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'Howl' for the Shout Out Louds

Photo courtesy of Capitol Records
With a name almost as fun as indie rock band Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, The Shout Out Louds still manage to perform a show worthy of attending, even if they're from Sweden. They will be playing Plush on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m.
By Michael Petitti
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 17, 2005
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Singer/guitarist Adam Olenius, of Sweden's Shout Out Louds, sounds hurt on record. However, not hurt like Brandon Flowers of The Killers and other disciples of the Morrissey school of hard knocks. Olenius' pain doesn't come smeared in black eyeliner. In photographs his saucer eyes give the appearance of a child still curious about the ways of the world.

Make no mistakes though; Olenius is far from uncorrupted by the ways of the world (and the heart) as the Shout Out Louds' debut album Howl Howl Gaff Gaff displays. Nevertheless, listeners rarely get a sense of crawl-in-a-hole defeat in the music of the Shout Out Louds, thanks in large part to Olenius' whimsical optimism.

In one of the year's best songs, the single "Very Loud," Olenius manages to balance his lyrical sadness with a bouncy track of jubilant country-pop. As he bellows "Little by little you're gonna hear me cry/Hear me cry 'Why-hy-hy?'" it sounds more cathartic than depressed.

That does not mean Olenius hasn't gone through a fair amount of heartbreak to make an album as redemptive as Howl Howl Gaff Gaff.

"What I really try writing about - what I really feel comfortable writing is things that are very unique only for yourself," Olenius said. "It's your family or your friends around you and what goes on and the emotion and communication between people and how that makes you feel, and that's the only thing I can really write about."

Olenius expounded upon being in a band on the rise. Rolling Stone placed the band on its "Next List" as the "Hot Swedish Band" of 2005. Meanwhile, Time magazine placed "Very Loud" in its "10 Songs Worth At Least 99 Cents" section. And as if all this (along with late night appearances on "David Letterman" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno") wasn't nerve-racking enough, the band is currently embarking on its first headlining tour.

"It's really great," Olenius said. "It's (making us) quite nervous though because you have a lot of more pressure. But it's really fun, especially when you get to bring your own supporting bands. We can play more songs and have more space."

The band members cut their teeth - and were thrown headfirst into the fray of the traveling music business - this spring when they opened for The Futureheads.

The interesting thing about Howl Howl Gaff Gaff - aside from its title, which Olenius says comes from the sound of wolves howling in the traditional (howl) sense, as well as the Russian (gaff) - is that it's been around since 2003. That's when a different version of the album was released in Sweden, before Capital Records scooped the band up for release in the U.S.

"We recorded a three-track EP in Sweden a year and half ago called Oh, Sweetheart EP," Olenius said. "And we really liked those three songs because we worked with a new producer and everybody got along great with him and when we had time to release (the stateside release) we just wanted to make it more fun for us and make the more updated version of our music. We knew it was going to take (a) long (time) to mix the album, so we just wanted to make it a more updated sound. And it was more fun for us, too."

The resulting album sure as hell sounds like a blast. Despite its poignant moments, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff never seems bogged down with misery or grief. In fact, the album sounds just like The Smiths and The Beach Boys jamming together, two bands Olenius cites as influences.

"We just wanted it to sound like a debut album and not add too much stuff in there and to have the spark and energy of a debut band," Olenius said.

Check out the Shout Out Louds as it skips Phoenix at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. on Tuesday. Tickets for the 21-and-older show are $8, and The Sun and The Rosebuds open the show at 9:30 p.m.

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