Sigur Rós formed in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1994. With their landscape of atmospheric effects and the ethereal falsetto tones of Jón Pór Birgisson their sound has been compared to the beautiful landscape of their homeland.
Their first album, Von, was released in 1997 and has not been released outside of Iceland. Their second album Ágætis Byrjún was initially released in Iceland in June 1999 and worldwide in August 2000. It is a wonderful album, full of haunting post-rock sung in Icelandic and it was this album which announced the band to the world.
In January 2000 Sigur Rós played their first non-Icelandic gig in the backroom of London's Union Chapel. Before the end of the year they would be touring Europe with Radiohead, with Thom Yorke even citing the band as an inspiration for Radiohead's own new album.
Ágætis Byrjún was officially released in America in early 2001 and the band toured there for the first time. Later that year Sigur Rós were awarded the inaugural Shortlist prize for new music (the equivalent of the UK's Mercury Music award). Judged by a panel including Trent Reznor, Beck and Dave Grohl the band were recognized above bands such as Gorillaz, Air and the
Sigur Rós released their third album in October 2002, entitled ( ). The lyricless and titleless album was slightly darker, rawer and less accessible yet equally as haunting as Ágætis Byrjún and was also well received.
Their new album, which has not yet been named, has only just been recorded and mixed. It contains ten songs and is currently being mastered in New York and is expected to be released later in the year.
Sigur Rós are currently touring Europe, Japan, Australia and North America. I’ve got my tickets!
If you want to hear more, check out the band’s web page for a huge selection of mp3s.