"I have discovered a mind-blowing world of music that nobody seems to know about," a pop manager of my acquaintance announced over his cell phone several years ago, running through LAX, "and it is named Sweden!" The long Backstreet/Britney/'N Sync moment had not even begun yet; this was during the mid '90s, when Ace of Base seemed to zoom in from Saturn, and most people still wondered how Seattle grunge had popped itself up so fast into scrunge, and nobody outside the Latin world had heard of Ricky Martin. I began to think of Melony, the terrifically together Swedish rock band I'd just heard, ultimately a Minty Fresh licensing. Or the Cardigans, or, you know, being an amateur historian, ABBA. Then the guy sent me several Swedish CDs—not bands or singers per se, but producer reels where the music was mostly dance-rock with a curt Mutt Lange-influenced techno-accent. Stockholm, to be sure, seemed to boast a lot of recording studios and producers. But Sweden as mind-blowing world of undiscovered pop... More >>>