So you’ve rented a car and are heading out to the Icelandic countryside. But what will you listen to in order to pass the time? Icelandic radio is presumably mostly people speaking Icelandic, isn’t it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. There is actually a lot of Icelandic music that is the perfect soundtrack for driving around the Icelandic countryside. In honour of #IcelandMusicDay, here are some ideas for your playlist!

Sigur Rós

Iceland’s otherworldly landscape goes well with the ethereal tones of Sigur Rós, as you can see in a lot of their music videos.
They are inspired by Iceland’s nature and did a concert series called “heima” (=home) and an eponymous movie where they played gigs at various beautiful locations around the country. They even did this timelapse of route 1!

Múm

Múm, if you haven’t heard of them, are like the even-more indie Sigur Rós. Low-key electro-synth, melancholy pop-rock if I had to name it anything. But you can just listen to it and name it yourself:

Mammút

Mammút is like the younger Múm – One of the band members of Múm actually worked for a little while at the grade school where some of the members of Mammút studied (I know because that was my grade school). They are an indie, post-punk band fronted by three female vocalists. Here they are being weird in Icelandic nature!

Björk

And of course the O.G. Icelandic weirdo: Björk! Björk is like the 90’s female Sigur Rós.
Björk loves Icelandic nature and hates the industrial entities trying to turn it all into hydroelectric dams. This song will go well with sitting on a mountaintop after a day-long hike, appreciating the grandeur of creation…

also if the world apocalyptically splits apart at the seams and rattles around, seemingly at random, in a flagrant mockery of natural law. Don’t worry I think that bit was CGI in the video. But if it does end up happening, you’ll be happy you had this song on your playlist.

Of Monsters and Men

If you want a bit more pep, try some Monsters and Men. Weird, ethereal music gets tired after a while, even if you are super hip and cool like me!
I’m PRETTY sure this video wasn’t shot in Iceland. Though you never know – I haven’t been everywhere! Maybe it’s in Hafnarfjörður somewhere…

Kaleo

Another cool, slightly less esoteric band, which has been getting some attention recently, is Kaleo. They are basically just a modern “classic rock” band. Most of their stuff is pretty up beat and fun, though my favourite song by them is a bit melancholy: this one is a slower version of a campfire song my parents’ generation used to sing. The video is pretty epic.

Honourable Mentions

This article is getting too long so if you want more, Ásgeir is a fantastic Bon-Iver sounding pop guy, Reykjavíkurdætur is aggressive feminist rap (in Icelandic!), Samaris synth-pop band is doing some exciting things, Axel Flóvent is apparently getting some attention…. Guys there is SO MUCH exciting music happening in Iceland ALL THE TIME!! Just ask anyone when you arrive.

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