Dungen

Sweden's premier psych-rock band
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PREVIEW Calling all Invisibl Skratch Picklz: one of your most unlikely acolytes is dying to meet you — and perhaps someday even be like you: Gustav Ejstes of Dungen, Sweden's premier psych-rock band. "I'm a huuuge fan!" exclaims Ejstes by phone from the offices of his label, Kemado. "They're definitely not underrated. I realized this when I went to a record store in New York. I was looking for scratch records, and this girl said, 'No one listens to that anymore,' and I was like, 'I don't care!' This is the shit. I love it."

Scratching his hip-hop itch was the shaggy-haired band leader's sole comfort after an intense bout of touring following the US release of Dungen's much-praised Ta Det Lugnt (Subliminal Sounds/Kemado, 2004). "I went to this house and practiced scratching for a year and only did that!" he marvels. Only later did he get a piano from his grandmother and started playing during breaks from his scratching exercises. He started writing songs and soon realized, "'OK, here's another album. Now I feel like I really enjoy this again.'"

The end result was 4 (Kemado): a passionate and, yes, piano-based recording brimming with eloquent, stretched-out jams and jazzy coloration, spattered by guitarist Reine Fisk's touches of shred and aching, airborne lines of flute and strings, both played by multi-instrumentalist Ejstes. A new approach to songwriting and recording might have contributed to the disc's loose and spacious bright sound. Instead of impatiently recording each tune the same day he wrote it, much as he had in the past, Ejstes let the songs breathe and mutate before bringing them to the rest of the group. These days he's far from precious about the process — or many other things, for that matter. Asked about the bare-bones 4 title — for Dungen's fifth album — Ejstes stammers, "I just felt like this was the fourth, the fourth piece of shit," before howling with laughter. "I have to write that down."

DUNGEN With Women and Social Studies. Mon/10, 9 p.m., $14. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. (415) 621-4455, www.bottomofthehill.com

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