"The Stuff make really great rock music"
What is this? Rats playing Rock 'n' Roll. Gigantic leering looming fangs to a soundtrack of pummelling guitars and strangely danceable beats. Masked mayhem. What's going on?
Stockholm, Sweden gives us The Stuff. Another rock band? Well, yes. But then again
The Stuff started demanding attention in 2003, sending demos to record companies and radio stations. One of them ended up at Swedish national radio show P3 Demo whose presenter Pelle Gustavsson promptly featured them. Another copy reached freshly started Ill Wind Records. "We were basically sitting around, wondering what do do" says Magnus Borg, one of the company's two founders. "We'd started Ill Wind more or less as a vanity project and had one act who didn't produce a lot of material."
Suddenly a grubby package arrived, wrapped in an old newspaper. "It smelled of fish. Then we heard "Say hello to Mary" and thought they really had something".
But there was the small matter of image. The band members - probably four - seem not to want to make things easy for themselves. Not only insisting on remaining anonymous but also claiming to actually be rats and to have grown up in the sewers of Europe only to escape to the northern wilds to be able to play rock' n' roll seems to be a beg not to be taken seriously. Wearing oversized rat heads and looking like Disney rejects doesn't exactly help.
The music, however, sends another message altogether. An intricate mix of almost every conceivable style of rock 'n' roll from rhythm 'n' blues and rockabilly to punk, new wave and beyond, you're still left unable to pinpoint where their music originates from. "We're just not very good musicians" one band member confesses "so I guess our attempts to imitate fail miserably". But their claim to be substandard instrument-wise is easy to disprove simply by listening. Obviously not a group to revel in guitar solos (and most songs clock in around the three minute mark anyway) the music is nevertheless full of clever asides, blistering guitar fills and surprisingly diverse arrangements.
The lyrics, too, contain a subtext quite apart from their on-the-face-of-it storytelling, a turn of phrase hinting at a current event, an old film line or even giving you a message from someone you once knew. "We ate the singer's pencil once. He got very upset". Doesn't sound very likely, does it? Anyway... It's The Stuff. Enjoy.
a rat - guitar
another rat - guitar/keyboards
a third rat - bass, vocals
a final rat - drums
2004 Say Hello To Mary EP, 4 track CDEP, Ill Wind Records IWR001
2004 Pl-pl-please/Bad Day at Blood Beach, 2 track CD single, Ill Wind Records IWR002
2005 Pick it Up, Pig Boy, 12 track CDLP, Ill Wind Records IWR003