Saturday, 10 November 2012

Best of Airwaves 2012

Friday, 31 August 2012

Thursday, 17 May 2012


+ "Külastus" released on 10" vinyl June 4th
+ Only Väljasõit Rohelisse UK Show - Brainlove Festival
+ Acoustic Festival Warmup Show Announced
+ Andrew Paul Regan Album Release Show Announced


Brainlove Records is proud to announce the signing of Valjasoit Roheliise (pronounced Val-Yah-Sweet Row-Hell-Ease, meaning "roadside picnic"), an Estonian four-piece from Tallinn.

Making dreamlike, hypnotic, atmospheric drones, doused in emerald green light and lost in thick smoke, the band caught the label's attention at Tallinn Music Week 2012, where they played alongside Napoleon IIIrd and Mat Riviere in a huge ex-soviet cinema called Söprus (trans: "friendship"). Their set was a highlight of the festival, and also saw the band invited to play in Moscow by Russia's premiere rock critic, Artem Troitsky.

The members of Väljasõit Rohelisse come from the disparate but interconnected worlds of music, art and fashion, giving them a audio-visual quality reminiscent of lo-fi legends The Velvet Underground, but with elements of shoegaze, dream-pop and dark mysticism.

Their debut EP "Külastus" was, amazingly, recorded in one take, with no overdubs and a single mic. It captures the band weaving their unique magic in their natural live habitat, and comes out on MP3 and limited 10" vinyl on June 4th in collaboration with their Estonain label, One Sense Music. The vinyl (ltd. to 300 copies) is available for pre-order at

Väljasõit Rohelisse will come to UK for their only UK live performance of 2012 at Brainlove Festival 2012, on May 26th.

Andrew Paul Regan

In other news, Brainlove Festival has announced two fringe shows, £5 general admission or £1 to festival ticket holders. On May 25th, there'll be an acoustic festival warm-up show featuring Dad Rocks! and Napoleon IIIrd. Then on June 7th, Andrew Paul Regan will celebrate the release of his new album "The Signal and the Noise" at Power Lunches, with Dad Rocks! and Mat Riviere in support. The shows in full:

May 25th BRNLVFSTVL Warmup: Dad Rocks! + Napoleon IIIrd (acoustic) + Guests
£5 (or £1 with BRNLV FSTVL ticket!)

May 26th Brainlove Festival 2012 @ Brixton Windmill (Väljasõit Rohelisee only UK show)
£12 adv

June 7th Andrew Paul Regan (Album Party) + Dad Rocks! + Mat Riviere
Power Lunches - £5 (or £1 with BRNLV FSTVL ticket!)

Saturday, 5 May 2012


(originally published on Drowned In Sound)

The Kex hostel is on Skulagata on the coast of Reykjavík (translation: "smoky bay”) was once a biscuit factory, and it still bears many of the building's original hallmarks. A Sweeney Todd-like barbers is housed in a walk-in safe with metal door a foot thick, and there are steel lockers instead of wardrobes, wooden crates used as tables, and careworn original signage everywhere. But now, the Kex building has become a bustling hostel that houses a multi-purpose bar, restaurant and arts venue that's equal parts bric-a-brac installation, cosy study and über-cool warehouse space. Before it was the hostel, it was a pool bar that morphed into an illegal after hours party venue, eventually closed down by city police for becoming too popular. At January's Reykjavík Music Mess it was the festival centre, holding daytime gigs while performers and punters looked on over their hangover coffee.

Haukur S Magnusson (Reykjavík) at Kex
Kex becomes the hangout on this trip to talk to some of the great and the good of Reykjavík’s music scene, made famous worldwide in recent years by breakout acts like Múm, Björk and Sigur Rós. But some inhabitants see this as a curse as much as a blessing. Haukur S Magnusson, guitarist in the band REYKJAVIK! and editor of the local English-language paper Reykjavik Grapevine, is frustrated by the perception of an 'Icelandic sound'. "Some people started seeing the Icelandic sound not as I would like to classify it, as a liberal, spirited, lively sound that allows for everything, but as just something that sounds like glaciers," he says. "This troubles me. When I was working with the Iceland Music Export I helped put together a Made In Iceland compilation. I solicited the tracks that had been picked, and sent them off to a PR firm in America, and set up a Google alert for the reviews. And I remember reading them. It was like, 'this is amazing, Valgeir Sigurðsson is crying gold tears from heaven, and Rökkurró are heaven being cried from gold tears', etcetera. But then the reviews would hear Mugison, and be like 'what the fuck? Do we really need blues from Iceland?' Whereas I remember in 2004, one of the best bands I have heard here was a total homegrown mix of Madchester, hip-hop and punk rock. This is the Icelandic sound to me."

