Nadat het Icesave schandaal het land in een diepe economische crisis stortte gaat het weer goed met IJsland. Het nationale voetbalelftal – ooit een dwergenteam dat voor échte ploegen slechts diende om het doelpuntensaldo op te krikken – is inmiddels de schrik van elke Europese tegenstander. Tot zover de sport. Qua cultuur heeft IJsland inmiddels ook wel wat meer te bieden dan nieuwe CD′s van Björk of Sigur Ros. Getuige deze SoundCloud opsomming uit 2013. 

Ok, so a popular website has been posting ’10 Icelandic bands you should care about’ over the past few days. Its ok. It’s a good start.

However, I (and a fair few people on Twitter & Facebook) thought that I could do a better job and that there were some omissions. Whilst I appreciate that this is a matter of personal taste, I’ve decided to put my money where my mouth is. Well, here goes.

The other website seem to imply that the more well known artists should not be included (Sigur Rós, Múm, Björk, etc, etc), and I agree with this sentiment. On this note I’ve excluded Ólafur Arnalds, Emilíana Torrini, Gus Gus et al.


Why? Laid back, quintessentially Icelandic alternative with astounding vocals from Hildur.

When? Whenever you are yearning for Iceland

What? New album soon to be released. In the meantime í Annan Heim.


Why? Sound like a dubby, Icelandic Portishead, albeit with a clarinet.

When? Mid afternoon sunshine, complete with cold beer.

What? Album ‘Samaris’ just released worldwide. Start with Góða Tungl.

Sin Fang

Why? Shape-shifting Indie/folk from a man with a penchant for unusual beards.

When? To de-stress your life.

What? Summer Echoes.


Why? The next big songstress to come out of Iceland? Yearning and beguiling.

When? Looking for something new or different.

What? Album out in September, but Daybreak or Swiftly Siren will catch your attention.


Why? Quirky, skewed piano pieces with the most adorable accent going.

When? Late nights after long days. Glass of wine optional.

What? Currently soundtracking ‘breaking news’ at the Edinburgh Festival. Album ‘We Sink’ is a show stopper.


Why? Former Sigur Rós string section. Soaring strings and occasional saws. Atmosphere pedlars.

When? When you are feeling melancholic.

What? The Lighthouse Project – all songs recorded in lighthouses across Iceland.

Snorri Helgason

Why? Bearded songwriter producing Icelandic-tinged Americana. Icemericana?

When? Sunday afternoon recovery sessions.

What? New album coming soon, in the meantime try Winter Sun.

Mr. Silla

Why? Not actually a Mister, but Sigurlaug Gísladóttir from Múm. Delicious vocals.

When? Post-club, early morning soothing.

What? Superb live. No solo album available as yet.


Why? Either the Icelandic Bon Iver or John Grant’s pal. Seems to have forgotten his full name.

When? Show off to your hipster mates.

What? Gearing up to take Europe and the States by storm; he is re-releasing his album in English this Autumn.