Sweden Calling

Mire Kay

This past weekend, I dropped by one of the local bars to hear one of my favorite French bands The Limiñanas (whose 2010 debut on Trouble In Mind is a must have for fans of Serge Gainsbourg, French psychedelia, or the idea of Jacqueline Taïeb on acid). And while I gave my usually stifled inner Francophile a chance to get out and stretch his legs a bit, a friend introduced me to a friend of hers and we had a nice chat about Ingmar Bergman and is Lars Von Trier a creative genius or a sadistic nutcase, etc. Which is to say that, at one point, they mentioned they were thinking of traveling to Sweden in the next year and did I know any bands they should check out while they’re there.

It’s a question which is, as most of you know, nearly impossible to answer. Yes, of course there are good Swedish bands that everyone should check out. There are hundreds of them. It’s probably not far from the truth to say that you could walk into just about any club in Stockholm or Gothenburg or Malmö on just about any given night and you’ll probably hear something good. Some cases in point:

It’s actually been several months since Lissi Dancefloor Disaster contacted me. And, unless you followed the TIH Tumblr for those two weeks or so that I actually made an effort to keep it updated, then I’ve been remiss in sharing their music with you. And, in all honesty, I’ve kind of been beating myself up over it since then. From the moment I began playing the video for “Glowing Hearts” (the single at the time), I experienced a sense of instant familiarity. And by the second video – “Oh My God” – it was as if I’d gone back to the endless stacks of albums in my library and pulled out a long forgotten favorite, only to rediscover (as I have so often done) why I loved it so much in the first place. Check it out. You’ll see what I mean. And, while you’re there, give their remixes a spin as well.

It isn’t quite right to call their music electropop – it’s really more like electronic indiepop (or, as one of their tracks—my favorite—is labeled on Soundcloud: “electropopdancewhatever”). One thing is for sure, if listening to these songs does not make you want to dance wildly about the room, it’s probably because you know you’re surrounded on all sides by high voltage invisible electric fences.

And on the other end of the spectrum, there’s Mire Kay, an indie folk duo featuring Emelie Molin and Victoria Skoglund, formerly of the band Audrey. It’s understandable if listening to their ethereal, effervescent debut EP Fortress, calls to mind our old friends (and recent Swedish breakout duo) First Aid Kit. After all, their new video for “So You Learned” was directed by Mats Udd who’s also done videos for First Aid Kit (not to mention the video for Those Dancing Days’ single “Fuckarias” [swoon]). But, if you listen closely to the vocal delivery, especially on tracks like “Sea Monster” [free download on Bandcamp] you might pick up on traces of Emiliana Torrini – as if someone had gone in and removed all the electronics from Love in the Time of Science. With the elegant richness of their standard guitar and cello instrumentation bolstered occasionally by banjo and bare bones percussion, Mire Kay have crafted a hypnotic, enchanting debut that beckons the listener away – much like the video below – to the water and wild to be willingly lost forever.


A Pop for Gourmet

Pauline en la Playa (Siesta Records)

Now, on to an Spanish indie duo that’s been around for about 10 years.  Pauline en la Playa, or Pauline at the Beach (yeah, I took Spanish 1 in high school!), emerged from the 90’s all-female pop group the Undershakers.  According to their website, sisters Mar and Alicia Alvarez decided to begin their new project, Pauline en la Playa, to bring other musical styles into the pop genre and to incorporate what they were learning at the School of Creative Music in Madrid, especially jazz styles, into the creative process.  I think you’ll find that throughout the 10 years of their existence, they have certainly succeeded.

