Tag Archive for 'Frankie Cosmos'

Radio Kampus. 26th July 2017

Well then, it’s been a week of protesting and making noise in the streets. It’s also been a week of great music and there’s a weekend of great music coming up for those that are heading off to OFF in a couple of weeks time…

I’m joined in the studio this week by my friend and intrepid music traveller, writer, blogger, and journalist Laura Studarus, to preview our picks from the coming Off Festival line-up. There’s also some new music from Canada and some old music from Scotland. Enjoy!

1. Alvvays – Dreams Tonite (Transgressive)

2. Rainbrother – Fat Eggs (General Bird)

3. Dog Whistle – Lost Weekend (Self-released)

4. Arab Strap – Rocket, Take Your Turn (Chemikal Underground)

5. Helado Negro – Transmission Listen (RVNG Into)

6. New People – Better Ways (Self-released)

7. Frankie Cosmos – Sinister (Bayonet)

8. Anna Meredith – R-Type (Moshi Moshi)

9. The Radio Dept. – Teach Me To Forget (Labrador)

10. Shellac – Dude Incredible (Touch and Go)

11. Telstar Ponies – Farewell, Farewell (Geographic)

Iceland Airwaves 2016: Friday

Lake Street Dive

Lake Street Dive

It has often been remarked by those in the know that Iceland Airwaves, and the week in which it resides is something of a nihilistic bubble. A place to retreat and forget about the problems of the world for a few days in a fog of booze, pills, and music. With the world seemingly collapsing around our ears – a depressing US election, a backlash in the UK to a ruling that “Brexit” must be approved by Parliament, and a frankly absurd bill put forward in the Polish Parliament setting women’s rights back another couple of decades – it’s comforting to be able to disappear into this Airwaves-flavoured cloud – which is all the more fitting, particularly with that Polish bill in mind, with the number of female-fronted bands on the schedule this evening.

It all begins, for me at least, at Loft, on the 4th floor, as Tófa do their noisy, punky, ferocious vulpine thing. Fronted by Allie Doersch, the band play much the same set as at 12 Tónar yesterday and Allie’s voice is a knife to the harsh, rough skin of the guitars. A blistering performance. It’s drummer Joi’s birthday. Happy birthday, Joi.

From there, Ola from too many fireworks suggests we go see a Polish band, Deer Daniel, who have come over to play a couple of off-venue shows. This is a tactic I’m astonished more Polish bands don’t employ. The first songs I hear the band perform are pretty though uninspiring. Tepid indie-folk, all acoustic guitars (and ukulele bass, ye gods!), country-fiddling, and earnest lyrics. There is a brief pause and the guitarist picks up a stratocaster, and it instantly becomes more interesting. subtle delays, reverbs and melody back the singer, and suddenly the band has an edge not found in the previous songs. If Deer Daniel continue down that particular road, they’ll be one to watch.

Too many fireworks’ very own Jón Þór was next, around the corner at Bíó Paradís. He is performing to promote his new e.p. released on the label next week and he has copies of the 12” for sale, and by goodness did he sell it. Hampered by a sound problem or two, the band hurdled these quickly to tear through songs from the debut album and the new e.p. Stelpur, as always, was a highlight – a tale of summer excess, to soundtrack this festival of wintery debauchery.

Suð followed Jón Þór. The singer performs in a baseball cap, tells us he is doing so to be contrary to a friend who believes this is a crime. I suppose if your name is Durst, that’s probably quite true – though I imagine his music would be criminal with our without the hat. Suð, on the other hand, are noisy and melodious. No crime here.

I’m not sure why I expected to get in when I arrived at Kaffibarinn to listen to some of the best music on the Bedroom Community label but the optimist in me persisted and so I queued. The small venue, as you would expect, was heaving full, so I listened from outside the door to some enticing prepared piano from Sam Amidon but the noise from the bar became intrusive so I left to have a wander.

In quick succession I passed by Magnetosphere: electronic, soulful female vocals, 10-a-penny here in Iceland at the moment; the ubiquity of this style leaves little to get excited about. Steinar: A young singer, famed in Iceland for his R&B-influenced tunes. A little forgettable, I’m sorry to say. Wayward: beautiful country-tinged melodies with sweet, honeyed harmonies. I didn’t stay long, but I’ll return to them some time in the future. And The Living Arrows: An American band who seem to swap instruments for fun – and, my stars!, there’s a saxophone.

A couple of Icelandic pylsur to get the energy levels up and it was time to get the evening started. Sadly – as with Bedroom Community yesterday – I wasn’t quick enough on my toes to get tickets in the hand-out for the múm and Kronos Quartet performance but the bands I did see more than made up for this.

At HARPA, the almost ghostly presence of aYia took to the stage, fronted by a singer who crept around the stage like a Grimm’s tale witch, clad in a black and red. The music is eerily beautiful in a manner that Debut-era Björk would be proud of, I’m sure. Another favourite followed, the Icelandic / UK band Dream Wife: a band begun as an art project and now life imitates art. Noisy, loud, aggressive, and powerful; not to mention fun. Dream Wife for life, indeed. Their latest single, FUU, will – I’m sure – get further play on my show in the coming weeks.

A trip across town to Gaukurinn, the venue of many problems last night; it’s good to see that has been sorted out. Sweden’s Dolores Haze are a gothy collection of girls and one skeleton. The stage is dark, the clothes darker, and the music is darker still; and all the better for it.

Axel Flóvent, while entirely competent, and on occasion charming, plays music that strikes as insipid. There’s little substance here, and as he moves from guitar to piano and back it’s clear there is inherent talent in his performance, the songs though leave a lasting sense of unfulfilled promise. In stark contrast, Lake Street Dive are incredible. Sixties-infused soul music for the 21st century, this is a band that held the Airwaves audience in the palm of their hand from beginning to end. It’s impossible to watch them without a sense of awe.

Reykjavík’s Art Museum is the host of the indie-scene super-group that is Minor Victories. Stuart from Mogwai, Rachel from Slowdive (and the excellent Mojave 3), and Justin from Editors on the same stage. The music, is as you would expect, a delicious mix of all 3 of the aforementioned bands and the performance is intense.

Frankie Cosmos, at Gamla Bíó, is the epitome of the word charming. The songs are cute, sugary and absorbing and the band share knowing glances and teasing smiles as they perform. The band’s success is certainly in part down to the charisma Greta Kline has fronting her band. Finishing my evening, though not the program, was the excellent Prins Póló – named, it seems, after our favourite Polish chocolate wafer. If you don’t smile, dance, and jump, giggle, and shout to this music, you are dead inside. Almost every song in his set drives our audience into a frenzy. A great end to the night.

On Sunday, we leave this bubble to return to real life, at least, when we do, we get to take some of this incredible music with us. Put the headphones on, turn it up loud, and hide.