I’ve always enjoyed the art that comes out of events and concerts. A promotional flier put together by some creative genius. Sometimes printed, sometimes not, used for a few short weeks and then gone forever.
Sweden has most heavy metal bands per 100,000 inhabitants. According to Metal-archives.com, it’s Scandinavia in general and Sweden in particular that has the most heavy metal bands in the world. According to their study there are 53.2 metal bands per 100,000 inhabitants in Sweden.
Joacim Cans, singer in the metal band HammerFall, is not surprised. He points at death metal (death metal is an extreme subgenre of heave metal music) and its so-called “Gothenburg sound” as a possible explanation.
Cans believes that bands such as In Flames and Opeth have inspired younger generations of metal musicians to create their own bands. “When a music style becomes world leading, then young people listen and want to do the same thing themselves. It reverberates.”
Cans also believes that the prerequisites for musicians and bands are especially good in Sweden. “In the US it’s very expensive to rent a rehearsal studio. In Sweden we have the municipal school of music, where you can learn to play an instrument at no cost at all.”
I like my bands like I like my men — genius, on the brink of lunatic, with a romantic edge. That’s how I feel about LA-born band, Shiny Toy Guns. You get the sense that at any moment the ensemble will implode, and given its tumultuous path to success, it’s all but a likely conclusion.
Formed in 2002 by bassist/keyboardist, Jeremy Dawson, and vocalist/guitarist, Chad Petree, the band didn’t gain in popularity until the addition of female vocalist, Carah Faye Charnow, who gives the group its distinctive siren sound.
In January 2005, they released their first album We Are Pilots, then re-recorded and re-released it in November 2005, then signed with Universal Records in June 2006 and released a third, final version on October 2006, which received a 2007 Grammy Award nomination in the category of Best Electronic/Dance Album.
You Are The One, a single off of We Are Pilots, is featured on the soundtrack for the FIFA 2007 videogame, further catapulting the band into the spotlight. (SIDENOTE: I can listen to this song on repeat for at least six iterations when I’m on a treadmill):
So what happens next? If you guessed the two founding members kick out the band’s star, Carah Faye, you guessed right. Dawson and Petree claim it was Charnow’s decision to break off (due to “artistic differences”), but this interview tells a different story:
In August 2008, the band announces Carah Faye is no longer part of the band and Sisely Treasure, whose vocals are featured on the band’s second album, Season of Poison, is her replacement. Charnow goes on to pursue a new band, Versant, in Sweden, and Treasure, while giving the band a more metallic feel, fails to satisfy Charnow fans, who beg for her return.
Fast forward to 2011. On February 7, Shiny Toy Guns announces via Facebookthat Treasure is no longer part of the band, and on February 11, a video is posted on the band’s website announcing that former member, Carah Faye, is rejoining the band along with her husband, Daniel Johansson, for their upcoming album III. On March 3, The Sun, the first single from III, is released, with the expectation of an early to mid-summer album release. But it seems The Sun was simply a tease, with fans still waiting for the promised III and 2012 tour dates TBA.
Whatever happens to @ShinyToyGuns, I’m hoping they can keep their egos in check long enough to complete a 2012 tour so I can see them play live in person. Without Carah Faye, they sound like a water-downed version of The Killers. The founders should take their cue from No Doubt and realize she’s their ticket to platinum success.
In the mean time, I’m relegated to enjoying my favorite tunes on Spotify.