My Summer as a Salvation Soldier

My Summer as a Salvation Soldier

 Reykjavík, Capital Region, ISL
BandAlternativeFolk

Þórir is a young songwriter from a small fishing village on the north coast of Iceland. Known for his critically acclaimed, home recorded albums and atmospheric live shows. Progressive folk music made by a punk who grew up on 90s indie rock.

Biography

“The man just sorta embodies music,” I heard the woman next to me whisper into her purported boyfriend’s waiting ear. “Or the things that move me about it anyway, the things I care about and trust,” she went on. He nodded, thoughtfully. I couldn’t help nodding along.

The woman, her boyfriend and I were all intently staring at a blonde twentysomething strumming his acoustic guitar and singing disturbed lyrics to fragile melodies in a Reykjavík record shop. The young man had drawn a crowd, and that crowd was silent and it listened, as people will when he plays.

That young man is the subject of this promotional press biography, and he is the reason I was late to dinner that night. His name is Þórir Georg Jónsson, he is in his mid twenties, he hails from the fishing hamlet of Húsavík in the North of Iceland and he writes and performs music under the moniker My Summer As A Salvation Soldier.

Þórir (you pronounce it: “Thorir”) has been a fixture of the Reykjavík music scene ever since he migrated from his young small-town life back in the early noughties. He first made a name for himself with a stripped-down cover of Outkast staple Hey Ya that brought to the forefront all the troubled anguish of Andre 2000’s lyrics while showing clear signs of the heart and soul that have been at the forefront of his musical output ever since.

He earned a reputation for his performances and for his songwriting, and he played countless shows in pretty much any place that would comfortably fit him and a guitar. His début album was released soon thereafter on Iceland’s fabled 12 Tónar imprint. Entitled I Believe In This, the album sold well and earned Þórir praise from such noteworthy folks as Rolling Stone’s David Fricke. He formed a band, then he formed another, and another. And another. Then, he worked on his second solo album, Anarchists Are Hopeless Romantics, which further developed his sound and songwriting along with introducing his thereafter stage-name My Summer As A Salvation Soldier.

Then he formed more bands and then released his third solo outing, Activism, back in 2008. And he toured the world over, often by himself, and he corresponded with fans and he wrote some more music.

His bands should be mentioned, as every single one has brought something much-needed and vital to the table. There was the ‘80s hXc throwback Fighting Shit, who fought shit brilliantly while the rest of Reykjavík was busy investing in neon hoodies and junk bonds. Post-hardcore vehicle Gavin Portland combine noise, arrhythmia and melodies in an impeccable way (look out for their latest release, the Kurt Ballou produced, most excellent Hand In Hand With Traitors, Back To Back With Whores). The Deathmetal Supersquad do folky punk in living rooms and parlours, preaching a spirit of freedom, fun and carelessness that is too often lacking in music these days.

The bands are all noteworthy and excellent; unique entities of their own that you should seek out and hear for yourself. But this promotional biography is not meant to promote them, it is meant to tell you about Þórir and what he has been up to lately.

And what is that? Well. He wrote and recorded a new album, for starters. Two new albums, in fact, the highly anticipated The Devils LP as well as the digital-only accompanying record Death. They will both be released in 2010, and they are everything you would have expected of Þórir: thoughtful, honest, modest, minimal, understated and non-confrontational at first listen, but before you know it you’re hooked and falling deeper in love with this young man’s worldview and how he expresses it.

It is music that initially floats by you without clamouring for your attention, yet manages to slowly yet surely boar its way into your subconscious and makes itself a home in your head. Think Atlas Sounds’ bedroom experimentation crossed with Microphones’ and Mt. Eerie’s driving sense of upfront honesty. With J. Mascis occasionally noodling his stoned sprawls on top. It’s good.

It inspires and/or draws from a sort of homely loneliness, all reverb-y vocals and strummed guitars, with the occasional wall of swerving feedback soaring by, making the albums ideal headphone fodder. It is alone-music, comfort-music. Like mushroom risotto and a glass of wine.

I’m calling it alone-music, but it is at the same time all about collaboration, empathy and the shared human experience. You need to hear it for yourself, and you need to pass it along.

-Haukur S. Magnússon

Discography

Full length albums:

2004. I belive in this (12 Tónar).
2005. Anarchists are hopeless romantics (12 Tónar).
2008. Activism (12 Tónar).
2010. Death (self released).

Plus numerous limited EPs.

Set List

Sets can range from 20 minutes to and hour depending on what's requested.