The best Icelandic music has to offer have been, or are about to arrive, and it is about time I caught up with the Icelandic goings-on in London. I'm sitting listening to Sigur Ros remixes (Gluteus Maximus mix of Gobbledigook - wow!) and knowing that several feet of snow have just been dumped on Reykjavik I'm glad (for once) not to be there! And happy therefore that so much has been going on at this end!
The main Icelandic music event recently was the jajaja night in January. First on were Leaves, who having just delivered what I think is their best album so far followed up with an assured performance to a satisfyingly packed (sweaty) upstairs at The Lexington pub in Islington. The headline band of the night were the always impressive Sudden Weather Change, making their UK debut. Would they continue to excel without hometown support? They sure did, the room was hot and there was a lot of love for the headline band. Sudden Weather Change will be welcome back in London anytime at all. There are some great photos of the night from lineofbestfit, their shot of SWC's drummer is to the left. The night was a huge success, the place was packed, I caught up with some lovely friends of iceblah - some for the first time. And the larger than life editor of grapevine, guitarist of Reykjavik was there, in a professional capacity reporting on the event, even interviewing me (desperate!)
Turning to the future, the next jajaja night is tonight, I won't be there - and not JUST because there is no Icelandic band! But the next one has one of the finest, and always improving Icelandic bands of them all. Hjaltalin are in London town to perform on Thursday March 11th at the gorgeous Tabernacle venue in Notting Hill - joing them on the bill are Lucy Love (Denmark), Husky Rescue (Finalnd) and Megaphonic Thrift (Norway). Hjaltalin's debut album, Sleepdrunk Sessions, was gorgeous and their live shows became essential. Their new album, Terminal, is better again - March 11th is essential. In fact, Hjaltalin play in London the day before at Koko, and the day after at The Windmill (with Pete & The Pirates). It's The Tabernacle for me though!
Also, coming to London after Hjaltalin are the numerous members of Benni Hemm Hemm, playing at Brixton's windmill venue on March 25th. They are followed a day later by the not-actually-Icelandic, but absolutely fantastic Teitur from the Faroe Islands who will be playing at the South Bank Centre, 5 minutes from my work. I'm booked in the front row. Nice.
Even more excitingly, two of the very best Iceland's music scene has to offer hit London in the next few days. Next Tuesday the amazing FM Belfast play here for the first time (I think?) at The Hoxton Bar & Kitchen. This, like all their shows, is sure to be spectacular. And before that, this Saturday 27th, the best of them all, Mugison will be playing at The Water Rats in Kings Cross. Mugison's (right) shows are amazing, his sound has moved from one-man-band laptop folk to be stadium sounding ballsy rock. The man has it all, the new album "Itrekun" is utter proof of this, please don't miss this treat. (although saying that I haven't sorted out my tickets yet, so don't arrive too early - or can anyone help with guest list?!)
I think that's it for the moment. If you are an icelandic band and you are coming to London, please tell me and I will promote. In fact, if you have any news, tracks or whatever - keep in touch, easiest was is at twitter. And if you're going to be at any of the events above - give me a shout!
And, with nice symmetry, I'll sign off for now - to the sound of "Shook" the Sigur Ros / Mobb Deep mash-up, available here.