Saturday, 6th November
The annual Iceland Airwaves music festival went down over five nights a couple of weeks ago in Reykjavík, Iceland..and I was on hand once again to take it all in and bring it to the eyes and ears of Chicagoans.
**stay tuned, I brought back TONS of material, and am working on interviews/recaps/photos..so check back soon!**
One particular act had the town buzzing leading up to their Friday night gig, and that’s the Gothenburg, Sweden group Junip. At its core a trio (guitarist/vocalist José González, keyboardist/organist Tobias Winterkorn, & drummer Elias Araya), Junip expands to a five-piece for live shows to help flesh out their layered arrangements.
Though the three members go back to their years as teenage friends and technically began tinkering around with each other as musicians over a decade ago, their new record entitled ‘Fields’ is still their debut effort. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not particularly keen on ‘jam bands’, yet that’s a term often used to describe Junip, and jamming is precisely how they come up with their songs, as you’ll hear in the interview.
But don’t get the wrong idea, Junip is certainly not a jam band in the vein of Phish..it’s more like broody indie folk with great rhythms and melodies.
If you don’t recognize the name, chances are you’ve heard the work of Jóse González if you’re a consumer of American pop culture. His 2003 release ‘Veneer’ was highly lauded, and several of his songs–namely “Crosses” and “Heartbeats” (itself a cover version of a song by fellow Swedes The Knife and made famous in the Sony Bravia commercial)–have had placements in oodles of tv shows including The O.C., One Tree Hill, Friday Night Lights, House, Scrubs and others.
He’s an Iceland Airwaves veteran as a solo artist, and has also played the Pitchfork Music Festival here in town.
Later in the night after Junip played in Reykjavík, I sat down with José and Tobias from the group to chat about all things music, playing in hardcore bands, and quitting day jobs. We talked in the lobby of the hotel that both served as the festival information center and the lodgings for most of the artists. Being late at night, the congregation of folks coming back from the various venues and clubs to get nightcaps in the lobby’s bar grew…which you’ll notice in the background.
I regret that amidst the beautiful lunacy that is the Iceland Airwaves festival, I was only able to catch a few songs from Junip before having to dash off to another venue to check out a bit of another act.
But that’s where you and I are in luck. Junip are on their North American tour, with a stop at the wonderful Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.
Tickets are still available, they’re only 15 bucks, and are available here. We’re all in for a treat with this one.
‘Fields’ is out now on Mute, and here’s a couple of my favorite tracks on it:
Junip – “Rope & Summit”
Junip – “Always”
Junip, Saturday, 6th Nov., Lincoln Hall, 10pm, $15