2015 is the year of many big things; some of which include a massive hip-hop revival, Rihanna and the rise of Scandinavian superstars.
There's been no shortage of discussing the latter on here, but it's usually centred around progressive Scandinavian female pop stars and their bridge into North America. In this case, the Nordic star worth praising is Júníus Meyvant (or, 32 year-old Unnar Gísli Sigurmundsson) - who, for some reason unbeknownst to me, no one else is really talking about. Seriously, what is going on? This guy is brilliant.
In late 2014, I stumbled across Sigurmundsson's breathtaking first single "Color Decay" (which I promptly added to the top five of my 'Best of 2015' list) and then began the patient wait for more. More music, more critical praise, more uprising around his soulful folk balladry that keeps up with the big likes of Bon Iver, Jose Gonzalez and The Tallest Man on Earth. Two weeks ago, new music was finally released in the form of a four-song, self-titled debut EP - but I find myself still waiting for that aforementioned chatter. I'm more than happy to do the talking until others hop on the wagon.
Hailing from the Vestmann Islands, the Icelandic father of two speaks little English - but that doesn't stop him from stringing together poetic lyrics about romance, which are more often than not delivered via nature similes. Instrumentally, his melodic odes are the musical equivalent to 'everything but the kitchen sink' - piecing together horns, robust string sections, percussive odds and ends and his distinct, haunting guitar plucks (most perfectly heard on my favourite new track, "Singles"). His voice, either barely there or endearingly husky, could be one of the strongest new voices out there - so, here's hoping it spreads further soon.
Have a listen.
Have a listen.