S.H. Draumur

Finally found the S.H. Draumur double CD with all their vinyl on it. That Internet thing again. I had all their vinyl, sold it in one batch to a guy at a garage record sale, who was thrilled, and listened to the earlier version of this double CD I had just gotten, which I immediately lost. That was probably 25 years ago. Now, at last, all the way from Iceland and the last copy they had, I get this. The lovely InstaCart lady (very lovely, in fact) brought it with our Total Wine order, with the white wine for the wife and the apfel schnapps für mich. You got this thing here from Iceland, the InstaCart lady said, lashes aflutter. Hot damn, I said, Thanks. I’d been waiting a while. For some reason customs always gets involved, like it’s actually a little package of that hideous Icelandic dessicated shark. Then they sniff it, see it’s a CD, read the voluminous paperwork you have to add in Iceland to ship anything anywhere not part of the Greater Iceland Empire, which is all in Icelandic, which no one at the U.S. Customs office can read, I’m sure—I mean who can?—so they eventually give up and let it go. A week or so later it’s left on our steps for the lovely Instacart lady to find. There’s a reason for everything. Actually, this CD reissue was released a decade ago but only in Iceland and ever since we sold the rooftop condo in Reykjavik we don’t get over there much. But I got this new double CD now. I actually do. Nice packaging, too, extra live tracks, all the lyrics and a long historical essay, everything in Icelandic. As are the lyrics, every single word of them, right down to those to those groovy weird letters for the voiced and unvoiced TH. (English had those. Don’t ask.) I like to think it’s because Icelanders don’t particularly give two Paul Weller fucks about anyone outside Iceland. Which just makes this even cooler. Anyway, I don’t listen to much rock anymore, I notice, I’m way more into jazz and African and Latin and Brazilian and all kinds of wacky metrically skewed ethnic shit, these things happen, but S.H. Draumur was one of my favorite rock bands ever, and twenty five years later it still is, turns out, so I’m one pleased old punk rock motherfucker, he says, and plays it again.

Epilogue: You can try Bad Taste Ltd, out of Rekyavik, for all your Icelandic music needs, like this double CD, if they have any left). And you adventurous postpunk etc music nuts ought to have plenty of Icelandic musical needs, as it remains as musically creative a place as you’ll find on this crazy little sonic planet we’re on. Bad Taste are a couple great guys whose English is much better than mine with a helluva catalog and I highly recommend them. Google them, as I’m way too lazy to look up the link. Gunni Hjalmarsson—aka Dr, Gunni in a later life—who wrote, sang and bassified in SH Draumur (and in a follow up project Bless) is still around, too. Back in the innocent punk rock pen pal days of the analog 80s we swapped letters and music and to be honest, I got the much better in the swaps, and soon I knew more about Icelandic music than maybe anyone in LA. You’d be amazed at how far you can get as an Icelandic music expert in Los Angeles. This spacious office, the BMW, the secretary with the legs? That’s right, all due to those packages from Gunni. A zillion years later I still have a mess of that stuff too, and certainly all the cassettes. He’s a terrific writer too, and in English, which I hate, as I can’t read Icelandic at all (well, I can pronounce it, and you are all mispronouncing Björk) so of course Gunni translates his own stuff, not that I’m jealous or anything. (Monolingually jealous? Moi?) Maybe he translated the lengthy notes that are tucked into the CD booklet too. And now I can’t think of a clever close to this epilogue. Fuck.

OK, I lied about the rooftop condo in Reykjavik.

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