It may be bright and early back home in Seattle, but we’re easing into the afternoon here at the KEX Hostel here in Reykjavik. Thankfully the blissful sounds of Teitur Magnússon lend themselves perfectly to either time of day. Perhaps most known for his work in Icelandic reggae outfit Ojba Rasta, Magnússon released his breezy sophomore solo album Orna earlier this year. Much like his well-revered debut, 27, his latest album finds Magnússon meandering through sonic textures with a cool and calm demeanor. While he never quite delves into the reggae chops of his other project, there are plenty of “good vibes” floating in the hazy tones of his solo work.
More than just a singer-songwriter affair, Magnússon blends acoustic guitars, synths, glockenspiels, and his wistful voice to create a stupendous, calming atmosphere. He’s something of an Icelandic Kurt Vile in that way, with just a dash of Phosphorescent and Seu Jorge. To listen to Magnússon is to get lost in his magnificent, glimmering world that he creates in his songs. And that’s exactly what happened in his performance at KEX Hostel.
As soon as Magnússon took the stage with his glorious locks draping over his shoulders and his cream-colored suit made from Italian goat hair, a cozy warmth filled the room. The windows were beginning to fog from all the body heat emitted from the crowd. While the music sounded sunny and bright, it also aptly fit the familial and comfortable feeling of the Kex. Families danced and swayed in their seats at dinner tables, kids sat on shoulders, and I saw at least one couple making out in the hallway. For a late afternoon in Reykjavik, you couldn't pick a more ideal setting to relax before heading out into a long evening of seeing bands.
Not only was did Magnússon look dapper, but he also had the musical chops to boot. HIs soft, pillowy vocals wavered effortlessly over his lightly strummed acoustic guitar. Oh, and he wasn't alone either. He'd brought along an all-star lineup of Icelandic musicians in his band, including Leifur Björnsson of Low Roar, Ingibjörg Turchi of Boogie Trouble, Arnljótur Sigurðsson from Ojba Rasta, Steingrímur Karl Teague or Moses Hightower, Erling Páll Karlsson of I Adapt, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen of ADHD (and like a million other bands), Samúel Jón Samúelsson of his name save Samúel Jón Samúelsson Big Band, and guitarist Öm Eldjám. The band's pedigree was put to good use, crafting immaculate arrangements that swept away the entire room (and gave a heavy dose of jazz flute, which is always a recipe for success in my book). It was the feel-good pick-me-up of the weekend, fueling up the crowd and KEXP staff with good vibes to push through the rest of Airwaves weekend.
An Icelandic supergroup kicks off our final day at KEX in support of their excellent debut collaboration Team Dreams
The Dublin act makes their second appearance on KEXP this year with another invigorating performance at KEX Hostel in Reykjavik, Iceland.