I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get around to playing Grísalappalísa’s Sumar Á Gríslandi. It’s been sitting patiently on my “To Play” shelf since we returned from Iceland Airwaves in early November, and I listened to the other Grísalappalísa album I bought on the trip (Ali) almost two months ago. Yet there it sat. Waiting. Waiting to be played.
Maybe I’d been putting it off because it’s a double album. Or maybe because finally making it through the last of the Icelandic vinyl somehow sort of closes out Airwaves 2015 in my mind, leaving me with just the memories and the longing until Airwaves 2016 arrives in a bit over nine months. Nine months… may as well be forever, but at the same time, I suspect it’ll be here before I know it.
Grísalappalísa actually did an online fundraiser on Karolina Fund to finance pressing their first two albums on vinyl (both were previously CD only releases) as well as this new record, Sumar Á Gríslandi, a double album that at least for now is only available on vinyl. What’s particularly cool about this new record is that it’s all live material, with three of the sides are given over to the band’s 2014 tour of Iceland, way, way up north in the town of Húsavík (population 2,237), while the fourth side is an assortment of tracks from other performances. The recording quality of the live material is outstanding, so I’m guessing it all came straight through the soundboard.
Grísalappalísa sound both well-practitced and loose on Sumar Á Gríslandi – there’s a strong live vibe to the performance, but it never falls apart into sloppiness. I think the B side is my favorite. It opens with an excellent cover of Megas‘ “Björg,” which makes sense given that the band put out a 7″ in 2013 that featured a pair of Megas covers, including this song (the band celebrates Megas again on side D with “Grísalappalísa”). That’s followed by the sort of blues rock-ish “Reykingar,” a Stuðmenn cover, a great one-two punch.
Start to finish Sumar Á Gríslandi is one of the best live albums I’ve ever heard. Don’t let the fact that the lyrics are in Icelandic scare you off, because this is still a great record. And thankfully our friends from Grísalappalísa will let you check out the whole thing for free HERE, so go check out some songs.