Girl in Red, Boy Azooga, Between Mountains and more play at The Current Day Party during Iceland Airwaves

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iceland bands to know grid 8 artists
Bands to watch at Iceland Airwaves 2019. Clockwise from top left: Girl in Red, Penelope Isles, JFDR, Graveyard Club, Boy Azooga, Pip Blom, Hachiku, Between Mountains (Courtesy the artists)

For the third year, The Current is heading to Reykjavik for the Iceland Airwaves Festival to bring you four packed days of music coverage. We'll be hanging out with up-and-coming artists from around the world and bringing you interviews, photos, and videos from the festival. But before we pack our bags, here are eight bands you need to know ahead of this year's festival; they will be playing our Day Party at Hressingarskalinn on Friday and Saturday, November 8 and 9.

Between Mountains

In just two years, Westfjords's Between Mountains have become one of Iceland's fastest rising new groups -- mere weeks after Katla Vigdis and Asros Helga formed the band in 2017, they won the Icelandic battle of the bands competition Musiktilraunir at the ages of 16 and 14, and have since been recognized by Rolling Stone, KEXP, and the Northern Wave Film Festival. On November 1 Between Mountains released their debut album, which marked a transition for the band as Helga left the group to pursue other projects. Now, multi-instrumentalist Vigdis is carrying on Between Mountains' lush pop as a solo project.

Between Mountains video and set list

Hachiku

Anika Ostendorf spent her childhood traveling; the musician and producer was born in Detroit, grew up in a small German village, and has now settled in Melbourne, Australia. Despite years on the road, Ostendorf creates a sense of home for herself in the dreamy but avant-garde bedroom pop of Hachiku. In 2017, Hachiku released a self-titled debut album on Courtney Barnett and Jen Cloher's label Milk! Records. Since then, Hachiku has become a four-piece band and in 2018 released the single "Murray's Lullaby," which mixes whispery vocals, melancholy synthesizer and playful bell tones with a playful whimsy.

Hachiku video and set list

JFDR

Iceland's Jofrieur Akadottir may only be 22, but the artist has already made her name known in the country's music scene. She even captured the attention of Icelandic icon Bjork, who named Akadottir as an influence in an interview with the Guardian. Akadottir played indie folk with her twin sister in the duo Pascal Pinon, performed in the electronic duo Samaris, and joined the musical collective GANGLY all before starting her own solo project, JFDR. In JFDR, Akadottir utilizes her experience as a multi-instrumentalist to create expansive and ambient soundscapes.

JFDR video and set list

Boy Azooga

Boy Azooga is a four-piece band from Cardiff, Wales that fuses together musical influences new and old into a swirling blend of synth pop, psychedelic rock, funk, and electronica. Front-person Davey Newington grew up in a musical family -- his grandfather played drums for the Royal Marines and his parents met playing in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Boy Azooga's debut album 1,2 Kung Fu! shows off the bands plethora of influences (which range from the Beach boys to Caribou to Black Sabbath), as well as their penchant for writing catchy hooks and heavy riffs.

Boy Azooga video and set list

Graveyard Club

Minneapolis quartet Graveyard Club share a love of nostalgia -- as well as Ray Bradbury's sci-fi stories and Ryan Gosling's band Dead Man's Bones. Graveyard Club blend the lilting vocals of '50s crooners with '80s synth pop, adding a sunny touch to New Wave's melancholy. In June, the band released their third full-length album, Goodnight Paradise, and visited The Current studio to talk with Andrea Swensson about collaborating with producer Andy Thompson to write personal songs inspired by "weird haunted oldies."

Graveyard Club video and set list

Pip Blom

Amsterdam rockers Pip Blom are on the rise; just this year, the band released their debut album Boat, played Glastonbury Festival, and have been featured in Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and NME. The band is named after guitarist/vocalist Pip Blom, who plays in the band alongside her brother Tender Blom, bassist Darek Mercks, and drummer Gini Cameron. The band writes guitar-centered lo-fi rock inspired by '90s and 2000's rock icons like the Breeders, whom Pip Blom toured with in 2018.

Pip Blom video and set list

Girl In Red

Marie Ulven began writing songs from her bedroom in Norway in 2017, and now after releasing a collection of singles and EP's, the 20-year-old singer-songwriter is still adamant on making music on her own terms. Every song that Ulven has released as Girl In Red has been self-written, self-produced, and self-released. Her songs delve into anxious thoughts, unrequited love, and just needing alone time, and Ulven packages these anxious sentiments into sugary pop.

Girl in Red video and set list

Penelope Isles

Penelope Isles's 2019 debut album Until The Tide Creeps In paints a sunny optimism over the growing pains that come with getting older. The album finds hope in the heartache of saying goodbye first loves -- and not just romantic partners -- siblings Lily and Jack Wolter left their home of Isle of Man to move to Brighton and join forces with bandmates Becky Redford and Jack Sowton. Penelope Isles blend catchy melodies with jangly guitars to create their own fuzzy brand of indie pop.

Penelope Isles video and set list

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