Sigur Rós (formed 1994) are an Icelandic rock band.
Formation: Jón Þór Birgisson, Georg Hólm and Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson formed the group in Reykjavík, Iceland, in January 1994, choosing to name their band 'Victory Rose' in Icelandic. While the word 'Sigur' translates as 'Victory' and 'Rós' translates as 'Rose', the phrase is not grammatically correct in Icelandic. A few days before the formation of the band, however, Birgisson's younger sister, Sigurrós, was born. Not long later, they signed a record deal with Bad Taste.
Career: Sigur Rós released their first album, 'Von', in 1997, before releasing a remix album the following year. The remix album was titled 'Von brigði', which was another Icelandic play on words. While the title meant 'variations on Von', the word 'Vonbrigði' means 'disappointment' in English. In 1998, Kjartan Sveinsson joined the band as a keyboard player, who would later bring orchestral string accompaniments into the band's music.
In 1999, the band released 'Ágætis byrjun', which lead to huge success and a supporting slot on that year's Radiohead tour. Over the next few years, their music was used in shows like '24', and films like 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou'. In 2001, the band moved to a new studio, and released a new EP to celebrate. The following year, they released their critically acclaimed album, '( )'. In 2003, they collaborated with Radiohead on an album called 'Split Sides', with three-track contribution being released shortly before the US and UK release of their original debut album in 2004.
In September 2005, the band released 'Takk...' before releasing their 'Sæglópur' EP the following year. In 2007, the band took part in a Swedish tour, for which they released 'Heima' - a tour documentary. In 2008, before embarking on a world tour, the band released their fifth studio album, 'Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust'. While their follow-up album was announced in 2009 and set for release in 2010, the project was later scrapped and the band took some time out. In November 2011, the band announced 'Inni', a new album, which was released in 2012.
In 2013, Kjartan Sveinsson left the band, and it returned to being a three-piece. The following year, the band appeared in an episode of 'Game of Thrones', before covering the song 'The Rains of Castamere', written by George R. R. Martin and recorded by The National in an early season of the show. The band then announced plans to rerelease their album 'Ágætis byrjun' in summer 2015.
Because life is too short not to appreciate the beauty of Iceland.
Sigur Rós are treating fans to a chilled out road cruise as they livestream their journey around Iceland to an ethereal soundtrack and gorgeous landscapes. It's a 24-hour road trip called Route One and it will be on air until late tonight (June 21st 2016).
Sigur Ros take a trip around Iceland
The Reykjavík trio are encouraging everyone to stop and smell the roses as it were with their latest project; a 24-hour livestream of their car journey around Iceland which is currently airing on Iceland's rúv 2 TV channel and YouTube.
Continue reading: Sigur Rós Brings Slow TV To The Masses With 24-Hour Iceland Road Trip
2013's been a year filled with great music but, at times, it has felt like you've had to search it out.
It's been a year of truly brilliant sounds even if there may have been a few disappointments along the way. Take hip hop, for example: unlike 2012's records by Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, there was nothing that really demanded your attention. Yes, Kanye's album 'Yeezus' was technically brilliant, but it's a record I'm still struggling to digest properly. Similarly, Jay-Z's 'Magna Carta, Holy Grail' (which, in my opinion, is as good as West's effort) was less immediate than the likes of 'Blueprint 3', which means it's got somewhat lost in the public consciousness.
Both those records had an interesting release as well, materialising on shelves seemingly from nowhere. They're not the only ones either; My Bloody Valentine's 'mbv' appeared online out of the blue in February after a gestation period of 20 years. Equally, Mazzy Star, Boards of Canada, Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie made unexpected and impressive returns following long hiatuses. There were also some great reissues and live records; Rilo Kiley's 'Rkives' acted as the epitaph the band deserved, Bob Dylan repainted his self-portrait with the 'Bootleg Series' and revealed songs well worth revisiting, Steve Albini finally got to share his vision for Nirvana's 'In Utero', The Velvet Underground's 'White Light, White Heat' finally got the deluxe treatment it deserved following Lou Reed's sudden death and Neil Young presented what could well be his best live album to date with the 'Cellar Door' addition to his archives series.
Continue reading: Jim Pusey's Top 10 Albums Of 2013
Laneway Festival hold their last event of 2013 in Detroit during their first US appearance.
The St. Jerome's Laneway Festival 2013 made its US debut as it hit Detroit over the weekend, bringing a hell of a lot of fun Sunday, September 15th 2013.
