Gig Seeker Pro


Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | INDIE

Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2002
Band Rock Alternative




"A home coming: Kimono @ Faktory, 1 August 2013 (Reykjavík, Iceland)"

On Thursday first of August, Kimono played a show at Faktory, one of Reykjaviks best downtown venues. The occasion was Kimono's Aquarium (listen), a brand new EP which was issued online only the day before. This is the band's first release since their brilliant 2009 LP, Easy Music for Difficult People, so getting a chance to hear new material was awaited with much excitement.

Kimono have been arguably Reykjavik's consistently best band for over thirteen years now. Many fads have come and gone over this period, but Kimono have endured, doing their own thing through out and raising eyebrows and neck hairs the whole time. Therefore I was not surprised to walk into a crowded room when I arrived at Faktory's upper floor. A clear testament to the loyal following Kimono have gained over the years, and that deservingly.

Warming up for the indie rock veterans was Low Roar, but late as always I only caught the last couple of songs. Low Roar plays a lo fi and electronic blended indie rock, reminding me very much of Radiohead's more melancholic work. I am familiar with his older material, which is good, and the new song I heard gave a promise of growth, so he just might be liable to attract some attention in the near future.

During the interlude, Kimono's band members one by one crept up on stage and without any bravado and without further ado, started playing. Only half aware of their presence the chattering crowd suddenly fell silent. This is what we came for.

During the first twenty minutes or so of the set they grooved through their single track EP, in an introverted fashion, with each member of the band in his own world. This fitted the piece perfectly. Kimono, now well into their teens have evolved a lot on the way. They have a real knack for songwriting, so it is pure pleasure to see them try on new dresses, and Aquarium surely is one. It is more introspective and less forward than their earlier work. It is kept pace by jazzy drums and is carefully built up and revealed by quiet but playful interplay between the guitars.

What followed were the first words uttered by the band ,"GO TO THE BAR! Need to tune". No announcements, declaration or pronouncements. And why should they be needed? This was going on right at home, and it surely felt like that.

Now there was a drastic change of mood. For the rest of the hour long set they mostly played songs from Easy Music for Difficult People. Kicking it off with "Vienna, the opener. What started out as an introspection became an outburst of rocking melodies and rhythms, driven through in a post punk fashion.

It is hard not to be mesmerised by Kimono's on stage performance. The ever playful interaction between the two guitars and drums is enchanting and the their groove is enthralling. Finding myself at a Kimono concert feels like coming home. The feeling is warm and nice, but at the same time intense and engaging. I remember feeling like that the very first time I saw them live as a teenager, and they still manage to convey that feeling effortlessly. Their natural stage performance and self confidence is simply contagious. I found myself grinning and nodding relentlessly throughout the set as random members of the crowd erupted with "YEAH'S!" where the perky melodies just became too good for us to shut up about it.

As I walked home I was grateful for an evening spent with the Reykjaviks finest. - Halifax Collect

"The View From The North: Ten Nordic Releases from 2009"

Kimono (ICE) Easy Music For Difficult People
Kimono are two Icelanders and a Reykjavík-based Canadian. For eight years now they have been crafting an explosive post-punk blend of Fugazi, Sonic Youth, and Shellac à l’islandaise. It is nothing less than astounding that Easy Music For Difficult People was recorded entirely live in the studio over the course of a long weekend! Claustrophobically tight, painfully raw, and staggeringly intense, its approx. 30 minutes showcase a mature, down-to-earth blend of rare quality and discipline, indifferent to international acclaim. - Drowned in Sound

"LungA Art Festival review"

(..) We had to wait for Kimono to take the stage for some real rock and roll... (...)

Kimono came on last and rocked harder as a three piece than all the other 4-5 piece bands.. Kimono mixes post-punk, grunge, prog-rock and touch of early metal into a kick-ass rock show. Articulate lead guitar solos, interesting and percussive rhythm guitar, and fast, precise drum builds, Kimono brought everything to the stage that Sudden Weather Change left out. Lead singer Alex MacNeil reminded me of the Cure’s Robert Smith with his effortless, wavering vocal stylings. Everything about their performance made Kimono seem like hard rock veterans. - The Reykjavík Grapevine

"Moody Icelandic indie rock comes of age."

