Since the first edition was held in 1999 in an airplane hangar, Iceland Airwaves has become the festival for music lovers, being praised by many as the best music festival in the world.
Set amongst beautiful scenery in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, the festival celebrates homegrown talent as well as musical craft from further afield.
Haven’t got a ticket? Don’t fear! Indietronica is attending to find out what all the fuss is about.
By the powers of the internet we bring you a preview of the lesser known bands and our ones to watch, straight to your computer or phone screens.
Adult Jazz is a four-piece from the UK. Their debut album ‘Gist Is’ has taken four years to make and was released via their own label Spare Thought.
They sound like a jazzed-up version of Bombay Bicycle Club or a mellowed out version of Jagwar Ma.
We are definitely looking forward to seeing them play.
Sounds like: Bombay Bicycle Club, Jagwar Ma, Panda Cubs, The 1975, Yeasayer, Saux
With simple lyrics and ethereal overtones, Alice Boman is a quintessentially Swedish singer.
Have a listen to her stunning cover of War on Drugs‘s ‘Red Eyes’:
Sounds like: Lykke Li, Kate Bush, Ellie Goulding, Rae Morris
For fans of Bon Iver and Deptford Goth looking for something slightly different, meet twenty-two year old Icelandic singer/songwriter, Ásgeir (aka Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson).
Ásgeir’s debut album, ‘Dyrd í dauðathogn’ was mostly written by his 72 year old father and became so popular in his home country, 10% of the Icelandic population is estimated to own a copy.
The English-language version of the album (‘In The Silence’) was translated by John Grant.
Sounds like: Bon Iver, Deptford Goth, RY X
Berlin-based Ballet School is Irish Rosie Blair on vocals/guitar, Japanese-Brazilian Michel Collet on lead guitar and Louis McGuire on drums.
Blair and Collet met two years ago in Berlin when Blair heard Collet playing his guitar in the U-bahn. Sharing their love of the Cocteau-Twins, she immediately asked him to form a band. In 2012 they began collaborating with McGuire.
A mélange of ’80s pop and R’N’B is always at the forefront of the band’s agenda.
Sounds like: Kitten, Claire, BLSHS, Kavinsky, Madonna, Robyn, Ronika
From modern 80’s inspired music to a musician who sticks to his roots and breathes 80’s electronica.
Berndsen (aka David Berndsen) is a bearded iconic figure in Iceland and regularly works with Hermigervill; one of Iceland’s most notable producers.
Sounds like: Depeche Mode, New Order, Tesla Boy, Salt Ashes, Graingerboy, Thomas Azier, Soft Cell
bird is Jon Valur Gudmundsson, a successful 26-year-old singer/songwriter from Iceland who makes electro-infused indie pop.
Sounds like: Two Door Cinema Club, Ásgeir, 1860, Kid Astray
Blaenavon is a three-piece indie outfit from Hampshire, UK formed of Harris McMillan, Frank Wright, and Benjamin Gregory.
Heavily guitar-based, it is no surprise that these guys are being written about by the likes of NME and Clash.
Their new EP ‘Koso’ is out now on Transgressive Records.
Sounds like: The Macabees, Two Door Cinema Club, Young Kato, The Smiths, Joy Division, The Editors, White Lies, Daughter
Following the success of ‘Swim’ in 2010, Caribou is finally back!
At first glance, his latest track ‘Our Love’ is a long wave length of dance music beats, but upon further inspection it is a lot more gritty and the R&B hooks remind us of Inner City‘s ‘Good Life’.
Sounds like: Roosevelt, Metronomy, All We Are, New Build, Touch Sensitive, Rufus
Iceland born Disa writes celestial, synth pop. She left Reykjavik to live in Copenhagen and pursue her dream of singing.
She is now signed to Danish label Tigerspring.
Sounds like: Salt Ashes, I BREAK HORSES, Kate Boy, Death Rattle, Dimond Saints, Brian Eno
EAST INDIA YOUTH
East Londoner William Doyle is East India Youth.
His tracks are stark and choate masterpieces with marching and minimal drum rolls.
Sounds like: Sivu, These New Puritans, Conner Youngblood, Brian Eno
EAST OF MY YOUTH
East Of My Youth is Herdis and Thelma from Reykjavik.
Citing influences from classical and modern genres, the duo creates experimental pop music.
Sounds like: Austra, Feist, OH Land
Emilie Nicolas is another one of Norway’s amazing exports.
Her voice immediately demands your attention and we have had her atmospheric cover of Norwegian band DumDum Boys‘s 1990 track ‘PStereo’ on repeat in the Indietronica office.
Sounds like: Tove Styrke, KYIKI, BLSHS, Monogem, Tove Lo, Lykke Li, Elliphant, X priest X, La Roux
Following on from Nicolas is Farao, another Norweigen singer/songwriter with a knack for combing emotive lyrics and indie-folk sounds.
