LUCKY RECORD SESSIONS
The Lucky Records stage has often been a showcase for the unknown, the edgy and the idiosyncratic.
When the outrageously established Una Stef graced the stage with her blend of jazz and R&B it was an opportunity for performer and audience split an intimate experience in the “I dare you to do it” atmosphere of the best record shop in Europe.
I checked my Northern Irish dictionary of Swear Words For All Occasions and you know what, accomplished isn’t in it.
Enjoy the band ya boy ye!
As one half of the duo, Between Mountains, Katla Vigdís Vernharðsdóttir has demonstrated that she is a song writer of considerable skill.
In this solo performance Katla ethuses a confidence to wander, seemingly effortlessly, through a short set of songs constructed with an unnerving maturity.
Initially I defied the inaccuracy of what I was seeing and hearing. Standing alone with only a guitar for support the sound that rolled across the room was richer than anything that seemed possible from the isolated presence cut by Katla on the Lucky Records stage.
Understated tunes danced in perfect synchronization with drifting backing tracks and velvet constructed guitar architecture. And the effect? Born out of an environment where the weather is your life Katla’s songs are the audio equivalent of a walk through recently settled snow.
The immaculate views yield to the pressure of gently progressive song constructs.
Or, if you prefer, just freakin’ brilliant.
This short set from mischief maker Svavar KNÚTUR merges songs of real grace with “can I believe that or not” laugh out loud stories
Plots twist with casual inevitability. Glacier gigs, weddings and gullible Canadians share somehow obvious complications that become fantastically funny.
But we’re all about the music here and the song and the voice give us all a reason to pause blissfully unaware that the hooks, with which his tunes are so deceptively layered, are primed to infiltrate our thoughts at 3.00 a.m. with no remit to ever leave
Operating beyond the expected standards of any slow-maturing sludge metallers, Godchilla work to an obvious remit “ what you do is what you feel.” Theirs is an exercise in freedom, not influenced by any desire to please or compromise. But what’s exceptional is their songs have an architectural construct that make people not at all like that, like that.
Godchilla stand on the shoulders of tunes, largely unintended and undoubtedly never conceived….. yet they do exist.
Release the safety catch of an acoustic guitar and clip it to the barrel of a Godchilla track. I bet you would be surprised at what you would find.
Another broadcast from the north.
Every week over the coming months Radio Summerhall will be showcasing the performances from Lucky Records, Iceland Airwaves 2018 schedule.
We start off our new series of Northern Broadcasts with the hypnotic esoterism of TÓMAS JÓNSSON. TÓMAS steers his collective of musicians through the calm waters of loose yet inter-related beat abstracts. And like all calm waters it’s what lurks beneath that brings the unknown and the unexpected.
The two jazz inflexed excursions, recorded live and on show here, have a depth that guides us to rhythms with iron-like grip and hooks that bite.
You will want to find out more about TÓMAS JÓNSSON.
Revenge of Calculon’s sprawling work is based upon a free proliferation of non-melodic ideas that, when their singlemindedness is juxtaposed against the constant repetition of a looped riff , somehow a melodic dumper truck of funk is formed.
In this performance their almost obsessive workmanlike psycho funk wigouts and dual expressive characters serve up a recurring mature music of guttural thematic ideas, notably permeated with the eeriest moves ever to grace the Lucky Records stage.
This is a hard driving rhythm explosion and I love it.
Morning Bear is our next broadcast from the North. The two songs up for grabs in this intimate performance provide us with a glimpse of the orchestral indie folk precision that the band has perfected since their 2014 inception.
Perfectly formed songs, stripped bare emotions and the raw spit back drop of a Lucky Records stage……..well that’s a precious thing.
Everyone with money to spend is a target. Everyone with emotion to invest is a target. Rex Pistols, however, only wants your buy in. Invest in her identity.
Here we catch a performance that is held slightly aloft, treads an undefined area somewhere in the middle of avant garde, synth pop and the beat of the heart.
The stage is a runway for a display of the fearless distress of pleasure and pain. Watch and understand that your buy in can be found in the knowledge that you are lucky that Rex Pistols will do something you can’t. Share the rawest of emotions from the skies down to the gutter.
To be honest it has been a long time coming. Finally, with Markus Bjarnason, we have a classic singer/song writer to add to the armoury of the Lucky Records Sessions.
