Sóley Stafansdóttir performs music as sóley. She first rose to prominence as a member of Sin Fang, but has since blossomed into one of Iceland’s premier singer-songwriters. Her new album, ‘Endless Summer’, comes out via Morr Music in May.
This is such a random selection! Picking the eight best Icelandic albums is tough. So I decided to tell you some of my favorite albums that have a nice story behind them.
Skúli Sverrisson – Sería I & II
I think when I heard Skúli’s album ‘Sería’ for the first time I cried tears of joy, sadness, depression, and happiness. I experienced emotions I’d never had before. I don’t know what it is, maybe your all-time favourite albums, that you take with you through life, need to come at the exact right moment? This album still inspires me in so many ways. I mean, I go places when I listen to it. It’s only me and myself. How can an album be so visually beautiful? I put ‘Sería II’ in as well, because it’s not worse. Mos’ def it’s not.
Sigur rós – Ágætis byrjun
I should tell you a story. So ‘Ágætis byrjun’ comes out 1999, right? Ok, I’m thirteen then. I can’t remember if it was the same year or the year after that I went to a shop in Hafnarfjörður that sold CDs, it might have been a shop called Músík og Sport which sold both music and sport clothes—great combo… I’m not joking, I think the shop still exists. Anywho I went there and told myself that now my Spice Girls time was over and now I should educate myself a little. I went in and bought a CD. Went home, put it in my CD player and this funk music starts. I was like, okay. This is good shit but I think my future me is looking for something, can’t really put my finger on it. So I gave my brother the funk CD (which was the great band Jagúar, I think I went to every Jagúar show when I was old enough). I went back to the store and bought another CD. Went to the music school and put the new CD in my DiscMan. And then the journey began. WAS THIS SHIT EVEN REAL. WAS I EVEN REAL? What sounds was I hearing? What’s this heartbeat? (I take off my headphones, literally thinking I was having a heart attack, but everything was quiet in the music school.) And then my musical adventure began. Seventeen years later I’m still here. Takk Sigur rós!
Ólöf Arnalds – Við og við
Let’s get right to the point. This album came out 2006 and I was working at Kaffi Hljómalind. I was twenty years old. I was a hippie and a krútt. Then I heard this and was like whaaaat, this girl is making music and I wanna make music too. So I started making music. Girls need feminine idols. So women, stand up from whatever you’re doing and start playing some pots and pans!
Hildur Guðnadóttir – Mount A
This album is plain sweet. If I could pick one instrument to study at this time, I’d pick cello. Her albums are like a cello orgy.
Sigrún – Hringsjá
She’s my friend and she’s doing the real shit everyone is talking about! Vocals and crazy electronic beats. I’m probably as proud of her as her parents are!
Þrjú á palli – Hátíð fer að höndum ein
A record we listen to every Christmas. So folky, so holy and so moly.
Hudson Wayne – Slightly Out of Hank & I’m a Fox
Hudson Wayne made two EPs that sold out before I got hold of them so I somehow burned them on a CD and made my own cover. Those were the times when I made an effort. Now I’m like if it’s not on Spotify it ain’t real. I’m joking. Or am I?
Stuðmenn og Grýlurnar – Með allt á hreinu
I mean, such great pop songs. That’s all. And the movie, omg. So good. But the best reason for loving this album is the coolest all-women band Grýlurnar. Great role models for teenage me and my girlfriends who started a “girl” band (called Barbarella) and covered the song “Maó Gling.” And that song was made way before Jónsi started singing in “Hopelandic!”