Iceland Airwaves 2013
Iceland Airwaves started back in 1999 in an airport hangar outside of Reykjavik. Since then, it has grown into one of Europe's premiere music festivals, showcasing the insane amounts of musical talent coming from the land of few people and many sheep. Each year, the festival curates some of the best up-and-coming international talent to supplement the Icelandic artists, and introduces a ton of off-venue shows. The total schedule is 10 pages long, and the whole festival turns Reykjavik into a musical paradise for five nights. It is all incredibly overwhelming, so let's break it down into two parts to try and help you out:

 

The Icelandic Musicians Amiina Daníel Bjarnason FM Belfast For a Minor Reflection Ghostigital Hermigervill múm Samaris Sin Fang Sóley
The International Musicians Anna von Hausswolff (Sweden) Electric Eye (Norway) Fucked Up (Canada) Goat (Sweden) Jagwar Ma (Australia) Kithkin (United States) Kraftwerk (Germany) Royal Canoe (Canada) Stealing Sheep (United Kingdom) Yo La Tengo (United States)

The Icelandic Musicians

For a country of under 350,000 people, Icelanders sure love their music, enough so that just about everyone and anyone forms a band -- or two. The Iceland Airwaves Festival showcases this proud musical tradition perfectly, and many of the Icelandic bands hop on board in support, sometimes playing over five times throughout the festival. Iceland isn't all Sigur Ros, Bjork and Of Monsters and Men. There is a lot of fantastic music coming from the island, and here are some bands to check out, many of which we have covered in the past. (Those who would like a more intimate understanding of the country's musical climate are encouraged to read our essay, The Real Icelandic Music Scene: Interviews, which include excusive mixtape downloads and Icelandic musician interviews, or explore all of our articles related to Iceland).

Amiina

Gamla Bíó - Saturday @ 22:00 Amiina are well-known for recording and touring with Sigur Rós; any of those strings you hear underneath Jonsi’s howl: that is Amiina. The band combines a contemporary classical style with a minimalist’s touch, ambient littered throughout.

 

Daníel Bjarnason

Harpa Kaldalón - Friday @ 23:20 Daníel Bjarnason is an Icelandic composer of the highest caliber, who has had works commissioned and debuted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His pieces are emotive, complex and riveting. That should be no different in a live scenario.
In July of 2011, Frank Carter, the snarling, cocky, explosive front man of the UK-based hardcore band Gallows left the band over creative differences, and it seemed like the band was done for. After the band pulled what the Guardian called one of the great rock n’ roll swindles, it seemed that the face of all that rage would be impossible to replace. The band would tap ex-Alexisonfire screamer Wade MacNeil as the new tattooed face of a band that was seemingly the most important hardcore happening of the past decade. Early reviews were a bit mixed on Gallows' new material and touring performances. It wasn't that MacNeil wasn't a good fit for the band necessarily, but Gallows previous material was very British, and somehow hearing a Canadian scream, "London is the reason," just didn't resonate as hard. SEE FULL REVIEW

 

MusicfestNW does one of the better jobs in the festival circuit of scheduling the heavy bands. Reason being that MusicfestNW, unlike most festivals, doesn’t take place in one central location. Rather, it is scattered amongst the various venues throughout Portland, Oregon. And although normally walls might seem like a constricting measure in life, the walls of the venue provide a safe haven for the volume to hit extreme levels, the vocals to shriek instead of harmonize, the double bass to reach red-lining beats per minute and the guitar distortion to be devastatingly heavy. Aural Devastation is a recurring column about heavy music.

 

Swans

Seeing Swans is an emotional experience and a tough one to make it through, at that. Charging off the brilliance of Michael Gira and company's epic new release, The Seer, Portland was laid to waste by the heaviness that is Gira’s project. Gira is well-known throughout the live circuit for his intensity, and although he is no longer as confrontational as he was in the early days, his intensity on stage translates immediately and effortlessly to Swans live show. It is a slog that is based on repetitive, almost locomotive-like mashes of noise and distortion. Over it all, Gira can be seen yelling at his band, demanding more energy and channeling some sort of weird musical rage. With every heavy stomp and grimace, one felt Gira’s pain as if it were one's own. There were a few souls in the Hawthorne Theatre without earplugs. They must have ignored the decibel warning on the front door. Not a smart idea. The Seer is a 2-CD record that saw an August 28th release. It is the result of the band's getting back together in 2010, after a 14-year hiatus.

 

What some of us might call the Pacific Northwest's best music festival -- and maybe the next and more relaxed SXSW -- is Musicfest NW, a multi-day spread across Portland's best venues. Featuring diverse and exceptional booking, this year's picks have been written by three writers, each with unique tastes, to do the festival justice.

 

Hot Snakes

Wednesday, 11:00pm @ Roseland Theatre Relatively newly reformed band Hot Snakes saddened the post-hardcore world (and beyond) when they exited the scene after the release of their last record, Audit In Progress. Catch them while you can. - VIVIAN HUA

 

See all Previews & Picks For WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

 

Purity Ring

Thursday, 11:00pm @ Berbati's Canadian electronic duo Purity Ring released a fantastic debut album called "Shrines" on 4AD this summer. Though full of mystical electronic layers, the duo's music has a very fresh and pristine sound apt for their band name. Megan James' tender voice sparkles among a bright and absorbing waterfall of percussive sounds and beats. - KARLA HERNANDEZ

 

See all Previews & Picks For THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

 

Music & Movement in Music Video

Friday, 6:30pm @ Holocene This panel will explore how dance and movement intersect with modern music videos. Select music videos will be screened, followed by an open community dialogue with associated dancers, directors, and musicians. Topics covered may include differences in dance styles among different musical genres, trends of modern dance in contemporary music video, and spontaneity versus choreography in the creative process. A related brochure, featuring Q&A with directors and musicians, will be distributed with further information about the participants and videos screened. SEE ALSO: MOTION & MOVEMENT IN MUSIC VIDEOS EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT

 

Black Mountain

Friday, 11:30pm @ Doug Fir Black Mountain are one of the best psych-rock bands out there because no matter how far out the songs get into space, the band always keeps your feet grounded onto Earth. - PETER WOODBURN

 

 

See all Previews & Picks For FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

 

Moonface

Saturday, 12:00am @ Dour Fir Lounge The lesser of Spencer Krug’s numerous projects, Moonface have quietly put out three impressive albums over the course of the past few years. It’s less Wolf Parade and more Sunset Rubdown, if you’re familiar with Krug’s other work, but it also brandishes its own dark, loud mystique. This year’s With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery showcases the groups imaginative and unique song writing skills, a heavy and heady album that deserves praise. With all the rotating, busy pieces in the band it’s worth catching Moonface when you can, as they might not ever come around again. - ERIK BURG

 

See all Previews & Picks For SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

 

A staff-compiled list of some of our favorite songs from the year 2011, in no particular order or with allegiance to any particular style....

A spectrum of musical madness that represents our tastes from large to small, mainstream to obscure, spaced out to reasonable. There's no way in bloody hell you'll love every release on this list unless you have a million personalities living in your puny body, but chances are great that you'll...

Capitol Hill's modest little block party has now turned into a multi-stage, all-weekend extravaganza that draws in a wide selection of local and international acts. With all of these acts to potentially enjoy, who should you actually withstand the push and pull of the crowd to see? Let us tell...

Ceremony are a hard band to lump into a simple genre. The quartet is not quite just straight hardcore, although vocalist Ross Farrar's barking style suggests it; they aren't just straight punk rock, although the three chord riffs suggest that as well. This frenzied balance between the two genres is...