The State of Samuel

Swedish Metal Aid

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Easy comparison time: the State of Samuel is the Swedish Sebadoh. (Well, almost. More on that later.) Unrepentantly lo-fi, tuneful, and brief, the band is actually young Samuel Petersson on guitars (mostly acoustic) and vocals. He began recording songs in his bedroom on his four-track in 1996, releasing tapes in his hometown of Stockholm and eventually a single and an EP. Japanese label Escalator got wind of the music State of Samuel was making and decided to release Swedish Metal Aid, a 25-track compilation of the songs from the tapes and singles. The songs are all very short, very happy, very intimate blasts of fresh-faced bedroom pop. Unlike Sebadoh, there seem to be no feelings of gloom and doom; instead Samuel relies on whimsy and a less than firm grasp of the English language when crafting his lyrics. Songs about the Pope in Santa Barbara, robots, pretzels, Plato, and Kirk Douglas are certainly not the songs of a depressive soul. Indeed, they are the songs of a pop-loving goofball. Fans of Elliott Smith might find a record like this to be too frivolous and slight, but for fans of freewheeling lo-fi practitioners like Guided By Voices, the State of Samuel will be a very pleasant discovery. His first full-length record, Mutiny on Mercury, is the first record you should look for, but Swedish Metal Aid is worth the hunt if you can find it.