The semi-finalists for the 2011 Nordic Music Prize have been revealed:
Sweden: Anna Ternheim - The night visitor Jonathan Johansson - Klagomuren Loney Dear - Hall music The Field - Looping state of mind Mattias Alkberg - Anarkist Lykke Li - Wounded rhymes Anna Järvinen - Anna själv tredje Deportees - Islands & shores Veronica Maggio - Satan i gatan Goran Kajfes - X/Y
Denmark: Larsen & Furious Jane - Dolly Michael Møller - A Month of Unrequited Love Oh Land - Oh Land Mikael Simpson - Noget Laant, Noget Blaat The Late Great Fitzcarraldos - The Late Great Fitzcarraldos Malk De Koijn - Toback To The Fromtime Iceage - New Brigade Thulebasen - Gate 5 When Saints Go Machine - Konkylie Hymns From Nineveh - Hymns From Nineveh
Finland: Von Hertzen Brothers - Stars Aligned Röyhkä & Mattila - Kaksi lensi tuulen mukaan 22-Pistepirkko - Lime Green Delorean French Films - Imaginary Future Siinai - Olympic Games Rubik - Solar Regina - Soita mulle Michael Monroe - Sensory Overdrive Mirel Wagner - Mirel Wagner Chisu - Kun valaistun
Iceland: Sóley - We Sink Lay Low - Brostinn strengur Ham - Svik, harmur og dauði Sin Fang - Summer Echoes ADHD - ADHD2 FM Belfast - Don’t Want To Sleep Gus Gus - Arabian Horse Mugison - Haglél Björk - Biophilia Apparat Organ Quartet - Pólýfónía
Norway: Razika - Program ’91 Lars Vaular - Du betyr meg Jonas Alaska - Jonas Alaska Team Me - To The Treetops! Ane Brun - It All Starts With One Stein Torleif Bjella - Vonde Visu 120 Days - 120 Days II Montée - Renditions Of You John Olav Nilsen og Gjengen - Det nærmeste du kommer Martin Hagfors - I like you
This list will eventually be culled down to a final 12 on December 1 before the winner is crowned on February 16.
The 4th volume of Iceland Music Export's "Made in Iceland" compilation series is out and, as always, it features a wide selection of artists including a few you may know (FM Belfast, Sin Fang, Ólöf Arnalds, Rökkurró, etc.) plus at least a couple you may not. All have released albums recently and are touring at home and abroad and, who knows? Maybe even a few will surprise you by not conforming to your usual expectations of Icelandic music -- I can tell you that this Dikta track certainly defies my prejudices. No ambient soundscapes, no other-worldly vocal swoops, no precious tweeness -- just straight-up solid, friendly pop/rock. Nothing wrong with that at all.
For more info, check out the comp's official microsite where they have the whole thing available for streaming: http://www.icelandmusic.is/Media/Made-in-Iceland-4/
Icelandic act FM Belfast have signed to for the release of their new album "Don't want to sleep", due out in June. The first single "Underwear" is already available digitally and will be released as a 7" on March 25.
FM Belfast's debut full-length "How to make friends" is a breathless up-yours to any expectation of the (near) cliché ethereal Icelandic sound. Concerning themselves, not with glacially moving soundscapes, but with pulsating dance floors, the Reykjavík quartet stomp though eleven tracks with a dedication to disco-fueled outlandish fun that's likely to make Scissor Sisters jealous. In the case of tracks such as "Par avion", "Underwear", and "VHS", their horn and drum machine-backed high-octane determination goes down with a delicious hook and subversive wink.
However, FM Belfast refuses to simply rest on their outsider status -- piling on layer after layer off-kilter synth, pushing askew melodies a bit further off-center. By album mid-point, their more-is-more approach to quirk grows wearing, dragging down what could undoubtedly have been classic nü-disco cuts. Instead of answering our burning questions -- namely, does the world really need another cover of Technotronic's "Pump"? -- tracks "Synthia" and "President" close out the album with shouting, odd layers, and the world's most awkward rap. Probably not the best way to make friends, but I'm willing to give this relationship a second try if you are. - Laura Studarus