A 39 Minute Documentary About Iceland Airwaves

In the long ago days that we called 2006, the stars aligned, money appeared and I secured a press pass to Iceland Airwaves. I flew alone to Reykjavik and took in the festival. It’s always a well curated affair that takes over most of the small 101 district. The charm lies in the close proximity of all the venues, the beauty of the city and the kindness of the locals. The first night I met a couple who offered up great conversation and a couch to crash on, as my hotel was a bit of a hike. Had this been America, I most likely would have woken up in an ice bath without my kidneys. In addition to the main venues, there are tons of off-venue events which offer up many chances to discover and repeatedly see local Icelandic acts. The weekend contained what I still regard as one of the best shows of my life: Wolf Parade supporting Apologies To Queen Mary in a packed tiny club called Tuborg. I forgot my press pass would get me to the other side of the divider, but I contentedly enjoyed the nearly too loud set pressed against the barrier. Afterward with my ears still ringing, I took my rental bike into the dark of the suburbs along the water. The streets were desolate, yet still felt safe and I could see the northern lights faintly above the horizon. Probably one of the better evenings of my life.

The festival ended with pages of notes and even a few interviews on tape. I returned to the US to no job and little motivation to write. Quickly, I woke up to the press deadline looming above my head and no place to publish the words I had yet to write. Cutoff passed and I can only guess that my name is still on the blacklist they warned about.

I still love the festival and this 39 minute documentary is a loveletter with a great selection of interviews and performaces from the last 10 years of Airwaves. Here’s hoping that this post can work to repair the damage I did 5 years ago by not promoting the festival then. Sorry, Iceland!

Also, extra apologies to Skakkamanage and þórir from My Summer As A Salvation Soldier. I interviewed you guys because I was a fan and I’m sad I never did anything with it.

Here’s the video I shot at local record store Skifan of Skakkamanage performing “OFC’s”

Also, here’s my photoset from the trip.

2 Tracks From Wolf Parade’s At Mount Zoomer

At Mount Zoomer is a far better title than Kissing The Beehive. At Mount Zoomer is also better than Return To Cookie Mountain. I won’t slight them for that.

After getting exposed to a lot of the new material during last summer’s tour, it was easy to say that I was excited for the new album. “Call It A Ritual,” the first song leaked by Sub Pop, initially let me down a little. The song felt thin and drenched in a massive heap of reverb, which only amplified how odd the overall tone is. Live, it felt fuller and like it commanded more power. I persisted and with a certain number of listens, the fantastic details began to shine through, best shown by the subtle build backed by the charming strain to Simon Crug’s voice.

I think that the same will hold for the rest of At Mount Zoomer, judging by a listen to a few other tracks I found on hiding around the internet.

Fine Young Cannibals

‘Fine Young Cannibals’ wanders, that’s for sure. Lacking the older kind of urgency that Apologies to Queen Mary held, the song clicks along with a persistent certainty. The spindly, loping guitar riff serves as a bed for Dan Boeckner’s vocals to rest upon and it bears a little 50’s nostalgia, recalling a song I can’t put my finger on. Like ‘Call It A Ritual’, there’s a melodic learning curve…stick with it though, because again the melody creeps out and stays with you.

Language City

‘Language City’ is a little more familiar than ‘Fine Young Cannibals’ sandwiching the familiar angular guitar and bouncy piano in with driving a beat. As it stands, it could be a song off Apologies To Queen Mary, but I’m not really prepared to punish Wolf Parade for producing something that sounds a little familiar, as the formula they previously perfected is music to my ears. The melody is strong and it builds to a satisfying release. Tracks like this certainly bode well for the rest of the album.

As release date is getting closer for At Mount Zoomer, so do the tour dates. Go grab a ticket to the show closest to you, as their live show will not disappoint.

07/17 – San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
07/18 – Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theater
07/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theater
07/20 – San Diego, CA @ Cane’s
07/21 – Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theater
07/24 – Dallas, TX @ Palladium Ballroom
07/25 – Austin, TX @ La Zona Rosa
07/26 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
07/28 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
07/29 – Raliegh, NC @ Disco Rodeo
07/30 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
07/31 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
08/02 – Boston, MA @ Paradise
08/03 – Montreal, Canada @ Metropolis
08/09 – Toronto, Canada @ Koolhaus