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First Aid Kit, comprised of sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg, are a band of contradictions.
A case in point – at the 2011 Polar Music Prize year, they performed Patti Smith’s ‘Dancing Barefoot’ and made the legendary punk-poet priestess, who was watching from the front row, cry. Yet while those influences are present in their songs, the sisters have a style all to their own, as well as a natural flair for spinning those bittersweet, tragic but hopeful stories of theirs. On a recent search for new music for my work playlist one band has captured my undivided attention.
First Aid Kit is made up of Swedish sisters Klara (17 years old) and Johanna Söderberg (19 years old) who first became known for their covers of songs such as the Fleet Foxes one.
2012 single by First Aid Kit, also available as a bonus track on the deluxe box set of The Lion's Roar.
They’re young, but their music sounds like it could only come from a lifetime’s worth of agony and heartbreak. Moreover, the band were asked to support Jack White on his European tour, have played Glastonbury, Field Day, End of The Road and numerous other festivals and even collaborated with one of their biggest influences – Conor Oberst – at Bright Eyes’ February 2011 headline show in Stockholm. However, they have become just as well known for their own poetic and darkly romantic songs.
My friend and I were listening to Malfoy’s acoustic playing and swooning… this just adds to the acoustic appreciation party!
The single is a cover of Buffy Saint Marie's Universal Soldier, backed with a cover of It Hurts Me Too and both tracks were produced by Jack White.



They’re Swedish, but their albums – 2009’s The Big Black And The Blue and 2012’s The Lion’s Roar – overflow with the spirit of Americana and country music. In the US, they’ve toured with Bright Eyes and fellow Swede Lykke Li, and recently completed a month-long sold out headline run of their own, which finished with them performing at both Coachella weekends. Previously, their songs had been intimate affairs, home recordings of just the two of them that revealed a vulnerability and loneliness that was hard to shake off once heard. They reminded me, nostalgically of when I’d listen to Joanna Newsom on repeat all day long.
Their lyrics are sad and poignant – full of loss and yearning, heartache and tragedy – while the music itself is often uplifting and upbeat.
In 2008, they uploaded their stunning and moving rendition of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song', which soon garnered them a huge amount of attention, helped turn floods of people onto the pair’s own songs.
Those shows were widely praised, and were then followed with an appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien.
While being creative and quirky in its approach to visualizing their music, the Hard Believer video stays true to the song and the performers. It’s those contradictions that drive and propel them, contradictions that are buried deep within their blood and the blood of the music they create. Those are incredibly impressive statistics, especially considering their young age – already, they’ve enjoyed success that it takes some a whole lifetime to achieve. Most importantly, it’s all been entirely natural and organic – those facts and figures and incredible successes are the result of the powerful impact of their music.


It means that the sisters are even closer to their influences, and to the country whose music has so inspired them. In Sweden, The Lion’s Roar has achieved gold status and was in the Swedish Top 10 for 15 consecutive weeks, while its title track and other album cut ‘Emmylou’ have both been A-listed on radio stations P3 and P4. That’s what really matters – the songs, the albums, the heart and soul that the pair pour into their moving, marvelous songs. Not that they needed any extra authenticity, mind – their songs are about as true and real as they come. And ever since the beginning, the acclaim those songs have garnered has been universal and exceptional. Rather, this is just the next in a series of extraordinary chapters that have seen  Klara and Johanna Soderberg emerge from their relatively small home country of Sweden and – somehow – together create some of the finest American music that the USA has ever produced. Soon after, First Aid Kit, signed to Wichita, with whom they’ve released both full-length albums.
Both are beautifully crafted bodies of work – each rewarded with a plethora of 4- and 5-star reviews – full of a tender, fragile passion and a clear understanding of and love for the artists that have inspired them, whether it’s Bright Eyes or Fleet Foxes, Johnny and June Carter Cash or Emmylou Harris.



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