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All this week, WXPN’s World Cafe has explored the music of Iceland in its Sense of Place series, and it culminated today with a video of poppy indie rock collective Of Monsters and Men performing an acoustic version of their song “Silhouettes” in their practice space in a remote location just outside of Reykjavik.
Originally appearing on the Hunger Games soundtrack, the song was performed live for the first time here, and the contemplative acoustic reinvention was a treat to hear. The performance was recorded on the fly by World Cafe producer Kimberly Junod after a red-eye flight and an early morning bike tour on the streets of Reykjavik; I shot video under similar conditions, while XPN digital content manager Rich McKie edited the final product together safely ensconced back here in Philly.
We’re pretty psyched about the final product, and you can check it out below.
This was just one of a series of videos featured this week from the Cafe’s travels in Iceland. After the jump, check out performances by haunting folk ensemble Árstíðir, ambient / classical composer Ólafur Arnalds and bright electronic pop outfit Sin Fang. Continue reading →
All photos by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
With summer in the air, Of Monsters and Men serenaded a sold-out crowd at Festival Pier on Saturday night. Opening the show playing behind a curtain, this Icelandic group showed how well it rocks theatricality. The Monsters turned the drab parking lot of a venue into a sea of men and women swaying, clapping, and singing along to their well crafted pop throughout the evening. And rather than making the set about their smash masterwork “Little Talks,” which the crowd ate up with every sing-along line, Of Monsters and Men followed it with “Lake House” and the spectacle of a colorful confetti explosion. Ending the encore with the ballad “Yellow Light” at first seemed an odd choice, but it sucked the crowd more and more with its mini-epic nature, climaxing with another rain of confetti, sending the seven-piece and a sated crowd off in a haze of dreamlike wonderment.
Icelandic folk-pop outfit Of Monsters and Men return to the Philadelphia area on November 24th for a show at the Tower Theatre. The band’s debut album My Head is an Animal came out earlier this year following the international success of their foot-stomping single “Little Talks”. Presale tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am and are available through Of Monsters and Men’s store. General sale tickets will be available on September 22nd through Ticketmaster. Watch the mythical, cinematic video for “Little Talks” below.
In most indie-rock circles within the U.S., the notion of gaining artistic and commercial success through a “Battle Of The Bands” competition is beyond laughable. Such contests are the realm of leather-clad rock-star wannabes who perform derivative bar-rock, foolishly hoping to catch the attention of a record contract-wielding music executive. Over in Reykjavík, Iceland—home to the annual Músíktilraunir music competition—however, the whole practice is apparently much more respectable. So much so, in fact, that when Of Monsters And Men won the competition in 2010, it actually did lead to a record deal in early 2011, which led to the release of the band’s debut album, My Head Is An Animal. The single off that album, “Little Talks,” then became a No. 1 hit in Iceland, and eventually earned the indie-folk/pop sextet a deal with Universal Music Group stateside. Last month, Of Monsters And Men kicked off its first U.S. tour with a handful of dates at SXSW in Austin, TX; tonight, the band brings its sing-along choruses, bright harmonies, and storytelling lyrics to Theatre Of Living Arts for the second of two sold-out performances. Of Monsters and Men performs with Lay Low at 7 p.m. at Theatre Of Living Arts; tickets to the all-ages show are SOLD OUT.
WXPN’s first Artist To Watch for 2012 is the Icelandic band Of Monsters And Men. They make their Philadelphia debut at the TLA on Tuesday, April 3rd. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 3rd at Noon. Opening the show in Philly is another Iceland band, Lay Low. Below, listen to a song from Lay Low’s charming new album, and “Love Love Love” from Of Monsters And Men’s new EP, Into The Woods.