Swedish fetish - Page 2

The Scandinavian path from ABBA's ice castles to Fever Ray
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Fever Ray, skull out

label is Kemado, while its sound is increasingly Komeda — as in Roman Polanski's early film composer Krzysztof Komeda.

The Swedish acts, if not hits, keep coming: last month brought femme foursome Sahara Hotnights' album of cover versions Sparks (Universal); January delivered delicate folkster Loney Dear's Dear John (Polyvinyl); and charming, Björk-influenced Maia Hirasawa puts out her second album next week. The beautiful Lykke Li recently played the Fillmore, where her opening act, the Västra Götalands Iän duo Wildbirds and Peacedrums, was to die for. Indie-pop trio the Bell recently played the Independent, and the Dylan-inspired Tallest Man On Earth (a.k.a. Kristian Matsson) breaks free from touring with Bon Iver to headline shows in support of the acclaimed Shallow Grave (Gravitation).

Sweden's second largest city, Gothenberg, plays host to lovelorn troubador Jens Lekman, Madchester-influenced boy duo the Tough Alliance, and doo-wop dolly El Perro del Mar. Another Gothenberg resident, acoustic singer/songwriter José González, gained popularity in 2003 when his cover of Swedish electro duo the Knife's "Heartbeats" was set to a Sony commercial in which 250,000 colored balls bounced down the steepest streets of San Francisco.

González's version of "Heartbeat" resparked interest in the Knife's original, and brother and sister duo Olaf Dreijer and Karin Dreijer Andersson built on that audience with 2006's critical fave Silent Shout (Mute). This week, sister Karin introduces her solo recording project, Fever Ray. Like her work with the Knife, the 10 songs on Fever Ray (Mute) couple icy electronic atmospheres with quite literal lyrics — one song even refers to dishwasher tablets.

Whatever the "it" is that has captured the hearts of so many Americans and sent all these acts across the ocean to us, it continues to grow and assume new forms. If you ever make the trek to pop paradise, remember: they refer to Swedish Fish as "winegum candy" in Sweden. It's kinda like how the French don't use the term "french fries."

THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH

with Herman Dune

March 25, 7:30 p.m., $12–$14

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011

www.rickshawstop.com

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