Thursday, July 30

A-bombers Old Style Weekend

It's that time of the year again and we're on our way to A-bombers Old Style Weekend. I just hope I can fit all my luggage in the car... I'm only bringing 4 pairs of shoes.

I'll be driving up with the Saint 21 crew. You can find us working at our tent outside and the HepCat Store stall inside.

See you at Backamo lägerplats!

Wednesday, July 29

Swedish Movits! on American TV and what Heptown Records did to help

Ok, that's probably the longest title I'll ever give a post on this blog. I just wrote a post for the Saint 21 blog about Swedish jazz/hiphop/swing band Movits! and their performance on American TV this Monday.

In short, we carry their debut album "Äppelknyckarjazz" is the HepCat store and all of a sudden we had shipped all the records we had in stock to addresses in the US.
Movits! are not that well known even in Sweden so why was there an interest from abroad?
We found out that Movits! hade been hyped on a music blog and someone had discovered that we were the only store that shipped their record to addresses outside of Europe.

The band only became aware of this American hype when we called them to ask for more records.

Then Movits! were invited to perform on the Colbert Report. The show aired this Monday. Clips from the show can be found on the Colbert Report website.

The last few records we could get our hands on have now been sold to the US. Håkan shipped the last 8 copies today. We are now waiting for the second pressing of the album.

If you've never heard of Movits! check out their video for "Äppelknyckarjazz".

Ironically, the latest release from Movits! is a collaboration with Swedish rapper Zacke called "Spela mig på radion", meaning play me on the radio. The song is about how Swedish artists try to sound American in order to get air time in Swedish radio.

You can download "Spela mig på radion" for free at Zacke's myspace.

Tuesday, July 28

Is your hair a tribute to Jay and Silent Bob?

The geek ponytail with centre parting is often seen at conventions and sci-fi bookstores. I have never seen a version that was flattering, and I have no idea why it’s so popular. It looks more like an ill-advised tribute to Jay and Silent Bob than an actual hair style.
It may be practial, but so is shaving your head. Or are geeks simply too lazy to get their hair cut?

Check out this week's Geek Style column at Pop Syndicate.
Click here to read it.

Sunday, July 26

Fredrik's Vintage Moped

When Fredrik turned 30, we knew we had to get him something special. Something with personality and a hint of danger. Something that could be modified.
After a long, intense search we found a 1962 moped made by Swedish company Husqvarna.

But there are some serious logistics involved when you're dealing with old mopeds. You need a big car to transport it from city to city, a place to hide it on the day you're giving it away and someone to make the delivery.

This moped needs some love; it only runs in first gear, the tank needs to be repaired and the speedometer doesn't work. But it has a lot of potential.

Fredrik puts on his helmet as Andy presents him with his birthday present.

Fredrik and his new ride.

Fredrik didn't just get a moped, he got a piece of Swedish craftsmanship. Here is the original ad, published in 1962.

"You were right Dad - this is the gang's sharpest engine."

Friday, July 24

Tweet Tweet Punk Rock Love

I didn't expect to see a romance unfold when I started to follow Chad Gilbert from New Found Glory on twitter. I added @xChadballx because of his credentials as guitarist in New Found Glory, producer to H2O and member of hardcore all-star group Hazen Street.
In the past I've discovered a lot of good music and up and coming bands by checking out his recommendations.

But then I started seeing these cute comments about cupcakes, holding hands and music, all aimed at another tweeter called @yelyahwilliams, none other than Hayley Williams of Paramore.

The romance between these two is something of an open secret. Neither Hayley nor Chad will comment on it in, but don't deny it.

I love the fact that this love is allowed to grow in semi-public view. And I'm not the only one who feels this way, the majority of comments on their photos are sweet and supportive.

Thru twitter I can follow this little romance without feeling like an intruder. There are no paparazzi here. I will only see what Chad and Hayley choose to make public. And that is the beauty of twitter and vertical communication.
There are no publicists involved, no editors who want to sell magazines and no record label executives thinking of sales. Just two rock n roll kids in love who feel like sharing.

