There are two things to celebrate today. Firstly, you can now legally call your Icelandic baby Mark, the greatest of all names. Secondly, not content with being the continent's best football team (FACT), exactly three weeks from now Iceland will throw the world's best music festival, Iceland Airwaves 2014.
I have a lot to do between now and then. I have some fantastic interviews in the bag and more still to do before I finally pack my woolly hat and toothbrush. First though, I'm going to have a bash at answering a question that I've been asked a few times this year - which (let's go for 5) non-Icelandic acts will I be seeking out at this year's festival...
I've been keen on Hozier since I first heard him sing Take Me To Church, long before he was announced for Airwaves. His debut album appeared a few weeks ago and is full of quality songs. I'm not always easy to please with bluesy, soully (?) stuff, but this is a cut above. Well worth checking out.
Blimey, over 4 million plays on Soundcloud!
Next, a band that I definitely never heard from before they turned up on the Airwaves list. The Town Heroes are a band from Halifax, Canada. They play catchy, anthemic alt-rock and that feature singalong choruses (as alt-rock anthems tend to) and even handclaps, which never fails to please me. Right now my favourite track is Holdin' Up Grants, take a listen...
Just 93 plays of that one, as I type. Life's not fair.
Another thing I'm a sucker for is a good electro-pop band singing in French. Step forward "La Femme". That's "The Woman" right? This is an excellently dressed six-piece band oozing style and general Frenchness. Listen to them, their show is going to be loads of fun right?
And a censored cover too. See! Fun!
Ezra Furman plays late on Saturday night at Iceland Airwaves 2014. He's spent this year playing at just about every festival going, as well as a full UK and European tour. He's gonna be well practiced. He straddles a few genres, he's a showman, he'll probably wear a dress. And he likes Squeeze. It's good Saturday night stuff right? See you there.
Oh God, one choice left. I don't deal well with this kind of stress. OK, so I'm leaving the incredible Zebra Katz out, he plays on Sunday and I'll be gone. He has some great tunes but his Tiffany cover is beyond brilliant (from 18 minutes on that link). On the basis that they all play within the same 2 hour slot on Saturday night, I'm leaving out Perfect Pussy (DO NOT GOOGLE THAT), Jungle, Greys, Radical Face, Future Islands and East India Youth - all of whom I'd be very happy to end up seeing. So, with a nod to Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Kwabs, I'm going to give the final vote to PINS - I don't know much about them, but they simply sound like they're going to deliver good times playing on Thursday night in Harpa, right before La Femme.