Between Mountains: “But I know I don’t have to be in love to wanna meet you” – Live at Iceland Airwaves

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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I first saw Between Mountains at Iceland Airwaves 2017, just 6 months after they won Músíktilraunir, the annual Icelandic “Battle of the Bands,” and back then it was a very different band. At that time they were a duo — Katla Vigdís Vernharðsdóttir and and Ásrós Helga Guðmundsdóttir — and their name represented the fact that were from different fjords (in Westfjords region of Iceland) located “between mountains.” They harmonized beautifully together and incorporated elements of keyboard, xylophone, and accordion into their songs with a proficiency way beyond their years. Fast forward another 2 years and they are now a 4 piece live: Katla (the muse of Between Mountains) on vocals/keys, her father Vernharður Jósefsson on bass, her brother Valgeir Skorri Vernharðsson on drums (also drummer for Mammut and drum tech for Sigur Ros), and Salóme Katrín Magnúsdóttir on backing vocals/keys. While I enjoyed the duo before, I must say that I prefer the larger band much more and appreciate the clever, catchy percussion that Valgeir brings with his extensive experience on drums. The talent within this family is enormous (Katla and Valgeir’s brother is the talented front man of Rythmatik), and has me imagining how their spurious moments of “playing around the house” has led to the masterpieces we hear now. Please do yourself a favor and listen to their debut album, ‘Between Mountains’ (released on Nov 1 and produced by Arnar Guðjónsson of Warmland), because it’s AMAZING and chock-full of hits: ‘Little Lies,’ ‘I Don’t Want to be in Love,’ ‘What Breaks Me,’ and ‘Synthalag.’ ‘Little Lies’ is an incredibly beautiful track with lyrics that I’m sure we can all relate to (“My mind will fall apart again, now it’s only a matter of when, it rise up as I go down.. and there I stay, I reach for you, meet me halfway… I wonder if I’ll be the same, and how I will keep myself sane, confine my thoughts, tie every note… I told you a lie when I told you I’m fine”) and I’m so impressed that they lyrics were written by someone only 18 yrs of age. The same goes for the song, ‘I Don’t Want to be in Love,’ which has a style reminiscent of Sharon Van Etten (whom I absolutely adore). : “It’s been 3 weeks since we’ve first met and I thought I hadn’t screwed up yet. I haven’t felt this way for someone in almost a year. I missed it when it was gone but I’m scared that it’s here. Cause I’m not very good at this and I never show my cards. I am too afraid of it, I won’t let my guards. But I know I don’t have to be in love to wanna meet you.” WOW. I know we can ALL relate to this one even though we’d rather not admit it: Poignant, vulnerable thoughts laced with infectious, upbeat melodies and gorgeous harmonies. ‘What Breaks Me’ is another stunner, and you’re bound to sing along to the catchy chorus (“It’s what I can hold that makes me, what I’ve been told what breaks me”) that Katla and Salóme so intricately deliver with staggering vocals that echo one another like a call-and-response.  Still, the song that I feel STOLE THE SPOTLIGHT at The Hard Rock Cafe was, ‘Into The Dark’ (nominated for “Video of the Year” at the Icelandic music awards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp4AHG8OkRg), which Katla said she wrote when she was only 14 yrs old. UNBELIEVABLE. This one starts out soft but picks up on speed and intensity, and you can feel your adrenaline pumping as you anticipate the crescendo of the cryptic chorus: “It says you’re deeper in the sea.. I feel you’re face.. I see your face.” The harmonies in this one are gorgeous, and I made sure to mention that when a famous writer for Rolling Stone magazine was showering her with compliments later that night. Another song that stole the spotlight and had me all teary-eyed and emotional was Synthalag,’: “the colors in your eyes tell me stories, about what should have been and why I ran, the buttons your coat say ‘you’r sorry,’ cause they can hear and no one else can, and when I look up to the sky, I suddenly feel alive. The lights are dancing with the stars. And we just sit and watch.” OUTSTANDING VOCALS that will take your breathe away and transport you to a place under the arctic sky, looking up at the stars “together” with someone you love.  Between Mountains are certainly rising out above the rest and getting the visibility they deserve. I sure hope to see them in the states next year! ❤

