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
1 1 SIGUR ROS ( ) FatCat
2 4 JOSEPH ARTHUR Redemption’s Son Universal
3 5 PRIMAL SCREAM Evil Heat Epic
4 3 BADLY DRAWN BOY Have You Fed The Fish? BMG
5 2 DONNAS Spend The Night Atlantic
6 7 RAVEONETTES Whip It On Columbia
7 8 RICHARD ASHCROFT Human Conditions Virgin
8 13 ROOTS Phrenology MCA
9 9 ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT Live From Camp X-Ray Vagrant
10 16 IKARA COLT Chat And Business Epitaph
11 10 BJORK Björk’s Greatest Hits Elektra
12 6 TORI AMOS Scarlet’s Walk Epic
13 17 STREETS Original Pirate Material Vice-Atlantic
14 12 DAVID GRAY A New Day At Midnight RCA-ATO
15 - CALLA Televise Arena Rock
16 19 SMASHING PUMPKINS Earphoria Virgin
17 11 JOHNNY CASH American IV: The Man Comes Around Lost Highway
18 26 DAMONE From The Attic RCA
19 24 CREEPER LAGOON Remember The Future [EP] Arena Rock
20 18 HAR MAR SUPERSTAR You Can Feel Me Warner 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?