Before you travel to Iceland, we recommend listening to a few of the country’s best-known artists. To help you make the ultimate Iceland music playlist, we’ve created a list of the top 10 Icelandic bands and artists:
Kaleo is a four-piece Icelandic rock band based in the United States. They started as a garage band and quickly gained popularity after they began touring internationally. Check out Kaleo’s top cuts such as “No Good” and “All the Pretty Girls.”
2. Sigur Rós
Sigur Ros is one of the most famous Icelandic bands. The band formed in 1994 when the three band members were only teenagers. From there the band would go on to release over seven albums and several scores for television series includingGame of Thrones and Black Mirror. Enjoy their post-rock sounds on tracks such as “Hoppipolla” and “Svefn-g-englar.”
3. Of Monsters and Men
Of Monsters and Men is another famous Icelandic band that has emitted sound waves across the globe. The band topped the charts after the release of their debut album My Head is an Animal. Of Monsters and Men recently released their third studio album, Fever Dream, in 2019. Their famous track “Little Talks” is a great place to start your introduction to the popular folk rock band.
A list of the top Icelandic music isn't complete without mention of Björk. The most well-known Icelandic artist internationally, the singer-songwriter is famous for her unique voice and fashion. Björk’s music reflects the natural beauty of Iceland. If you only have time to listen to one or two artists on this list, then Björk is a must.
Since beginning as a small group of two in 2009, Valdimar has slowly grown into an energetic six-person band. Though most of their music is in Icelandic, the indie-pop band’s sound is sweet on the ears. They’re best known for their hit songs “Yfir Borgina” and “Yfirgefinn.”
Sóley is an Icelandic singer-songwriter and former member of Icelandic indie-folk band Seabear. Sóley’s solo music has a dreamy quality to it that will make you fall in love with the multi-instrumentalist in an instant. We recommend taking a listen to her beautiful tracks “Pretty Face” and “I’ll Drown.”
Vök is an Icelandic band formed in Reykjavik in 2013. The band has a distinct dream-pop vibe that lures its listeners into another world. Though Vök is still new to Iceland’s music scene, the band already has two studio albums under their belt. We suggest listening to their single “Before” to get a sense of the band’s sound.
With ten studio albums attached to their name, GusGus has established themselves as Iceland’s top electronica band. The duo continues to make internationally-renown music after 25 years in the game. Singles such as “Polyesterday” and 2017’s “Featherlight” have turned GusGus into a household name in the electronic music scene in Iceland and beyond.
JFDR is the Icelandic music artist and multi-instrumentalist Jófríður Ákadóttir. Although she’s fairly new to the music scene, the Icelandic singer has already started to build a significant international fan-base. Enjoy her dynamic voice on tracks such as “White Sun” and “My Work.”
10. Ólafur Arnalds
Ólafur Arnalds is Iceland’s most famous contemporary instrumentalist, who has brought modern-day classical music into the mainstream worldwide. The composer constantly redefines his sound and continues to bring unique sounds to the ears of his fans. If you want to get an idea of Arnalds’s brilliance, we suggest listening to his 2018 album re:member from start to finish.
Want to discover Reykjavik, the heart of Icelandic music? Learn more about Iceland’s capital city to start planning your trip today.