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Icelandic music

2022 Icelandic Music Round-Up


Ride the Distant Storm – Power Paladin

We started 2022 with a bang – a headbang, that is. Icelandic power metal band Power Paladin released their new album With the Magic of Windfyre Steel, and it is a triumphant journey through squealing guitars, double bass pedals, and lyrics that send you to a far-off fantasy land of kings and dragons. Really, there is no better way to start your year than pretending you are somewhere else! Get on board with „Ride the Distant Storm“ and never look back. 


Parade – Seabear

The folk collective surprised their fans early in 2022 with a new single, „Parade.“ Although they released a new song in 2019, the last album from Seabear was in 2010. The long absence between releases can be attributed to the meteoric rise of several of the band members, most notably Sin Fang and Sóley, whose individual careers have been celebrated in Iceland. „Parade“ is an easy walk through the folk roots that helped to create these prolific musicians. Seabear followed up the single later in 2022 with a full-length album, In Another Life.


Drifter – Ólafur Arnalds

Throughout 2022, Ólafur surprised fans with several singles, most of which culminated in an album released in October titled some kind of peace – piano works. It features a dozen different artists reimagining his compositions. But in March, Ólafur gifted us a remarkably beautiful single titled „Drifter“ that features a swelling violin over a piano. It is the perfect soundtrack for a rainy spring day. 


Jelly Belly – BSÍ

Icelanders scratched their heads when BSÍ first appeared on the scene – why would anyone name their band after the Reykjavík bus terminal?! Any scepticism soon disappeared when they heard the bass and drum duo throw down some pop hits. „Jelly Belly“ hits the spot and makes you want to cut a rug, no matter who is watching. Also, I have never cared if I am smelly!


Málning – Prins Póló

Prins Póló, aka Svavar Pétur Eysteinsson, was a larger-than-life character on stage, with a huge crown, masks, and wild theatrics. He made a name for himself in the experimental music scene with his quirky songs that often carried larger messages. Prins Pólo released the EP Hvernig Ertu in May 2022. Sadly, after a lengthy battle with cancer, Svavar passed away in September 2022. He is remembered fondly as a truly unique spirit in the Icelandic music scene.


Clown – Pale Moon

„Clown“ is not your typical summer bop. It‘s slow and dreamy – but that is kind of what summer is like in Reykjavík, where half of Pale Moon is from. It‘s usually overcast and cool, and the city has a relaxed, slow feel to it. Natasha sings „I see rain drops falling down on you“ in her dreamy voice, which puts us in an Icelandic summer. The moment‘s here and now it‘s gone – just like the summer.


Guttamenning – Skoffín

Roughly translated as „guy culture,“ Skoffin‘s single from the summer creates a boy‘s night atmosphere. You can almost hear the buds chugging sodas and playing video games in the background. It‘s truly a summer party jam. Skoffín developed out of the Reykjavík art collective post-dreifing and features members of the previous Reykjavík rock band, bagdad brothers. Pop open a cold one with the boys, and jam out to „Guttamenning.“


Valentine – Laufey

In August of this year, up-and-coming jazz singer Laufey released her debut full-length album, Everything I Know About Love. It is not just a great jazz pop record – it is a time capsule. Laufey walks you back to a time when teens shared a straw over a chocolate malt before the big dance. „Valentine“ gives us everything we could ever want – jazz chords, a scatting bridge, barbershop quartet harmonies, and anxieties over falling in love too young. 


Fungal City – Björk

The Queen of Icelandic music released a new album at the end of September, and we would be remiss if we did not include one of her tracks. Though difficult to choose from the diverse soundscapes Björk creates on Fossora, „Fungal City“ gives the actual impression of prancing through a lush landscape, with trees, foliage and, yes, mushrooms. Factor in the beautiful crooning of Secretly Canadian‘s serpentwithfeet, and the song is a magical journey.


1-0 – krassasig

Is it too cold in October to drive around with the windows down? Because this is the only way to fully enjoy krassasig‘s single, „1-0.“ Krassasig, or Kristinn Arnar Sigurðsson, is a diverse designer, artist and musician. October saw the release of his debut album, which commits to a lively pop sensibility, with hooks and jams galore.


Glerdúkkan – gugusar

At only 18 years, gugusar promises to be the next big Icelandic pop star. She won a local music competition at the age of 16 and has only grown musically and in popularity since then. In November, she released her album 12:48, which oscillates from sparse piano ballads to drum and bass dance numbers. „Glerdúkkan“ displays gugusar‘s range and creativity and is a perfect soundtrack for a cold autumn walk.


It Never Snows in LA – LÓN

LÓN is better known as the vehicle for singer Valdimar, one of Iceland‘s most popular singers. The band uses their folk/Americana sound to underscore Valdimar‘s powerful vocals. They surprised fans with a Christmas album at the end of November then followed this up with a Christmas EP, Festive, with English lyrics in early December. While we are inclined to recommend their cover of Roger Miller‘s „Old Toy Trains,“ their version of the Osmond‘s „It Never Snows in LA“ is a beautiful take on a classic that should be played in a warm living room on a cold and snowy day. 

Learn more about upcoming concerts in Reykjavík in our Event Calendar.

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