Hopeless romantic? Me? Youbetcha.

Wednesday, July 22

What The Baseballs Should Learn About Viral Marketing

It's funny how clueless the music industry still is, even after all the debates about file sharing, dowloading and home taping.

They think they can expect me to wait for a release date scheduled by the marketing department when the product I want can be obtained through other sources, often faster and at a lower cost. But just so we are clear, this is about accessibility, not about money.

Let me give you an example. Two weeks or so ago I discovered The Baseballs through a video on YouTube that was posted on several blogs and facebook. I checked out their album on Spotify and decided that this was something I wanted to own.

So I checked all the places I usually shop for cd's. Yes, I am an old-fashioned girl and I prefer my music on that little round piece of plastic that I can play in the car.
But I couldn't find the album anywhere. The Baseballs' website offers both the cd and some nice merch, but only ships to adresses in Germany.

I want to pay for the cd and am thinking about spending even more money on merchandise, but I can't. So what do I do? Because I can't find the album or any information on when it will be released in my area I choose to download it. I thus have the music and can play it in the car and on my mp3-player, but it's not what I wanted in the first place.

I found The Baseballs (presumably someone at their record label or management who tweets in their name) on twitter and left a comment on how I couldn't find the album. And this is the reply I got:

Thanks, but I already got it. And in any case, I'm not prepared to wait another two months for something I know I can find right now.

I work in the music industry and I understand that pre-release hype does great things for record sales. And I know that sales are very important when you are launching a new act.

But what The Baseballs and their record label/management are overlooking is that their music is being promoted for free by their fans in a viral marketing campaing. That is, everyone who is posting links to the video on YouTube and the album on Spotify are in fact promoting the band. When I look at the statistics I can see that people from Brasil, Mexico, Poland and Switzerland arrive on my blog after searching for "Baseballs Umbrella".

The video on YouTube has been shown 1 108 959 times and has 2 338 comments as I type this. These are really good numbers for a new act that hasn't been featured in the internationall press or on MTV outside Germany.

But I wonder if the viral campaign wouldn't be more successful if fans from all around the world could buy the music and merch directly from the band? They would certainly make a bigger profit on each item sold. As I have shown, I was prepared to buy the album but couldn't find a way to do so.

We are only a small web shop, but the HepCat Store ships internationally, as do many smaller web stores run by punk bands and independent lables. I got some awesome Bouncing Souls merch from Chunksaah in New Jersey, USA just last week. That makes it even more frustrating when I can't order from a neighbouring country in Europe.

Let's hope those weekend greasers in The Baseballs will get hip to viral marketing and start shipping internationally.

I really like this shirt and if I can't buy it I'll just have to make my own.

So I downloaded the music and didn't pay, but look at all the free promotion The Baseballs got in this post. I guess we can call it a fair trade?

Tuesday, July 21

How many zombies live in your closet?

Are the undead lurking in your closet? Your worn out, frayed and disintegrating favourite jeans, the shirt that needs new buttons and the t-shirt that has been washed so many times that it’s faded and the print has cracked?

Are they joined by an army of gray underwear and relics of shoes? Then it’s time to kick some ass and clean up like Alice in Resident Evil.

Read more in this week's installment of Geek Style at Pop Syndicate.

Pin Up Cookies

I just popped into the grocery store to buy some lunch when I found these cookies from the Byron Bay Cookie Company. I love the packaging!

My eating habits would be so much better if healty snacks came in adorable packaging.

I bought these just for the packaging... I swear.

Sunday, July 19

I Just Don't Get It

I know that not everyone is like me. But I don't understand how someone can be happy working the same dead end job for years, raising a bunch of brats and spending every minute of their life in a nowhere town.

What makes even less sense to me is giving up all your childhood dreams because your parents thought you should get a nice job, like a doctor or a lawyer.

Talk about lives of quiet desperation...

Then again, a life of rock n roll, tattoos, lowbrow art, hot rods, books, hair flowers and black eyeliner is not for everyone.

Tuesday, July 14

New Article on Pop Syndicate

You can check out my latest article on Geek Style over at Pop Syndicate. It's called "based on jeans and a t-shirt" and was inspired by some old photos of Marlon Brando and my own passion for denim.

Now I've gotta find ideas for next week's column... Any suggestions?

Gwen Cooper, Marlon Brando and young Clark Kent know how to look good in jeans and a t-shirt. is where you go for the latest news and reviews. We cover movies, television, comic books, music, DVDs and books releases and news. There are also over thirteen different podcasts hosted on Pop Syndicate and we're always looking for more.

Monday, July 13

Torchwood: Children of Earth

Ianto, Jack and Gwen.

Torchwood season three is out on dvd! I'm not gonna wait for it to be shown on Swedish TV, if that ever happens, so god bless whoever made it avaliable on dvd one week after it aired in the UK.

Sunday, July 12

Car Boot Sale Sunday

I checked out the local car boot sale today. There was the usual plastic toys, old comic books, ugly ceramic sculptures and assorted children's clothes.

I found a few nice things, but the sellers were asking way too much. So I settled on this little tray that I got for next to nothing.

Small tray with movie star cards.

Saturday, July 11

The Baseballs - Umbrella

Just in case there's anyone out there who hasn't seen it, check out German rockabilly cover band The Baseballs with "Umbrella".

I'm not sure what I think of a "rockabilly" group that only does covers of modern songs, but hey, the boys can sing.
Maybe I should send them a can of Saint 21 pomade and see if they can be converted to real greasers.

Check out their debut album "Strike!" on Spotify.

Friday, July 10

My Punk Rock Hero in Rockabilly Magazine

Long before I started listening to swing and rockabilly I was a punk rock girl. One of my heroes was Mike Herrera from MxPx.

And guess who's on the cover of the current issue of Rockabilly Magazine? Mike Herrera fronting his side project, alt-country band Tumbledown. I didn't see that one coming.

Now there's a face I didn't expect.

There are a lot of rockabilly kids who used to be punk, few take the opposite route. But the worlds of punk and rockabilly don't always mix, despite strong similarities between both subcultures. So it's fun to see a punk on the cover of a rockabilly magazine.

There are purists on both sides and the rockabilly police are just as boring as the punk police. Me and most of my friends like variety and listen to rockabilly and punk, some dress rockabilly all the time, some are hardcore punks and I like to mix and match.
Sometimes I dress rockabilly, sometimes I feel like punk and most of the time I mix and match.
When someone asks about my style I say I'm a punkabilly girl.

Tumbledown just released their first album. Check them out on myspace.

Mike on the right. Photo by Joshua Kanter.

BTW, Mike Herrera is still one of my heroes and not bad looking either. Why is Bremerton so far away?

Thursday, July 9

J.Tex - Misery

The latest release from HepTown Records.

My buddy Jens aka J.Tex has just released his first solo album, Misery. I really like the cover art.

Jens travels to a lot of car shows and rockabilly events with the Saint 21 crew, and the sound on his solo record is inspired by those outings where he mostly performed with no band, just a guitar and a 1940's amp.

My favourite song is "Union Army", featuring guest vocals from Andi Almqvist.

Check out J.Tex on myspace or see him perform live at A-Bombers Old Style Weekend.

Tuesday, July 7

Geek Style

I have a style column! As of today I am a regular contributor to pop syndicate. My first post is called "Geek chick - yes it is possible" and is about stylish geeks and what you can learn from them.

I will be writing a new post every Tuseday, focusing on how to look good without loosing your geek identity.

My article is today's featured story. is where you go for the latest news and reviews. We cover movies, television, comic books, music, DVDs and books releases and news. There are also over thirteen different podcasts hosted on Pop Syndicate and we're always looking for more.

Wednesday, July 1

Esther Williams on What's My Line

Esther Williams as a guest on the American game show "What's My Line" in 1955. Not as bathing suit in sight and she's still funny, charming and fabulous. Did I mention that she is one of my favourite actresses from Hollywood's golden era?