by Jason AnkenySwedens Jens Lekman emerged from relative obscurity to quickly establish himself as the darling of the global indie pop set, winning widespread acclaim from fans and critics for his uncommonly witty and well-crafted pop songs. Born February 6, 1981, in Gothenburg, Sweden, Lekman exhibited little interest in music as a child, but at 14 was recruited to play bass in a friends cover band. Within weeks he was writing his own original material, quickly accumulating hundreds of songs. Assuming the alias Rocky Dennis (borrowed from the disfigured protagonist of the 1985 American film Mask), Lekman recorded and released a series of limited-edition CD-Rs beginning with 2001s The Budgie-Album. A year later, he compiled a collection of highlights and mailed the sole copy to the U.S. indie label Secretly Canadian, but remained largely unknown until the 2003 EP Maple Leaves became something of a cause célèbre on Internet file-sharing services. The Swedish indie Service Records reissued Maple Leaves later that same year, and after abandoning his pseudonym once and for all with 2004s Rocky Dennis in Heaven EP, Lekman issued his acclaimed full-length debut, When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog, distributed in the U.S. via Secretly Canadian. The LP generated the Swedish Top Ten hit You Are the Light, and in 2005 Lekman traveled the globe, issuing several tour-only EPs and collecting his previous singles, B-sides, and compilation tracks as Oh Youre So Silent Jens. Following this flurry of activity, he announced on his website plans for an extended hiatus from performing, scrapping a planned sophomore LP and reportedly accepting a position at a local bingo parlor; Lekman nevertheless quit after just two days on the job and fully rededicated himself to his musical pursuits. This dedication paid off with the release of his best work to date, 2007s stunning album Night Falls Over Kortadela.