We first stumbled upon Icelandic singer-songwriter Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson, now credited only as Ásgeir, with his awesome cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” back in the song’s hay day. The English version of his studio album In The Silence was released in March of 2014, but yesterday saw the American release of the Icelandic language version, titled Dýrð í dauðaþögn. In 2012, the album broke Icelandic sales records, with one in ten of the country’s residents having purchased it (that’s more than Bjork’s debut, to put things in perspective).
This release will be followed by Ásgeir’s return to the states in February, when he will be touring alongside “Take Me To Church” singer Hozier. To celebrate the soon-to-be international folk star, we asked him to put together a list of his favorite spots in Iceland’s capital of Reykjavík, showing us that there’s more to Iceland than hot springs and the Aurora Borealis. Check out his list below, as well as the stream for Dýrð í dauðaþögn (which you can download below.)
1. Ítalía – This restaurant is on Laugarvegur, the main walking/shopping street downtown RVK. It’s in my opinion the best Italian restaurant you’ll find in Reykjavik. The owners are Italian and the restaurant has stayed the same for years. Friendly staff, good atmosphere and good authentic Italian food.
2. Saffran – There are numerous Saffran restaurants around the city. If you’re in a hurry but want an excellent good healthy meal, then that’s the place to go to. Try the Saffran chicken, the place’s “raison d’être” and you won’t be disappointed.
3. Kex Hostel on Skúlagata right below Laugarvegur. A place known for being a great restaurant, music venue and a hostel. The food is casual but great and the place is very relaxed. Ideal for hanging out with friends. The interior design is also something for the eye – quirky, retro, New York loft style.
4. SS Hot dog stand (Bæjarins beztu) in Skeifan or the original and the more popular one down town, across from Harpa Concert Hall, which has been in operation since 1937. When in Iceland you got to do what the Icelanders do and enjoy a great hot dog.
5. Dillon on Laugarvegur – a bar on two floors that only plays rock’n roll. One of my favourite places for hanging out with friends.
6. Prikið – a restaurant during the day, and a bar at night. Try their diner style food or go there for late night drinks and partying.
7. Kolaportið – The biggest flea market in Iceland! Try local food and candy, search for hidden gems or just relax and enjoy watching all the interesting characters that pass by. Only open during the weekends so plan your visit. It’s not to be missed!
8. Tónastöðin – If you’re a musician you may want to pay a visit to Andres in Tonastodin and his great staff. Another music shop worth a visit is Hljodfaerahusid.
9. Rauðhetta og Úlfurinn – That translates as “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf” and you wouldn’t have guessed but it’s a hair salon. If for some reason you want or need a haircut while in Iceland, that’s the place.
10. Íslenska Húðflúrstofan (The Icelandic Tattoo Corp) – I’ve spent many hours there. Excellent tattoo artists.