Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sound of Sweden


The Sounds
are a New Wave band from Helsingborg, Sweden founded in 1999, not to be confused with the Finnish band The Sounds from the 1960s or the British The Sound. Their musical style mixes punk and pop/Synth-pop influences. Most songs make integrated use of synthesizers. The group is often compared to New Wave acts such as Blondie, The Cars, the Epoxies and Missing Persons. Their debut album Living in America was released in 2002, with the follow up Dying to Say This to You on March 21, 2006. They are set to release their third album "Crossing The Rubicon" on June 2nd, 2009.

Lead singer Maja Ivarsson is outspoken in her ambition, claiming "I want to be the best female vocalist around...of at least this century". She was also featured on Cobra Starship's "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)", for the film Snakes on a Plane. In addition to Ivarsson's contribution to the Snakes soundtrack, the entire band is featured as track 6, "Queen of Apology," remixed by Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump. Band members Jesper Anderberg and Felix Rodriguez have recently been working as songwriters for other artists, among them the Dutch pop band Krezip and the Swedish punk band Quit Your Dayjob.

For Krezip's latest album (Plug it In), the pair wrote three songs: "All My Life", "Play This Game With Me" and "You're Wrong". "All My Life" has been one of the most played songs of 2008 in Holland. Krezip's album Plug It In was also produced by Adel Dahdal, who produced the The Sounds' debut album Living in America.

The Sounds were formed when childhood friends Felix Rodriguez and Johan Bengtsson decided to form a group amongst their high school friends, enlisting Fredrik Nilsson as drummer. Maja Ivarsson, named in Blender Magazine's "Hottest Women of ... Rock" list was invited to join as the lead singer. The group met Jesper Anderberg by chance at the Hultsfred Festival. The band's name was decided months later during a trip to London. Their debut album Living in America was recorded in Stockholm and produced by Adel Dahdal who is a songwriter and producer in his own right. It earned them several "best newcomer" awards, a Grammis and a #4 position in the Swedish album charts, as well as establishing the band not only in Sweden but also in the United States. The band has played over 300 gigs since the album's release including participating in the 2004 Warped Tour. In 2006 they played again at Warped Tour but this time on main stage, and have toured with bands such as Foo Fighters, The Strokes, Morningwood, Angels & Airwaves, +44, Mando Diao and Panic at the Disco.

In the United States, the band has had several TV appearances and magazine articles and has reputedly built up a celebrity fan base that includes Brittany Burnett, Dave Grohl, Pharrell, Quentin Tarantino, Thomas Johnson and Robin Botten, Bam Margera and his wife Missy, David Desrosiers, Ben Khodadad and Britney Spears. Dave Grohl wore a red Sounds T-shirt in the Foo Fighters' "Times Like These" video. The band has stated several times that it relies on word of mouth and concerts to promote its music.

The second album, Dying to Say This to You was recorded at Studio 880 in Oakland, California, and produced by Jeff Saltzman (producer of The Killers' Hot Fuss). They started the European leg of their tour in September and in October toured with Panic! at the Disco which included dates in London and several other major European cities. Following this tour, The Sounds made another run of the United States, starting with a Myspace secret show in Miami, Florida on Halloween and then stopping at 10 major cities from coast to coast with supporting act Shiny Toy Guns. All together, The Sounds played over 200 shows in 2006, over half of which were in the United States.

In early October 2007, The Sounds wrapped up their worldwide tour in Western Europe and Australia. The Sounds recently wrapped up work on their third studio album Crossing the Rubicon due for release in May 2009, and are currently on tour in Europe. They collaborated with Mark Saunders as well as James Iha and Adam Schlesinger on the album. They performed the song "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake" on Last Call With Carson Daly on February 12, 2009, and on March 16 it was announced on their MySpace page as the first single from the album. One of the band's songs, the synth-pop-tinged, "Hurt You", was used in a Geico television commercial that originally aired in September 2008. On January 21, 2009, it was announced that The Sounds will be a special guest on the No Doubt Summer Tour 2009, starting in May 2009 in outdoor amphitheaters and arenas across the U.S. and Canada. The Sounds will also play a series of headline shows around the U.S. in late April and early May prior to joining the No Doubt tour.

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