Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson is set to be the next internationally known band from Iceland, following in the footsteps of Björk, Sigur Rós, and Of Monsters and Men. He rewrote and recorded his 2012 debut album Dýrð í dauðaþögn — which is owned by one in 10 Icelanders — in English, and has been promoting In the Silence in America with an appearance on NPR's World Cafe and a live stream of the album on Salon. And while the Icelandic versions of the songs have the advantage of being novel — as in, not in English — the music is still the same, and might turn Ásgeir into an American (indie) household name. More importantly, swan lady Björk and the twee kids Of Monster and Men wouldn't be the only Icelandic groups known off the island.
To help with that second point, here are our humble Icelandic music recommendations. This is by no means a definitive list of the entire country's music scene, but more of a starting point for the curious.
Sin Fang — "Young Boys"
Sindri Már Sigfússon's brand of experimental folk-pop sounds like a lot of folk-pop, but this particular song is pretty catchy. The Reykjavík Grapevine described it as "a really anthemic single—an all-round timeless, joyful song that never seems to get old," and named it 2013's song of the year.
Retro Stefson — "Glow"
Retro Stefson is upbeat, afro-pop dance music. In 2012 The Iceland Review wrote: "In a country of cutting edge artsy hipsters, the band Retro Stefson are the most hipstery of all the Icelandic hipsters." This video is also a pretty good video tour of Reykjavík. (Song in English)
Oyama — "Sometimes"
Most of the songs on this list are electronica, dance pop or some hip folk-pop-dance-house combination. Oyama is more like 90s inspired straight up guitar rock. (English)
Samaris — "Góða tungl"
This is one of those all-teenager bands that's won a bunch of national awards and will make you feel bad about yourself. Their music has been described as "clarinet-driven trip hop." (Icelandic)
Sísý Ey — "Ain't Got Nobody"
Think 80s dance music, driven by female vocals. This is their first single. (English)
BLOODGROUP — "Fall"
Gísli Pálmi — "Set Mig Í Gang"
Icelandic hip hop is a thing. Pálmi sort of does his best to embody the lifestyle — in this video he's shirtless, even though it's never warm enough in Iceland to be shirtless, and he's part of the Glacier Mafia. He's inspired by '90s hip hop. (Icelandic)
This list could go on for a while, so here are a few more groups to check out:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.