For a country of only about 330,000, there sure are a lot of talented musicians in Iceland. Bjork, Sigur Rós and Of Monsters and Men are among some of the most celebrated artists in the world for their creativity and spirit. Here are five more Icelandic entities making waves in the music world:
Breki Mánason cut his teeth on electronica and Super Mario Bros., leading to his crystalline 8-bit tunes. Polyhedron and his other works are the soundtrack to every fractal in every sliver on a glacier, majestic yet finely honed. Songs boast gamer-gaga names such as “Hyrule” and “Dream Machine,” turning Iceland into a warm refuge for those leveling up in life. His Swim EP is out in August 2017.
Delivering genre-blurring hip-hop since 2003, Vald Wegan meshes New York attitude with Scandinavian serenity. He cites Wu Tang Clan and John Coltrane as major influences, and that divine match can be heard in the incendiary “Biõin” and other chilled-out tracks. He’s a gifted slayer of lyricism and rhyme and would make a great Killa Bee.
This gothic trio will drive you batty in the best way. Their dark, luxurious sound is downright bewitching, as singer Laufey carves her own niche with her feral vocals. Kaelan Mikla could easily enchant audiences ranging from industrial fans to those with more pop mentalities, reminding us of provocateurs such as Teri Gender Bender of Les Butcherettes. (Thanks to Laura Studarus at Bandcamp for the recommendation!)
For devotees to Jack Johnson, Sam Smith and other alliterative artists, this singularly named folk-soul man will delight you. He’s got two albums of mellow cool, owing as much to London and San Francisco as he does to Rekjavík for his smooth sound. If Justin Timberlake and the Weeknd threw a kickback party in the Arctic Circle, it would capture Ásgeir’s vibe. (Thank you to Hot Press for the suggestion!)
Metal and the northern regions of the world go hand in hand, as though Iceland and nearby countries grow these bands like wheat. But Grafir is a prize crop among the chaff, led by powerhouse vocalist Benedikt Steinar Vésteinsson. His booming, effectual performance, coupled with labyrinthine guitar riffs and steely cymbal crashes, make Grafir a force to be reckoned with. Vice even went as far as to say they upstaged scene gods Opeth at last year’s Eistnaflug festival.
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