Like one of those moody hipsters that hangs in the background and mumbles a lot, Kimono are back with a new album! And the title is bloody awful! Easy Music For Difficult People is the sort of title that Nickleback would use when they´re trying to be edgy. However that´s the only bad thing I have to say about this album.

I´ve heard the term “Progressive indie rock” coined for Kimono and it´s a pretty apt description. Think Shellac after they listened to too many mid-70´s Rush albums. This is most evident in “Black” and “Animal” where the vocal stylings are pure Jethro Tull. Compared to their last album, Easy is a lot more immediate and urgent. The drums sound more thunderous, the guitars are more guttural and growling, while the vocals are frantic and yelping (perhaps the producer got out his cattle prod “motivational tool”). And clocking in at under 30 minutes, it just socks you with baritone power and then finishes, saying “Call me” without leaving it´s number. But like the guitar rock slut that I am, it just makes me want to go back the beginning and play it again (and again)... - The Reykjavík Grapevine

"Kimono - ‘Arctic Death Ship’ (Bad Taste) Released 01/07/05"

As the slow, macabre drum intro rumbles along, Kimono are firing a warning shot - if you ain’t paying attention, then this is likely to leave you well behind. "It’s no fun being alone in a room" drawls lead singer Alex MacNeil, as the gritty guitars churn all over album opener ‘Standing Wave’.

Coming from the same stable as the ethereal Sigur Rós, ‘Arctic Death Ship’ will most definitely appeal to fans of the band, as Kimono are like their sinister cousin, dressed in black, and well up for an acid trip. The slow, steady ‘Sober’ rattles away briefly before turning into a huge prog fest of bouncing drums and intricate guitar delivery. This album is not for the faint hearted, it’s dark, yet uplifting, an ambitious, bold, brilliant piece of modern rock, cramming the last twenty or so years of musical genre bending into one complete whole.

The new single ‘Aftermath’ sounds about as poppy as Kimono make them, as driving rhythms and choppy guitars all work to their advantage, sounding a million miles away from their none-more-bleak debut CD ‘Mineur-Aggressif,’ which, with the help of former Sugarcube Einar Örn’s label Bad Taste, sold out in their native Iceland. ‘Children of God’ is a frantic, driving ride through dark slabs of heavy guitar and crashing drums, whereas ‘Hyla Grace’ is a sprawling, mini epic, all soaring guitar thrashing and huge, bombastic drums.

There’s even a linguist’s workout on ‘Sonar’ and it’s short introduction ‘-hlé’, which, when combined, serve as a psycho-tropic heyride through brass sections and Spanish lyrics. The lengthy instrumental ‘Onomatopoeia’ is perhaps the strangest thing here, as a pounding, relentless beat is the backdrop for synth noises, brass chirps & guitar weirdness. ‘Red Army’ brings back the familiar format, to which they fuck with once again when ‘Railroads’ comes roaring in, all arty drum banging and careful, studied guitar lines weaving in and out of each other. "You want the anti-Christ? You’ve got me instead" shouts McNeil at one point.

With the album almost finished, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they can’t possibly go any darker, but with the slow burning ‘Directions’ they not only sink into an even deeper shade of black, but make it sound as if Kimono fucking own the colour. Not one for the indie disco, but then again no music this exciting, enthralling and exhilarating ever is. - Gavin Miller for

"Neue Heimat (DE)"

"Es ist egal, ob man in Island pleite ist oder in Berlin" - ein Lebensmotto, das einem die Entscheidung erleichtert, wenn es darum geht, eine vierköpfige Band von dem Eiland der Geysire in die bundesdeutsche Hauptstadt umzusiedeln, ohne die Aussicht auf regelmäßiges Einkommen wenigstens eines der Mitglieder. Auch die Fünf-Sterne-Reviews der drei großen Publikationen ihrer Heimat, die sie für ihre Alben "Mineur-Aggressif" (2003) und "Arctic Death Ship" (2005) erhielten, konnten Gylfi, Alex, Dori und Kjartan nicht zum Bleiben motivieren. Gar zu trostlos die Aussicht, jahraus, jahrein vor denselben 300 Musikfans der Vulkaninsel aufzutreten, die dort bei einer Gesamteinwohnerzahl von ca.