If I had to stuff Pauline en la Playa into a genre, it would probably be more along the lines of indie folk than indie pop, with hints of jazz/blues.  The creativity is quite reminiscent of Regina Spektor, but with a wider range of instrumentation; for instance, in several of their songs, you’ll hear accordion, recorder, various string instruments, and saxophone.  The end of “Esos Besos” actually sound Celtic, to my ears and occasionally I get hints of the Amelie soundtrack.  In any case, I think you’ll enjoy the lovely sound of Pauline en la Playa, which has achieved mellow without losing the fun.  And, if you can understand the lyrics, I have a feeling you’ll enjoy them even more.  They have lots of albums out to choose from–Nothing Like Home, Termites and Other Things, Frogs Storm, Syllabary, and Baggage Physics, which came out this year.  (Excuse the English.  Google Translate became my friend this week.)  You can also start with their myspace page, which in my opinion is a very good place to start.

up! from below!

Ok, you all know by now, I hope, that I live with my musical head stuck in the sand, and I’ve totally lost any grasp I used to have on what “mainstream” means, and I feel that I must use this disclaimer in front of or behind every post I ever make, but I’m really insecure about how Eric finds all the cool new bands and I find all the bands that have been around for years and get way post-excited about them.

I did ask him last night, Eric, are Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros too hipster for us to cover? What do you think? And he asked, Do you think they’d have a drink with me? and I’m not Alex or Jade or any of their company so I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine they’d have a drink with us (by the way, I’ll be in Richmond in a couple weeks if you DO want to get a drink) and even really like us. So, that’s how we’re gauging whether music is too hipster to cover. If you’d have a drink with us, we’re good.

That being said, I ask Reid Kerley for his forgiveness and Eric for his patience and here is my new obsession: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Yes, friends, as of July 7th, the album Up From Below has been around and available for exactly one year, and yes, I am just now listening (and obsessing).

This wild ensemble, led by Alex Ebert, has pieced together Up From Below in a way similar to the way I formulate a mix–the tempos, the dynamic, the feel–they all flow together in one big musical happening; however, I tend to love the tempo, dynamic, and feel of the first 6 tracks the best of all. And “Om Nashi Me.” Eh, maybe it’s not really that formulaic…but anyway, the album carries a pervasive feeling of freedom and community. With so many band members, does that surprise you? At any given point in the album, an entire chorus seems to be making some kind of noise, whether singing or banging percussive instruments or adding a layer of countermelody. Unrefined vocals have become something beautiful and captivating through Alex and Jade, and their love song “Home” is the most passionate, honest, and freeing anthem for love that I’ve ever heard. Another of my favorites, “Jade,” precedes it perfectly.

Alex’s mysterious, unrefined voice–complete with vibrato, tonation bends, and tons of character–fascinate me. I hear so many influences in both his voice and his music that I can hardly begin to piece them all together. Perhaps vocally, he is what a David Bowie-Rufus Wainwright-Freddie Mercury lovechild would be; musically, I’m reminded of classic rock along the lines of the Doobie Brothers or the Who. The mariachi feel on “Jade” channels a Beatles-esque lightness. Even the lyrics on “Come In Please” make me think of Dylan’s “Tombstone Blues,” which I do admit is a bit more of a stretch. I hope none of you are turned off by this, partly because I adore classic rock, but mostly because the likenesses are subtle and ES & the MZ’s have created an undeniably unique sound.

I am excited to see these guys in Richmond in a few weeks because I’ve heard so many wonderful things about their live shows. If their album is this great, I have no doubts about their live show. There is something liberating and wild in their music that I love, and I can’t wait to see it manifest!

P.S. If you are looking for a flute player, I’ll be in your band. kthanksedwardsharpe&themagneticzerosbye.

Here is my pathetic attempt to embed:

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros “Home” from Edward Sharpe on Vimeo.

Please, don’t leave this world to me

It’s been awhile, gosh! We’re sorry we’ve been MIA for a bit. Eric is in Scotland looking for his true love and seeing great shows, and I had to work some late hours last week for my day job. But, this week, all is well, Eric is gallavanting around Edinburgh or some other incredible place, drinking good beer (or not, if I know Eric), and I am getting my Scottish fix from the new Frightened Rabbit album, a review of which will come soon after I’ve let it sink in a little more.

