So how does a band from Sweden sound more American than many of our own indie favorites? The Shout Out Louds have done just that. This talented group from Stockholm released their fantastic full-length Howl Howl Gaff Gaff recently on Capitol Records, and quickly went into the list of my current favorites. Having never seen the band live, I went into last night’s show at the Bowery Ballroom with a cautiously open mind. I wanted them to be great so badly as to not ruin my love for their album. Fortunately, I was not disappointed.
After several drinks last night, I kept thinking of the various groups that seem to have influenced the Shout Out Louds’ sound. I renamed them 97 Rented Dinosaurs, as I hear bits of J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr., quirky Moog goodness of the Rentals and twangy pop of the Old 97’s. I have to admit that my new name for the band seemed much more entertaining last night, but beer has that effect on me.
The band stepped onto the stage at 9:20pm and performed nearly 40 minutes of pop perfection. They kicked off with the catchy as hell tune “The Comeback”. The brilliance of this song, even in a live setting, is its simplicity. You can’t help but nod along to the Moog keyboard line during the bouncy chorus. During “Oh Sweetheart”, drummer Eric Edman’s train like shuffle beat adds a country feel, hence the previously mentioned reference to yallternative favorites the Old 97’s. This twangy vibe was even more apparent in their hipster iPod favorite “Very Loud”.
It takes quite a bit to get your typical NYC audience to dance, move, or show any real excitement during a concert. When the group launched into “Hurry Up Let’s Go”, an upbeat rocker filled with handclaps, the crowd started showing signs of life. By the end of their set, the Shout Out Louds won me over. Lyrically, frontman Adam Olenius writes weepy songs that are wrapped in a fun pop-filled package. This quintet somehow makes happy and sad go together like the salty and sweet of a chocolate covered pretzel. On stage their sound works very well, with songs perfect for getting your dance on.
For our NYC friends who are attending The Dears’ show this coming Saturday evening, make sure you show up early for the Shout Out Louds. Also, don’t be afraid to jump around a little bit. Their music will make you want to move your feet, so don’t fight the temptation. You might get some funny looks at first, but it won’t take long for the rest of the crowd to join in. Music this infectious doesn’t come along very often, so give in and enjoy it.