A Collection of Icelandic Album Reviews by Wim Van Hooste

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eliza Newman Geirsdóttir "Heimþrá"

Eliza is homesick 
Eliza Newman Geirsdóttir was frontwoman of the girlpower band from Keflavík "Kolrassa Krókrídandi", who later had a small breakthrough on the British islands under the name "Bellatrix". Frontlady Eliza and some other members of the group relocated to Great Britain to make it in London and the suburbs. After the end of Bellatrix, she did some courses to improve her voice. Meanwhile she recorded with some friends a rock album under the name Skandinavia, indeed with a k. She became a trained opera singer, who also plays the violin, the guitar, the ukulele as well as the piano. In London she was a singing-teacher until a few months ago, when she moved back to Niceland. In 2007 she was able to make her first solo album "Empire Fall", which was released on her own Lavaland Records label. This was a resolute and powerful rock album from a rock bitch. Her second album, "Pie In The Sky", was released on the Sugarcubes label Smekkleysa (Bad Taste) back in 2009. This sequel is unfortunately somewhat softer to my personal taste, and contained among others the song "Ukulele song for you", with ukulele sounds of course. The volcanic eruption of the EFJ gave her 10 minutes of world fame, as she explained the pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull on the Al Jazeera channel as a British/Icelandic songmaker; by the way a song of her 2nd album. With this third album (Geimsteinn / Lava Land Records, 2012) she expresses her longing for her real home, hence the title "Heimþrá" (homesick or homelonging), and therefore is completely sung in Icelandic. 6 of the 10 songs are this time of her hand (sometimes written with the help of Gisli Kristjánsson), the strongest song is "Stjörnuryk" (stardust) The other four are Icelandic poems, which were put on music by Eliza, title track and "Þú veizt" are my favorites. The album calls to mind singers like Vilhjálmur Vilhjámsson, Berþóra Arnadottir, Gunnar Thordarson and the band Spilverk Þjóðanna. The album is dedicated to her mother Eygló Thorsteinsdottir. In conclusion: a tranquil record with cute, cozy, sometimes airy songs, perfect to listen to on a lazy Sunday or a manic Monday morning.

More here @ Soundcloud http://soundcloud.com/eliza-newman
Buy the songs here @ Icelandic Music http://www.icelandicmusic.com/Music/Album/965354/eliza_newman/heimthra/
Or follow her on FaceBook http://www.facebook.com/elizanewmanmusic

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dýrðin "Gull og vitleysa"

In 1994 the band Dýrðin (pronounced "Deer-thin") was formed in Reykjavík. Einar and Maggi were the founders, both with a background in many underground rock bands. Over the years the workforce underwent a number of changes. In 2004, after long pauses, a stable formation was reached, which in 2005 went on tour in the United States of America. In New York City, they played a year later with their idols The Icicles. The drummer Tóti, an ancien in the scene (Reptile, Bubbleflies and Vonbrigði), offered his talent. In 2006, a first record was released on the American label Skipping Stones Records. Most of the songs on their debut album were in Icelandic. Their sound can be described as indie funpunkpop with "twee" influences. Einar’s sister Hafdís, the Icelandic Debbie Harry, took the vocals for her account.
Last year it was time for a second child: "Gull og vitleysa" (Gold and nonsense), released by the band itself. The 11 songs, partly in English, partly in Icelandic, pass by in a rapid speed. "Snowman Song" is a cover of The Icicles. The best tracks in this furious flow are: "Eins og
êú", "Goldfish" and "Lúser". Now it's bedtime, loser.