5 Cool Icelandic Albums

I was in Reykjavic, Iceland last week. Cool place. Although I was disappointed to find that not every citizen of Iceland is as whimsical and woodland-like as Bjork and the members of Sigur Ros, I was not disappointed with the quality and quantity of Icelandic music that exists besides those better known entities. Here are some cool albums I found out about while there.

Olof Arnalds – Palme

Olof Arnalds fits what you might expect of an Icelandic artist if you’re expecting something in the vein of Sigur Ros and Bjork. Her voice is the most distinctive element of the music – it’s high, quavering and faery-like. On Palme, she surrounds it with some incredibly inventive and suitably middle earth-y arrangements, not to mention a strong set of compositions.

Berndsen – Planet Earth

Berndsen is probably Iceland’s biggest fan of Giorgio Moroder. He’s got two solid albums of dancey synth-pop, 2011’s Lover in the Dark and 2013’s Planet Earth. Both owe a big debt to the Italo Disco maestro, but of course, make wonderfully strong showings in their own right.

Teitur Magnusson – 27

Teiter Magnusson‘s album 27 is a very impressive attempt to recreate in 2014 a late 60s/early 70s psych-pop album. Songwriting and production could not have nailed it much better. If you’re a fan of Dungen, this is a bit more on the pop songwriter side of things, but Teitur and the Dungen guy are definitely kindred souls, if not real live friends.

Snorri Helgason – Vittu Til

Snorri Helgason‘s an old-school pop songcrafter. His album Vittu Til is the one I’m going with because all his others are in English and not that interesting for that reason. In English it’s like “ok, another dude trying to do the whole Beatles pop songwriter thing.” But in Icelandic it’s like “what’s going on here…”

Mammut – Karkari

Mammut is an indie rock band, but with a nod to punk and emo. Again, much better in Icelandic than English. Their most recent album, Kinder Versions, was getting a big push around the record stores in Reykjavik, but yeah, they’re just a better, more interesting band in Icelandic. 2008’s Karkari is the only album of their’s sung in Icelandic that’s available in American spotify, so that’s why I’m recommending it.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply