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Alternative/Punk

The Raveonettes

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Wednesday Sep 24, 2014 9:00PM El Rey Theatre Los Angeles, CA Buy Tickets More Info

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Stylish, confident, and, frankly, slightly menacing, the Raveonettes--Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo--made their mark on the emerging new garage-rock scene in 2002 with a flair for the dramatic....

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Stylish, confident, and, frankly, slightly menacing, the Raveonettes--Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo--made their mark on the emerging new garage-rock scene in 2002 with a flair for the dramatic. Their image was pure '50s retro-cool: lanky, dark-haired Sune and six-foot blonde glamazon Sharin wore black leather and sat astride motorbikes. The Danish duo doused their stripped-down songs about sex, suicide, and prostitution with noisy, fuzzed-out guitar, sweet boy-girl harmonies, and sleazy surf-punk twang. It sounded like a clash between Mods and Rockers if the brawl had taken place on the set of California beach movie.

The Raveonettes released two CDs, each of which adhered to the Raveonettes' own version of the classic Ramones formula: three chords and nothing longer than three minutes. Their 2002 EP Whip It On was recorded entirely in the key of B-flat minor, and the 2003 full-length debut, Chain Gang of Love, stuck to B-flat major. But where those two albums were dreamt up in monochromatic darks and lights, Sune shot Pretty in Black in blazing Technicolor. "I realized that it was kind of hard for people to listen to an hour of music played all in the same key with the same three chords," he admits. "I can see why they might think it's repetitive." Adds Sharin: "We really had to do something different on this album, for the sake of ourselves and our sanity. We had to try something new." On Pretty in Black, Sune flung away the rulebook, along with the fuzz and distortion, and let the elegant simplicity of his songwriting shine through.

The resulting songs are, as Rolling Stone's David Fricke puts it, "...a whirlwind of ravishing noir and vintage-pop echo(ing) with Sune's deep affection for early rock & roll and girl-group bop coming through bright and clear." "There were no guidelines for this record," Sune says. "I just started writing songs during some time off in London. I was hanging out and got kind of bored so I rented a rehearsal space and ended up writing seven songs on the first day. That was a really good start for me, so I just kept writing. I didn't have any distortion or noise gadgets with me, so I pretty much had to do it all very clean. When I played it back, I thought, 'Wow, this actually sounds pretty good. Maybe I should go for that kind of sound and not repeat myself.' Clean music is always more accessible than something washed in distortion.'" Not to mention more "direct and in your face," as Sharin puts it. Pretty in Black still reflects Sune's love for the early rock innovators Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. "I can't get away from it," he says. "Maybe I tried to modernize it a bit more than with the last two records, but it really is the same inspiration," he says. "I've been known to buy a computer magazine, but I still cherish the '50s-style dinner table in my apartment. I think you can mix those two things up in a gentle way."