The Stockholm-based pop collective the Concretes were formed in 1995 by vocalist Victoria Bergsman, guitarist Maria Eriksson, and drummer Lisa Milberg; over the course of three years, they added guitarist Markus, bassist Martin Hansson, organist Per Nystrom, trumpeter Ulrik Karlsson, and vocalist/harmonica player Malte. Malte and Nystrom were playing in other bands in the Stockholm scene; Eriksson and Bergsman were art school students; and Milberg worked at one of the city's graphic design firms.
The Concretes released their first EP (helpfully named EP #1) in 1998 and followed it, logically, with EP #2 (aka The Lipstick Edition) the following year. In 2000, the Concretes combined these EPs into their full-length debut, Boy, You Better Run Now, in mid-2000 on Up Records. However, shortly after the album's release, Up founder Chris Takino died of leukemia, and the Concretes found themselves without a label.
The Nationalgeographic EP arrived in 2001, but due to difficulties with the Above Ground label, it was nearly impossible to find. Along the way, the Concretes also added guitarist Daniel Varjo and horn player Ludvig Rylander to their fold. They formed their own Licking Fingers imprint, on which they released the Forces single in 2002. Two more singles, You Can't Hurry Love and Warm Night, arrived in 2003 and heralded the release of the band's proper debut, The Concretes. Astralwerks released The Concretes in the U.S. in 2004. A year later, the B-sides and rarities comp Layourbattleaxedown — which gathered most of the band's output between Boy, You Better Run Now and The Concretes — arrived.
The band delivered more low-key, sparkling indie pop with 2006's In Colour. The following year, Bergsman left the group to focus on her folky solo project Taken by Trees, but the rest of the band regrouped quickly, with Millberg taking over vocal duties on 2007's Hey Trouble. However, 2010's dance-influenced WYWH was the first Concretes album featuring Millberg on vocals released in the United States. ~ Heather Phares