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Folk - Released January 19, 2018 | Columbia

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When they released The Big Black and the Blue in 2010, Johanna and Klara Söderberg were 20 and 23 years old respectively. The two Swedish sisters quickly made a name for themselves at the top of the charts thanks to their covers of songs by Fleet Foxes, Lorde, Jack White and even Black Sabbath… Though throughout it all, First Aid Kit imposed their own style. A sort of dreamy folk that was as fresh as it was mesmerizing, at the heart of which shimmered vocal harmonies… For their fourth album, the Söderbergs flew off to the West Coast of the United States. Written in California (Los Angeles) and recorded in Oregon (Portland), Ruins is without a doubt  their most beautiful achievement. It’s the strongest tie between their native Sweden and the America of their dreams. Produced by the wonderful Tucker Martine, an expert in classy country, this is a record that above all draws its inspiration from America's rich heritage (from the Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris period to the recent Fleet Foxes) while staying true to its authors. Sparkling arrangements, smooth rhythmics, intense vocal harmonies and notable guests (Peter Buck from R.E.M., Glenn Kotche from Wilco and McKenzie Smith from Midlake), everything’s there to make their folk-rock even more luxurious than on The Lion's Roar (2012) and Stay Gold (2014). It’s almost impossible not to role out the old cliché: an album of maturity. © MD/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 6, 2014 | Columbia

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Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg have taken what, in the era of TV talent shows and Internet stars (they were once YouTube sensations themselves), has become a rare path to major-label success. Their hard work and growth within a trusting and nurturing indie label climate have helped develop and mature their sound from the enchanting folk of their debut to the polished Americana that dominates Stay Gold. Making the jump from Wichita to Columbia Records for their third full-length has given the duo the scope to dream bigger, and that's exactly what they've managed here with an assured and comprehensive collection of songs. Noticeably more expansive than any of their previous work, Stay Gold has a rich texture of classic country instrumentation and stirring string arrangements, matching their soaring vocal melodies. They were first noticed when a charming woodland set of acoustic Fleet Foxes covers gained attention for their beautiful vocals, which are still the main draw on this release, with their close harmonies again empowering every song. The timeless chorus adorning "Cedar Lane" sets the song up for a belting finale, and the closing salvo "How could I break away from you" feels bold yet reassuring. There is plenty of introspection here that sees the sisters focus on their experiences and journey thus far, and being on the road since they were just teenagers has undoubtedly shaped the defiant slow burner "Shattered & Hollow" and the wandering dreams and vulnerability that seep into "Waitress Song." Despite the obvious shift toward a country-influenced sound with a real romping, foot stomper in "Heaven Knows," there are still folk ballads here -- "Fleeting One" and "A Long Time Ago" -- that show the delicacy and heartbreaking capacity of First Aid Kit. With a genuine sense of melancholy that is far beyond their young years, the Söderbergs have taken the mild success of their sophomore record, Lion's Roar, in their stride, and with the expert hand of Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis once again producing, the lush harmonies and melodies of this album show that they are worthy of a place in the mainstream. ~ Scott Kerr
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Pop/Rock - Released September 17, 2012 | Wichita Recordings

