Sunday, July 29, 2012

OFVITARNIR - "Stephen Hawking/Steven Tyler" - CD - 2011

   Last night, I went to see a few films at The Roxie that were loosely based on post-punk. The last movie they showed was a surprise screening of "Rock In Reykjavik", which is a all-encompassing overview of the scene in Iceland circa 1980 or so. It was so cool and sort of alien to see this scene flourishing in the early 80's while still being so remote and cut off from the much of the punk world. My only complaint is that there was no indication of the band names anywhere in the film during their performances. I know for a fact that I witnessed a teenage Bjork singing beautifully while fronting her band TAPPI TIKARRASS, but who were those prepubescent mohawked kids that could barely play their instruments and waxed so poetically about huffing gas and glue? Who was that band all cramped together playing power-pop in a basement that was so cold that they were wearing parkas and you could see their breath? Who was that fucking group that had nausea inducing strobe lights blasting the audience as they cut the heads off of live chickens and threw their carcasses into the crowd?! I don't know! What I do know is that it was a pretty cool time capsule to watch and it was almost quaint how the punks politely sat in their seats and raised their fists while a punk band played. It all felt so distant, so remote and like a history I will never truly know.
   Do you know how hard it is to press a record in Iceland? Well, first off, you can't get it pressed in the country because there are no pressing plants, so you have to ship it out to England or the US or somewhere else. You also have to fill out some annoying customs forms and then pay an exhorbitant amount of money on postage. So much money, in fact, that the postage costs more than actually pressing the record. By the time you finally get the record, you have to charge your friends and fans an outrageous amount of money to buy the thing. So, out of necessity, Icelandic bands still put out a fair amount of CD's, CD-R's and cassette tapes, which brings us to OFVITARNIR.
    OFVITARNIR is a young indie-punk band out of Reykjavik that plays mid-tempo, somewhat downcast melodic rock and features some of the nicest people I could ever hope to meet from that town. They draw inspiration from American indie-punk, Danish garage rock and their own long history of Icelandic punk. One of my favorite songs on here is "O O O O", a melodic, laid-back garage rock song with a distant backing vocal that reminds me of PJ BONNEMAN in the best way. Members of this band also run a label out of Reykjavik called PBP (I'm not even gonna attempt to actually spell the name on this US keyboard) that puts out cassettes and CD's by local bands. They also set up punk shows and keep up the struggle to find viable all-ages venues in their town. If you're ever in Iceland, be sure to hit them up for the good record store and cheap pizza. Here is a link to their record label.


  I just wanted to add that I visited Reykjavik in May and stayed with 2/3's of this band in their small apartment with their nice cats. That country, while I saw a small fraction of it, is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life. Expensive, but insanely beautiful. I highly recommend going to visit if you ever get a chance.
...and no, I didn't see Bjork.

8 comments:

ryan rose said...

Rokk í Reykjavík is today considered as one of the most important documentaries about the Icelandic music culture and it included several important bands. For instance, Tappi Tíkarrass, a punk/pop band led by vocalist Björk Guðmundsdóttir contributed with two of their works: “Hrollur” and “Dúkkulísur”. The New Wave band Þeyr, today considered as one of the legendary Iceland bands of the early eighties, is featured here with their songs “Rúdolf” and “Killer Boogie”.

It is also worth of mentioning, the presence of Einar Örn Benediktsson’s punk group Purrkur Pillnikk, which appeared with two tracks: “Ovænt” and “Gluggagægir”.

Other important artists featured here are Bubbi Morthens with his band Egó, Fræbbblarnir, Grýlurnar, and the renowned Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson with his chanting poem “Rímur”, among others.

Harvester said...

Yes, I read the Wikipedia page too...but what I'm saying is that it would gave been helpful to display the band names while said band was onscreen.

gunsofbrages said...

This blog is awesome! First i read about ADD/C and now Ofvitarnir! Goes to show that there is still an underground community live and kicking in the age of internet... Just wanted to add The Deathmetal Supersquad to your Icelandic piece.Their EP "Dead Zeppelin" is also available for download from PBP and it is great...

Harvester said...

Great! I'm very glad you're enjoying it. I'll check out that other stuff on the PBP page.

ryan rose said...

understandable. great blog buy the way.

Fannar said...

This is a pretty great blog you have here. I've been downloading a lot of tapes from here today. A lot of cool stuff.

A few things concerning Rock In Reykjavk:

I think the idea of Rock In Reykjavik was to document the feel of the music scene rather than focus on the artists themselves and not having the names of the artists, I think, helps the movie focus.

None the less, it can be frustrating not being able to look up the bands or find their records. So here's a little info:

"but who were those prepubescent mohawked kids that could barely play their instruments and waxed so poetically about huffing gas and glue?"

That band was called Sjálfsfróun. I don't know much about these guys. This here is a link to some rehearsal space recordings recorded in the late 80's I think:
http://www.mediafire.com/?jnekzindnzj

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"Who was that band all cramped together playing power-pop in a basement that was so cold that they were wearing parkas and you could see their breath?"

That's Purrkur Pillnikk. You should definitely look them up. Everything they put out was excellent in my opinion. Their Ekki Enn LP is my favourite and one of the best Icelandic punk records ever released.

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"Who was that fucking group that had nausea inducing strobe lights blasting the audience as they cut the heads off of live chickens and threw their carcasses into the crowd?!"

They were called Bruni BB. Again, I don't know much about them except that they released one tape that's apparently not available anywhere and that some of the members later joined a band called Inferno 5.

Harvester said...

wow! Thanks Fannar! This is great info. I think I listened to Purkurr Pillnikk in the record store in Reykjavik and really loved them. I could not afford their LP though, unfortunately. Isn't it true that some of the members are in local government now?
I do think that movie does a great job of documenting the feel of the scene at the time.It was so varied and interesting to me. thank you for the info. I wish circumstances would have been different and we could have met when I was in town. I will be back...probably with a band.

Fannar said...

I only have that Purrkur Pillnikk record on CD. The LP is a bit out of my price range. But, yeah Einar Örn the vocalist is a member of Reykjavik's city council. He also played with Björk in Kukl and The Sugar Cubes. Kukl were one of Iceland's best. Weirdo semi-goth post-punk. He's now in a band called Ghostdigital which has this kind of a post-punk approach to hip hop mixed with dance music sound. I think they're great.