So, Happy New Year. Blogs everywhere are full of top tips for music in 2011. I'm not going to give that a go, mine would (as always) be full of Icelandic acts! Having said that, I will say that I've been clicking on a lot of these 2011 tips and have found 2 bands that sound really promising, Cults and Love Remains. Both fairly lo-fi, but affecting on my early listens. Anyhow, I have no reason to talk about 2011, I haven't finished my 'best of' 2010 lists yet, but it's coming. And in fact, as 2 people pointed out (and frankly I'm staggered that anyone is paying that sort of attention) I never posted the 2009 lists on here. If I get one request to see the 2009 lists I'll put them up. I'm so on the ball.
There's a fair bit going on in the world of Icelandic music. Jónsi finished off his world tour in Reykjavik with a hugely anticipated show. When I saw him in London it was a wonderful (and incredibly hot as I remember) night. This reviewer was impressed, especially by the drummer.
Retro Stefson have been going down a storm in Holland, Bloodgroup are doing a European tour which seems to mainly been restricted to Germany. In fact Germany seems to be miles ahead of us (U.K.) in terms of loving and attracting those lovely Icelanders. In my other life in book publishing I read recently that over 100 books by Icelandic authors were published in Germany in 2010, I shall get to work on putting that right! That was from a recent edition of Iceland Review which also contained a deservedly praise-filled article about Amiina's new album and shows.
There are few albums I'm catching up on (and therefore won't be in my 2010 lists, they'll be 2011 instead - my game, my rules). I've just received Agent Fresco's full length debut, "A Long Time Listening" but haven't had a listen yet. I'm looking forward to it, the reviews have been mainly excellent and although I've not yet fallen in love with them, maybe that's coming. An album I can't wait to get hold of is Apparat Organ Quartet's long time coming, "Polyfonia" - judging by their Airwaves 2010 show, the advance track "Cargo Frakt" and the words of everyone I know who has heard it, it's an album that will be bothering the upper reaches of the 2011 list! Finally Benni Hemm Hemm have a new release "Skot" which I'm hoping to get hold of at their London show (YIPPEE!) on January 27th.
Talking of London shows, the musical highlight of the first quarter of this year is pretty certain to be Ólafur Arnalds show at The Tabernacle on Feb 7th. I've never seen him play outside of Reykjavik before and this is a very happy coming together of wonderful artist and brilliant venue. Can't wait. I thought it was sold out but there do appear to be tickets at this link. You can also read a recent feature on him from The Observer newspaper (published recently, but I think I'm right in saying that the interview was done during Airwaves).
Finally, I'm off to the U.S. very shortly for a quick visit which will include a spare few hours in New York. All suggestions for using that time (cool record stores perhaps) will be gratefully received... Happy New Year!