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The Nomads

Scandinavia might not seem like a particularly likely place to find a flourishing garage-rock scene, but Stockholm's legendary Nomads have been kings of the drag-punk underground in those great Nordic hinterlands for more than two decades now. It all started in Solna, a Stockholm suburb, in early 1980, when four teenage malcontents got together and began gigging locally as Mike Nomad, playing a raw, blistering style of rock that borrowed liberally from seminal American groups like The Sonics, the MC5, and The Cramps. In 1981 they became The Nomads and recorded their first seven-inch, a crude dirty cover of The Sonics' already crude and dirty garage-rock classic, "Psycho." Throughout the '80s the band continued in this fashion, with singer and rhythm guitarist Nick Vahlberg and lead guitarist Hans üstlund the only constant members. In spite of their distinctively vitriolic, fuzzed-out punk mode of garage rock and the frenetic energy of their live shows, the band remained little more than a curiosity, virtually unknown outside of Sweden.

In the early '90s, The Nomads were able to connect with a larger European audience after shows with The Ramones and Iggy Pop and soon thereafter, thanks in large part to the garage-rock revival spearheaded by bands like The Makers and the Mono Men and the help of Bellingham garage label Estrus Records, the band picked up some new American fans too. Now, more than 20 years after the band's inception, The Nomads just keep on going forward, snowball-like, picking up speed and mass, apparently unconcerned with where they might end up or what they might run into on the way. Their lineup has been set for almost a decade, with bassist Börne Fröberg and drummer Joakim Ericson rounding out the band. With their newfound stability and fan base, the band has shown itself to be increasingly willing to experiment, occasionally bringing in Delta Blues riffs, dark and violent New Wave synths, and tweaked-out country influences into the mix, while never losing the raucous lo-fi energy at the core of their sound.

The Nomads' discography is far too extensive to list here, consisting of a dozen full-length albums and countless singles. Their more recent LPs have included 1994's Powerstrip (featuring "I'm Out of It") on Sympathy, and '96's Cold Hard Facts of Life and '99's Big Sound 2000, both on Estrus.

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