Of Monsters but mostly Men and Women
If you are planning to visit Iceland you might find it worth your while to research the natives by listening to some quality icelandic music.
We Icelanders often pride ourselves of being a nation of book lovers. And for a good reason too. But we could just as well describe ourselves as a nation of music lovers on account of all the incredible music creating on this small Island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. I’ll let you be the judge.
Of Monsters and Men
This six-piece indie pop band was formed in Iceland in 2009. A year later it won Músíktilraunir, a local battle of the bands competition, and in a blink of an eye it’s become an international sensation. The song Little Talks featured here is taken from their debut album My Head Is an Animal and peaked at no. 6 on the US Billboard and setting a record in Iceland as the best chart performance for an Icelandic artist.
The Sugarcubes is probably best known for being the band that featured Björk as a lead vocalist before she went solo. The band was formed in 1986 and received critical acclaim in Iceland and internationally for their psychedelic sound and punk like performance. Their debut album Life’s Too Good was released in 1988. The Sugarcubes released in total three album, the last one, Stick Around for Joy, in 1992. Shortly afterwards they disbanded.
Björk’s unique voice, talents and appearance made a lasting impression of all who saw her perform with The Sugarcubes and it came as no surprise when she decided to go solo when they disbanded. Björk moved to London and released Debut, her solo album in 1993. She has won countless awards for her music, including four BRIT and MTv Video Music Awards. The song featured here is from her latest venture Biophilia where she not only reinvents her self as an artist but also experiments with new technologies. The album was partly recorded on an iPad and is also available as an iPad app. You can learn more about Björk on her web site.
Sigurrós is my personal favorite. It’s difficult find the words to describe the ambient, lyrical music of this magnificent band. Sigur Rós was formed in Reykjavík in 1984 and released their debut album, Von in 1998. Interestingly the record was released by The Sugarcubes record label Bad Taste. The band won critical acclaim with the release of Ágætis byrjun (e. An all right start) in 1999. The song featured here is named Hoppipolla (e. hopping in puddles). The video is taken from Heima, a documentary following their tour of Iceland during the summer of 2006.
Emiliana Torrini is probably best known for the song Jungle Drum from her 2009 album Love in the Time of Science. Emiliana grew up in Kópavogur, my home town. Her mother is Icelandic and her father Italian, hence the name. She has performed with number of Icelandic bands as well as co-written songs with popular artists such as Kylie Minoque. Her music has been featured in number of tv shows and you just might have heard her performe the hauning Gollum Song featured in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Read more about Emiliana Torrini on her Official website.
Gus Gus was originally formed as a film and acting collective in 1995, but today mostly known for their music. Gus Gus first studio album was released in 1995 and since then they have released seven albums. The song featured here is named Over and can be found on their eighth and latest album, Arabian Horse. You can read all about Gus Gus on the bands web site.
Quarashi is perhaps the best rap metal group you have never heard of. It was formed in 1995 and released five studio albums before they disbanded in 2005. Quarashi became quite the stars on the Icelandic music scene being the first local rap band to find success. Featured here is Stick ‘Em Up, the first single from the band American Debut in 2002. I’m constantly amazed by the fact that Quarashi never found commercial success overseas. Their final concert was held in Iceland in 2005.
Dikta was formed in 1999 and participated a year later in Músíktilraunir following in the footsteps of numerous other Icelandic bands. Dikta released their first album, Andartak (e. a moment) in 2002 to a considerable succes in Iceland. The song From Now On featured here is simply breathtaking. You can find out more about Dikta on the band’s web site.
Written by: S.Fjalar
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