I’ve waxed poetic about Icelander musicians on Life in the Vinyl Lane for years. Whether it’s the electo-beats of Gusgus, the sugar-pop of Berndsen, the indie rock of Agent Fresco, the poetic beauty of múm, or even the metal stylings of HAM, I just can’t get enough. The depth of musical talent in such a small country is an amazing thing to behold, and one of the reasons we keep going back there for Airwaves year after year to see what new discoveries await. It’s like Christmas and a surprise birthday party and getting a promotion at work, all condensed into five days of fantastic music.
And then there’s Dr. Spock.
Dr. Spock is like taking a pint glass to the back of the head. It’s like having your stereo turned up so loud that all you can hear is noise and distortion. It’s getting drunk, doing some stupid stuff, getting into a fight, and running from the cops. It’s waking up at 2PM with a lump on your head, some dried blood on your face, and a pronounced limp, wondering what happened to your phone and trying to figure out whose underwear is in your pocket. It’s a double-barrelled Brennivín shotgun pointed straight at your head, and whatcha gonna do?
Dr. Spock is the band I’m most excited to see live at Airwaves this year.
We caught the crew at our first Airwaves in 2009, playing from the back of a semi-truck being driven through town, and I wrote a bit about their first release, 2005s Dr. Phil, a while back. They’re fronted by the unlikely pair of parliamentarian Óttarr Proppé (below, left) and lucha-libre-mask-wearing-jiu-jitsu-fiend Finni Karlsson (below, right), who is probably the LAST guy in Iceland you want to mess with. Together they, and the rest of Dr. Spock, are an unstoppable sonic juggernaut, a massive, stomping giant that makes the earth shake with every step and crashes into everything around it with impunity.
Falcon Christ is Dr. Spock’s most recent album, released back in 2008. It’s an 11-song freak show of noise and punk and metal and weirdness. It includes a bizarre interlude during which they briefly cover Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer”. It has a song called “Dr. Organ,” and a quiet piano crooner interlude in “Bóbó.” It’s the Butthole Surfers meet Captain Beefheart. It’s like a platypus – something that doesn’t seem like it should exist in nature, and yet there it is. OK, more like a totally aggro platypus with fangs on a two day bender, but I think you get my drift.
If you ask me (and even if you don’t), Dr. Spock saved the best for last on Falcon Christ, because the last three songs are a trifecta of near perfection. “Evangelista” is a rambling funk-punk fest that occasionally slows down to a polka, but, you know, a pretty metal one. That leads us into “Rainboy,” which opens with a killer riff and progresses to become a sort of deranged combo of death metal growling and upper register singing, and the whole thing is catchy as hell. And the we get to the best song on the album, “Sons of Ecuador,” a fitting, rambling close to this sonic death march. So good.
If you can find a copy of Falcon Christ, I recommend picking it up not just for the music but also for the included DVD of a live Dr. Spock show at Reykjavik’s NASA that truly captures the band as a complete performance work. And remember how I said before that they hadn’t released an album since 2008? Well have no fear, my friend, because the mighty Dr. Spock just dropped a new single last month just in time for Airwaves, and you can listen to it below!
Live long and prosper, my friends. The doctor will see you now.