Here is my breakdown of the best bets to see at this year's Iceland Airwaves!
Team Dreams: Sin Fang, Sóley, and Örvar Smárason (of múm and FM Belfast) - If you listen to my show, 'Mai + Charlie' this "supergroup" and it's members are familiar to you. Their album, on Morr Records, was the culmination of a song written, recorded, and released each month throughout 2017. While some are more successful than others, you can feel the push and pull in the creative collaboration. Since they're veterans of the music industry, individual performances are always topnotch, so one can expect the same for this project. It's the first time they've performed this material for Airwaves, and I, for one, can't wait!
Reykjavíkurdætur - This bad-ass all-female hip-hop group sings about self-empowerment, partying, the SlutWalk, and turning expectations on their head. While their listing for Airwaves claims that there are 10 members, I know that previous performances have included up to 16 members onstage. While it may be easy to dismiss them as Icelandic's answer to Pussy Riot, they're raps and beats have a pleasant pop aesthetic that would stand on its own, whether or not the feminist message was there. But, good thing it's there in droves. If you recognize the ladies onstage, it's because they're also in bands such as Special K, Sóley, Fever Dream, and likely more that I'm unable to easily recall. Don't sleep and miss the party!
Mr. Silla - Mr. Silla is another artist that I've gushed over on my radio program. Usually associated with múm, she performs her own music as Mr. Silla. Besides having a voice that any AMSR enthusiast would run towards, Silla is a talented musician and performer known for raw vulnerable lyrics and an innate kindness. When people usually cover female Icelandic musicians they compare them to Bjork, but Silla's haunting vocals don't allow for an easy comparison. Her vocals are something wholly different, and in my seven years of attending AIrwaves, I never miss seeing her at least once during the festival.
Between Mountains - I saw this duo for the first time at Airwaves2017, first with Asgeir at a senior home and later at a cafe for another off-venue show. Their gorgeous vocals accompanied by piano, guitar, and accordion swell and harmonize each other, often in a call-and-response manner. Now that they're more seasoned, I'm excited to see how much their live performance might've matured.
Sóley - Songs with plaintive and emotive lyrics are often what I associate with Sóley. She's a talented vocalist, pianist, and keyboardist that I was first introduced to her while she played with Seabear. Which, if you've been following along, is one of my favorite Icelandic bands (that also had Sin Fang as a member). Since then, every performance I've seen under her own moniker has been delightful with lush vocals and sparkling keys.
And, if you want to hear a more comprehensive list, I've got my annual preview show.