Musical celebrations kicked off marvellously with 7,500 in attendance. Among the definite highlights were early performers CHVRCHES, Frightened Rabbit and Deerhunter; Icona Pop also drew a massive crowd with a wonderful set of catchy tunes from their 'This Is . Icona Pop' album - number one hit 'I Love It' went down a storm! Up-and-coming Aussie musician Flume brought some life to the Meadow Stage, while Sigur Ros held the rapt attention of their main stage crowd. Co-founder Rogers was more than pleased with the turn-out. 'Our first venture into North America could not have gone better', he said. 'We were always confident that the people of Detroit would embrace this event. Not only did they come out in droves to see their fave bands but local artists, designers, painters and chefs turned on the hospitality of the region and all demonstrated why the city is on the brink of a major revival.'
Continue reading: Laneway Festival 2013 Makes Its Long-Awaited US Debut In Detroit
The Icelandic band are popular amongst 'GoT' fans
The popular swords n' dragons drama Game of Thrones – yet another string to HBO’s impressive bow – has added the Icelandic band Sigur Ros to the cast of season four, which is set to debut in Spring 2014.
Sigur Ros and GoT are a perfect fit
The band spoke of their TV triumph on their Facebook page, posting: “goggi, jónsi and orri are currently shooting an appearance for the fourth season of Game of Thrones!” Despite the shows period setting – sort of, it is a fantasy – plenty of contemporary bands have enjoyed turns on the show.
Continue reading: Sigur Ros Enter The 'Game Of Thrones' - HBO Drama Casts Musicians
Gaga gears up to bring 'Artpop' to London during next month's iTunes Festival.
Lady GaGa has left the irritation of Monday's 'Applause' new single leakage behind her and has turned her attention to September, tweeting her excitement for next month's iTunes Festival. The singer announced that she's be gracing Camden's Roundhouse on the 1st September - the first night of the month of free concerts - with the Tweet: "I'M HEADLINING ITUNES FESTIVAL ON SEPT 1 AT ROUNDHOUSE IN LONDON. ONE HOUR OF ALL NEW MUSIC. #UKMonstersGetReady" to make sure all her UK fans knew what awaited them.
Lady Gaga's New Look.
The NY singer called a "911 pop emergency" on Monday after a snippet from the lead single from her upcoming album, Artpop, leaked on the internet. "Little Monsters" rushed to their idol's aide by reporting illegal uploads to record company UMG but the hot new track spread like wildfire across the internet. Gaga made the radical decision to change the single's release date to the 12th Aug, dropping the new track immediately on American radio stations to combat the pirates.
Continue reading: Lady Gaga Promises "One Hour Of All New Music" At ITunes Festival
American rockers Vampire Weekend and Kings of Leon have both been added to this year's free iTunes Festival, which will be held at London's Roundhouse venue throughout September.
It won't be solely a festival of rock though - artists from other genres have also been invited, giving everyone at this September's festival something to look forward to, such as Justin Timberlake, Jessie J, Jake Bugg, Rizzle Kicks, and classical composer Ludovico Einaudi.
Having being held since 2007, the annual iTunes festival is held over every night in September and this year will host over 60 acts at the Camden venue.
Albums of Note... David Bowie’s return to the shelves of our local record shops (well, the few that still exist) has been met with a grateful and adulatory fanfare, across the board and it’s been no different here at Contactmusic. Having run out of contemporary influences upon which to draw, Bowie took the old adage that pop will eat itself and made an album to fit. On The Next Day, Bowie largely references himself and his own body of work, recalling his Berlin days, as well as providing an extension of the tracks he released in the nineties.“Assessing how The Next Day sits alongside anything else he's done is irrelevant; an artist who has gone through as many character changes, taken on as many styles and moved through as many eras as he has defies such lazy list making. What can be said is that it is, at this point in time, at this point in his life and career, probably as good a record that David Bowie could've possibly come up with.”
Some of the mystery of Rhye’s cloaked existence has been unveiled and the band’s two components have been revealed as Toronto born producer Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal of Quadron. They draw comparisons to The XX, partly thanks for Milosh’s falsetto, which led many to believe that it was a woman on vocals. Possibly part of the reason they choose to entitle the album Woman...? “'Woman' is a chilled, tranquil listen but not a boring album by any means. The duo creates songs that fill with distant, mysterious moods. But, it still feels like an intimate album piled high with textured layers.”
Although Sigur Ros have never been anything less than a great live band their current incarnation is their strongest for over a decade, since the two year period that bookended their landmark release ( ) in 2002. Like it, their current tour finds them at a creative peak, happy to give as much focus to unreleased material, if not moreso, than the album you would typically expect them to arrange a set around.
