I would imagine most Scandinavian music. But then again, what do I know? I’ve always thought music by The Knife sounded a bit out. The vocals and melody complement each other beautifully to create a great tune. I find the lyrics to be poetic. Maybe that’s because I sort of understand them, but not really.

Marcus @ A Pocket Full of Seeds

Ben Frost - Hibakusja     

None of your twee clap-and-woop pop music here. Ben Frost unleashes a swirling, snarling volcano which captures the wilder nature of Iceland. Hibakisja brings to mind images of tearing rock formations and oozing lava but interspersed with gasps and tingling hisses. Almost like a dubstep remix of the Discovery Channel.

FELDBERG – DON’T BE A STRANGER (Pop/Electro/Folk – Iceland)

Icelandic duo Feldberg was formed in January 2009 Feldberg by  Eberg, a well known musician in Iceland and Europe, and Rósa Birgitta Ísfeld. Eberg had been working on some syncs and was looking for a female vocalist. Rósa, who had been working with Icelandic pop band Sometime, came highly recommended by a friend and the pair started working together straight away.

One of their tracks was soon featured in an ad for the Nova Telecom Company and demand for a release was such that they were quickly contacted by Cod Music, who offered to release the track. More recently, their track “Dreamin” was picked up by classy French label Kitsuné and included on their April 2010 compilation.

Feldberg - Dreamin'     

Feldberg - Dreamin' (Jesus + Judas Remix)     

Musically Don’t Be A Stranger combines elements of electronica, acoustic pop and folk with nice percussions and catchy chorus. Quite dreamy and subtle, the songs are arranged with a typical Scandinavian pop sensitivity, turning most of them into potential radio hits. Coming from Eberg, we may have expected a bit more experimentation and less radio-friendliness but the overall result is still a well-rounded album with some pretty strong melodies.

Find Feldberg on MySpace. You can purchase the Dreamin’ EP, complete with eleven (11!!) remixes on Dreamin'

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FM BELFAST – HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS (Electro/Alternative – Iceland)

FM Belfast started out as a duo in 2005, around Christmas time, when Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson and Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir made a song as a present for their friends. What could have been a one-off collaboration actually turned into a full-fledged band the following year, when Arni Vilhjalmsson and Orvar Smarason joined the band. In October 2006 they were invited to play their first full concert at the internationally renowned Iceland Airwaves festival in Reykjavik.

The members now vary from three to eight depending on who can make it, but the band’s hard core is Árni Rúnar Hlöðversson, Árni Vilhjálmsson and Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir. FM Belfast’s debut album How To Make Friends relies heavily on programmed beats and synths, pumped up with the band’s innate sense of fun. The album oozes a retro 80s vibe and it will make you bob your head till your neck hurts.

FM Belfast - Underwear     

Of course FM Belfast are not the first Icelandic band to make electronic music, but their sound is different from that of fellow Icelanders Sigur Rós or Eberg. Their songs are infused with a sense of derision that makes them instantly accessible and familiar. With their lo-fi casio keyboards and simplistic lyrics, FM Belfast make music for the 21st century, music for the club. Party on!

For more info find FM Belfast on MySpace or check out their official site. Buy their music on FM

EBERG – ANTIDOTE (Indie/Electronica/Pop – Iceland)

Eberg is a young Icelandic musician who made his debut in 2003. With his electronica-meets-indie rock sound, Eberg quickly made a name for himself.

His first album, Plastic Lion, was originally a limited edition Iceland-only release, with 50 CDs packaged in handmade wooden cases. The profits raised from the sale of these 50 first exclusive copies allowed the band to make more CDs, with a more conventional packaging this time. Plastic Lion was then distributed by Bad Taste in Iceland by Rotator in the UK the next year.

Eberg’s second album, Voff Voff, followed in the footsteps of his debut, still mixing electronic arrangements, traditional instruments and samples. The album got rave reviews among critics and bloggers and some of the singles  (most notably “Inside Your Head”) became hits in the UK, getting airplay on UK hit-maker radio BBC Radio 1.

Eberg - Inside Your Head     

On his third album, Antidote, Eberg manages to create a perfect balance of moods and styles. On this largely varied album, he flirts with indie rock, brings in hints of trip-hop and embraces dreampop. Poignant and quirky, his songs are at times nostalgic, at times hopeful, but always earnest.  There are more fuzzed-up guitars this time around but there is still a fair amount of experimentation with textures and sounds. Sharp and concise, and always recognizably Eberg, Antidote is what critics were expecting from Eberg and he has delivered.

Eberg - Antidote     

If you want to find out more about Eberg or sample some of his new songs, visit his page on MySpace and check out his newly released video for “The Right Thing To Do”. Please show your support and buy his music on Eberg