270.000 als für das Genre Avantgarde-Indierock als maximal zu erreichendes Publikum gilt. Da auch im Rest von Skandinavien mit den bisherigen Veröffentlichungen auf dem Bad-Taste-Lt.-Label der Ex-Sugarcubes-Kultfigur Einar eher Break-Even- denn Gold- oder Platin-Status erreicht werden konnte, entschloss sich das Quartett nun zum Umzug nach Deutschland. Schon seit langem haben die vier das musikalische Erbe der Bundesrepublik ins Herz geschlossen, insbesondere die Krautrock-Superstars Neu! und Can hinterließen einen bleibenden Eindruck in der Plattensammlung und dem Oeuvre der Band. Die ursprüngliche Idee, eine gemeinsame Wohn/Studio-Behausung in Berlin-Kreuzberg nach dem Vorbild der kultisch verehrten Faust einzurichten, wurde jedoch schnell wieder verworfen - geblieben ist der umstürzlerische Anspruch, der ungefiltert den Freigeist der seligen Siebziger atmet: "Wir wollen die deutsche Rockszene revolutionieren." - Intro: Jürgen Dobelmann

"Kimono & Retrön @ 't Smiske -Asse 01 05 2008 (FR)"

Pas bridé ,mais islando-canadien.
A l'origine un quartet ,mais depuis peu réduit à un trio .

Ici aussi, 2 guitares Alex MacNeil (d'origine canadienne) ,il s'occupe aussi des vocals et Gylfi Blöndal (une baritone guitar) ,le fantastique Kjartan Bragi Bjarnason est aux drums.

Des influences postrock/mathrock (Explosions in the sky-Tortoise)-noisy rock (Sonic Youth-Fugazi)-avant-guitar rock (Television) -minimalisme (Steve Reich)-krautrock (Neu -Can)- artrock psychedélique (King Crimson ou Clinic pour les plus jeunes)...
Un amalgame d'une étonnante fraîcheur.

Les duels de guitares sont intenses et cinglants ,le batteur fait preuve de saine agressivité et les vocaux sont subtils .Petit point noir,les nombreux gaps (temps morts), entre les morceaux .Heureusement Alex ou Gylfi ,les pince sans rire,meublent ceux-ci de pointes d'humour.
Ainsi Gylfi nous jouera une ritournelle ,digne de Chicory Tip,en tapant une cuillère sur sa joue.

Le set sera agrémenté de trouvailles divertissantes:guitare martelée avec une cuillère(encore) pour 'Karen' ou un drum stick(pour le titre 'tomorrow') ,ce stick peut également faire office de slide.

Les deux derniers titres seront joués en quartet.Le plus chevelu des guitaristes de Retrön étant invité à donner plus d'amplitude aux compos en y ajoutant de bienvenues lignes de basse .

'Black' about babies ,a crazy melody with solid John Bonham drumbeats. Excellent!

Le titre 'Wire' , qui devrait sortir en single,peut s'écouter sur leur myspace. 35' de show, un peu court ,,hier, mais fort. Kimono a déjà enregistré deux Cd's 'Artic Death Ship' et 'Mineur -Aggressif'

Une soirée intéressante à Asse. -

"Prachtige sfeervolle indierock uit IJsland"

Het komt niet vaak voor: Het is zaterdagochtend, je bent nog maar net wakker, amper de koffie op en je ziet de posbode langs lopen. Kort daarna het over bekende geluid van de klapperende brievenbus en kort daarop loop je in alle rust naar de brievenbus en ziet daar een pakketje uit IJsland. Even later zie je dat je een heus kunstwerkje van een cd in je handen hebt van een IJslandse band genaamd Kimono. Hoe ze ook mogen heten de muziek is zeker de moeite waard!

Voor zover ik het heb kunnen nagaan bestaat Kimono nog maar een paar jaar. Het eerste album Mineur-aggressif kwam in 2003 uit in Europa op het Bad Taste label waar ook de landgenoten Sigur Ros bij zitten. Dit album, geheel onbekend bij mij overigens, was geproduceerd door een andere IJslandse artiest genaamd Curver die bekend is geworden door zijn noise-muziek. Twee jaar later werd in de Kling+Bank studio de tweede plaat Arctic Death Ship opgenomen die nu voor me op tafel ligt.

