Nina Persson is no newcomer. Beginning in the early '90s, the sweet-voice Swedish beauty fronted the Cardigans, a band probably best known for its 1996 hit "Lovefool," as well as for its drowsy take of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." At the height of the Cardigans' success, Persson took a break from the band and launched A Camp, a band that lends itself to numerous "Who's on first"-type jokes, but I'll spare you from those. A Camp released its self-titled debut in 2001, but then disappeared. Now, I'm happy to report the band has resurfaced. Here's the video for "Stronger Than Jesus," a track from Colonia, the band's new album due on April 28.
Originally, Persson started A Camp with Niclas Frisk and called upon Sparklehorse mastermind Mark Linkous to produce its self-titled effort. That album included such gems as "I Can Buy You," as well as the band's cover of the Replacements' "Rock 'N' Roll Ghost." Check out the video for the former track below.
With its debut album, A Camp also created a dilemma for anal record collectors worldwide--should the band's albums be filed under A? Or should one ignore the A much like one does with bands whose names begin with The? (Except for The The, but that's another story.) When I first went looking for A Camp's self-titled debut in my collection, I checked the A's to no avail, but later found it in the C section sandwiched between Cab Calloway and Glen Campbell on the very same shelf as the Cardigans, which seemed appropriate.
A Camp has re-emerged as a trio with new recruit, Shudder To Think member and film composer Nathan Larson, who also happens to be Persson's husband. For Colonia, the band also called on a few notable friends for support. Fellow Swede Nicolai Dunger turns up as Persson's duet partner on the standout track "Golden Teeth And Silver Medals." Other guests include former Smashing Pumpkins/current Tinted Windows guitarist James Iha, Linkous, Dambuilders/Guided By Voices drummer Kevin March and Joan As Policewoman's Joan Wasser on viola and violin.
Although A Camp may be nearly unknown in the U.S., the band are stars in their native Sweden, where their first album won four Swedish Grammis. Earlier this year, the band performed "Stronger Than Jesus" on the '09 Grammis in Stockholm, complete with a guest appearance by Soundtrack Of Our Lives guitarist Mattis Barjet, a seven-member choir, and a live horn section. Check it out below, watch for The New Now on April 23, A Camp's Colonia on April 28, and tell me if you think A Camp is a band worth seeking out. Ciao.