Thor's Hammer was the most notable '60s Icelandic rock band, and indeed, the only one that's come to relatively widespread attention among serious collectors. In part that's because they were able to record in London for Parlophone, and even get a solitary 45 released in America in 1967. They were also the only Icelandic band to have a track ("My Life") on Nuggets II, the box set of '60s garage-psychedelic rock from countries other than the United States. In the mid- to late '60s, they made quite a few recordings, the best of them in a ferocious mod, British Invasion style reminiscent of the early Who and sub-Who groups like the Eyes. Twenty of these are assembled on the 2001 Big Beat compilation From Keflavik, With Love.
Thor's Hammer formed as Hlijomar (in English, the Sounds or the Chords) in Keflavik, Iceland, in 1963. In a small, isolated country that didn't even have television in 1963, a rock band of any kind was a novelty. They became extremely popular in their native land, and began recording for the Icelandic market in 1965, also supporting some visiting British acts on their Icelandic tours. They named themselves Thor's Hammer for English-sung recordings made in London and released on the Parlophone label. Brash mod stompers like "My Life" and "I Don't Care," with snarling vocals, Keith Moon-like drumming, and fuzz guitar were actually only one facet of their recorded repertoire. There was also the gutsy Merseybeat of "If You Knew," sentimental ballads with European folk flavorings, and upbeat pop/rock with brass. Only guitarist Gunnar Thordarson, however, plays on their 1967 release on U.S. Columbia, "Show Me You Like Me"/"Stay," whose backing track was recorded with session men in New York, with John Simon producing.
Thor's Hammer kept going until 1969, adding an English singer, Patricia Gail Owens (aka Shady). They went into a more progressive incarnation as Trubrot, who did two albums before disbanding. ~ Richie Unterberger