Those considered vocal hooks draw you in to the stories he tells in his song writing craft but it’s the unanswered questions in the guitar riffs that I love. Markus plays guitar solos like the acoustic equivalent of the script of the Bodyguard. That’s all your getting, now fill in the blanks yourself. It’s a beautiful imperfect balance.
It’s a brave man that tackles the threadbare trinity of man, guitar and song. When it comes to making music, Markus Bjarnason stands alone.
I never understand why any mention of Icelandic hip hop is so often accompanied with a sense of surprise that it even exists. It is an international language and music form that by virtue of Iceland’s geographic isolation must be embraced by many of the island’s youth as they shout to be heard. Maelgin demonstrate a grasp of the intricacies of hip hop rhythm with courageously relaxed beats and some clever drum and vocal interplay.
Unafraid to rap in their native tongue they bring their own personality front and centre with a performance where the biggest surprise of all is it’s warmth. I suspect they might have no truck with kind words and and for that lads, I apologise.
At the heart of Nordic art and design is a basic principle alien to so many of us UK hoarders. De-clutter. Faroese performer, Heidrik, lives this writ large. In his stripped back performance only the essentials remain. Sweet vocals and intimate guitar structures create the most unlikely perfect songs. How can something so empty be so complete?
I wish I had been more involved with the El Quinto Sol story.
I certainly wasn’t there for the beginning and I fear I might have missed the finale. It is a key central chapter that we are focusing on here. Somehow, the plot took this amazing Mexican three piece on an Iceland tour in 2017 and, by necessity, on to the stage at Lucky Records.
This session gives us an all too brief glimpse of an inspired free form trio with a warmth to their music that often eludes lesser outfits prone to dabble with a loose jazz construct.
My advice? Listen to it, let it flow and go with it.
And to the members of El Quinto Sol, if you are out there, talk to me.
As a means to turn heads the tattoo has had its day. These days you’re more likely to turn an outraged eye at a pluck on a v-neck than ink creeping up a neck like ivy over a crumbling stately home. Fabian from Fai Baba, however, has us all looking again. We can’t help but wonder what goes through his mind. What type of man can he be? Can we really be seeing what we think we are seeing?
How does he effortlessly make us question the fundamentals of right and wrong? Well, he does it by making brilliant, moving music whilst sporting a moustache (yep, that’s what you do with a moustache… you sport it). Can such a wrong be so right?
Of course it’s been done before but not in living memory.
Viva Zapata. Viva Fai Baba.
This is a broadcast from the North.
Radio Summerhall loves Lucky Records. We have the rain, they have the snow and we both have the music.
Listen, don’t let the name throw you, there’s no luck involved. You either know what you’re doing or you don’t and Lucky Records is Reykjavik’s seat of vinyl learning. Countless hours spent trawling through their crates of records has unearthed numerous gems, most of which have at some time become components of our Radio Summerhall programme setlists.
Lucky Records is also a hub for live Icelandic music. Crammed onto a tiny stage, local and international bands play what must be their most intimate live sets.
Radio Summerhall has teamed up with Lucky Records to bring you up close to some of the bands that played there over recent months.
We kick start this series with an amazing up close, explosive experience from Reykjavik locals; Tófa.
Next up in our Lucky Records Sessions are Minneapolis residents Graveyard Club. Their sound clearly nods in the direction of the 80s but it is so very much more than a retro lift.
There is no doubt that the four piece are at home in the close confines of the Lucky Records stage but somehow their songs effortlessly give notice of a time ahead when they will surely be heard by a infinitely larger audience. Perhaps Matthew Schufman, searing crooner extraordinaire, will argue against that but he might not have a choice in the matter.
The third in our Lucky Records Sessions is an intimate and edgy performance from Reykjavik locals Epic Rain.
This session was filmed during last year’s Iceland Airwaves and on this occasion members of the Radio Summerhall Expeditionary Force were lucky enough to be in the audience.
Epic Rain’s most recent album “Dream Sequences” was actually recorded on the Lucky Records label.
Check out the record and enjoy the footage.
Gróa provide the next in our lovely Lucky Records Sessions. If Gróa is a secret, it won’t be kept for long.
They casually defy the parameters laid down by the constraints of an orthodox three piece set up. Gróa master effortless grace and naïve chaos with a song writing ability that will, as every good trio does, have you filling in the spaces yourself.