Best Icelandic Albums of 2016
Selected by Megan Horan from Iceland Music Export

Alvia Islandia <BR>“Bubblegum Bitch”

Alvia Islandia
“Bubblegum Bitch”

Alvia Islandia started making her own music at the age of 16, at that time influenced mostly by local electronic producers from Iceland. But since then, the range of her inspirations has been only growing as demonstrated on this new album.

On “Bubblegum Bitch”, she brings us a dark jam of all the recent trends in rap/trap/bass music, but it’s filtered a candy-colored nostalgia and Alvia Islandia’s stark love to Björk, as demonstrated right on the cover.

♪♫ Listen: “Bubblegum Bitch” + album stream

Alvia Islandia on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Amiina <BR>“Fantômas”


Amiina‘s latest adventure, “Fantômas”, was originally composed as a live score to a silent masterpiece from 1913. Amiina’s members decided right from the start that the music would also be able to stand on its own, independent of the visual narrative.

Violin, cello, drums, percussion, metallophone, table harp, ukulele, and electronics are the source material for the sound world here, but it’s expanded upon with Amiina’s imaginative usage of the different instruments and their endless textures.

♪♫ Listen: “Cafe” + album stream

Amiina on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Andi <BR>“Andi”


Andri Eyjolfsson is the mysterious man behind this timeless, all killer no filler, 8-track album simply called “Andi”, which was among the most surprising and distinct Icelandic releases of the last year.

“Andi” is Andi’s is first album as a musician and given its quality, we are all pretty excited about where this artist is headed.

Apart from the digital stream, “Andi” is only available on blue/translucent cassette, laser etched yellow case. Each cassette is lovingly numbered and bound for collector item greatness

♪♫ Listen: “Fútúrismi femínismi” + album stream

Andi on Soundcloud, Bandcamp.

Gyða Valtýsdóttir <BR>“Epicycle”

Gyða Valtýsdóttir

Former Múm member Gyða Valtýsdóttir was among the six winners in the latest edition of Kraumur Awards (alongside several other artists from this list) for her new but centuries-spanning album “Epicycle”.

If features “recloaked gems of classical repertoire through last 2000 years” written by the likes of Prokofiev, Schubert, Schumann on the one hand, Harry Partch, George Crumb and Olivier Messiaen on the other, and closed by the one and only Hildegard Von Bingen.

While Gyða plays on cello, piano and zither (and sings, beautifully), she also invited half a dozen guest musicians who’ve added guitar, percussion/drums, bagpipes, flutes, duduk and marimba to the sound palette. Mysticism’s not dead.

♪♫ Listen: “Raw in Istanbul part 1” + album stream

Gyða Valtýsdóttir on Bandcamp, Facebook.

Kælan mikla <BR>“Kælan mikla”

Kælan mikla
“Kælan mikla”

The trio Kælan Mikla, which means Lady of the Cold in Icelandic, is a unique poetry punk band from Reykjavik.

Their blend of poetry and outstanding musical performances was recognized a few years ago, but the gorup reached completely new audiences with this self-titled new album.

On “Kælan Mikla”, spoken-word vocals follow ceaseless beats and dark synthesizers. And while the mixture might seem unassuming on the first listen, be warned your psyche won’t be untouched after the Kælan Mikla experience.

♪♫ Listen: “Glimmer & Aska” + album stream

Kælan mikla on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Naðra <BR>“Allir vegir til glötunar”

“Allir vegir til glötunar”

Recorded over 2014-2015, the debut album of a black metal band Naðra (featuring members of Carpe Noctem and Misþyrming) came out at the very start of the last year, and for many it set the right tone for the wrong events to come later in 2016

“My first impression was this is pure primal scream catharsis,” one listener wrote on Bandcamp, “but the more I listen the more I hear the layers of fury melting away and revealing something significantly more melodic and poetic.”

♪♫ Listen: “Sár” + album stream

Naðra on Bandcamp, Facebook.

Pascal Pinon <BR>“Sundur”

Pascal Pinon

Last year Pascal Pinon finally released a brand new album “Sundur”, a follow-up to their acclaimed 2013 effort “Twosomeness”.

Sisters Ásthildur and Jófríður Ákadóttir keep avoiding easy classifications with this new set of songs is as subtle, melancholic and minimalistic as anything they’ve done before.

With every of the 11 songs featured on the album, “Sundur” reminds you that usually the most important things are said quietly.

♪♫ Listen: “Orange” + album stream

Pascal Pinon on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, www.

Reykjavíkurdætur <BR>“RVK DTR”


All-female Icelandic rap collective Reykjavikurdaetur (Reykjavik Daughters) was born quite surprisingly and every new songs they have created together seemed to preserve that unpredictability component.

Over the last year, they won the hearts and minds of international critics with their new album “RVK DTR” and face-melting performances, first at Iceland Airwaves and Sónar Festivals, and then at Roskilde Festival.

♪♫ Listen: “Hæpið” + album stream

Reykjavíkurdætur on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Samaris <BR>“Black Lights”

“Black Lights”

On their previous releases, Samaris honed their unique combination of brooding electronics, warm sounds of the clarinet, and Icelandic lyrics. But things changed on “Black Lights”.

For starters, the single “Wanted 2 Say” was their first song in English and signaled a similar decision for the entire LP. “Black Lights” also brought a shift towards lighter and more upbeat sound, making it the trio’s most straightforwardly pop effort yet.

Still, the vibrant d’n’b beats and ambient soundscapes hark back to the classic electronic sounds of the 1990s that seem so integral to their approach to music. Samaris are progressing, but their signature strengths remain intact.

♪♫ Listen: “Wanted 2 Say” + album stream

Samaris on Soundcloud, BandcampFacebook, YouTube, Twitter.

Sigrún <BR>“Hringsjá” EP

“Hringsjá” EP

Hugely experimental, the producer/singer Sigrún Jónsdóttir is definitely one to watch. Her four-track EP “Hringsjá” was inspired by electronic music that has some classical music elements.

Taking you to the point where crazy dubstep or club music meets composition and choir music, it presents a very eclectic mix of all things weird and wonderful, but which behave in a cohesive manner together producing a sweet sound.

♪♫ Listen: “Vítahringur” + album stream

Sigrún on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook.

Tófa <BR>“Teeth Richards”

“Teeth Richards”

Punk band Tófa, or The Blue Fox in Icelandic, released their second album “Teeth Richards” last year along with a 7-inch split “Youdas” (with Deletions) and a video for “You’re Done”.

Tófa’s music is wild, raw and lyrical. The songs create chaotic atmosphere and are inspired by 20th century literature as well as the darker sides of the present age.

Similar to the animal after which the band is named, Tófa may appear cute and cuddly but is cunning and vicious on the inside.

♪♫ Listen: “You’re Done” + album stream

Tófa on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

₩€$€‎₦ <BR>“₩ALL OF PAI‎₦”


₩€$€₦ is an electronic art-pop duo made up of long-time friends and co-conspirators Júlía Hermannsdóttir and Loji Höskuldsson.

Hailing from Reykjavík, the two started working on music together in their teens, but established themselves separately within the Icelandic music scene, Loji with alt-rock darlings Sudden Weather Change and Júlía with dreamy noise-rockers Oyama.

“₩ALL OF PAI₦” is their debut album and a sincere product of passion. Each sound and melody was carefully crafted in various home studios and quiet spaces during all kinds of unholy hours, and traditional instruments are mixed in with unorthodox beats using pure intuition.

♪♫ Listen: “Beach Boys” + album stream

₩€$€‎₦ on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.