"We're probably one of the slowest bands in the world. It takes us such a long time to do everything."
That's Johan Angergård's defense of Club 8, the Swedish indie-pop duo that nevertheless has managed to release eight albums since 1996 -- six of which have been for Labrador Records, the tiny but influential label he joined shortly after it was founded in 1998. "I write everything, music and lyrics, and I become more and more of a perfectionist as I learn more about what to do with sounds and songs," he laments. "And once I can do more, I don't stop working on it until it's 100 percent."
Club 8's "Above The City," available Tuesday on Labrador and streaming on Billboard.com, marks a new chapter in the band's ever-evolving sound, anchored once again by lead singer Karolina Komstedt. Where 2010's "The People's Record" explored Latin and African rhythms with live instrumentation, "Above The City" is a defiantly genre-defying, largely electronic pop record that channels disco (lead single "I'm Not Gonna Grow Old, "Stop Wasting My Time"), shoegaze-y dream pop ("Kill Kill Kill," "Travel") and even 80s stadium rock ("Less Than Love").
At one point, Angergård even flirted with sampling the drums from Queen's "We Will Rock You" on the foot-stomping "Straight As An Arrow," before opting for a cheaper, more D.I.Y. approach. "I recorded in a million different places, in basements, banging all cans together," he says. "It took a very long time, but it just wasn't possible for me to do programmed drums."
Though it's been three years since the last Club 8 album, Angergård hasn't exactly been asleep at the wheel. In addition to running Labrador and overseeing recent releases from key acts like Radio Dept., Mary Onettes, Sound of Arrows and Amanda Mair, Angergård has also been an active member of Acid House Kings and Pallers, each of which have also issued full-lengths in the last two years. A fourth side project, the Legends, appears to be on the semi-permanent backburner following 2009's noisy, feedback-friendly "Over and Over."
"I don't know if we'll make any more Legends records, actually," Angergård says. "I have to do something that I can't do with any of my other bands, so if I get the strong urge like I did to do something really noisy, then maybe something like that could happen again."
Angergård says that only Asia is on the books for Club 8 in 2013, with a fall tour tentatively slated. He enjoyed playing the States, however, and fondly recalls a gig where The Legends headlined Brooklyn's Bell House and were preceded by then-emerging indie-poppers the Drums. "I have a feeling it would be the opposite now," Angergård says with a laugh. He's also been turning down annual requests from Popfest, a weekend of New York-based indie-pop concerts that many of Labrador's other acts have played in the past. "It's always really flattering. I'm hoping we can go next year," he says.
However, Labrador's Amanda Mair is already prepping a follow-up to her self-titled 2012 debut, and will be in the U.S. for her first series of shows in late June. Other Labrador acts prepping new full-lengths include Sambassadeur, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names' Johan Hedberg, and – just maybe – signature band The Radio Dept., whose last album "Clinging To A Scheme" was issued to critical acclaim in 2010. "I've heard one new song, but that was a long time ago," Angergård says. "I know they've been working on an album, but usually when they say that it takes about a year. But my guess is they should be finished in some time."