That kind of post-everything creativity is shot through the Icelandic approach to music making. Anything goes here, and the arrival of a signature sound could could indeed lead to an abandonment of this special creative instinct as new bands scramble to be part of a musical gold rush. But exciting bands like Retro Stefson crush together myriad genres into original afro-metal-party-dance-funk-disco music, and the multi-generation five-piece Apparat Organ Quartet not only feature both a students and a grandfather but play high-throttle kraut-synth-chamber-metal - the city’s new generation aren’t showing too many signs of turning into copyists.

Halli Valli (Æla) at Kex
Later we talk to striking singer Halli Valli, frontman of local scene heroes Æla (translation: "puke"). They're one of the best kept secrets in Iceland – a mix of Shellac-style tense post-hardcore, explosive punk and ridiculously catchy indie-rock, sung in Icelandic. Their much-anticipated second album will feature their first English language songs. “We wrote in Icelandic because it’s very Icelandic music we make,” says Halli. “We never had any plans to take over the world. We just planned to have fun. But our plans have changed,” he smiles. “Icelandic bands get a lot of support from the Icelandic Music Export, the Loftbrú travel grants to fly out and do shows, that kind of thing, it’s really good.” When asked about his favourite Icelandic bands, he reels off a long list. “I really like the band REYKJAVIK! of course; and Prinspolo, Sudden Weather Change, Kimono, Agent Fresco. And I really like Sin Fang and Seabear, both from the same guy, Sindri.” It says something of Reykjavík’s size that we later bump into members of half of these bands, including Sindri, in one or the other of the city’s two favourite downtown party bars, Bakkus and Kaffibarinn.

At the foot of the town, opposite the hot dog stand with pictures of Metallica and Bill Clinton trying out its famous “pylsur”, stands Harpa - a brand new concert hall that’s construction ground to halt for several years, plagued by the Icelandic financial collapse. Finally finished, it stands like a gleaming glass and metal mecca for Icelandic music. But many of the people we talk to are unhappy with various aspects of it – some bands have not been allowed to use specific sound equipment and shifted gigs elsewhere last-minute; nobody can sell merch except the in-venue 12 Tónar store, damaging valuable incomes for performers, and local promoters have found negotiations with the venue to be unforgiving. But nevertheless, the spectacular Harpan is finally complete, and will be a part of the 2011 Airwaves festival, throwing its doors open to the music lovers and party goers who descend for the city-wide party from all over the world every October. "It's not a single venue - there are four different venues inside and we are using them all," says Grímur Atlasson, the festival director. "For us Icelanders Harpa is a token of many things - some negative - but for Iceland Airwaves it's just magnificent."

This year is an even more special Airwaves, as the country’s most famous daughter Björk will present her Biophilia project in all of its multimedia glory at a series of intimate shows. With all of this talent and invention bubbling away like the hot water under this magical country’s lava landscape, Reykjavík remains a wellspring of new music and creativity. For those yet to make the trip, Airwaves 2011 is the perfect opportunity to experience it first hand.

Thanks to Kex

Photography by Vasilis Panagiotopoulos


5 Hot Bands From The Land Of Ice
Úlfur (Apparat Organ Quartet) at Kex
Apparat Organ Quartet are like no other band. Acquiring a towering cult status from their self-titled debut, their second LP Pólýfóníá sees them stepping up their analogue dance music to a frenetic pace and an epic scope - a favourite of Bjórk, there're unmissable live.

Gus Gus are from the Icelandic old-school – they have been going for over 15 years in one form or another, be it as a trip-hop collective or as purveyors of upbeat pop on 4AD. They recently reinvented themselves as a soulful minimal techno outfit on Kompakt, and in recent albums 24/7 and Arabian Horse have moved the goalposts for the genre.

Sin Fang is one guise of Sindri Mar Sigfusson, a heavily tattooed skateboarding fanatic and singer of Icelandic indie-pop urchins Seabear. With Sin Fang he explores more abstract territory via African rhythms, synth washes, lumbering beats and interweaving vocal layers to create a hypnotic mass of sound.

Kippi Kaninus is the solo project of choir singer and sample wizard Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson, creating lush, organic electronica from sounds as odd as an apple being eaten, recorded from inside the apple. He joined Amina for their second album Puzzle, and his solo project has since found a new form with a five-piece band including two phenomenal drummers, one of whom was in Björk’s band The Sugarcubes.

Samaris were one of the standouts at Reykjavík Music Mess festival, and have tongues wagging as a result. They make a brooding, melancholic brew of languid trip-hop, breakbeat and scratching that reminds of Portishead and Lamb. They were one of the winners of the 2011 Kraumur awards for new Icelandic music: previous winners have included Retro Stefson and FM Belfast, so watch this space.

