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The Rosetta rock

Brazillian band culls influences from Os Mutantes and '70s funk

GAROTAS SUECAS: They're, like, Swedish girls. Photo courtesy of MySpace

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We really are the same all over. Just about every place in the world knows how to rock, as if there were a rock 'n' roll Rosetta stone somewhere that taught the ways of electric guitar. If there is a difference, it's in the subtle changes in paradigm from country to country. You look at the output from Sweden, for instance, and it's all bizarre pop that seems inspired as much by rock as it is by fashion and fairy tales.

Go down to Brazil, though, and everything gets a little brighter, more colorful. Case in point: Garotas Suecas, or which happens to translate to Swedish Girls.

Garotas Suecas take their cue from garage rock and funk.

"In the beginning we were super into '60s punk, garage rock, nuggets and comps like this," says guitarist Sergio Sayeg. "So that was a big influence on our sound, but as time went by our musical interest changed - not that we stopped liking garage rock; it's dope music - and we started to let more late '60s and '70s Brazilian music get into our sound, more American funk, Mr. Sly Stone. ..."

True to his words, their music has evolved into horn-and-organ workouts, similar in many ways to bands like Sly & the Family Stone and other mid-70s funk pioneers.

Immediately, of course, many American music fans would associate Garotas Suecas with Os Mutantes, another Brazilian band with garage rock influences, and certainly one of the most successful international crossover bands. This, Sayeg tells me, is not necessarily a coincidence.

"We decided to form the band. (Nico Paoliello and Perdido) joined right away," says Sayeg, "and we started rehearsing songs we liked ... American soul, Mutantes, Roberto Carlos and a lot of garage rock."

Garotas Suecas, however, have worked hard to build a sound that's their own, despite the debt they owe to '60s and '70s music.

It's hard for a foreign band to really make the jump to American audiences, and it'll be no different for Garotas Suecas. But if we get them for one night, just long enough to revel in that golden sound, that may be enough for me.

Garotas Suecas

with Arrington De Dionyso
Tuesday, Sept. 7, 8 p.m., $6
Northern, 321 Fourth Ave., Olympia

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