Tropicália’s Swedish Stars

It was bound to happen eventually. One day, some Brazilian musicians woke up and thought, "Hey, you know, Os Mutantes were a pretty cool band." So they threw away all their bossa nova records and their acoustic guitars and found a guy who could yell instead of croon. Then they discovered an old organ and some frazzled amps at a garage sale and listened day and night to records by '60s acts like the Kinks and the Standells and, yes, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, and all those Tropicália dudes from their own country. Finally it was time to name their garage-psych band, so they picked Garotas Suecas, because calling a mostly male, Brazilian group "Swedish Girls" would be kind of surreal. Actually, the true story behind this São Paolo sextet remains a bit of a mystery; the only thing on its MySpace page is a gushing live review by Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein (which, of itself, is pretty impressive). The proof, though, is in the pudding — or in this case, the tunes, five of which have been released on an eponymous EP, just in time for Garotas Suecas' four U.S. dates. Sure, the ingredients are familiar — blazing organ, galomping drums, jangly guitar, the occasional punctuating horns — but like everything in Brazil, this music has a certain swing that starts in the hips and arrives triumphantly in the groin.

Lumerians and Grass Widow open.
Sun., Oct. 18, 9 p.m., 2009

 
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