Post-rock pioneers Sigur Rós will, finally, go on a proper North American tour this spring, hitting all the major markets and playing giant venues like Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden. But long before the band packed enormous stadiums, soundtracked underwater adventures in Wes Anderson movies and collaborated with a very naked Shia LaBeouf, it was simply a mysterious, otherworldly band from Iceland with a name that looked like an anagram for Sugar Ray. Their chart potential was equally unknown.

In 1999 the band released its now-canonical sophomore album, Ágætis byrjun, and through word-of-mouth and critical praise, the record made it to No. 27 on the CMJ charts. But the band was destined for bigger things and higher chart positions. It was the unpronounceable ( ) that lifted the Icelandic band to No. 1 in 2003, making it the first, and only, group to reach the top of the charts without singing in English. Take that, Rammstein!

CMJ Chart For The Week Of January 14, 2003


TW
LW
ARTIST & TITLE
LABEL
11SIGUR ROS ( )FatCat
24JOSEPH ARTHUR Redemption’s SonUniversal
35PRIMAL SCREAM Evil HeatEpic
43BADLY DRAWN BOY Have You Fed The Fish?BMG
52DONNAS Spend The NightAtlantic
67RAVEONETTES Whip It OnColumbia
78RICHARD ASHCROFT Human ConditionsVirgin
813ROOTS PhrenologyMCA
99ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT Live From Camp X-RayVagrant
1016IKARA COLT Chat And BusinessEpitaph
1110BJORK Björk’s Greatest HitsElektra
126TORI AMOS Scarlet’s WalkEpic
1317STREETS Original Pirate MaterialVice-Atlantic
1412DAVID GRAY A New Day At MidnightRCA-ATO
15-CALLA TeleviseArena Rock
1619SMASHING PUMPKINS EarphoriaVirgin
1711JOHNNY CASH American IV: The Man Comes AroundLost Highway
1826DAMONE From The AtticRCA
1924CREEPER LAGOON Remember The Future [EP]Arena Rock
2018HAR MAR SUPERSTAR You Can Feel MeWarner Bros.

2005′s Takk also reached No. 1, although it only held the spot for two weeks, in November, and double disc Hvarf/Heim reached No. 8 in late 2007. But Valtari fell shorter, only reaching No. 22 this past June, and Von’s 2004 re-release just hit No. 37. These trends seem to suggest a waning interest in the band, but Sigur Rós has only grown more bankable as a live entity, and it seems that you can’t turn on the TV without hearing one of the group’s epic, oceanic soundscapes playing over some movie or show.

The group recently revealed that it’ll release yet another album of new material in 2013. Maybe another No. 1 spot lies ahead?