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Hatari: “Dance of corruption, Trance of consumption, Greed and extravagance, Where do we go now?” – Live at Iceland Airwaves

 Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

Hatari’s show at The Reykjavik Art museum (11/8/19) this year was PURE PERFECTION, and one of the most phenomenal productions I have witnessed at Iceland Airwaves thus far. It has been incredibly eye-opening to watch how this band had evolved from when I first saw them at Kaffibarinn in 2017 (see review here), and I am constantly amazed at their efforts and execution in redefining the impossible. Known for their drive to defeat capitalism, Hatari started off their show with visual depictions (iPhone, computers, etc.) of how digital technology is trying is consume our thoughts and control our minds to perceive a reality that is not healthy. They also ended the show with this same theme, bringing us back full circle after unleashing our disgust for the “rampant hypocrisy that exists in this world.” Meticulously dressed in intricate, ornate BDSM attire, this transfixing trio — Klemens Hannigan (vocals), Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson (vocals), and Einar Stéfansson (drums, also the guitarist for the amazing band Vok!) — had our eyes locked on their every move. I was mad impressed by the visuals that the glow-in-the-dark whips dangling from Matthias’ wrists made as he swung them around frivolously while dancing. They were a perfect pairing to the glow-in-the-dark leather strap suits worn by the beautiful, alluring female dancers Sólbjört Sigurðardóttir and Ástrós Guðjónsdóttir who cranked up heated up even more. They also had surprise guest appearances by a rapper and a singer (wish I knew their names) that had us all hot and bothered. And if that wasn’t enough to raise our body temperatures many degrees higher, the EXPLOSIVE PRISM OF FIREWORKS shooting up from the front of the stage SURE WAS. I still recall my friend Erika and I gasping at that exact same moment as we marveled at this SIGHT OF ALL SIGHTS. What I find most compelling about Hatari is their ability to keep a straight poker face during this entire epic production. It’s their discerning dichotomies – their ability keep a straight poker face when delivering devilish, primal screams and disturbing, suicide lyrics to happy techno beats – that keeps us coming back for more. They exude a mystery and allure that is truly magnetic, and it’s this fascinating paradox that we can get enough of. Almost everyone around me knew all of the lyrics for ‘Spillingardans,’ ‘X,’ ‘Hatrið mun sigra,’ and ‘Biðröð Mistaka,’ just to name a few. After earning themselves Reykjavik’s Grapevine‘s “Best Live Band” pick of 2016 and 2017, and most recently a highly competitive top 10 spot in the 2019 Eurovision contest, Hatari’s fans are growing astronomically, and on a global scale. It’s only perfect timing then that Hatari is gearing up for a ‘Europe Will Crumble’ tour of 18 European cities in 2020. This is only the tip of the iceberg for these Icelandic renegades. Just you wait and see. See below for full videos of the show from my Facebook page.

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Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf 

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

LONG OVERDUE PLAYLIST (‘Lone Wolf’) featuring recent tracks from artists I either saw within the last year or ones that have released new music:

1) Lone Wolf – Georgi Kay
2) Caves – Gregory Alan Isakov
3) Bad Side – Kat Meoz
4) One More Thrill – Kolars
5) Hold on To – Liv Slingerland
6) Night Owl – Magic Bronson
7) Alone in Here – Easyfriend
8) Why So Serious – Alice Merton
9) Thingamajig – Miya Folick
10) Give Yourself a Try – The 1975
11) Fall Apart – Maps & Atlases
12) I Don’t Believe in the Sun – Grey Goon, Lauren Ruth Ward
13) Maggot – Lintronix
14) Little Black Death – Meg Meyers
15) Ventura – City of the Sun
16) Something’s Missing – Geographer
17) Heavy – VAVA
18) Atlas Please – Gengahr
19) Move – Milo Green
20) wow – Travis is a Tourist
21) Autopilot – Vok
22) Younger Still – Sean Fleming
23) God Complex – Georgi Kay
24) Hard of Hearing – Radical Face
25) I Call Bullshit – Highasakite
26) Keeper – Reignwolf
27) Shot Down – Emma Cole
28) Morning Light – Wilderado
29) Straight – Annabelle Lee
30) I’m Dangerous – Zachary Kibbee
31) Over – Doe Paoro
32) City Looks Pretty – Courtney Barnett
33) Soft Spoken – Naia Izumi
34) Bad Twin – SLUGS
35) Give a Little – Maggie Rogers
36) Hiding Bottles – Bear’s Den
37) Keep Lying – Donna Missel
38) The Jacket – Henry Jamison
39) Meet Me in the Morning – The Colour Coast
40) State Lines – Novo Amor
41) Seventeen – Sharon Van Etten
42) Dancing at the Blue Lagoon – Cayucas
43) Girls On T.V. – Tashaki Miyaki
44) Holding On – Jenn Champion
45) Ain’t No Grave – Zach Winters
46) Emeralds – Kingsburg
47) When Am I Gonna Lose You – Local Natives
48) Stop Talking – Miya Folick
49) Forest – Giungla
50) Black Halo – Black Pistol Fire