Maar voor ik zal verder gaan over dit meesterwerkje eerst nog iets meer over de band zelf. Volgens de officiële website ( is de band het afgelopen jaar verhuisd naar een zolder kamer in Berlijn. Kennelijk heeft de band alles al bereikt in IJsland wat mogelijk is en daarom proberen ze hoger op te komen door Berlijn onveilig te maken met hun muziek. Dit overigens met succes want de band zal een heuse tour gaan maken door Duitsland en daarnaast is net een tourtje door Engeland afgerond.

Kimono bestaat uit Alex op zang en gitaar ook op gitaar Gylfi, op bas Dori en op drums Kjartan. Alex en Dori hebben beiden gestudeerd op de Art Academie in IJsland waarvan ze elkaar ook kennen. Alex heeft zich vooral gericht op elektronische muziek en moderne compositie en heeft een grote interesse in het minimalisme. Zijn gitaar stijl lijkt het meest op die van Television (wie kent ze nog?) In ieder geval hebben deze IJslander genoeg achtergrond om met originele muziek aan te komen!

Na een aantal luisterbeurten van Arctic Death Ship valt mij op dat er vrij veel stijlen door elkaar gespeeld worden maar toch blijft er een zelfde sfeer overeind. Elk nummer is een kunstwerkje op zich, overal is over nagedacht en alles klopt precies. Het ene nummer bouwt op naar een hoogte punt het andere nummer stop abrupt. De gehele cd heeft een bijzondere lege en donkere sfeer. Het is net als of je zelf over de koude besneeuwde vlaktes van IJsland loopt. Het tweede nummer is een prachtige ballade die begint met rustige zang maar als snel van wending veranderd en opeens halverwege een compleet andere melodie heeft. De stem van Alex is donker en warm tegelijk, wat weer een mooi contrast is vergeleken met de kille en koude sfeer die de muziek uitademt. Aan het einde van het tweede nummer doet Alex zelfs denken aan een Joy Division. Het derde nummer Aftermath zou zo van een cd van Television kunnen komen vooral kwa opbouw en gitaarloopje. En zo gaat de cd verder, er worden mooie uitgestrekte geluidscollages gecreëerd. Ergens halverwege veranderd de stijl alles wordt nog uitgestrekter en experimenteler. Er wordt meer gewerkt met elektronische samples en de zang is vervangen door blazers. Hier komt de grote interesse van Alex naar het minimalistische ook duidelijk naar boven. Het enigste minpunt is dat de nummers gewoon te kort zijn. Voor dat je het door hebt is het nummer alweer afgelopen hierdoor heeft Arctic Death Ship ook een paar luisterbeurten nodig om volledig tot zijn recht te komen.

Alles bij elkaar een meesterwerkje uit IJsland. Ook voor liefhebbers van Sigur Ros is dit zeker de moeite waard. Nog een pluspunt is dat de cd ontzettend mooi vormgegeven is. Het hoesje bestaat uit zwarte tekeningetjes en schetsen van de band. Het boekje zelf bevat prachtig vormgegeven en hand geschreven teksten. Hopelijk blijft deze band nog lang mooie dingen uitbrengen en niet al te veel worden beïnvloed door het leven in Berlijn. - Ratatosk Online

"12 Artists Keeping Us Obsessed with Iceland"

Kimono calls themselves “Agitated Icelandic Outsider Rock Poetry” which may just be our new favorite genre description. From sunshine-filled guitar riffs to “learning how to sing like women should” (which for the record is any damn way they please), theirs is an endearingly scrappy world that should be exported as quickly as possible. - MTV Iggy

"kimono - Zombie Popcorn"

We are gearing up for the Iceland Airwaves festival, and to get pumped we are going to feature an artist that will be playing at Airwaves. This week, we are featuring kimono. kimonospec

13 year music veterans, kimono will perform at Airwaves this year, and will have a 7” of their new track, Specters available for sale. The single also includes a cover of the infamous Icelandic band Þeyr’s Rúdolf.

