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Seattle's Hint Hint has tones, wants moods—has the heavy keys, the post-punk stutter beat, the quavering vocals and the big rock bombast; wants it all to talk to people about nervousness and longing. But guitarist Dean Hudson isn't entirely sure the band really attaches to anything. “I hope we inspire a mood—I can't decide which one it is,” he says. “That's really what the core of the live performance should be: the connection between the audience and the performer. I can't say specifically what mood we're going to inspire. It could be different based on how we're feeling that day. We could do a really quiet, kind of subdued set one night and do a pretty crazy punk rock set the next night.” And while the tones are something they're gonna stick with—four of the five band members play keyboard, organ or synth on the full-length Young Days—even that wasn't exactly on purpose either. Where the band's first EP, Sex is Everything, was noise-noise-noise, Young Days is atmosphere and buildup. Hudson says that's the result of time spent between records just living and changing as people, and yeah, he admits that while they aren't total no-hopers, Hint Hint isn't exactly the good-time party band the tight-pants yeller kids wanna glom onto either: “It's not so simple, like we can just be a happy band. Some bands can do that and do it really well, but . . . we're not those people.” (Rex Reason)

Hint Hint with Year Future, Free Moral Agents and the Hollywood Ten at Chain Reaction, 1652 W. Lincoln, Anaheim, (714) 635-6067; Wed., 7:30 P.M. $8. All ages; and with the Hollywood Ten at Koo's, 540 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 491-7584. KOOS.ORG. $7. All ages.


The Cardigans got famous on two things, the first being the cover art from their album Life (sultry singer Nina Persson as a sent-from-heaven snow angel) and the second being their hit “Love Fool,” a sugary-sweet-sounding tale of sheer desperation with that chorus—”Love me, love me, saaaay that you love me . . .”) that'd linger in your brain far longer than you'd ever want. But the Swedes are not a people who let things lie lightly—skoal, Ingmar!—and the Cardigans want to be famous again for even more than two things, like, say, their new CD, Long Gone Before Daylight. They've been touring and doing press for a year and a half in Europe, but Long Goneis the first we've heard stateside since 1998's electronic adventure Gran Turismo, as well as a new departure in the Cardigans' sound. “This CD is guitar-oriented,” says Nina. “Now we've kind of gone even more back to our roots. And we're really happy with it.” Even so, she says the process was far from easy. The band scrapped the tracks they'd started recording in Sweden, but a change of scenery (through three countries) didn't help much, either. “It took nine months—it was a horrible record to make,” says Nina. “We started over, and it was really time-consuming. We're really picky, but it was worth it . . . the strain.” And any time someone—not to mention a delicate, fainting Swedish someone—says “. . . the strain” like that (you can feel her migraine bubbling back over the phone), you know that simple humanity demands the interview stop. Suffer? Art? Yeah. The poor girl. (Michelle McCarthy)

The Cardigans with Liz Phair, Katy Rose and Charlotte Martin at the House of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-BLUE. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $32.50-35. All ages.


San Diego-based voodoobilly quintet Deadbolt comes bearing the self-appointed title of “The Scariest Band in the World” and a whole spell book of stripped-down rockabilly anthems dedicated to decimating the great unwashed—such as “Watongo (Beware You Dirty Hippie),” or their bad acid trip “Go Tell Alice,” both from last year's greatest-hits album, Haight Street Hippie Massacre. Campy, sure, but that's the shtick, from the band's over-the-top tough-guy image (rockabilly-playboy fashions, black shades and firearms!) to the horror-movie villains that haunt their songs—the band may be a bit of a one-trick pony at this point, but it's a pony still worth whipping, even after this many miles. Singer/guitarist Harley Davidson fronts a triple bass-guitar attack, a vector for the plague of voodoo truckers and Zulu warriors who inhabit the handful of themed albums Deadbolt has released since the mid-'90s. Their low-rider surf anthems are all tightly coiled twang guitar and vocals that trot from spooky cool to apocalyptically demonic heights. Deadbolt's the whoopee-cushion-wielding younger brother of horror punk originators the Damned—convenient that they're finally touring together. (Sarah Tomlinson)


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