Queen of Failureland

Queen of Failureland

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

LONG OVERDUE PLAYLIST (‘Queen of Failureland’) featuring recent tracks from artists I either saw within the last year or ones that have released new music:

  • Queen of Failureland – Birthh
  • Ringing Bell – Maps & Atlases
  • Sunlit Juice – Henry Jamison
  • Movin On – GIVERS
  • Desire – Meg Meyers
  • VAVA – The Other Side
  • Loading Zone – Kurt Vile
  • Girls Go Wild – LP
  • Keep Up – Future Feats
  • Hell No – SLUGS
  • Gems – The Lagoons
  • If Love’s a Gun, I’m Better Off Dead – Veronica Bianqui
  • Still Let You Down – Day Wave
  • Rebel Babe – Lucy & La Mer
  • The Taste – Easyfriend
  • The Spot – Your Smith
  • Casanova – Rayland Baxter
  • Night & Day – Vok
  • Brothers – City of the Sun
  • The Tide – La Force
  • The Fear – Maps & Atlases
  • Guilty Pleasures – Georgi Kay
  • The Way that it Hurts – Dan Sadin
  • No Roots – Alice Merton
  • Electrify – Magic Bronson
  • Summer – WILD
  • Glow Worms – Sean Fleming
  • This Body – Baum
  • Learn – Jack Cullen
  • Rise Up Wise Up Eyes – IBEYI
  • Mexico – Highasakite
  • New Day Coming – Matt Corby
  • Treading Water – Little Monarch
  • The New Great Depression – The Moth & The Flame
  • Leave the Party – Miya Folick
  • Love is Wasted in the Dark – Geographer
  • Twenty-Five – Rett Madison
  • Missed Connection – The Head and the Heart
  • Erase You – Vok
  • Wake Up – Run River North
  • It Feels Electric – Zachary Kibbee
  • The Louder I Call, The Faster it Runs – Wye Oak
  • In the Morning.! – Andrew St James
  • Did I Offend You? – Lauren Ruth Ward
  • Chlorine – Birthh
  • Margarita – The Modern Strangers
  • I Dreamt We Spoke Again – Death Cab for Cutie
  • Heart Home – The Colour Coast
  • The Overpass – The Soft White Sixties
  • Young at Heart – Milo Green

Eric Long: “So hold onto the best, and let go of the rest, cause in the morning, them sweet things might be gone” – Live at Sofar Sounds in SF (Aug 12, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Grateful to have discovered the massively talented singer/songwriter Eric Long at High Sierra music fest this year, and even more grateful to have caught him at an intimate Sofar Sounds show in SF earlier this month. I found myself instantly memorized by his rich, raspy vocals and his blending of folk, Americana, and blues. He stands out as one of the few SF Bay area musicians playing a finger-style bottleneck slide guitar that draws strong similarities to Keb Mo, Taj Mahal, and Charlie Parr. SUCH A TREAT. Songs like ‘Dance with Me,’ ‘Hey Now Baby,’ ‘Leaving,’ ‘Maraschino Cherries,’ and ‘Pennsylvania on My Mind’ had me hooked hard, and I found myself playing his 2018 album, ‘A Long Way From Home,’ during my entire 10 hr drive back to LA the next day. ‘Pennsylvania on My Mind’ especially hit home, considering that I too moved from Pennsylvania to California over a decade ago and had to endure the mixed emotions of uprooting to a new coast in search of new adventure and new possibilities. ‘Hey Now Baby’ is also a beautiful track for the lovers, with lyrics that certainly melt the heart: “Hey now baby.. while your dreaming gets my heartbeat, you are stealing my breath away.” If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be ‘Maraschino Cherries,’ for the melody and beautiful violin, as well as the pensive lyrics that I think we can all relate too: “Still don’t know where I’m going, guess it’s time to move along, don’t know where I’m headed there’s just no where to know. It’s so easy to say, little harder to do, sometimes it’s the sweetest things that you can’t hold on to …Take alot of man to know what he’s after, a better man let it walk away.. What’s a good man to do without a women by his side… Sometimes it’s the sweetest things that fade away before too long. So hold onto the best, and let go of the rest, cause in the morning, them sweet things might be gone.” Eric Long’s music a sweet thing that I certainly want to hold on to, and I hope he will be playing for a long, long time. ❤