Monday, 30 April 2012


Brainlove Festival 2012 is happy to announce three more acts added to this year’s line-up. Joining the likes of Dad Rocks!, Crushed Beaks, Female Band and Napoleon IIIrd are electronic producer Enjoyed (pictured above), synth-rock-noise-improv duo AK/DK, and Estonian drone/shoegaze band Väljasõit Rohelisse

Enjoyed has currently garnered wide-spread media attention for new track ‘Teeth’, what The Guardian called “music firmly in 2012”, while AK/DK are currently out touring Europe with The Dandy Warhols. Väljasõit Rohelisse were a standout band at Tallinn Music Week, and are brought to the UK in conjunction with the Estonian festival. Says festival organiser John Brainlove: "VR played at the Brainlove night at Tallinn Music Week and blew everyone's minds with their narcotic drones, creepy green lights and smoke. We're really excited to be hosting their first ever UK performance."
We’re also happy to announce media partnerships with DIY magazine, as well as web coverage and live video sessions from The 405 and 7bitArcade. We will also be bringing you a DIY Radio festival special in May.

Along with all this, we will soon be unveiling a series of exclusive interviews with each artist on Snipe as well as an exclusive streamable and downloadable compilation starring all the festival’s line-up of acts.

Tickets are on sale now at priced £12.

Meet The Bands...


"part Balearic, part house, part synth-pop, all vibes" - XLR8R
"Tropical tones to see off the last of winter... absolutely worth a spin" - DUMMY
"head-nodding atmospherics and gorgeous synth work" - Dipped In Dollars"an intelligent appropriation of pop song structures, dabbling in the abstract realm of blips and glitches...
we can report back that his live set-up is just as enthralling."
- The Line Of Best Fit


"What do we know about the mysterious Enjoyed? We know he is Peter Evans-Pritchard, and he describes his music as "joystep". We also know he was named after a Chemical Brothers B-side (not his birth name, that would be ridiculous). Oh, and he's also a musical synesthete, creating bespoke art for each song he records based on colours he sees in the music. So the excellent Teeth, premiered here exclusively, looks like a swirling mass of purple and green or a print for the best tie-dye T-shirt this side of of the early 70s. Musically, however, we're firmly in 2012, specifically the kind of dreamy bedroom-producer feel of Chad Valley and Seams. That's not to say Pritchard buries the song's melodies beneath lo-fi production or allows it to meander. One of Teeth's many charms is that it launches into a soaring chorus about a minute in and builds and builds with layers of vocals and Technicolor synths." - The Guardian



"swathes of echoing noise and passages of hypnotic minimalism, they disappear behind a wall of swirling smoke and emerging as their throbbing, dark repetitions chase it away. Their compositions ebb and flow invitingly, pushing their persuasive, teasing tendrils through the crowd and making the air feel thick with sound." - The Line Of Best Fit

Väljasõit Rohelisse is an Estonian quintet, playing one chord psychedelia with swamp blues, surf and Krautrock tinges, bathed in green light and shrouded in smoke. A 10” EP entitled “Külastus” will be released in the UK on Brainlove this June 4th, in collaboration with Estonian label OneSense.

Väljasõit Rohelisse (trans: ”Roadside picnic”) is the Estonian title for a short novel by Soviet sci-fi writers the Strugatsky brothers. It is read to you by Lauri (tremolos, echos, amateur surf sounds), Martin (cathedral electronics, space shots and prairie licks), Eiko (motoric boom), Kersten (sound magician) and Marit (heartbeats, glittering tambourines and killer claps).



"“Rhythmic and synthy, they’re like a more direct Add N To (X) – you’ll be astounded how much they can achieve from behind their kits. AK/DK completely blew me away."” - SOURCE
"Music you want to lose yourself on the dancefloor to”" - God Is In The TV

AK/DK are Graham Sowerby (drums and synths) and Ed Chivers (drums and synths), currently out touring Europe as support to The Dandy Warhols. Their shows include improvisations. from the chaotic to the beautiful, and the simplicity of the line-up allows them the freedom to create improvised layers of fuzzed-up synths, delays and arpeggios, and thunderous double drums. The sound has been described as a mixture between Battles, Death From Above 1979, Raymond Scott and Neu, moving between progressive/motorik rhythms to beautiful melodic sections, from abstract electronics and raucous energy. They've been seen earned supporting and remixing artists as diverse as Fujiya & Miyagi, Three Trapped Tigers, Damo Suzuki, Napoleon IIIrd, The Woo!Worths, and ManRaySky.

Saturday, 17 March 2012


Buy one here.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

I reviewed a Lambchop show

for Drowned In Sound. It were right good.

Sunday, 12 February 2012