Iceland’s troublemaking volcano has been back in the news, and that country's music is back in our weekly picks.
Johann Johannsson – And In the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees (Type Records)
Johann Johannsson is an Icelandic-born, Denmark-based composer whose music has an expansive, cinematic quality. Combining classical elegance and orchestration with ambient electronics and a post-rock sensibility, he’s created a singular body of work. His latest album is called In the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees. Johannsson’s works are mostly instrumental, but you often get the feeling there is some kind of narrative at work. With this album, there actually is a story that inspired the music - it was written as the soundtrack to the animated film Varmints. – Picked by John Schaefer [Available at Amazon.com]
The New Pornographers – Together (Matador)
The New Pornographers is an indie-rock supergroup packed with talent. The roster includes primary songwriter A.C. Newman, plus Dan Bejar, who releases albums under the name Destroyer. And then there’s the striking voice of Neko Case, who shines on a new song called “Crash Years.” With so much skill concentrated in one band, it would seem hard for the New Pornographers to produce a bad album. Their winning streak continues with their fifth release, Together. The theme of togetherness pops up throughout the album, as on the song “Your Hands (Together)” – Picked by Joel Meyer [Available at Amazon.com]