A less than full house greeted Sweden’s garage pop quintet The Shout Out Louds, but that didn’t stop the energetic band from putting on an inspired set at The TLA on Thursday night. A smaller venue like The Khyber or The Northstar Bar would have probably been sold out and then some, but The TLA was a bit too big for this one.
The Shout Out Louds released their first album, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, has been around in Europe for two years before getting an American release by Capitol in May. It is a fun album by a band that takes their music very seriously. They really don’t sound like anyone specifically–the sound is more of a conglomeration of influences from across the rock landscape. A little Strokes here and a bit of The New Pornographers over there. They sound like a more accessible version of Canada newcomers Wolf Parade, with crunching guitars competing with layered keyboard parts.
The hour set consisted of a trek through Howl Howl Gaff Gaff as well as some B Sides along the way. The acoustics were much better for this show than the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah set last week at The TLA. The band just sounded tight from beginning to end.
While lead singer Adam Olenius is the chief songwriter and leader of the band, what separates Shout Out Louds from most other indie bands is keyboardist Bebban Stenborg, the lone female in the group, whose looks are exceeded only by her prowess with the Moog. She epitomized the nonchalant rock star—alternating between the keyboard, accordion, harmonica, and tambourine with total indifference.
On “The Comeback”, Stenborg calmly anchors the band as they perform their most well known song. “100 Degree” provided another opportunity for Stenborg to power up the keys, including an impossible to ignore hook that makes the song memorable well after the ringing in your ears ceases. When Olenius sings, “I’m so happy, oh so happy, but then again I’m always sad” he somehow sings it without the contrariness that tends to plague the indie rock scene. The highlight of the show, though, was the slow, disconsolate “Go Sadness”, proving that the band does shoegaze as well as they do peppy indie pop.
A band as good as The Shout Out Louds deserved a packed house for a show in Philly. Lesser bands playing shittier music have sold out venues bigger than the TLA. The contingent of hipsters from the Delaware Valley screwed the pooch on this one. The show was tits and they missed it.