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The Sounds

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The Sounds hail from Sweden, combining the buzzy keyboards of 1980s new wave with a vaguely garage-rock aesthetic that manages to feel contemporary rather than self-consciously retro. Led by comely lead singer Maja Ivarsson, the Sounds have a sensual, punky sound that emphasizes immediacy, attitude and catchy hooks. The quintet have raised their American profile over the course of two albums and will hope to build on that momentum with their latest album, Crossing the Rubicon.

The Sounds formed at the end of the 1990s. The lineup has remained intact ever since -- vocalist Maja Ivarsson, guitarist Felix Rodriguez, keyboardist Jesper Anderberg, bassist Johan Bengtsson and drummer Fredrik Nilsson. The band came together in Helsingborg, a small town on the southern tip of Sweden. Finding American distribution through New Line, the record label for the now-defunct movie studio, the Sounds set to work on their debut album.

Released in their homeland in 2002 but not reaching North America until the following year, Living in America was a spirited but derivative album. Nearly every single review of the album pointed out the Sounds' reliance on a synthesizer-heavy sound heavily indebted to the Cars and Blondie. Still, Living in America demonstrated that the Sounds had a talent for punk-edged music that straddled rock, postpunk and dance. The title track was a spunky showcase for Ivarsson's snarling, alluring vocals, allowing the Sounds to earn a cult following in America.

2006's Dying to Say This to You was a noticeably more confident and tuneful collection. The Sounds had transformed the crude energy of Living in America into a tight batch of songs that displayed ample sex appeal and new wave attitude. None of the singles from Dying to Say This to You charted in America, but "Song With a Mission" and "Painted by Numbers" were smart, enormously accessible examples of mainstream songwriting. Dying to Say This to You topped Billboard's Heatseekers chart and further increased their visibility.

Crossing the Rubicon, the Sounds' third album, hit stores on June 2, 2009, preceded by the release of the first single, "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake."

On January 6, 2011, the band announced that their next album would be titled Something To Die For, and is scheduled to be released the week of March 29, 2011. Lead singer Maja Ivarsson has also been confirmed as appearing on pop punk band All Time Low's new album Dirty Work as a guest vocalist on the track "Guts".

The first single from their new album, "Better Off Dead", was released on February 1, 2011. The track was promoted on their website with a competition, in which anyone could download the sheet music for the song, and submit their own version, to be voted on by fans (the winner's version will be included as the B-Side on their upcoming 7"). Everyone who downloaded the sheet music also received the track for free 5 days early.The band released their second single, "Something To Die For", on February 22, 2011.

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