By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Mar 27, 2008 at 5:09 AM

Last Tuesday Swedish singer / songwriter Jose Gonzales graced a packed Pabst Theater audience with his gentle, hypnotic presence. This week, The Pabst prepares for its second Swedish guest in as many weeks. Singer / songwriter Jens Lekman plays this Saturday, March 29 at 8 p.m., with special guests The Honeydrips.

Lekman and Gonzalez hail from the same Swedish city of Gothenburg, and although this year's tours are independent, the two have been musically linked since late 2003, when they embarked on a tour together. They subsequently released a split tour single on Sweden's Service Records in January 2004. Gonzalez contributed "Hand on Your Heart," Lekman lent "If You Ever Need a Stranger (To Sing at Your Wedding.)" The single was limited to 330 copies.

With his deep, slightly melancholic voice making its lyrical presence known with dark and deadpan humor, Lekman has launched himself to indie pop stardom. Secretly Canadian Records helped 2005's "Oh You're So Silent Jens" makes waves Stateside, but it was last year's "Night Falls Over Kortedala" that garnered praise from nearly every critic that gave it a spin.

The world now knows what Sweden knew in 2004 when entertainment guide magazine "Nöjesguiden" dubbed his debut, "When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog," the album of the year. It was only one year earlier that he was still recording and releasing his work himself on CD-Rs. Perhaps that's what helps him retain his modest edge.

Lekman's subjects often fluctuate between desperate honesty ("I'm Leaving You Because I don't Love You) and lovelorn fairy tales ("If I Could Cry It Would Feel Like This"), yet his spry, sample-heavy songs feel more like wide-eyed ditties rather than the dramatic ballads often associated with such mood.

He's known for his vastly differing live performances -- one never knows if he'll appear solo on stage or backed by an all-female backing band armed with drums, flute, accordion, trombone, sax, synth, cowbell and various other sounds and electronics. We also hear he's often chatty and open to conversation and request.

This show is billed as an "intimate lower-level" performance, meaning tickets are only $10. They are available at The Pabst Theater box office, online at and, or by calling (414) 286-3663 or (800) 511-1552.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”