Nomads | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Nomads 

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NOMADS

In the 1984 hit movie The Gods Must Be Crazy a Coke bottle tossed out of an airplane is found by an African tribe and venerated as a holy object. If this sort of thing happens in real life, someone flying over Stockholm in the early 80s must have jettisoned a copy of the Nuggets anthology, because in 1983 the Nomads emerged from suburban Solna with Where the Wolf Bane Blooms, a mini album of dynamic, full-blown garage rock, and since then they've cranked out another 50 or 60 records, mostly seven-inch singles. Having our junk culture beamed back to us from foreign lands has a way of validating its gaudy pleasures--no American act could get away with being Shonen Knife--and the Nomads guilelessly amplify the rawest and richest elements of 60s garage. Vocalist Nick Vahlberg delivers romantic longing and bitter reproach like a Scandinavian Joey Ramone, and the rib-cracking drums and tectonic plates of guitar are so drenched in reverb that you'd swear the quartet was playing in Mammoth Cave. For years the Nomads' recordings have sounded like an anthology themselves, with covers of the Standells, Link Wray, Alex Chilton, the Sonics, the Dictators, the Lyres, the Stooges, Motorhead, and many others, but on the band's latest full-length album, 1994's excellent Powerstrip (Sympathy for the Record Industry), it contributes its fair share of primal three-note hooks to the canon. I missed the Nomads' Chicago debut last fall, but by all accounts they shook the house; if they don't do it again this time, you can toss me out of an airplane. Tuesday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. J.R. JONES

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by James Crump-RSP.

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