Combining the noisy swells of the Jesus and Mary Chain with melodic elements of '50s rock & roll, the Raveonettes formed in Copenhagen during 2001. Guitarist Sune Rose Wagner had tried assembling a band for several years, traveling between New York City, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and an island outside of Seattle in his search for like-minded musicians. A longtime fan of Bob Dylan, he also prized the songwriting of Buddy Holly, the harmonies of the Everly Brothers, and the guitar work of Mark Knopfler, although it was the lovely dissonance of Sonic Youth and the Jesus and Mary Chain that ultimately motivated Wagner to pursue music professionally. Alas, his stay in America didn't exactly pan out, and Wagner returned to Denmark, where he connected with bassist/vocalist Sharin Foo. A fan of the Beatles and the Velvet Underground, Foo had studied qawwali and Hindustani classical music during a six-month stay abroad. She had also spent some time performing in Copenhagen's local venues.
Once formed, the Raveonettes created a set of rules that governed the creation of their first album. The project would be recorded entirely in B-flat minor, surrounded by only three chords, and each song had to be less than three-minutes long. Ride cymbals were not allowed, either. What resulted from those unconventional specifications was a fuzzy, dark, cinematic set of songs entitled Whip It On, which fused classic garage rumblings with frenzied electronic bits. Whip It On was released in Europe in summer 2002 courtesy of Crunchy Frog; one month later, the Raveonettes waltzed into N.Y.C.'s CBGB for an American introduction. Producer Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, Joan Armatrading, the Go-Go's) caught the performance and enlisted as producer for the group's next album. A deal with Columbia Records followed before the year's end, positioning the Raveonettes as Copenhagen's most promising export.
The Chain Gang of Love appeared in September 2003. The first single from the album, "That Great Love Sound," became a minor hit, due in part to a creepy video featuring Foo and Wagner dreaming up ways to kill each other. Sessions for their next album began in late 2004, and Wagner cast aside all songwriting and recording rules (as well as guitar distortion) in favor of classic songcraft and lots of rich, lush reverb. The resulting album, 2005's Pretty in Black, featured guest spots from Suicide's Martin Rev, Ronnie Spector, and the Velvet Underground's Moe Tucker. In early 2008, the band returned to a minimalist sound with Lust Lust Lust, followed one year later by In and Out of Control. Both records were released by their new label Vice. The band's fifth studio album, the synth-heavy new wave-inspired Raven in the Grave, featured the single "Forget That You're Young" and was released in April of 2011. The following year, the band rang in their tenth anniversary with the release of their sixth album and a return to noise pop with Observator. While keeping their usual low profile in between albums, Wagner stayed busy in the studio producing artists like the Dum Dum Girls, Louise Burns, and Crocodiles. The duo also found time to contribute a version of "The End" to a Doors compilation album, A Psych Tribute to the Doors, in 2014. Later that same year, the band's seventh album, the surf culture-informed Pe'ahi, was released. After taking another break, the band decided to do things differently for their next project. In 2016, they recorded a song a month, with Wagner often getting the songs to Foo right up against the deadline. Dubbed an anti-album, the songs were offered for download each month, then collected in April of 2017 under the title 2016 Atomized. ~ MacKenzie Wilson