Icelandic-language rock has never been on the forefront of popularity, but Sigur Rós seems to be the exception. With their ethereal sound and light spectacle live performances, knowing what the lyrics mean is secondary or perhaps not even relevant at all.
Sigur Rós’ seventh full-length, Kveikur, begins with a quiet bang. There is this soft static in the distance, and then there is a huge crescendo into fortississimo using industrial, distorted bass. The first 20 seconds of Kveikur is unnerving and menacing, but it sets the tone well for the album. The opening track “Brennisteinn” is a muddled, abrasive, and at nearly eight minutes long, it’s one of the boldest and mystifying tracks Sigur Rós has ever put on a record.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Fitz and The Tantrums were formed in 2008. Their debut studio album, Pickin' Up the Pieces, released in August 2010, made them one of Rolling Stone’s Band to Watch.
Much like their debut, Fitz and the Tantrums’ second album, More Than Just a Dream, relies on the chemistry between co-vocalists Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs. Fitzpatrick leads the vocals, while Scaggs' charm adds an extra layer of fun.
Clad in pastels, Vampire Weekend brought Ivy League prep sensibilities to indie rock in 2008 with their self-titled debut. After Vampire Weekend came the band’s 2010 sophomore record, Contra, and the New York City quartet continued their reign of springy pop songs with African rhythms.