Over the past few months, we’ve touted Icelanic indie/folk rockers Of Monsters of Men as one of our favorite new bands of 2012. So far, it looks like the band has not only heeded, but exceed the hype that’s come with their journey across the pond. After dazzling both industry-types and music junkies at SXSW, the band recently completed their first ever American tour and to much success. Nearly every room they played was sold out (they even had to add an extra show in certain cities) with fans singing along to the band’s alt rock hit, “Little Things.”
Even though the band has had a meteoric rise, there hasn’t always been soldout crowds and radio hits for the sextet. Having formed as a proper outfit in 2010, the group went trhough some of the growing pains associated with becoming a proper group. However, winning the prestigious Músíktilraunir, an annual battle of the bands competition in Iceland changed everything.
Initially a quartet, the band expanded to a sextet after their victory at Músíktilraunir. The arduous climb continued, and the band toured throughout their native Iceland until they their big break when Seattle-based station KEXP saw the band at the 2010 Icelandic Airwaves festival and recorded a version of, you guessed it, “Little Things” and it was off to the races.
Not surprisingly, My Head is an Animal, the band’s debut, was released in Iceland in September 2011 and both it and "Little Talks" hit No. 1 in their native land.
So how did the band come up with this creative title?
It’s in the first sentence of the album,” singer Ragnar ˛Ûrhallsson told us. “The song is called “Dirty Paws” and the first sentence contains the words. We knew early on that was going to be a title and the opening track of the album. I think the sentence sums up the album for us and the feeling while we were making it.”
In late 2011, Philadelphia’s Radio 104.5 caught wind of “Little Things,” and voila, it was off to the races. Raggi, loves the city of Philadelphia for their incredible support of the band, even playing their album release show in the City of Brotherly Love, but as he told us, he’s not too fond of the city’s culinary delight.
“I did have a cheesesteak,” he said. “It wasn’t very good though. I didn’t like it very much.” Regardless, he dedicated a song to Philadelphia’s only contribution to the food community.
The band recently completed a successful with bigger things on the horizon. They’re planning to hit Europe for a brief run, then will head back stateside to play a number of festivals, including the Newport Folk Festival, Outside Lands and Lollapalooza. Despite the hype, Raggi and the rest of the band have remained grounded, knowing how fortune they are for their success.
“We know how lucky we are to be in this situation, which is very, very happy and great,” he said. If they keep writing songs like they have, then they could very well be the best new band of 2012.