There's an old guy in Iceland, a musician called Megas. My knowledge of the history of popular music in Iceland is sketchy, but this one name comes up over and over again. You'll find out all you need to know on the wikipedia page but what is pretty exciting is that this year, aged 63, he's going to play at the Airwaves festival for the first time. Unless I dreamt that. I'm sure I read it somewhere late last week, but I can find no trace of it online now, other than this - help me out Icelandic speakers! I can't pretend to be a huge fan of his, but I'll make an effort between now and October, I do own one album of his, "Höfuðlausnir" from 1988 which features Bjork on backing vocals, so that'll get dug out shortly. My memory of it is that it has great songs, it reminded me of Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen and with big 80s synths in places and female back-up vocals high in the mix.
There was an article yesterday in Observer Music Monthly magazine about the state of live music now that it has become much more important as a cash generator for many musicians. The conclusion was that artists are tending to play it overly safe and "start with the second biggest hit, end with the biggest hit, and take no risks" - I'm not sure that is the case, or maybe it's the sort of gigs I go to. Certainly both Bjork and Sigur Ros were held up as honourable exceptions to this. Also given as an example of fine, innovative, unpredictable (mainly unpredictable) live performance were The Fall. I adore The Fall, and Mark E Smith - consistently entertaining, always fascinating and occasionally brilliant, he also penned this fabulous autobiography - reassuring us all that it is possible to write an interesting music biography these days. He also has links to the Icelandic music scene, guesting on vocals with the mighty machine that is ghostigital on a track called "Not Clean" - please please check it out, worth it for the spectacle of Mr Smith pleading for some cod, "We're being quite reasonable about this, now give us the fucking cod". Awesome. Not only that link, but I can (satisfyingly, smugly even) go one better. On The Fall's 1982 album "Hex Education Hour" is a track called "Iceland". So what? That's a rubbish link. Ah, but listen carefully to the lyrics of that songs and you'll hear mention of a certain Icelandic singer...called Megas. I thank you.
Nice as it would be to end on that, I've also heard that 2 more fine bands should have new albums ready and available for me and my credit card before Airwaves this year. Mammut's second album is nearly ready according to icelandicmusic.is which is great news. Secondly, the aforementioned and wonderful ghostigital will be releasing a collaboration with Finnbogi Petursson and Skuli Sverisson. That will be very interesting.
Finally, I've added a new link on the left to X-Dominoslistinn, the chart run by a Reykjavik radio station - I like this, just to keep an eye on what people are liking over there. Top of the chart this week are Agent Fresco, who won the musiktilraunir competition that I wrote about recently. Also on the radio station page linked on the left is an item called "Arslistinn", don't know quite what this is, but I really hope it's the worst song list.