Export Sweden Showcase

Holden (Photo By Mary Sledd)

Export Sweden Showcase

B.D. Riley's, Thursday, March 18 First off, B.D. Riley's ain't exactly the most band-friendly venue on Sixth Street. The stage and PA didn't work in Kristofer Alstrom's favor last night; his introspective acoustic guitar singer-songwriter material would've worked better for a happy hour in some downtown bar. Alstrom's got a good voice and decent skills on the guitar, and occasionally comes across with compelling lines. ("Drunk and weary outside your door" and "I am cornered in this town.") Unfortunately, the Stockholmer's songs become repetitious quickly, with equal amounts of "oooh-aaaahs" and "mmm-mmms" padding out their running times. It might be interesting to hear Alstrom fully realized, with a band fleshing his songs out. Also from Stockholm is Holden, a fourpiece with a female lead singer who could easily find a second career as a model or aerobics instructor. Holden practices what Eighties writers used to call "angular, jagged pop," reminiscent of Gang of Four or Echo & the Bunnymen, complete with clanking Rickenbacker bass and keyboard-as-rhythm-instrument. Lead singer Jenny, decked out in white Eighties winkle picker boots, even took an excursion or two into the crowd and put out twice the energy of most bands (somehow without breaking much of a sweat). The 1986 feel continued with a third Stockholm act, Kamera, a fey, androgynous, faintly morose band that called to mind the Smiths, OMD, and Ultravox with their sleek, stripped-down brand of New Wave. With their gooshy synthesizer and sequencer laying down rhythms, the only thing the band needed was the splat of an electronic snare drum to round out their mid-Eighties feel. And that's not a put-down. There was plenty of Eighties music that sounded fresh and energetic at the time – certainly better than the pedestrian hard rock and metal that was going around then. What's a little disturbing, though, is the notion that most of these bands were in grade school the first time this brand of New Wave came around, and that the Eighties are far enough back now to actually become "nostalgia." Sigh. Sweden's Kamera and Holden have the right idea about Eighties pop anyway.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Saturday Showcases
Saturday Showcases

March 20, 2015

Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
First night SXSW Music recommendations and hints

March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Review: Grandmaster, <i>Grandmaster</i>
Review: Grandmaster, Grandmaster
Funk prog rock supergroup lures listeners through each stage of cosmic cult indoctrination

Miranda Garza, May 24, 2024

Review: Nova, <i>NovApocalypse</i>
Review: Nova, NovApocalypse
Experimental folk-pop player Nova’s sophomore release gets twisted

Laiken Neumann, May 24, 2024

More by Jerry Renshaw
SXSW Live Shots
Amsterdam Calling

March 19, 2004

Rapping with SXSW 04 Keynote Speaker Little Richard

March 19, 2004

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle