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(International) Noise Conspiracy 

In the liner notes to their 1999 singles collection The First Conspiracy, this Swedish garage band identified themselves as "a secret society, an underground, a group of urban terrorists aiming to question and attack every instance of our culture." When the Canadian Web site World Wide Punk subsequently asked Dennis Lyxzen, the band's front man and minister of radical theory, if he supported political violence, specifically bombings, he replied, "I would never really go out and bomb anyone...it's not my nature. But if we look at the society we live in, and how everyday we're being turned into commodities and being sold as slaves, I don't see it as violence, I see it as self-defense." This week the Swedes begin their U.S. tour here in Chicago, promoting their third LP, A New Morning, Changing Weather (Epitaph), and I imagine they'll find the weather much chillier than the last time they came to town. The major media haven't paid much attention to the antiterrorism act recently rammed through Congress, and the law itself is pretty hard to understand because it obscurely references so many others (just ask your representative). But if the ACLU's reading is accurate, technically it would permit the attorney general to turn Lyxzen away at the border for his comments, and if the band makes it to Chicago, it would permit the FBI, an organization with a long history of pointlessly harassing pop stars, to search their hotel rooms during the show without notifying them. The band's mix of hard-driving R & B and bomb-throwing rhetoric has made them one of the most exciting acts to come along in some time, but since young Americans have gotten a taste of real anarchy their appetite for it seems much diminished, and I'm dying to see how the band will react. "The ways in which we experience and live [in] our contemporary capitalist world are permeated by a diffuse and low-level fear," reads the essay appended to the lyrics. "As we navigate our way through brand-name consumerism and ever more work, this shadowy fear is always there as our constant companion." Now our companion has stepped out of the shadows, and like the rest of us, the (International) Noise Conspiracy will have to decide for real how much freedom is enough. Thursday, November 8, 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.

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