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Jens Martin Lekman (pronounced "Yens", born 6 February 1981 in Angeredmarker, Swedenmarker) is a Swedish indie pop musician residing in Melbournemarker, Australia. His music is guitar-based pop with heavy use of samples and strings; the lyrics are often witty, romantic, and melancholic. His work is heavily influenced by that of Jonathan Richman and Belle & Sebastian, and he has been likened to Stephin Merritt (of The Magnetic Fields) and David Byrne. Lekman hails from the same town as the pop group Ace of Base.

Music career

From 2000 to 2003, Lekman recorded and released much of his material privately on CD-R. Because one of his songs during this time was entitled "Rocky Dennis' Farewell Song to the Blind Girl", inspired by the movie Mask, Lekman was mistakenly referred to as "Rocky Dennis". Lekman says that it was a "mistake": "someone thought that was my real name cause I had a song about him, and then radio picked up on it, and I never had a chance to change it". He put the confusion to rest with his Rocky Dennis in Heaven EP (2004).

In 2003, Lekman self-released a 7" vinyl EP, Maple Leaves. When the same EP was released on CD by the Swedish independent label Service Records later that year, he was a well-known name. The songs "Maple Leaves" and "Black Cab" were heavily played on Swedish national radio. He soon signed a contract with the American label Secretly Canadian for releases outside of Sweden. Heavy touring and his debut album soon followed.

His first album When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog was released in 2004, and consisted of recordings made between 2000 and 2004 (some tracks had been previously released independently by Lekman). The album attracted attention among the alternative music press in both Europe and the U.S. The song "You Are the Light" was a successful radio hit, and a video received some rotation in the Nordic MTV and ZTV. In Swedenmarker, the album reached #6 on the national chart. Lekman was nominated for three Swedish Grammies, three P3 Guld and three Manifest awards, and the album was named the album of the year by Nöjesguiden.

A concert film shot from Lekman's sold-out show with José González at Göteborg's concert hall in December 2003 was broadcast by Swedish national television in 2005. In June 2005, a compilation CD of Lekman's first three EPs (plus extra tracks) was released as Oh You're So Silent Jens. Lekman's cover of Scout Niblett's "Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death" appeared on Secretly Canadian's SC100 compilation.

Night Falls Over Kortedala was released in Sweden on 5 September 2007 and worldwide on 9 October 2007. The single "Friday Night at the Drive-in Bingo" preceded the album's release.

Live performances by Lekman have differed in style; at times he has performed alone with only a guitar and a CD player, sometimes doing a cappella versions of his songs, while at other times he has been accompanied by a choir and string quartet. In 2008, he toured with an all-female back-up band (dressed mostly in white) that provided basic rock instrumentation as well as horns and backing vocals. In June 2009, Pitchforkmedia.com reported that Jens Lekman had contracted H1N1 on his South American tour.

Discography

Albums



Compilations

  • Oh You're So Silent Jens (Service Records, 8 June 2005; Secretly Canadian, 22 November 2005) - a collection of previously released singles, EPs, and compilation appearances


EPs



Singles

  • Jens Lekman/José González (Service Records, January 2004) - 300 copies, contains "If You Ever Need A Stranger (To Sing At Your Wedding)"
  • El Perro del Mar/Jens Lekman (Secretly Canadian,30 October 2004) - contains " I Don't Know If She's Worth 900 Kronor"
  • Jens Lekman/Blood Music (Insound, November 2006) - contains "A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill", with spoken word introduction
  • "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo" / "Radio NRJ" (Service Records, 14 July 2007) - 800 copies


Collaborations

  • Kajak - Benni Hemm Hemm (2007) - guest vocals on "Aldrei"
  • Något dåligt nytt har hänt - Vapnet (2007) - guest vocals on "Håll ihop"
  • Kingdom Came - Kocky (2007) - guest vocals on "Be Part Of It All"
  • Yeah! Oh Yeah!" -- duet with Tracey Thorn


Compilation appearances

  • En Garde Fanzine CD-R (2003) - contains "F-Word" and "Sky Phenomenon"
  • Based on a True Story (2004) - contains "Be Good"
  • Accelerator Compilation (July 2004) - contains "The Wrong Hands"
  • Risky Dazzle: A Service Party Shuffle (January 2005) - contains "Maple Leaves", "And I Remember Every Kiss (Demo Version)" (previously unreleased), and "You Are the Light (Reprise)
  • Rallye Cloak 02: Swim Sweet Swedish (24 August 2005) - contains "Boisa-Bis-O-Boisa"
  • SC100 (24 April 2007) - contains "Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death"
  • Four Songs by Arthur Russell (20 August 2007) - contains "A Little Lost"
  • Whip It! Soundtrack (29 September 2009)- contains "Your Arms Around Me"


References

External links




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