Like waking up with nine extra arms that have been tidying up your house and doing your taxes while you were asleep, here are the some new tracks from the Icelandic music scene that caught our attention—for better, or for worse—this month.
RYBA – Stalker
This one is dark. The beat is intrusive, like when your heart is pounding and you can’t calm it down. RYBA has put the melancholy and dread of walking the streets of Reykjavík in autumn into a cleverly crafted song. Be prepared to feel gloomy. LM
Marína Ósk – Ég sit hér í grasinu
If you’re learning Icelandic, you should definitely check out the video to this song. It’s a slow melody and easy to follow because Marína shows you bits of paper with the lyrics on them. This is perhaps as far from parental advisory explicit content as it gets. LM
Birgir Hákon – Starmýri
How do you pretend to be a gangsta rapper in the safest country in the world? Well, Birgir Hákon adopts the gangsta vibes straight from American hip hop (cultural appropriation anyone?). He raps about the money that he doesn’t have and the handgun that he definitely doesn’t have. But is it fun? Sure. As a fiction, it works. Is the song well composed? Not really. But the attitude definitely is. VG
Hrím – Tryst
This chill track has dark undertones. The heavy beat pounds through the entire song while a light melody in a minor key plays underneath. “Save me from this. Save me from myself,” sings Ösp Eldjárn. Dark lyrics undercutting nice music. SPO
Mr. Silla – Butter on it
Mr. Silla is perhaps the best-kept secret in Icelandic music. She’s an incredibly talented singer, but also has a smooth and cool vibe about her music. Her new song, “Butter on it,” is a fantastic sombre trip-hop-ish track with a crying electric guitar and some deep backup vocals care of Páll Ivan frá Eiðum. What’s not to like? VG
Án & Jóhanna Elísa – Whoever/However
Án (Elvar Smári) is the epitome of Iceland’s bright future in electronic music, IMO. In his new song, he gets an assist from Jóhanna Elísa (from the band Ateria) to sing the melody. The song is solidly crafted and the melody is beautiful. It’s the perfect song for heartbroken people and pretentious editors-in-chief in a mid-life crisis. VG
Below is the Reykjavík Grapevine Playlist, where you can find all of the artists that we covered in our last issue. Follow us if you want to hear the newest indie music in Iceland!
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