Described as the Swedish answer to the Pierces, sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg, aka First Aid Kit, blend autumnal folk and wistful '60s Americana, and have gathered a pretty illustrious following since their cover version of Fleet Foxes' "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" became a YouTube hit back in 2008. As well as releasing their debut single through the Knife's Rabid Records label, they have since made Patti Smith cry with their rendition of her 1979 single "Dancing Barefoot," been courted by Jack White, who invited them to appear on two tracks for his Third Man Records' Blue Series, and now find themselves under the guidance of producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) for their second album, The Lion's Roar. It's an impressive turn of events for a duo that hails from a small suburb of Stockholm, but the follow-up to 2010's The Big Black & the Blue reveals why First Aid Kit have attracted so much attention. Juxtaposing the girls' glorious ethereal harmonies with a genuine sense of melancholy, the bittersweet alt-country of "Emmylou," a tribute to the musical partnerships of Ms. Harris and Gram Parsons, and Johnny Cash and June Carter; the twinkling Mama Cass-esque "Blue"; and the lush acoustics of "I Found a Way" are all beautifully heartbreaking. The medieval-tinged opening title track and the infectious handclaps and mariachi horns on "King of the World," the latter of which features guest appearances from Conor Oberst and the Felice Brothers, are convincing forays into rousing nu-folk, while it's impossible not to be charmed by the low-key dreaminess of "In the Hearts of Men" and the campfire singalong of "This Old Routine," both of which bear the hallmarks of the long Scandinavian dark winters. A change of pace toward the midway section is less absorbing, with the intimate balladry of "To a Poet," "Dance to Another Tune," and "New Year's Eve" all drifting into the same slightly bland troubadour territory. But for the most part, The Lion's Roar is a mesmerizing listen that -- alongside recent releases from the likes of the Tallest Man on Earth and Anna Ternheim -- suggests the Swedish folk scene is currently hitting something of a purple patch. ~ Jon O'Brien
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 8, 2018 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2018 | Columbia

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Rock - Released March 31, 2014 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 20, 2012 | Wichita Recordings

Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg made their recording at the ripe young ages of 18 and 15, respectively, with this quietly accomplished EP (really more like a mini-LP) of amiably homespun acoustic folk. If the artists' ages are the most immediately noteworthy aspect of this release, their considerable vocal abilities are a strong, striking second: whether singly or (more typically) in sisterly harmony, the Söderbergs sing in full, earthy, expressive tones that belie their years. The same can't quite be said for their songwriting: if the cutesy "lets pretend" intro to the lullaby-like "Little Moon" opens the album by overtly tipping their hand to youth, the several songs about frustrated domestic relationships (a curious preoccupation -- perhaps it seemed like an appropriate topic for the genre?) are even more of a giveaway, tellingly informed by imagination and hearsay rather than than lived experience (sometimes, as on the confusedly personal-cum-political "Our Own Pretty Ways," it's just hard to tell what they're trying to get at.) Still, if the second-person failed-marriage saga "You're Not Coming Home Tonight" feels more like a transposed runaway-child fantasy than a defiant feminist statement, that doesn't make its strummy amble and deliciously catchy chorus harmonies any less infectious. First Aid Kit are -- as well they should be at this stage of the game -- still in the process of refining their craft, and still taking plenty of cues from other artists (the gorgeous cover of Fleet Foxes' "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" appended to later versions of this release makes their connections to the contemporary American indie folk revival all the more explicit), but the raw materials they've got at their disposal -- beyond-solid vocal chops and a sure way with a melodic hook -- all signal great things to come. Without straying too far from comfortably rootsy folk territory, Drunken Trees also offers a fair amount of range -- not nearly as straightforwardly sugar-sweet as they may at first seem, the duo can pull off poppy, dead sober, retro-rock ("Cross Oceans," which piles on the handclaps, electric organ, and rollicking drumbeat) and spooky (check the spare, ghostly "Jagadamba" -- they're not signed to the Knife's Rabid label for nothing) with equal conviction -- which makes it all the more intriguing to see where they'll go from here. ~ K. Ross Hoffman
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2015 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 21, 2012 | Wichita Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 16, 2012 | Wichita Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 23, 2012 | Wichita Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 18, 2017 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 13, 2012 | Wichita Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 10, 2017 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 20, 2012 | Wichita Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 7, 2011 | Wichita Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 6, 2014 | Columbia

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Pop - Released January 1, 2008 | Closer records

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First Aid Kit in the magazine
  • First Aid Kit, once upon a time in America...
    First Aid Kit, once upon a time in America... When they released The Big Black And The Blue in 2010, Johanna and Klara Söderberg were 20 and 23 years old respectively. The two Swedish sisters quickly made a name for themselves at the top of the charts thanks to their covers of songs by Fleet Foxes, Lorde, Jack White and even Black Sabbath… T...