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— James Montgomery, with reporting by Matt Paco

It's always somewhat humorous when a band's bio begins with a poorly translated manifesto, and when it's a manifesto as poorly translated as the Shout Out Louds', well, then it's doubly humorous.

Said manifesto reads, in part:

"Shout Out Louds is all about simplicity ... neither arrangements nor melodies is allowed to be too complicated. It's also the soundtrack to the state of being in love, a state that harbors a high degree of anxiety. ... The most striking undercurrent in Shout Out Louds' music is the fear of discovering that one has ceased to love."

See the Shout Out Louds' complete You Hear It First MTV News package in Overdrive

It probably sounds better in Swedish, the band's native tongue, but Swedish doesn't play in Peoria. So the Shout Out Louds' bid to conquer America begins with a manifesto that leaves them sounding not like a super-cool rock force, but more like slightly goofy Taoists with guitars. And that's a pretty tough row to hoe.

"Yeah, there's a reason I sing all my songs in English," frontman Adam Olenius said. "We wanted to release our records everywhere in the world, so we pretty much have to sing in English. I grew up on a lot of English music from Britain and the U.S., so it's always been in me. I mean, I could sing in Swedish, but it's better you understand what I'm saying."

Bred on Robert Plant's sexually charged moans and the nasally tones of Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis, Olenius and the rest of the Shout Out Louds — guitarist Carl von Arbin, bassist Ted Malmros, keyboardist Bebban Stenborg and drummer Eric Edman — aspire to be clearly understood.

"When I was a kid, my dad played, like, Chicago records, Led Zeppelin and Queen records," Olenius said. "I'm very influenced by Neil Young and the sounds he made. The same with Robert Smith and J Mascis. This is the way I sing. But ... I also love stuff like Yo La Tengo and the Arcade Fire. So I guess you could say that I'm influenced by pretty much everything."

Olenius, Malmros and von Arbin met in gym class while attending school in Stockholm and started pounding out lower-than-lo-fi replications of Zep and Queen, plus American acts like Elf Power and Neutral Milk Hotel. It wasn't long before they realized their act needed an upgrade from the drum machine they'd been using to keep the beat, so Edman was brought in. Then Stenborg, the lone girl in the group, added her keyboards to the mix and the Shout Out Louds were off and running.

"Soon after that we played our first gig," Olenius said. "I think it was in February 2002, at a small jazz club in Stockholm, opening for a friend. And right away it felt like this could be something, not only in our heads, but something we could perform and record."

"We played three songs — all the ones we knew — and it was really, really fun," Malmros added. "We started it for fun, but it just started getting better and better ... and it started going faster and we haven't really had a lot of time to adapt."

He's not kidding. Since playing that first gig, the Shout Out Louds ripped through an EP (2003's 100º) and quickly began to draw the attention of the Swedish press. Soon after that, larger labels began to show interest, and now — a little more than three years since their first gig — they're opening for the Futureheads and Capitol Records is getting ready to release their first full-length, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, on May 24. It's been a pretty meteoric rise, but Olenius tries to remains humble ... even if he does front a band with a mealy mouthed manifesto.

"We're just happy that we can come to the U.S. and tour or we can go back to the U.K. or go back to Sweden," he said. "I mean, as long as we can do shows and record albums, we're happy with that. I would just tell people, 'Listen to our music, and hopefully you'll like it.' "


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 "Very Loud"
Howl Howl Gaff Gaff
   Photo: Capitol