ICELAND COMETH Sigur Rós
If you're a fan of Icelandic post-rock super group Sigur Rós and their epic ESL tracks, chances are you've killed some brain cells in your day, so let me explain: Hvarf, Heim, and Heima are not the sounds of dry heaving last night's Jäager bombs. It's the name of 2 EPs and a DVD the band is releasing this month, all on XL.
The double CD, 11 songs in total, Hvarf/Heim, is out now, and definitely worth the time. Hvarf, which translates as "disappeared" or "haven," features five "lost" songs, and the soaring, previously unreleased "Hljómalind" is an especially nice find. The six acoustic tracks on Heim—"home"—were recorded at various live shows in Iceland earlier this year and last. The unplugged version of the classic "Ágætis Byrjun" is arresting and should not be missed, with lead singer Jónsi's falsetto voice sounding warmer and less pristine, but no less beautiful, than it did on the band's first album of the same name.
The Heima DVD, out on Nov. 20, is slightly less worthy of your cash. The film documents a series of free concerts the band played for its country folk in the summer of 2006. The best moments feature trippy, beautiful nature footage of the Nordic homeland set to the rare tracks, perfect for projecting in the "chill-out room" of a party where all your aging, formerly-drug-addled friends get blasted on a subtly spicy Pinot Noir. But slow shots of calligraphy, reaction shots of concert-goers, and the interviews might leave you bored and headachy rather than soused.