I bought Aegis Byrjun at a small, local record store while on a business trip to Nashville in 1999 or early 2000. I had seen an ad for it in The Wire and that was good enough for me. It felt like a real discovery. When I got back to Atlanta, none of my friends had heard the record yet. It wasn't in rotation at WRAS. The album was mysterious and otherworldly and I loved it.
But part of what made it so special was that sense of discovery. In high school, I discovered bands all the time, even if they were pretty much confined to making one style of music. In college, I went on weekly bargain bin CD runs and over my four years in Tallahassee I picked up hundreds of CDs, many of them for bands I'd never heard before. WRAS was a great source of new music in Atlanta, but this was before the age of music blogs and online radio, so I knew that my tastes would be heavily curated by the programmers at 88.5 if I didn't try to find things on my own.
In 2000, I sat in the basement of a house where I had built up my recording studio and I scrolled through pages of Napster search results for Sigur Ros. I downloaded live tracks and remixes and their first record, none of which were available at local stores in Atlanta.
In 2003, I saw the band for the first time, an event that I've written about before.
So, it was strange to me that in 2005, this weird little band from Iceland had grown to the point that they were playing at the Woodruff Arts Center at an event for which tickets were completely sold out. I eventually scored an orchestra seat from a ticket scalping agency and crammed into the show with beautiful, normal people who were talking about articles they had read on Pitchfork.
And I know this is my problem, but the whole thing just seemed a little duller by 2005. Yes, it's a good thing when a band making tremendous music gets bigger and expands its audience. Yes, it's great when they can play a fantastic venue with great sound. Yes, everyone who bought one of those tickets had an equal right to fall in love with that band and that music. And still, that feeling of discovery was gone.
I don't like to think of myself as one of those people who gets possessive about their favorite bands, but if I'm honest, that's exactly what happened. I didn't want to share Sigur Ros with people who had carpooled in from the suburbs. I wanted that show to be special--just for the artists and weirdos and music obsessives who usually filled up smaller rooms for my favorite bands.
The truth is that the way that people were consuming music had changed by 2005. Everyone loved Radiohead, and it was only a short hop and a jump from Radiohead to Sigur Ros. Hell, I think there's probably a good overlap in the Sigur Ros and Coldplay venn diagram. This is one of the things that has been hard for an old school weirdo to get used to. The lack of scene identity and the rise of "everyone loves everything" has been hard to understand. But I'm trying.