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Times New Viking And Ólöf Arnalds Celebrate Christmas in...

Times New Viking

Times New Viking

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As we gather more Yuletide and year-end impressions from bands here and abroad, drummer and vocalist Adam Elliot of Ohio's Times New Viking and up-and-coming Icelandic chanteuse Ólöf Arnalds share thoughts on cold weather, Wooden Shjips and ancient Icelandic carols.

Adam Elliott of Times New Viking

Times New Viking hail from Columbus, Ohio where winters can be snowy and bleak, leaving the trio plenty of time to write music. The band released their punchy, gritty and effusively catchy fourth album Born Again Revisited back in September and in wry move, even stepped in for friends and frequent tourmates Yo La Tengo for that band's "Nothing To Hide" video. The two bands will be road tripping together again beginning January 22 in Pontiac, Michigan, which isn't the balmiest of winter tour destinations.

How are you plan on spending this Christmas? Do you, Jared Phillips and Beth Murphy exchange gifts?

We stay inside and text now. Ohio is too cold and dreary for too much cheer. We give the gift of privacy to each other every year.

Any Christmas carol that Times New Viking would ever consider covering?

We are not allowed by contract to make a Christmas song; that is why we wrote a song for MLK Day.

What were some records or concerts that really stood out for you this year?

Eat Skull, Wooden Shjips, Group Doueh, Ax Men reissues, etc. Touring Europe blew me away and has corrupted any other thoughts on this.

What do you think were the most outstanding albums of the last decade?

Not Radiohead, I know that much. The availiabilty of reissues/lost catalog via the internet and illegal downloading has changed everything. So the most influential record in 2009 could have been from 1967.

If you could have one wish that could come true for Times New Viking in 2010, what would it be?

Radio accessibility!

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Ólöf Arnalds

Ólöf Arnalds has been a longtime presence on the Icelandic music scene, but she first garnered New York attention when she opened for Björk and Dirty Projectors last summer at a Housing Works benefit and also for Björk and Sigur Rös at a free outdoor Nattura concert in Laugadalur, Reykjavik in June. On January 12 the classically-trained Arnalds, who is also a touring member of the quirky pop band Múm, will finally release her American debut Við Og Við on One Little Indian.

The album, a wraith-like tapestry of acoustic, folk-flushed tracks like the ethereally pretty "Klara," is already old in Arnalds eyes; she just finished her second album Ókídókí. That record, produced by Sigur Rós' Kjartan Sveinsson at that band's studio, will be out this spring and sung in both English and Icelandic.

How do you usually spend your Christmas holiday?

I usually attend a Christmas concert with the choir that my mother sings in. Listening to a good choir singing a cappella really gives me a sense of Christmas spirit.

Favorite Christmas carol?

I like it when people write new Christmas songs, but if asked about an old standard I like "Hátíð fer að höndum ein," an ancient Icelandic folk Christmas song. It was the title song of a record that came out with an Icelandic folk trio called Þrjú á palli in 1971, with new arrangements to old folk Icelandic rhymes. You can hear the song on YouTube here.

Albums or concerts that made you happy in 2009?

I like Hjaltalín´s new record, Terminal. A memorable concert this summer was a living room concert I saw with another young Icelandic band called Retro Stefson.

Oddest Christmas gift you ever received?

I once got a Föðurland (Icelandic word "Fatherland" for male long underwear). It is up for interpretation if it's is bad or meaningful to a lady like myself.

Good holiday advice you'd like to pass on to cope during these stressful days?

In regards to Christmas I would say the best advice I've gotten is to try to do something new every year during the holiday season and to avoid clinging too tightly to traditions.

Looking back over the decade, what albums do you think will endure?

All music interests me in some way and as a creative artist I find it hard to take the role of choosing between my contemporaries.

If you could have one wish that could come true for 2010, what would it be?

In Iceland it is considered bad luck to tell others your wishes, then they won´t come true...so I can't afford to jinx it!