 

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Trousdale: “Just when you think you know someone, Lord knows you ain’t got a clue” – Live at Club Tee Gee (June 16, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

“Trous be told,” Trousdale will take your breath away with their heartfelt folk and striking harmonies. Reminiscent of powerhouse sister trios like The Staves, Joseph, and Baskery, the flawless execution of Trousdale’s harmonies will make you think that this talented trio of Georgia Greene, Loren Cole, and Quinn D’Andrea are related in some way. Perhaps it was their 4 year stent together at USC that built this strong sisterhood. Although I only made it to see the last few songs in their set (Ain’t Got a Clue, Wanna Love, and Love), it was enough to hook me in. I am very excited to see them again on Aug 16 at Echo Park Rising and Aug 22 at The Hotel Cafe. Get these dates marked on your calendars, cause they will definitely leave your feeling happy-hearted. Ain’t that the trouse! ☺️

”Ain’t Got a Clue’

‘Wanna Love’

‘Love’

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Aging Actress: “Sometimes pulling you down to me, Feels like lassoing the moon” -Live at Club Tee Gee in LA (June 15, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I am STILL IN AWE of the ABSOLUTE MAGIC that I witnessed last Sunday night at the debut performance of Aging Actress, a new project curated by the phenomenal Lauren Ruth Ward and Chris Hess (of SWIMM). Both Lauren and Chris are incredibly impressive musicians on their own, but when paired up there is a chemistry that is undeniably explosive. Their vocal harmonies will slay you silly and leave you dumbfounded like “a deer in headlights.” THIS is what I believe is going to fill stadiums with a sea of devoted fans. I feel so damn lucky to have been one of the first with stars in my eyes from this divine duo. My favorite tracks were ‘Sing Pretty‘ (“In LA, I don’t believe a word that they say, I trust they’ll give me fun until the break of day”) and ‘Lassoing the Moon’ (“Sometimes pulling you down to me, Feels like lassoing the moon”, #1 and #3 (below). Chris and Lauren also sang stunning versions of Lauren’s ‘Did I Offend You’ and Chris’ ‘Speak Politely,’ #5 and #4. These beautiful vocals were beautifully backers by Hany’s keys and John’s Sax. Do yourself and favor and head to Tee Gee’s this Sunday, 6/23 if you’d like stars in your eyes too. Be sure to grab a coat, cause you’re bound to be lathered in chills. 🤩

As an added bonus, you’ll receive a handcrafted, limited edition “zine,” handcrafted by the one and only Lauren Ruth Ward, containing original handwritten lyrics by Lauren and Chris. I luckily scooped up #4 of the limited supply!

***

‘Sing Pretty’

Living in LA makes writing about your feelings feel cliché,

I know I won’t stop trying to relate,

All the things we can’t escape, With words,

Try to sing pretty, try to say something you haven’t heard”

In LA, I don’t believe a word that they say,

I trust they’ll give me fun until the break of day.”

‘The Darkest Jingle’

‘Lassoing the Moon Again’

Our love is a like a window with a view,

That’s never opened for the weather make it real for you

..

I’m so proud of us, always rolling your eyes at me,

For having stars in mine at you,

Sometimes pulling you down to me, Feels like lassoing the moon.”

‘Speak Politely’ (SWIMM song)

‘Did I Offend You’ (LRW song)

‘Sepia’

‘Aging Actress’

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