Tonight, I come to you with an overdue review of The Big Black and the Blue by some of my very favorite kindred-spirit, painfully honest, spirited young musicians, who I feel I would really appreciate if I were ever to have a beer with them, or maybe coffee, because I’m almost positive they aren’t old enough to drink in the States. Instead, I am listening to their album in my little kitchen in Virginia, and I want you to know, Klara and Johanna, I think your music should be in every kitchen in the US! Seriously, though, let’s talk about First Aid Kit.

Klara and Johanna gave us a little hint of their storytelling, mood-setting potential with their Drunken Trees EP, and with their new album, they’re expanding on that and proving to us that no, they haven’t exhausted the possibilities, and yes, they are going to keep the moving folk tunes coming. Musically speaking, these girls have something very special. They harmonize beautifully, and they know how to make their voices work with them, filling them with character…frustration and angst come through on “I Met Up With The King” (we mean nothing to history/oh thank God), while tenderness breaks through on the following track, “Wills of the River.” You’ll find these kinds of ups and downs on the entire album as the girls explore their feelings about the nature of their own lives and humanity, either by the weaving of lovely narratives (“In the Morning,” “Josefin” or by blunt expositions of their own experiences or opinions (“Hard Believer,” “A Window Opens,” “Winter is All Over You,” to name just a very few). The acoustics are well-suited to the vocals (and vice versa!), sort of a throwback to more traditional folk songs. It’s natural, it’s folk, it’s alive, it’s genius, it speaks, you’ll love it.

There’s something else aboutThe Big Black and the Blue that I love, and it’s hard to explain exactly what it is. The ladies of First Aid Kit make me proud. They unashamedly wear their hearts on their sleeves, they’re painfully self-aware (one of my favorite qualities in a person, and especially in a musician), and they’ve got great spirit! I promise this isn’t the part where I just start talking about myself, like when you’re telling someone about a story about yourself and they interrupt to tell their story about that time that the exact same thing happened to them except it was better BUT they remind me of myself, living and exploring and asking questions, realizing they don’t know it all and looking for truth, seeing the tension in the world between the aches & pains and the moments of sheer bliss, using art to express and process. First Aid Kit gets an enormous A+ from me just for that.

Up in the Air, Junior Birdman!

Up in the Air, Junior Birdman!

 Sorry, I know the picture is kind of creepy, but I couldn’t resist.  Seriously, every time I talk about Up in the Air, I have to follow it that way.  George Clooney = the new Junior Birdman.  I wish I could get a photo of him making that face.  (I really did just go look for one…and failed) 

So here’s the deal.  I don’t usually get excited about soundtracks (unless, of course, they’re done by Karen O & a bunch of little kiddies), but I am pretty excited about the Up in the Air movie soundtrack.  

I have 3 categories for the music in this movie: 

1. Instrumental music clearly composed just for the movie, probably for specific scenes.  “Security Ballet,” “Genova,” “Lost In Detroit,” and “The Snow Before Us” are fantastic tracks, fitting the mood perfectly, but you may not appreciate them as much without hearing them as part of the movie experience (although that last one may not have been composed just for the movie). 

2. Older, more classic folk songs…I love this stuff.  Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young with “Taken At All”–come on, they are classic.  Graham Nash’s solo track, “Be Yourself” may be one of the best on the album.  The acoustic guitar, the fantastic songwriting, they’re overwhelmingly comforting.  And what about Roy Buchanan?  Rootsy, downhome, honest folk.  It’s a beautiful contrast to the stark airport atmosphere, and it calls George Clooney’s character home.  Another gem is Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings jazzed up version of “This Land Is Your Land,” a song that I have coincidentally always hated (I know, I know).  No more hate. 

3. Finally, and I hope you aren’t bored yet, we get the newer (and I use that term loosely) folk-rock tracks.  Dan Auerbach isn’t exactly new, but his “Goin Home” is, I think, and it’s a good one.  My favorite tracks, though, are Elliott Smith’s “Angel in the Snow,” and Sad Brad Smith’s “Help Yourself,” which practically everyone is talking about now.  I had the kind of experience with Elliott Smith in this movie that I had with Belle & Sebastian in Juno, not having heard the soundtrack yet.  I felt smarter than everyone in the theater for actually knowing what it was…but then I felt like a stupid jerk for thinking that kind of thing.  Anyway, of course I was excited to hear the sweet sweet sounds of Elliott Smith, and I was excited to be seeing a movie that could be accompanied sensibly by him.  You would be too.  

