MP3: Sailor Song
As a follow up to their EP Drunken Trees, Swedish duo First Aid Kit released their full length album yesterday on London-based Wichita Recordings. The Big Black and the Blue is an enchantingly beautiful continuation from the first time I heard them cover “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” on YouTube. The raw talent is undeniable in these girls’ voices and appreciation for it can only be heightened by seeing them in person. Even more impressive is that sisters Klara & Johanna Söderberg (born in 90 and 93) have been writing and composing material since adolescence. In a post-show conversation with them during the fall, they commented on the fact that it was Conor Oberst who really inspired them to make music. Since then their creative storm has blown their music all over Europe and it’s slowly trickling its way to the Americas. Similar to Oberst, they seem to write on subjects wise beyond their teenage years. I envision a sizable demographic of desperate housewives all over Sweden blowing out their speakers on songs like “You’re Not Coming Home Tonight.”
Both releases are now available stateside, and they’ll be touring on this album in the spring.
Over the last few months, via the musical grapevine, the band Fanfarlo has kept reappearing on my radar. But it wasn’t until visiting the UK in October that I actually heard them for the first time. I was able to catch them at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, where I was initially only there to catch opening act First Aid Kit. After settling on the fact that I could walk away completely satisfied after their set, Fanfarlo took the stage. While on record they sound a bit harnessed and calculated, their live show illuminates their talent enthusiastically. Created by ex-Swede Simon Balthazar, the six-piece band is based out of London and has been actively touring Europe and the US on their debut record Reservoir throughout 2009. They also just played CMJ and have again been added to the SXSW 2010 roster.
Balthazar sings with a sweet and bold voice (similar to that of Beirut’s Zach Condon) and is backed by an amazing group who each play multiple instruments to form a big full sound, reminding me of the Arcade Fire. Have a listen, but more importantly, check out some live footage.
Fanfarlo has recently been recording a number of “Laptop Sessions” where they perform covers. You can find those here, as well as some music videos.