Ahhhh, Scandinavia. You’ve given us so much. Swedish meatballs, vikings, Hans Christian Andersen, lingonberries, troll dolls, the word ‘fjord’, Eric from True Blood, Björk, awesome winter olympics sport The Nordic Combined, Sigur Rós and as if we could ever forget…the genius that is Ikea. But that lovely group of countries is so much more than affordable furniture with hieroglyphic-like assembly instructions and athletes with funny sounding names (Bjorn Borg, I’m looking at you). I feel like collectively, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland are very in right now. What with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo book series and films, Lykke Li burning up the airwaves, and even The Swedish Chef is back on the big screen this winter. I have had the pleasure of spending some time in that part of the world and I highly recommend it goes on your list of must-visit regions ASAP. Even though I’m no fan of pickled and/or creamed fish, I still think it is one of the most beautiful and interesting areas of the globe with some of the coolest and friendliest people you will ever meet.
I also highly recommend that you take a listen to newcomer Icelandic band, Of Monsters and Men. This six-piece indie-folk outfit used to be an exclusively acoustic 4-piece, but recently added some more members and some more instruments (female trumpet player and an accordionist? Yes, thanks), won Músíktilraunir, an Icelandic battle-of-the-bands and got themselves some recognition when legendary Seattle radio station KEXP recorded them live and started playing their single, ‘Little Talks’ on the regular. I got to hear it during SirusXM’s “Nordic Rox” Sunday show on the Spectrum channel and I was totally hooked after one play. Now it’s on constant rotation at my house and I’m sharing it with all my gigglers. I really want more people to become fans of this band so they can start playing some real US shows and soon.
‘Little Talks’ is a great track – it sounds simplistic but is actually really layered and it gives you that feeling of sitting around a fire on a cool Icelandic night when some of your more talented friends bust out some guitars, trumpets and accordions and jam out while sipping on some Vikingfjord Vodka (real brand) – which is really helpful when you live in Miami and late November still brings you a muggy 80 degrees every day. I cannot pronounce nor properly spell all of the band members full names, but lead vocalists Nanna and Ragnar have this great chemistry with their subtle tones and perfect verse-sharing. It reminds me a bit of The XX mixed with Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros with a lot of Mumford and Sons thrown in for that easy, jangling, catchy sound that’s sure to win over lots of US listeners. Their debut record My Head is an Animal came out in Iceland a few months ago and should be released here early next year. You can check out more about them and listen to the single here.
This is the video for the live version of ‘Little Talks’ recorded on October 12th at the KEXP sponsored “KEX Hostel” in Reykjavik during Iceland Airwaves ’11. I think they are totally awesome…or as my Icelandic friends would say, “þeir eru ógnvekjandi!”
See Also: ‘Six Weeks’ and ‘King & Lionheart’