There was a time when Sweden wasn't exactly the most popular export in music excellence. For decades, the country was arguably defined by the glorious schmaltz and glamour of ABBA and to a lesser degree, the pop friendly 1990s group Ace of Base. But, things have changed over the past decade or so in Mother Svea. Whether it's Lykke Li, Miike Snow, Peter Bjorn and John or the act I'm about to namedrop, Sweden is closely rivaling Brooklyn as the leading haven for budding musical talent.
The Sounds, who formed roughly ten years ago, represent all that's good in pop, rock, dance and indie music these days. Deriving their style from acts like Blondie and Missing Persons, but with their own original twist, this quintet (Maja Ivarsson, Felix Rodriguez, Jesper Anderberg, Johan Bengtsson and Fredrik Blond) have gradually become huge stars in the states thanks to the buzz surrounding their debut "Living in America" in 2002 and their three releases since. The band have been on the road for most of the year in support of their latest acclaimed album Something to Die For, which has brought them closer to alt-rock domination. Hours before they played a sold-out show at Webster Hall in New York City, they performed a stripped down version of their title track off their current LP, and took time for a chat about their success thus far. Watch and hear that Sound... um... now.
Something to Die For -- Live:
The Sounds Speak Out:
About "A-Sides with Jon Chattman"
Jon Chattman's music series features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing.