Mikkel Hansen, 24, says he spent his first two years out of high school "getting away from everything that was normal."
"I had a teacher who was always placing creative restraints on me," says Hansen, who plays bass and sings in the Danish garage-punk band, Plök.
"She would say we had to write this essay and discuss these matters, but I would want to do it with poetry or songs. She didn't appreciate that."
The cover of Plök's new EP makes normal look creepy. Across mowed suburban hillsides, men in sweaters hold rakes, women in business suits pet wild animals, children placidly toss leaves in the air. And everyone smiles blandly.
Hansen's own upbringing was hardly normal. "My mother and father were divorced, and they've each had about five marriages since then. I have 10 stepsisters. My father is quite a restless soul."
Fittingly, Plök's new disc concludes with an ode to domestic intranquility titled, "I Do Not Live in a Condo."
Last Friday night, when I talked to Hansen by phone, he was driving in downtown Seattle with five other young Danish musicians, looking for that night's venue. "All the streets are one-way," reported Hansen.
A car radio blared, and Hansen's friends talked loudly in Danish. Hansen handed the phone to Jesper Holm of the indie-pop band, the Spy in the MEs.
"It's a word I invented," says Holm, 23. "It's about the spy inside of me, trying to turn in all these different directions at once."
That describes the Spy in the MEs sound, too. Their new album is a Beck-style potpourri of pop.
"I like to go from rock to polka to some really weird punk song," says Holm.
When he's not making music, Holm is a kindergarten teaching assistant in Odense, Denmark. Hansen says he makes a living "playing soccer and telling silly stories" to kids after school.
Hansen and Holm have never been to the United States before. Encountering America, Hansen suggests, is like bouncing on a big trampoline.
"Everything is either a huge jump that is an incredible experience, or it's an accident where you fall off and hurt yourself."
Quite the send-up for the Annex show, no?