Best known in America for the iPod commercial soundtracking single "Jerk It Out," Sweden's Caesars -- originally known as Caesar's Palace -- formed in 1995. Singer César Vidal and guitarist Joakim Ahlund, who had known each other since kindergarten, began playing with bassist David Lindqvist and original drummer Jens Orjeheim (who was soon replaced by Nino Keller), and despite their initial lack of chops, they began recording demos soon after. Three of these early songs were released as the band's debut EP, Shake It, by Dolores Records in 1995. Along with Shake It, the string of 7" discs and the mini-album the band released in 1996 reflected the raw, garagey sounds of inspirations like the early Stones, the Sonics, Billy Childish, and the 13th Floor Elevators. Ahlund's discovery of a vintage Farfisa organ also had a major impact on the Caesars' sound, as reflected on their first full-length, Youth Is Wasted on the Young (which the group released in the States, via Minty Fresh, under the name Twelve Caesars).
The album was a respectable hit in Sweden, as was its follow-up, Cherry Kicks. However, it was 2002's Love for the Streets that was the Caesars' breakthrough album in their homeland: not only did it go gold, it also won the band a Swedish Grammy for Album of the Year. The following year, the compilation 39 Minutes of Bliss (In an Otherwise Meaningless World) was released internationally (including American distribution courtesy of Astralwerks) and "Jerk It Out" -- which originally appeared on Love for the Streets -- became one of the first digital singles to reach gold status. The Caesars toured Europe, Japan, and the U.S. that year, and began recording their fourth album late in 2003. In 2004 and 2005, Apple featured "Jerk It Out" in their iPod TV commercials, resurrecting the song on the charts just in time for the release of Paper Tigers in spring 2005. Caesars returned three years later with Strawberry Weed, a double album produced by Ebbot Lundberg (vocalist and co-founder of the Soundtrack of Our Lives). [AMG Heather Phares]