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Artist of the week: Of Monsters and Men

Posted on December 4, 2012 by
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Victoria Abraham defines one up and coming artist each week so you can impress your friends with your musical brilliance. This week, she tackles Of Monsters and Men, an indie folk band from Iceland.

Six-piece band Of Monsters and Men have provided our ears with a seductive mix of slightly dark lyrics set to music that is fun to sing along to. Their songs remain fantastical, while drawing inspiration from random stories the band members have read. With shows all over the world from Brazil and Chile to Germany, Of Monsters and Men are definitely carving a niche for themselves. Now they just need to come out with a “how-to” guide for the pronunciation of their names.

Origins: Garour, Iceland

Band members: Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir (co-lead vocals, guitar), Ragnar Þórhallsson (co-lead vocals, guitar, melodica, glockenspiel), Brynjar Leifsson (guitar, melodica, backing vocals), Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson (drums, percussion, melodica, glockenspiel, backing vocals), Kristján Páll Kristjánsson (bass, backing vocals), Árni Guðjónsson (accordion/keys, backing vocals)

Known for: They are known for their delicious folksy sound and Nanna’s unique voice.

Used in a sentence: Listening to Of Monsters and Men, it’s hard to know if you’re meant to be happy or sad, but the ambiguity is kind of nice.

File next to: Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Download now: “Little Talks”

Five fun facts:
1. Before Of Monsters and Men, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir had her own solo project called Songbird.
2. Their song “Six Weeks” is inspired by the true story of American frontiersman Hugh Glass who was thought dead after a bear attack


3. The band describes themselves as an amiable group of daydreamers
4. They miss Iceland when they go abroad for shows
5. They produced most of the album My Head is an Animal themselves

Timeline:
2010 Of Monsters and Men (then a quartet) won the Músiktilraunir, an annual Icelandic battle of the bands competition. After the competition they added two more members.
2011 They released an EP titled Into the Woods
2011 and 2012 The band released their debut album, My Head is an Animal, which peaked at No.6 on the US Billboard 200 album chart

Notable lyrics:
This song is a perfect example of dark lyrics set to a happy beat.

Hey! Hey! Hey!/I don’t like walking around this old and empty house/So hold my hand, I’ll walk with you, my dear/The stairs creak as you sleep, it’s keeping me awake/It’s the house telling you to close your eyes/Some days I can’t even trust myself/It’s killing me to see you this way/’Cause though the truth may vary/This ship will carry/Our bodies safe to shore

Don’t forget to check out our interview with them. 

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