Icelandic rock bands for $100, please, Alex. And the answer is: The newest Reykjavík band that's set to blow up. If you answered Sigur Rós, it's someone else's turn; that was last year's model. But if you replied, "Who is Singapore Sling?" get ready for the Daily Double.
The June release of the group's American debut, The Curse of Singapore Sling, saw the sextet win acclaim in The New York Times and Rolling Stone. Add appearances at this year's CMJ fest and SXSW and you see these Nordic kids starting to break free of the, well, icy grip of their wintry homeland.
Their reverb-saturated three-guitar lineup pushes a thumping drone of post-punk turbulence that's dipped with traces of psychedelia, similar to early Flaming Lips melded with Yo La Tengo. While the disc includes lighter, upbeat folk-pop on cuts like "Summer Garden," it's the bands Suicide, Velvet Underground and Jesus and Mary Chain influences that are most often mentioned in reviews. "That's all correct, plus I really like rockabilly and '60s garage stuff," says Henrik Bjornsson, the Sling's songwriter-guitarist-vocalist, from a tour stop in New York City. "A lot of our stuff is recorded on a live foundation, and I overdub it; we recorded it on tape it's more layered than garage bands," he continues.
Bjornsson doesn't believe the myth that Iceland's weird landscape explains that tiny country's wealth of buzz bands. At least when it comes to Singapore Sling "A lot of bands talk a lot about landscaping inspiring part of their music; I don't think that's really the case with us. Our only influences are other bands."
Live, the monotone-voiced Bjornsson says to expect "hopefully a lot of noise, [and] no green lights. We don't like green lights, we like red lights."
Clearly, Bjornsson must not have spent much time in downtown Houston lately.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.