Grísalappalísa – “Týnda Rásin” (2019)

After nearly a decade together Grísalappalísa are calling it quits, and they’re going out in style with one final album, Týnda Rásin, the vinyl pressing including a 20-page full-sized color booklet of photos and lyrics.  But despite the prettiness of the packaging, the album itself came from a dark place.  Per the band:

This album is about a frequency that no one tunes into, a channel virtually hidden from our perception and whose broadcasts reach only a deep, dark void. It is an echo chamber, a path you find yourself in in the darker times of life and swallows you, ironically, by your own doing. For us, this channel represents depression, anxiety and isolation, to be at a crossroads with yourself and on the margins of society. It’s about experiencing yourself as a failure, an exposure of yourself and the sudden realisation that you won’t be the rockstar that the 16-year-old you wanted to be.

grisalapalisatynda

I can’t speak to Týnda Rásin’s lyrical message since the vocals are in Icelandic, but the music and the vocal tone support this view.  It’s an album of varying styles, not in that there is a country song followed by something hip hop, but more within the general indie rock space that Grísalappalísa exists in (♠).   Týnda Rásin lacks a sonic cohesiveness.  But that’s not intended as an insult, simply an observation.  You’ve got the punkish “Kvæðaþjófurinn” (my favorite track) followed by a more spoken-word-styled number in “Keyri Heim Á Þorláksmessu”, all of it tied together by and underlying angst, a sense of anomie.  And they do stretch the limits, especially on the experimental, free-jazz-like “Taugaáfall Í Bónus” with its vocal anxiety mirrored by the emotional and unstructured piano.

You can give it a listen for yourself HERE.  I don’t see the vinyl listed on Bandcamp right now, but this came out on the Reykjavik Record Shop imprint, so I’m sure you can contact the shop directly if you want to get your hands on a physical copy.

(♠) OK, with the possible exception of the very country “Undir Sterku Flúorljósi” that is…

Subminimal – “Intemperie” Cassette (2019)

subminimalintemperieSubminimal is Icelander electronic musician Tjorvi Oskarsson, and Intemperie is his latest solo release.  While Oskarsson made his name in drum and bass, Intemperie sees him moving in a more ambient, atmospheric direction, a collection of five long, quiet passages that are more about setting a mood than your putting your feet in motion.  The songs take us to peaks of sorts, but there are no dramatic bass drops here, instead a gradual dropping off as each song eventually fades out.  There’s a cinematic quality to the pieces, something perfect for documentary films featuring long, slow, beautiful shots in high definition, the kind usually reserved for nature and space-related themes.

Intemperie is available digitally and via cassette (limited to 50 copies) on Subminimal’s Bandcamp page HERE.

Pink Street Boys – “Heiglar” (2019)

psbheiglarThe self-proclaimed “LOUDEST BAND IN THE WORLD” (IN ALL CAPS!) is back, and they’re as sweaty and grungy and lo-fi as ever.  I speak, of course, of Pink Street Boys, who are here to smoke all your cigs, drink all your beer, and probably leave behind a few new and unidentifiable stains on the furniture.

Heiglar is the Boys’ four full-length and their first on the Reykjavik Record Shop label.  And it’s clear that their mission hasn’t changed – they play straight-forward garage rock.  Nothing fancier than maybe an effects pedal.  Elements of garage, surf, and psych meld together into a sticky stew with a slight aftertaste of last night’s bad decisions.  From the surf punk of “Hvunndagshetjur” to the full-throated aggro of “Róni” to the raspy rockabilly of “Á Rúntinum” the Boys from the mean streets of Kópavogur offer no respite, no opportunity to catch your breath outside of the few seconds of silence between each of Heiglar‘s 10 songs.

The official release of this bad boy was just a few days ago, so I don’t see it up anywhere on the interwebs at the moment.  That being said, I know Reynir over at Reykjavik Record Shop, that killer combo of label and record store, will be happy to sell you one, so hit him up online and get a copy of this grimy wax for yourself.

Tilfinningar Vina Minna – “Tónlist Hljómar Samt Betur Með Þér” 10″ (2018)

tilfinningarComprised of two members of Sudden Weather Change and a guy from Oyama (who was also, more importantly in my mind, a member of Fist Fokkers), Tilfinningar Vina Minna perform a sort of dream pop on the five-song Tónlist Hljómar Samt Betur Með Þér. Beats, layered electronics, and modulated vocals combine to produce an enjoyable poppy concoction, not so much sticky sweet as it is icy cold.

Released on 10″ lathe cut vinyl by Reykjavik Record Shop, Tónlist Hljómar Samt Betur Með Þér is super-limited with only 50 hand-numbered copies produced.  I think the shop has a few left, so you can either hit them up or grab a copy from Discogs.

Konsulat – “Kolaport” (2018)

konsulatkolaportThis little 10″ gem is a collaboration of Arnljótur Sigurðsson, best known for his work with the Icelandic reggae band Ojba Rasta (but just as importantly in my mind for playing bass on the best songs on Berndsen’s Lover In the Dark), and Þórður Grímsson of A & E Sounds fame.  It’s a super limited release of only 25 copies, each of which are hand-numbered just inside the jacket.

Kolaport is definitely not what I was expecting from this pair.  It’s beat-driven electronica, though I’m at a loss to provide a subgenera.  I’d say it’s mid-tempo – hardly ambient, but not a dancefloor banger either.  They synths on “Dagga Dagga” are a touch retro while the beats have an 808-like punch, remaining cohesive while never falling into any kind of rut.  Meanwhile “Lífsblómið” introduces vocal samples overlaid onto a more more sterile and colder beat.  I confess I’m a sucker for these kinds of samples, though, and I dig what Konsulat are doing on this track.

You can give Kolaport a listen on Bandcamp HERE.  Note the full digital album is eight tracks, while this 10″ is comprised of only two.  Given the limited quantity of the vinyl pressing, it’ll likely be a tough one to track down in a physical format.