It also sees them partially regain the veil of mystery that made their music so alien and irresistible before they appeared on big-budget blockbusters and all manner of daytime television. Their stage show is much bleaker than the technicolour extravagance of their Meo suo í eyrum vio spilum endalaust & Hvarf/Heim tours, and it is also much more intense and overwhelming. A physical veil shrouds the band for the entirety of the first two tracks, dropping at the climax of Agaetis Byrjun's ' 'Ny Batteri',and projections, smoke machines and lasers further obscure them.
On their new material the Icelandic trio's sound has re-evolved to become as equally foreboding as their live show, particularly on the mammoth 'Brennstein', perhaps the heaviest song they have written in nearly twenty years of existence and certainly one of their most effecting, with a pulsing overdriven bassline and pounding drums that bare the echoes of trance, giving way to swathes of brass and strings that die the feedback of Jonsi's trademark bowed guitar. It is wrought with a nervous energy the band hinted at on Valtari but never fully explored, and it is instantly more powerful than 7/8ths of their latest full-length, the sole exception being 'Varun', which is incidentally the only track taken from it that the band choose to play live. Jonsi has stated recently that their next album will be the 'Anti-Valtari', and it is already shaping up to be a step-up from its ambient-leaning predecessor.
Continue reading: Sigur Ros - Wolverhampton Civic Hall, 5th March 2013 Live Review 2013
Sigur Ros's first album for 2 years is a bit of strange one; released to accompany the Heima DVD, it's not a soundtrack (there is little correlation between the songs on the CD and those on the DVD), yet neither a straight studio album. Instead it's half rarities and previously unreleased tracks, and half live acoustic versions of previously released songs. Intriguingly the title track from 1997's Von is represented on both sides, allowing listeners to compare the two renditions (more of which later).
It's all impossibly pretty of course; the band's unswerving understanding of dynamics and emotional subtleties makes for an enthralling listen, and all the more so when considering the first set here is comprised mainly of tracks previously discarded over the course of the band's career. Opener 'Salka' is a case in point; left on the mixing room floor during recording for ( ), it's actually a better track than some that made it onto the album, with a hypnotic nursery-rhyme guitar figure counterpointed by glockenspiel and the whole thing pulsing gently in a dignified stately rhythm. 'Hjómalind' on the other hand is as close to mainstream rock as the band have ventured thus far; what starts off suggesting a companion piece to Takk's 'Glósóli' throws in an unashamed anthemic hook of a chorus which possibly owes more to Doves or Elbow than any of the usual post-rock suspects. The band have disowned the track to a certain extent, which makes its appearance on the disc even more surprising - luckily it's a welcome addition to their canon. The pick 'n' mix nature of these rarities is further enhanced by the Brothers Grimm-scored-by-Tim Burton-melodrama of I gær, with an unsettling music-box intro bludgeoned away after a minute with brute noise. 'Hafsol' takes its time over ten minutes, the unexpected sound of a drumstick tapped against Georg Holm's bass strings providing a percussive groove for more trademark etherial guitar before a startling change of pace at the seven-minute mark over which a tin whistle calls a emphatic tattoo. The climax is cathartic in its explosive power, while the aftermath conveys a sense of post-orgasmic breathing slowly returning to normal levels. Heady stuff indeed.
The live acoustic numbers are, happily, no less essential, with harmonium and extra strings filling in for the band's signature bowed guitar in places and various ambient chitterings - bird calls, wind and water - audible in the background during quieter moments. 'Starálfur''s palindromic piano remains a thing of easy wonder, while 'Agaetis Byrjun' - the version here is one of the few also represented on Heima - benefits from a more muscular treatment than its polite studio sister, with deep-toned acoustic guitar over what sounds akin to a school piano. 'Heysátan' is chilly nautical brass band loveliness, the sound of horns melding with those bird calls to cast up freezing grey skies drooping over a northern harbour for an album highlight. Less effective is 'Samskeyti', slowly unwinding its mathematical patterns to nowhere in particular for a gentle five minutes. ( )'s opener 'Vaka' fares better as the harmonium adds a restrained spiritual quality over which xylophones plunk in syncopatic splendour. As for 'Von', the electric rendition clocks in at a minute longer and is, expectedly, significantly louder, yet the result is a less charming recording than its slighter sibling despite Jonsi's vocals occasionally finding themselves too high in the latter's mix.
Overall then, this is a collection which deserves a wider audience than die hard fans; the rarities are of a strong enough calibre to rank alongside much of the band's best work, and the bonus of some sympathetic reworkings ensures that the second set is more than just filler. Just don't call it 'glacial'.