Sounds like: Poliça, Emilie Nicolas, Bon Iver, Rae Morris, First Aid Kit, Susanne Sundfør
FURA is an Icelandic project between songstress Björt Sigfinnsdóttir, and producer duo Hallur Jónsson and Janus Rasmussen.
FURA embraces the element of drastic nature, isolation and emotional depth.
Sounds like: Phantogram, Lykke Li, Nina Yasmineh
The serious electronic Baltimore trio is back.
Advising us about love and loss, and offering up mesmerising performances, we are glad Future Islands will be getting the recognition they deserve at Iceland Airwaves.
Sounds like: New Order, Suzuki Method, Wild Beasts
Himbrini is an Icelandic band comprising of Margrét Rúnarsdóttir on vocal and keys, Birkir Rafn Gíslasson on guitar, Hálfdán Árnason on bass and Skúli Arason on keys and Egill Rafnsson on drums.
Himbrini offers up soft, Scandinavian pop and it is lush. This is one band we cannot wait to watch live.
Sounds like: Lykke Li, Röyksopp, London Grammar, Bat For Lashes, Island Fox, IYES, The XX
HOW TO DRESS WELL
How To Dress Well (aka Tom Krell) is an American singer who twists up sensual guitar-based R&B with sparkling synth pop.
He is definitely one to watch.
Sounds like: LANY, Great Good Fine OK, Until The Ribbon Breaks, July Child
The music-by-soul collective Jungle has been bubbling away at the surface for some time now. Their music offers a pinch of Gorillaz-esque bass lines and sexy lyrics.
Sounds like: Rudimental, Disclosure, Le Youth, Clean Bandit, Gorillaz
We absolutely love Icelandic cousins, KAJAK.
They are heavily influenced by tribal cultures and in their live shows they mix visual arts and theatrics, making it a special and engaging experience to watch.
Sounds like: Coldplay, I BREAK HORSES, Kate Boy, Sia
Klangkarussell is Tobias Rieser and Adrian Held; an Austrian electronic dance music production duo who formed in 2011.
They are known for ‘Sonnentanz’, a track that accidentally became a hit last year. We’ve watched Klangkarussell perform live with their band and they put on a good show!
Sounds like: Will Heard, Milky Chance, Klingande, Wankelmut, MÖWE
Vienna-via-London producer Kwabs‘s music is soulful with an electro twist.
Kwabs is a growing artist and we are expecting a number one hit soon!
Sounds like: Azekel, MNEK, SOHN, James Blake, Ben Khan, Banks, Jesse Ware, Kele Okereke
LILY THE KID
Lily the Kid is the brainchild of Lilja K. Jónsdóttir (who was the former front woman of Icelandic electro-pop veterans Bloodgroup) and her brother, the producer Hallur Jónsson.
Breathtaking vocals, combined with a bass line bubbling at the surface makes Lily the Kid very special indeed.
Sounds like: Banks, Shura, Blood Orange
Roosevelt (aka Marius Lauber) is a Cologne-based electronic artist with a flair for discotronica. He effortlessly emerges warm beats with hypnotic psychedelia.
Sounds like: The Whitest Boy Alive, Caribou, Tourist., Jagwar Ma, Washed Out, Neon Indian, Yellerkin
Shura (aka Aleksandra Denton) was born in London to a Russian actress and an English documentary filmmaker.
Her last (but unreleased) track ‘Touch’ gained 3 million hits on Soundcloud.
Her music can be described as a contemporary mix of twinkling, ‘Lucky-Star’-era Madonna with the bedroom-R&B grooves of Blood Orange, filtered through a haze of Balearic synths and swirling, Warpaint-inspired guitars.
Shura has just signed to Polydor.
Sounds like: Blood Orange, Massive Attack, Madonna
Sísý Ey (pronounced See See Ay) was formed in 2011 by three sisters; Elin, Elisabet and Sigga. Their goal was to sing live house music, and with the help of DJ Oculus, their dream has become a reality.
Sounds like: Gorgon City, Klangkarussell, TIEKS, Celeste
THE WALKING WHO
The Walking Who is a psychedelic rock trio based based in Sydney and is made up by Rohin Brown, Paul Mclean and Jay Drury. Their music is inspired by Byron Bay surf chimes and folk.
Sounds like: War on Drugs, Yellerkin, Jagwar Ma, Roosevelt, Empire of the Sun, The Doors
Vök is a dreamy electro duo-turned-trio from Iceland.
Taking a slightly different slant on traditional Icelandic electro music, we especially like the smooth tones from the saxophone, courtesy of Andri Már Enoksson.
Sounds like: Death Rattle, Duran Duran, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Chairlift, Poliça, Björk, Tegan & Sara
Young Karin is a simple and dreamy art pop production by Reykjavik-based Karin & Logi Pedro.
Having already been nominated for the Icelandic Music Awards, we anticipating brilliant things from the duo.
Sounds like: Banks, July Child
Having already sold out (apart from limited package deals), this year is set to be as explosive as ever! You can track the event on the Iceland Airwaves 2014 app.