The single is kimono’s inaugural release on Bostonian label, Theory of Whatever Records. Theory of Whatever was created by Zombie Popcorn friend and Icelandic music know-it-all, Bryan Riebeek.

kimono formed in 2001 as a minimalist instrumental post-rock band in Reykjavík, Iceland, and have gone on to develop their sound into diverse styles such as textured bummer rock, disjointed electronic mix-up, droning improvisation and atmospheric soundscapes. Over the course of their career, they have worked with renowned Icelandic producers and musicians such as Aron Þór Arnarsson ( Of Monsters and Men engineer), Damo Suzuki (of Can and Damo Suzuki’s Network), Gunni Tynes ( múm), and Ghostigital (Curver & Einar Örn Benediktsson). - Zombie Popcorn

"15 Icelandic bands you may not know, but should"

I have been in love with this band since I first heard them almost a decade go. I love all three of their albums, and the sneak peaks we’re getting of the new album, such as the video above, make me happy indeed. They’ve been playing for over a decade and a half, and if you’re fans of that minimal yet heavy sound, you’ll go nuts for them. Click here for more info, including Soundcloud links. Perfect for twilight drives through the desert or pre-night shenanigans. - Ragnaar Bastiaan


2014 - Specters (single)
2013 - Aquarium (EP)
2009 - Easy Music for Difficult People (LP)
2007 - Wire (single)
2007 - Curver + kimono (LP)
2005 - Arctic Death Ship (LP)
2003 - Mineur-Aggressif (LP)



kimono formed in 2001 as a minimalist instrumental post-rock band in Reykjavík, Iceland, and have gone on to develop their sound into diverse styles such as weirdo Icelandic punk rock, textured bummer rock, disjointed electronic mix-up, droning improvisation and atmospheric soundscapes. Over the course of their career, they have worked with renowned Icelandic producers and musicians such as Aron Þór Arnarsson (Of Monsters Of Men engineer), Gunni Tynes (múm), and Ghostigital (Curver & Einar Örn Benediktsson).

They released their debut album, Mineur-Aggressif (2003), on the renowned label Smekkleysa SM, which they followed with a US tour in 2004. They found their voice and progressed into a tighter, darker sound with their heavily textured second album, Arctic Death Ship (Smekkleysa SM, 2005). It was recorded in the now-legendary pre-economic crash artist workspace, Klink+Bank. This sophomore release was widely hailed as the best rock album of Reykjavík's underground scene, even receiving a comparison to The Beatles’ White Album in a review published by the leading Icelandic newspaper, Morgunblaðið. Arctic Death Ship laid bare the band's influences from American indie and post-hardcore acts, like Fugazi and Sonic Youth, and electro-acoustic and minimalist composers, like Alvin Lucier and Steve Reich.

The band moved to Berlin in 2005 to facilitate touring in Europe throughout that and the following year, and built up their audience steadily before moving home the following year. Back in Iceland, they released the collaborative album, curver+kimono (tími 2007), and guitarist/vocalist Alison finished her studies in composition at Iceland’s Academy of the Arts in 2008. The band subsequently released their third album, Easy Music for Difficult People (Kimi Records, 2009), which was recorded from a single adrenaline-fueled live performance and mixed over the course of one weekend.

The band took a break from recording and touring to have a bunch of children, but kept the pot on simmer. They toured several times throughout Europe in 2010 with fellow Icelanders, Seabear, and on their own in 2011 and 2012. They also played several high-profile concerts alongside This Will Destroy You at Harpa (2012), performed an improvisational set with Damo Suzuki of Can (October 2012) and played the inaugural ATP Iceland (2013).

The band most recently released a completely instrumental improvised album, Aquarium (2013), followed by a daylong concert series that featuring various guest musicians from Icelandic bands such as Jónsi, Of Monsters And Men, Muck, and Futuregrapher. kimono is currently recording their fourth album and plan to tour extensively in the United States and Canada in 2014 following the release of that record.

kimono recently added a new member to the team, R.X. Beckett, who will be managing the group as they make their way out of the underground and into everywhere else in the coming years. The band has spent the past decade focused on building a strong catalogue of albums, which have been met with critical and commercial success, planning for their breakthrough when the conditions are right. That moment is now.

Band Members