Dream Wife guide us through Iceland’s stunning Reykjavík

DREAM WIFE‘s music sounds like BIKINI KILL meets the YEAH YEAH YEAHS meets THE STROKES. Their sound might very well revive some of the enthusiasm for the feminist punk rock anthems of yesteryear, as their latest single ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ is a roaring, punk-infused screamer. Imbued with the spirit of riot grrl and complete with handclaps and “Hey hey hey!”s, as well as girl group gutter-angel cries and riffs that scythe, it hits hard from the get go. Lead singer Rakel Mjöll, is forthright and powerful, and possesses a voice that pays excellent homage to Yeah Yeah Yeahs front woman, Karen O.

Comprised of three musicians, two British (Alice Go on guitar and vocals, Bella Podpadec on bass and vocals) and one (singer Mjöll) Icelandic, Dream Wife are inspired by the likes of DAVID BOWIE and MADONNA, whose theatricality is captured brilliantly in the gloss and sheen of their visual aesthetic. Sonically, they cite as influences DEBBIE HARRY, GRIMES, and KATHLEEN HANNA. Like all of these artists, Dream Wife radiate a tough on-stage presence and ooze the same defiant and liberationist stance, which is expressed cleverly through their brazen lyrics and lead vocalist’s Mjöll’s confident, I-couldn’t-give-a-fuck delivery.

After touring the US, Canada and signing to Enfer Records, Dream Wife are now heading to Australia for their first ever show here as part of Laneway Festival, alongside a couple of sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne, with their debut album set for release on January 26. They are hotly tipped to be one of the breakout bands at Laneway this year, so catch them there before they blow up big!

To get to know them a bit better before they do, however, we asked them to take us through Mjöll‘s hometown of Reykjavík. She’s given us her list of favourite spots to go, as well as her top five things to do that aren’t super tourist-y. Check it below!

Photo via Ismus

GRAVEYARDS
We’ve been to a lot of excellent graveyards on the road. Most recently, was the Hollywood Forever graveyard. We had a day in LA and wanted to pay our respects to The Ramones. Hólavallakirkjugarður is a stunning old graveyard in downtown Reykjavík. Full of old poets and the people who built Reykjavik from a village to a city in the 1800’s and 1900’s. It’s full of trees, because back then it was common to plant a tree above the grave so that the soul could live on in the tree.


LOFT
A café, venue and bar that’s nice to hang out in any time of the day. On the main street in Reykjavík and with a balcony that looks over the downtown. Hidden away on a top floor. We’ve played there during an off venue show at Iceland Airwaves. Pretty cheap drinks. Staff are hilarious and kind and every other person who walks in is a friend.

Photo by Rose Breen on Unsplash

ESJA
Mountain overlooking the capital. Changes colours during the winter time: blue, pink, purple. Stunning to look at. And nice to hike up on warm summer days.

Image via Amusing Planet

NAUTHOLSVIK SEA
Some people swim in the arctic sea all year round, my brother being one of them. A good starting point for swimming is by the beach in Nauthólsvík. There’s hot tubs on the beach to warm you up after a swim.

Photo via Resident Advisor

KAFFIBARINN
This bar never gets old. Only you get old.

Five things to do outside of Reykjavik that aren’t touristy

Photo by Ruslan Valeev on Unsplash

VESTMANNAEYJAR – THE WESTMANN ISLANDS

The boat ride itself is worth the trip. It’s a volcanic island on the south coast known for its fishing industry, puffins and stunning volcanic landscape. The last time a volcano erupted there was in the 70’s and lava covered half the town. Fun fact: I, Rakel, have family there, and have visited often, and Bella once worked in a fishing factory on the island for a month.

Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

HVERAGERðI HOT SPRING RIVER TRAIL

Climb a mountain, soak in a hot spring. One hour outside of Reykjavik. Once did this in January, not so hot once covered in snow. Would advise spring to fall.

Photo via Ultima Thule

Seyðisfjörður
Heaven is a place on earth. A tiny town that is between mountains in a fjord that is closed off to sunshine for eight months until the summer hits (24/7 daylight) and it’s a tropical paradise full of interesting artist residencies. Some of the happiest days of my life have been there. Face aches from all the smiling. Lunga Art Festival in mid July is incredible.

Photo via Fjallaback

Siglufjörður
An old fishing town in the north that looks like you’ve stepped into old icelandic a 100 years ago. Stunning.

Snæfellsnes
We filmed our music video for our single ‘Fire’ in the peninsula. Glaciers, insane rock formations, waterfalls, abandoned farm house and just jaw-dropping beautiful nature.

TOUR DATES

Tuesday February 6 | The Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney NSW
Wednesday, February 7 | The Tote, Melbourne VIC

Tickets

ALSO APPEARING AT

Friday February 2 | St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Adelaide SA
Saturday February 3 | St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Melbourne VIC
Sunday February 4 | St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Sydney NSW
Saturday February 10 | St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Brisbane QLD
Sunday February 11 | St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Fremantle WA

Main image: Joana Kiely

Words by Camilla Patini

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About:

Canberra-based music-lover, freelancer, art student and editor. Tweet me at @camillapatini