Monday, April 28, 2008

Jens Lekman

Jens Lekman recorded and released much of his material privately from 2000 to 2003 on CD-R. Because one of his songs during this time was entitled "Rocky Dennis' Farewell Song to the Blind Girl", Lekman was mistakenly referred to as Rocky Dennis for a while (the song was actually written from the perspective of the main character of the 1985 film Mask). Lekman says that it was a "mistake": "someone thought that was my real name cause I had a song about him, and then radio picked up on it, and I never had a chance to change it".[2] He put the confusion to rest with his Rocky Dennis in Heaven EP (2004).

His self-released 7" vinyl EP Maple Leaves caused a big stir in 2003, mainly due to sound files circulating on file sharing networks. When the same EP was released on CD by the Swedish independent label Service Records in the autumn, he was already a well-known name. The songs "Maple Leaves" and "Black Cab" (TV Personalities)were heavily played on Swedish national radio. He soon signed a contract with the American label Secretly Canadian for releases outside of Sweden. Heavy touring and his debut album soon followed.

His first album When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog was released in 2004, and consisted of recordings made between 2000 and 2004 (some tracks had been previously released independently by Lekman). The album attracted attention among the alternative music press in both Europe and the US. The song "You Are The Light" was a successful radio hit, and a video received some rotation in the Nordic MTV and ZTV. In Sweden the album reached #6 in the national chart. Lekman was nominated for three Swedish Grammies, three P3 Guld and three Manifest awards, as well as dubbed album of the year by Nöjesguiden.

A concert film shot from Lekman's sold-out show with José González at Göteborg's concert hall in December 2003 was broadcast by Swedish national television two times in 2005. In June 2005, a compilation CD of Jens' first three EPs, with extra tracks, was released as Oh You're So Silent Jens. Lekman also has a cover of Scout Niblett's "Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death" on Secretly Canadian's SC100 compilation.

His newest album Night Falls Over Kortedala was released in Sweden on September 5th 2007 and worldwide on October 9th, 2007. The single "Friday Night at the Drive-in Bingo" preceded the album's release.

Live performances by Lekman have differed in style; at times he has performed alone with only a guitar and a CD player, sometimes doing a cappella versions of his songs, while at other times he has been accompanied by a choir and string quartet. Recently, he has toured with an all-female back-up band, dressed mostly in white, that provides basic rock instrumentation as well as horns and backing vocals.

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