Here’s a choice selection of the latest Icelandic tracks that we’ve been making available offline on Spotify, hearting on Soundcloud, and thumbs-upping on YouTube.
Birnir – EKKI SWITCHA
The hype surrounding rapper Birnir can only be compared to that which surrounded now massively popular artists like GKR and Aron Can. With only two songs released, he‘s opened for Sturla Atlas and Gísli Pálmi, and his new banger “EKKI SWITCHA” will show you why. With a chilled out old school vibe, even you non-Icelanders will be singing along. HJC
Sóley – Úa
The opening track of Sóley’s third (and best) album “Endless Summer” sets the tone perfectly. A cascade of piano notes seems to teeter on the edge of control, threatening to peel away from the song structure and clatter to the ground. It’s a magical opener—hear the album at Gold Flake Paint. JR
Black Pox – Leyndo
Following in the footsteps of the worldwide chill-but-turnt rap scene, Black Pox’s new song “Leyndo” is like if Future only took a quarter Xanax, downed a double espresso, and turned off the autotune. It’s a perfect mix of proper rap flow with a trappy beat. The song is only around two minutes—a teaser presenting an artist to watch. Well, we’re watching. HJC
Milkywhale – Eclipse
This electronic pop duo are a firm live favourite here at Grapevine, and their debut LP doesn’t disappoint. “Eclipse” is the finale—an overblown power ballad that ends with the refrain “I am longing for a meaningful world!” And c’mon—who isn’t, right? Read Milkywhale’s guide to the album here. JR
Áttan – NEINEI
“NEINEI” by Áttan has 700,000+ views on YouTube, making it the most popular Icelandic rap song ever created. Listen, and you’ll get it: it’s a huge earworm. Yes, it’s cliché. Yes, it overuses autotune. Yes, it is derivative. But shit—it’s really good. You may not like pop, but we promise you’ll be singing this in the shower. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. HJC
Sin Fang, Sóley & Örvar Smárason – Blackscreen
The fourth release in the monthly song collaboration between Sin Fang, Sóley & Örvar Smárason is the most dramatic yet, with soft-focus vocals skating over a dense, bassy slab of orchestration. It’s an interesting project, and an exciting album forming before our eyes. JR
MAMMÚT – Breathe Into Me
Now signed to iconic British indie label Bella Union, Icelandic veterans MAMMÚT have shifted their lyrics into the English language. Their new song “Breathe Into Me” chugs along solidly, with some dreamy textures in the chorus adding a bit of sparkle. JR
ÍRiiS – Nornin (The Witch)
“Nornin” (“The Witch”) is a bold and dramatic electronic track from newcomer ÍRiiS, who sounds partial to a bit of Kate Bush. The attention-grabbing video brings to mind Lars von Trier’s ‘Antichrist’, with naked figures crawling around a monochrome landscape. Early days, but one to watch. JR
Vök – BTO
Vök’s low-key, dreamy aesthetic has been powered up for their new album, ‘Figure’, which was released on April 28th. New single ”BTO” melds a warm undertow of synths to pulsing bass, slick guitars, and a catchy melody. The video, by Magnus Anderson, is streaming at nowness.com. JR
Read more Grapevine Playlists here.
Book your day tours in Iceland right here!