The tears, however, stayed away until “Help Yourself.”  I’m not sure that the scene was actually that sad, but here’s the deal.  In a movie that gets you thinking about relationships and connections, and that reminds you that your best experiences are rarely the ones you have by yourself, when a song like this starts playing during a semi-emotional montage, well that’s it for you, isn’t it?  “I know you’ll help us when you’re feelin better/and we realize it might not be for a long long time/but we’re willing to wait on you/we believe in everything that you can do/if you would only lay down your mind”–these lyrics hit a soft spot for all of us, they hint at what we’re all needing.  We’ve been on both sides of it.  We want someone to be with us, to wait for us, to tell us they believe in us, and we’ve had to be with people, wait for them, pick up their slack.  Up in the Air explores relationships in an incredible way, from several different angles, and this song, to me, is the climax.  Am I advertising as much for the movie as I am for the soundtrack?  Well…yes. 

I am lost in the sand building you a pyramid

this image is from INDYWEEK.COM, mmk?

Thanks to everyone who came to our blog today and helped us make 2,000 hits in the month of November!  We realize that in the scheme of the interwebs, we’re little babies, but this was a big deal for us and we’re excited that you guys are excited about The Indie Handbook.

Also, I want to remind you guys that no matter where you are in the world, Free e-Day has officially begun!  Check out the website for lots of wonderful & free bits of creativity.  We owe a huge thanks to Dan Holloway for his help with our blog–we’ve been proud to have him as a guest writer, and his work with Year Zero Writers is an amazing endeavor that we, who at least like to sort of think of ourselves as creative thinkers, can definitely get behind.

To reward you for faithfully reading our blog today so that we’d hit 2,000 hits, I will actually make a new post, and it will not be about how Camera Obscura is my new Belle  & Sebastian, but rather it will be about a lovely band I’ve recently fallen in love with that reminds me of hobbits.  Bombadil always makes me think of Tom Bombadil (Lord of the Rings?), and they have released their very first music video!  According to Bombadil, the video of “So Many Ways to Die” uses old public domain footage to “tally up all the different ways there are to die (and live!).”  That sounds depressing, I know, but I promise it is the opposite.  There is no living without risk, without chance.  I’m actually reading a book sort of about that right now, but it’s not self helpy which I feel like a lot of those types of books are, but all my feelings and thoughts about that will explode out of me into my other blog where I talk about my feelings and thoughts about things in a very rambly fashion that often seeps onto this blog, and I apologize.  I try to keep it contained on the other one, but it just erupts like a volcano inside of me.

ANYWAY I am watching this video and I FRICKIN LOVE BOMBADIL and I think maybe they have emotions and thoughts that erupt like mine.  Watch it now!!

So anyway, since we’ve never mentioned them before or anything, let me say that Tarpits and Canyonlands , the album containing “So Many Ways to Die” possesses all the most important qualities of a brilliant piece of art, a piece of human connection. You want to know what these qualities are, probably, and that’s fair, but I don’t have any energy tonight to say them poetically and I don’t want to just throw them out there with ugly words. They say they love the unexpected, they love, in a song, when everything changes; this much is most definitely clear. They build and they come down and they do what they want. They are wild, raw, and free–like Born Ruffians meets the Mountain Goats meets Yo La Tengo. Tenderness meets uninhibited emotion! If you have forgotten why you (yes YOU) love indie folk, if Fleet Foxes have been drowning out all other voices, if the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack just wasn’t enough for you, it is time for you (yes YOU) to listen to Bombadil.

Also, maybe it’s just “where I am in my life,” but Bombadil’s lyrics speak to me. They ask questions, and I think we survive on questions. Obviously having just gotten married, the songs “Marriage” and “Honeymoon” are both at least a little bit relevant, and I may even post all the lyrics to one of them just because I can. Sorry, is that too personal? I don’t think so. What lies behind that honeymoon? Are you the reason I get mad? If we fell in love in an aeroplane cabin pressure would you take my name? How many ways are there to laugh? Did you really think you had it the worst of all?

Anyway, they are poets. Enjoy them.

p.s. it’s funny that they have a prologue in the middle of the album

p.p.s. Bombadil, I’m sad that you were in Norfolk the week before I got married. I did not see you, nor did I see you play.

p.p.p.s. here are the lyrics to ‘Marriage’…because I can, I said.

what would you say to marriage

after the 200th time I told the same joke

and then I broke your favorite watch with my heel

what would you say of true love

after the 200th time I told you I loved

and then I blew your confidence with a lover that was in my past

I thought you knew, I thought you knew

this was marriage

would you still find me pretty

after the 200th time I wore the same skirt

and then I hurt your dream job offer because I was scared

would you still buy me dinner

after the 200th time I dropped my silver fork

and the nursery rhyme stork never brought a baby to you

I thought you knew

I thought you knew

this was

just two names on a court certificate

20 years and the same kiss

and I thought you knew

I thought you knew

this was marriage

Si & Lisbee

goldsmithsHello, lovely readers. Before I begin, I want to let you know that from now on, Eric and I will be posting THRICE a week (I have been looking for a way to work the word “thrice” into my everyday conversation for so long) instead of four times–once me, once him, and once either a guest post or Follow An Indie Band Wednesday highlights. Don’t despair, because three times a week will be perfect for all of us! I would also like to let you know that you, my friend, YOU are perfect for a guest submission. No seriously, you are, so send them along: the.indie.handbook@gmail.com. On Wednesday, we’ll be posting from Dan Holloway of Year Zero Writers, who is heading up the Free-e-day we’ve mentioned before, and will no doubt keep mentioning.  We’re trying to convince Libby of the Poptimist to write us something, but she’s being really slow about it (Libby!).  So, get excited and make sure to tune in on Wednesday!

Tonight, I’m focusing on two artists who both attend(ed) Goldsmiths College in Southeast London. The only way I can think to describe Goldsmiths for readers in the States is as a cross between the top-notch, cutting-edge musical training one would experience at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and the free thought and open-minded discussion one would find at the New School in New York City. With this combination, it’s no surprise that incredible young artists emerge from Goldsmiths every year with a strong grasp on the technical aspects of their art as well as the deep philosophy, history, and emotion behind it. I love listening to artists from Berklee and from Goldsmiths for just this reason. Si Cliff and Lisbee Stainton are no exceptions.

We’ll start with Si Cliff… Si could be classified, I guess, as acoustic rock, and while I can’t decide if my favorite thing about his music is his seriously brilliant technique or his honest lyrics, they definitely lend well to each other. It isn’t often that you come across a songwriter so quick to offer vulnerable and personal lyrics, be it through storytelling or just plain confession, to the point where you as a listener hear your own story is being told. On top of that, and probably due to a combination of fantastic training at Goldsmiths and an abundance of talent, the structure and sounds of each song are incredibly well-crafted, and Si’s guitar-playing is excellent. There’s a lot of pure goodness here. My favorites from his recordings are “Memories”–especially with the awesome instrumental solo in the middle–and “Start Again.” Oh yeah, and did I mention he has a great voice and a great accent? Well, consider it mentioned.

And gee whiz, speaking of honesty, can we get some more? Lisbee Stainton my other recently-discovered Goldsmiths singer/songwriter who also seems to be really in tune with…I don’t know, life?…and seems to be more than willing, as I always want artists to be, to share her thoughts and feelings and cares. Artists like this make me feel more okay about being who I am and living my life. Anyway, on her myspace, I cannot pick a favorite song…at least not based in any kind of objectivity. I love “Just Like Me,” because, well, do I really need to talk about my twentysomething confusion again? It resonates. Also, “Girl on an Unmade Bed” is quite beautiful. The thing is, the Miss Lisbee Stainton brand of folk rock will charm you with its absolute loveliness and honesty–and can you deny that you’re looking for more loveliness and honesty in your life? No. Don’t deny it.

Listen and love it. Also, if you’re from Goldsmiths or Berklee or some other place and you want us to listen to your music, we totally will.

Harry Potter + The Dodo’s + Choir of Young Believers

I’d like to start this Aren’t You Glad It’s Now You Can Listen to Indie Music Wednesday by Finding Bands on Twitter By Searching #FAIBW by saying that yes, I did go to a midnight showing of Harry Potter last night, and no, they did not start on time because despite the fact that they play hundreds of movies every day that are boring and ordinary and start exactly on time and work perfectly well, when they have a midnight showing of something people desperately want to see, of course something will be fishy with the film reel and the start time will be delayed, and although Eric can (and does) survive quite well on very little sleep, I do not, and so I have been dying all day at work and now I am dying some more trying to put coherent thoughts together.

I’m sorry, was  that irrelevant?

The Dodo’s have been around for awhile, but they came up on FAIBW today, and I found them, not surprisingly, more than worthy of a mention.  This is especially fitting for FAIBW, which is always a place to find not just new music but also free music, because their new album “Time to Die,” which comes out *technically* on July 28th digitally and in September physically, is streaming here now.  Over and over again I will apologize for making fun of Fleet Foxes–I really do like them, I swear, we just make fun of them all the time, don’t we?–but again, we’ve got a band that rivals Fleet Foxes in sound and then overcomes them with authenticity.  I recommend “The Strums,” which will charm you with its melancholic drive, “Two Medicines,” and “Troll Nacht,” because it is beast.  Also, while you’re listening, read the comments because they are funny.  We need some more funny comments on this blog.

Choir of Young Believers have also been around for awhile, so I guess that’s just where we stand with FAIBW today!  These guys are from Denmark, which is always a plus, and their sound is delicious, with lovely strings and subtle dissonances and mellow vocals.  It isn’t often that you hear something truly beautiful.  “Under the Moon” and “Why Must It Always Be This Way” are my favorites on their myspace page, but I suspect I’ll be checking out their album very soon.

So, I’m only leaving you with two bands tonight, but one of them has an entire album for you to stream for free, so I don’t feel too horrible about that.  I think there is enough substance in both artistic endeavors to leave it.

Shh, talk about Slow Club in your Library Voices

Follow An Indie Band Wednesday!
Follow An Indie Band Wednesday!

(Thanks to thepoptimist.com for the logo idea)

Guess what guys!  If you work at a semi-normal workplace, you get Friday off, so today is sort of like … not Wednesday, and tomorrow is sort  of like Friday!

And it’s “listen to indie music and have a great Wednesday”, which is my new name for “follow an indie band Wednesday” because I’m getting tired of calling it that.  I’m not very big on commitment.  That’s okay, though, because this day allows me to be as random as I need to be.  So with that, I have some highlights and some housekeeping things for you today!

1. 5 months f rom today, December 1st, is Free-E-Day, which is an online indie culture festival being hosted by Year Zero Writers.  This is a pretty freaking awesome idea, and I hope to see it come to fruition in an even more brilliant way than anyone expects.  Basically, artists will contribute books, music, photography, etc etc etc, and they will be available to the public for free!  If you’re an artist, this is a great way for you to put your stuff out there, and if you’re a lover of the arts (as Eric and I most definitely are), this is a great way to find something new and groundbreaking.  For more information, check out the website here.  Also, remember that when you talk about it, you have to say it sort of like this: “FreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Day!”  It’s much more fun that way, trust me.

2. Right now I am listening to Library Voices. I’ve been coming to a realization…it’s like waking up from a dream…that I have a thing for Canadian music.  How to describe them?  They’ve got the tension between playfulness and self-awareness that we all admire about the Magnetic Fields, with a brilliantly indie-pop sound and a free but catchy structure, which isn’t the easiest balance in the world to accomplish.  Their little a cappella melody at the beginning of “Drinking Games” is precious, and they also clap and ooh and aah and count off in Spanish and reference The Unbearable Lightness of Being and make the synths sound cool.  Yeah, that’s hot.

3. 5 days till the new Slow Club album! Yeah So will be released on July 6, 2009, and somehow I just know it’s going to be the most wonderful thing you’ve heard all year so far.  Can you believe it’s already July?  Yeah, me neither.  I can’t keep up.  Anyway, let me tell you what Yeah So is going to be like.  Charles and Rebecca are going to charm you with their vocal chemistry and their playful, creative, honest lyrics.  You’ll dance around even if you never dance, you’ll blast it from your car even though folk is not usually blasted, and you will make all of your friends listen to it.  Some tracks may also make you cry.  And if you have ever listened to the musical The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown, which is probably like…one of you…”Sorry About the Doom” is going to sound like “I’m Still Hurting.”  And if you check out “Dance Till the Morning Light” on their myspace, there is going to be an even better version.  Jus’ sayin’.  On Monday you better invest a few bucks in this album, because if Paste magazine comes to their senses, it will be on the top-25 list of 2009 at least.

4. Another gem of FAIBW is Ra Ra Riot. They’re from Syracuse but they have a bit of a London sound, reminiscent of the Kooks.  Violin and cello are prominent elements of their distinct ethereal indie rock, and even though the lyrics are kind of weird, they’re also pretty  cool.  I should have more to say about them, but I am getting antsy.

5. Here is a video of Slow Club to get you excited about the new album (if my writing isn’t exciting enough for you).  “Because You Are Dead” will be on it!

They Play Fleet Foxes Better Than Fleet Foxes

Who are they? First Aid Kit! And aren’t they cute?  Eric’s going to need a first aid kit for his heart!  (I’m so clever…)

I’ve been really slacking on my reviews lately.   I need to sit down and write some album reviews, but recently I haven’t had enough time or emotional energy for that (story of my life).  Also, my job pretty much equals staring at a computer screen all day.  I know, I know, no excuses.  I will write some bonafide album reviews ASAP.  In the meantime, I am trying desperately not to let you down.

So, for tonight, another EP I cannot purchase on iTunes because it is Swedish.  So I will see what I can do on Amazon.  But for now, check out First Aid Kit’s myspace.  They aim for the hearts, not the charts!  And that, my friends,  is the best thing a band can do.  Writing and playing good music also helps.

First Aid Kit is a lovely indie folk two-piece: sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg.  You’ll be charmed at the first acoustic lilt of “You’re  Not Coming Home Tonight,” especially as the girls’ voices blend into lovely, melancholic harmonies.  Klara and Johanna’s voices are an awesome combination of playful, rich passion, and their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” shows this off beautifully, especially at the end with “I don’t know what I have done, I’m turning myself into a demon.”  Honestly, I like the Fleet Foxes and everything, and even though they are overrated, I understand why they are–because they’re creative and wonderful, obviously–but I like First Aid Kit’s cover better than the original.  They downplay the acoustics and emphasize the vocals, which are strong and full of character.  If you haven’t already noticed, I really love when singers know how to use their voices in creative ways, almost as actors.   Maybe this comes from studying classical music for so long, but in any case, it reflects the singer’s own passion, talent, and all  in all just makes them a whole lot more interesting to listen to.  You can hear another example of this in “Jagadamba You Might”–the girls’ moody ooh’s and aah’s lead into almost-scat, and still fit the eery folk perfectly.  Finally, “Cross Oceans” is not to be forgotten, with its rhythm-based acoustics.  Despite the moodiness of their tracks, something about First Aid Kit is still uplifting.

If you don’t already love Swedish music, start here.  I know I’ll be keeping my eyes out for First Aid Kit to be more readily available in the States.  For now, here’s the Fleet Foxes cover.  Leave your comments and let us know what you think–better than the original?