We at What‘s On love Icelandic music and, for some reason, our little island manages to deliver world class albums year after year. For the past few years we’ve seen albums from Ásgeir, Of Monsters and Men, Retro Stefson, John Grant (we consider him Icelandic) and Sóley win great accolades here in Iceland and then go on to greater things out in the big world.
This list is solely based on the opinions of our staff (mostly my own) and if you’re in Iceland, make sure to check if any of them have concerts on our What’s On in Reykjavík’s Event Calendars. Mind you, these albums can be bought at some of Reykjavík’s great record shops (hint: 1) Lucky Records, 2) 12 Tónar 3) Smekkleysa).
So off we go:
FM Belfast – Brighter Days
FM Belfast has had quite a year, publishing a new album, rocking out Iceland Airwaves (as reported by What’s On) and doing a tour in Europe and Scandinavia. This album truly carries the band’s essence. It’s so happy and fun that you’ll be bobbing in your seat with your headphones on without even knowing it.
Top songs: Brighter days, Holiday, DeLorean
Young Karin – n1
Ok this might not be totally fair. n1 by Young Karin (formerly Highlands) is actually an EP. But it’s so interesting and nice. Logi Stefson is the bass player for Retro Stefson, but with Young Karin he’s accompanied by his friend Karin Sveindóttir. They play soft indie pop and happen to be one of Iceland’s most promising young bands.
Top songs: Hearts, Sirens
Sindri Eldon – Bitter & Resentful
Sindri Eldon has been a name in the Reykjavík music scene for quite a while. He’s been in a couple of bands since around 2004 but this is his debut album with his band The Ways. And oh, he’s also the son of Björk. On this album you will hear nothing influenced by his mother. Bitter & Resentful is truly that. This is a guitar rock album of the likes of Weezer or Green Day, sometimes both. The lyrics are simple, bitter and resentful but it works. It’s a nice
Top songs: I Have Earned the Right to Be a Failure, 18, The Lovers
Sólstafir – Ótta
Sólstafir is a metal band formed around 1995. They’ve been very prominent in the Icelandic metal scene since then but in the past few years they’ve been gaining notoriety in Scandinavia and Europe as well. Their new album Ótta is much mellower than their previous stuff – obviously since I’m writing about them. The melodies are beautiful and rich filled with heavy guitar and bass. The lyrics are all in Icelandic and the names of the songs are the way to split up the days in old Icelandic. For example, “Ótta” is the time from 3-6 o’clock in the morning. Anyway, just listen to the album.
Top songs: Ótta, Náttmál, Nón
Prins Póló – Sorrí
Prins Póló tops many lists this year. He’s also had a very productive year releasing his second studio album Sorrí, scoring a full length feature film París Norðursins, moving from Breiðholt, Reykjavik to a farm in Berufjörður, East Iceland and producing vegan hot dogs under the name Bulsur. I can’t tell you what makes Prins Póló so good. He’s not the greatest musician, but he does make good guitar riffs. His lyrics are dumb but they’re just so catchy. All in all he’s just this weird but awesome guy. I saw his Christmas concert in December and it was just so much fun. All hail Prins Póló.
Top songs: Lúxuslíf, Bragðarefir, Föstudagsmessa