Good Swedish pop from their Merge debut. Capitol dumped them after their 2005 debut, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff. One more reason the majors are in the shitter.
Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist on the Misfits: “It sounds like shit and was recorded by a bunch of dudes in 1978. The lyrics are difficult to understand but it has the best hidden pop melodies ever. Melodies up there with Motown and Abba.”
The Hives with Sahara Hotnights at Metro
July 27, 2004, Chicago
By unanimous decision, the crowd at the packed Metro made Hives frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist an honorary Chicagoan. We gave the Hives the key to the city. Well, Almqvist demanded it from us, and how could we say no? When the Hives tell you to cheer for them, you’ve got no choice but to give it up.
October 9, Metro, Chicago
Swedish four-piece Sahara Hotnights arrived onstage Wednesday night at Metro with ofantlig chips on their shoulders. Can you blame them? When you’re supporting one the best rock acts around (The Mooney Suzuki), and you only have a half-hour to prove to a new city that you’re the shit, how would you handle it? Kick out the jams, motherfucker.
Glorious Noise Interview:
Inge Johansson of the (International) Noise Conspiracy
Glorious Noise interviewed Inge Johansson, bass player of the International Noise Conspiracy and asked him about the politics of the INC, why Sweden is kicking so much rock and roll booty, and why the Rickenbacher is the bad-assed rock bass that it is. Read the interview.
The Hives sell out in Detroit.
The Hives and Mooney Suzuki Remind You That Life Is A Gas
It’s an all-ages 7:15 on a Wednesday night inside Chicago’s Metro. The Mooney Suzuki’s gear sits coiled on stage. A quick glance away from front-of-house, and you miss them: The Suzuki, four guys dressed like Batman villains who’ve suddenly appeared behind their instruments. The drummer is standing on his kit. And lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, Ben Stiller lookalike, and principle rabble-rouser Sammy James, Jr is strutting around the stage, pointing out potential rockers in the audience. The double-time beat drops, and all of sudden there are four guys on stage singing a song about today, about right now, about this moment, and it’s rock and roll. And you wonder: why isn’t this happening all the time?
To paraphrase the Suzuki, it’s a tough old world. A little bit is music, but the rest is hoops. But when rock and roll happens with the ferocity of what occurred at last night’s gathering of like-minded peppermint twisters, you wonder about when rock and roll will finally, completely, take over the world. It would replace parking tickets with concert tickets. Every day would be Saturday night. And no one would ever place a cover sheet over a TPS report again. This is the sort of world that the Mooney Suzuki and The Hives live in. Unfortunately, we can only stay for a short time – then it’s back to a world without black suits and white neckties.
New York City’s Mooney Suzuki didn’t invent the toe-tap, but if Sammy James said they did, you’d believe him. Because you can’t help but tap the toe or stomp the foot when James and his band downshifts into “Half My Heart,” or “Electric Sweat.” It’s the kind of rock music that the phrase “let your backbone slip” was invented to describe. Sure, 90% of it is two chords, and James’ lyric book consists mostly of “Alright!” and “Okay!” So what? No one ever said that rock needed to be complicated. That’s the great thing about the Suzuki or their nattily-attired counterparts in The Hives. They realize, like so many other rockers out there, that music might have been better when it was recorded in a two-track studio behind the five and dime. In many ways, the emergence of “The New Garage” is the popular awareness of this. The Hives’ “Hate To Say I Told You So” will sound better than the boring alternative crap that surrounds it on your local radio station because it doesn’t get in the way of itself with goofy production techniques or a goddamn flugel horn overdub. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re from Sweden.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you are now living in The United States of The Hives!”
Pelle Almqvist has just harangued the capacity crowd for the first time. By now it’s 9:15 at the Metro. The Hives are slated to finish their set by 10:00, so you imagine that Almqvist – tall, reminding some of a young (Swedish) Gram Parsons – better get on with it. But The Hives can play 50 songs in 45 minutes, and each one would snap your neck. So you can give Almqvist and his constant monologue a break. The lightbulb’d “HIVES” sign hanging before an enormous, black and white Stars and Stripes blinks on, and suddenly Nicholaus Arson is doing the robot with his Telecaster, heltering and skeltering until the angles that compose his body mesh with the sharp lines of The Hives’ take on 1960s mojo. Almqvist is climbing the light rig, his white leather topsiders gleaming in the blinking “HIVES” light. That “Whadjapay?” guy is pounding away at his white SG. And you find yourself and the crowd surrounding you to be in a united state of mind.
It’s a tough old world. Especially when it’s 10:30 and you’re standing outside the club, scratching your head. It’s disorienting enough to see rock and roll so early. But when the rock itself is of the world-shaking variety, what then? The Mooney Suzuki and The Hives present the soundtrack to that rock and roll Erehwon that dissolves upon contact with the outside pavement. Until rock and roll does take over the rest of our lives – when girls will always play lead guitar, nobody’s hair will be clean, and ascots’ll be back in fashion – we need rockers like these groups. We need them to remind us that our lives aren’t just about the lovers, buggers and thieves; that sometimes, even when the sets are short, we can jump off our observation deck into a world where rock and roll is king.
Sweden, not the Strokes or the White Stripes, will save rock and roll. Watch out for the Hives!
Well, it looks like I’m in the Jake camp on this one. Given my 02/06/01 comments about Britney and her tube sock wristbands, I can only be called what I am: A fan. Fan of what? Goatee’d svengalies transliterating Swedish pop into english so Britney, Mandy, Christina, or Jessica can rake in some t-shirt and Official Program sales down at local arena? By suggesting that there is a sliver of entertainment value extracted from listening to “Stronger” or “Baby One More Time,” am I admitting that I had a Roxette poster over my bed in 1989, and that I don’t like pop music unless there’s a shady impresario in a fire-lit chamber somewhere in the Swedish hill country, smoking cigars made of Swedish C-Notes, and laughing as he eats his meat and swills Bayerskt from a flagon?
No, man. I just think that Britney kid puts me in a good mood when I see her. All that singin’, dancin’, and jiggling flesh HAS to turn that frown upside down!