Posts Tagged ‘First Aid Kit’

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This week my most awaited LP of 2018 thus far coming from the inimitable Low on their shadowy electronic masterpiece, ‘Double Negative’. There are synths akimbo on the new one from MCR up-n-comers Pale Waves, reminding me of a more youthful Kristin Kontrol (if only everyone loved that LP as much as I did), or a less saccharine Tegan & Sara. In fact, it’s a very electronic week on the heavy hitters, Those of you who love a good guitar can do FAR worse than The Goon Sax’s new outing on the ever-reliable Wichita Recordings, absolutely brimming with lyrical fire and melodic cleverness, and with the propulsive slacker vibes the Aussies do so well.

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Low  –  Double Negative

In 2018, Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.

To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies.

This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative co-writers, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves.

Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fights for the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion. In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?

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Toy  –  The Willo

Since 2010, Toy have earned a reputation as a band of integrity, virtuosity and taste, with Tom, Maxim, Dominic, Charlie and (joining in 2015) Max creating a sound that is embedded in the underground tradition, yet distinctly their own. Now here comes a two-track twelve-inch on Tough Love, a foretaste of a forthcoming album in January 2019, which marks a new dawn for this most singular of bands.

‘The Willo’ is a dreamlike, seven-minute glide, redolent of a forest at sunset and just as pretty, but not without hints of malevolence. Maxim’s fingerpicking acoustic melds with electric twang from Dominic, and a whirling organ from Max Oscarnold gives this elegant creation an extra layer of disorientation and depth. “People appear to have seen Will-o’-the-wisp, a mysterious green-blue light, over the centuries. It generally means something ominous is about to happen”, says Tom.

Then there is ‘Energy’, which lives up to its name with thunderously metronomic drums from Charlie Salvidge and a ferocious guitar from Dominic O’Dair. The lyrics, culled from a story written by Max about a nighttime ritual, are obscured by the barrage-like forward momentum of the music.

The twelve-inch, recorded and mixed by the band between Oscarnold’s Stoke Newington flat and a south London studio, is the first release for Toy on their new label Tough Love, representing the latest stage in the evolution of the band. Since their inception, they have released the acclaimed albums Toy (2012), Join The Dots (2013) and Clear Shot (2016), and toured everywhere from Serbia to China, while holding onto that youthful, magical moment of discovering strange new worlds of innocence and experience.

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The Goon Sax

The Goon Sax are James Harrison, Louis Forster and Riley Jones from Brisbane, Australia. Still in high school when they made their first album Up To Anything in 2016, their brand of awkwardly transcendent teenage guitar pop took earned them wide-spread critical acclaim.

For album number two, they flew to Melbourne to record with James Cecil and Cameron Bird, respectively former/current members of Architecture In Helsinki, and ‘We’re Not Talking’ shows how much can change between the ages of 17 and 19. It’s a record that takes the enthusiasms of youth and twists them into darker, more sophisticated shapes. Relationships are now laced with hesitation, remorse, misunderstanding and ultimately compassion.

Drummer Riley Jones really comes to the fore here, joining Louis and James in singing lead and writing songs for the first time, making the band the musical equivalent of an equilateral triangle (the strongest shape in physics).

Delivering brilliantly human and brutally honest vignettes of adolescent angst, The Goon Sax brim with personality, charm and heart-wrenching honesty. ‘We’re Not Talking’ is a record made by restless artists, defying expectations as if hardly noticing, and its complexity makes ‘We’re Not Talking’ even more of a marvel.

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Dilly Dally – Heaven

Heaven highlights Dilly Dally’s rough edges in all their ragged glory, drawing every potent ounce of energy from the foursome’s swampy tones, raspy vocals, and volatile rhythm section. While the music is undeniably ferocious, there’s uplift woven into the fabric of every track. The album opens with the dreamy “I Feel Free”, which begins as a floating, untethered soundscape before transforming into a soaring anthem for a world that’s ready to finally turn the page on all the darkness and disillusion the last few years have wrought. The inexorable “Believe” insists on self-confidence, while the driving “Sober Motel” celebrates the lucidity a clear mind, and the lilting “Sorry Ur Mad” makes a case for releasing yourself from the prisons of anger and resentment. Heaven carves out its own atheistic religion to get through the day, a faith that validates our pain as real but responds with a beaming light of hope. [Limited white colored vinyl pressing also available.]

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Slothrust  –  The Pact

Slothrust is principal songwriter, guitar player and unrepentant aesthete Leah Wellbaum, with drummer Will Gorin and bassist Kyle Bann. On their fourth full-length album The Pact, Slothrust constructs a luscious, ethereal cosmos perforated with wormy portals and magic wardrobes, demonstrating more clearly than ever the band’s deft shaping of contrasting sonic elements to forge a muscular sound that’s uniquely their own. Bizarre and mundane, tender and confident. The awkward duality of the forever outsider, rightly reclaimed as power. This is The Pact. Produced and engineered by Billy Bush in Los Angeles (the band’s new home base), Slothrust’s new album is a confident journey across 12 songs that oscillate between a quietly reflective tenderness and a slick, sleek confidence; balancing playful innocence with ballsy swagger. “This is the most fun I’ve ever had making a record,” Wellbaum confirms. “We were able to take risks. I’m saying yes more than no these days.”

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Pale Waves  – My Mind Makes Noises

After signing a record deal with Dirty Hit in 2017, Manchester’s Pale Waves released their debut single “There’s a Honey”, followed by “Television Romance”. The following year, the band were ranked fifth in the BBC Sound of 2018 poll and won the NME Under the Radar Award at the NME Awards. They now return with their debut album which features the singles ‘There’s A Honey’, ‘Television Romance, ‘Kiss’, ‘Eighteen’ and new single ‘Black’.

Pale Waves are Heather (vocals, guitar), Ciara (drums), Hugo (guitar) and Charlie (bass).

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Richard Thompson – 13 Rivers

Richard Thompson’s new album is his first self-produced record in over a decade. It’s a minimal and spacious recording which, according to Thompson, is a projection of current events in his life. “This has been an intense year for myself and my family, getting older doesn’t mean that life gets easier! There are surprises around every bend. I think this reflects in the immediacy of the stories, and the passion in the songs. Sometimes I am speaking directly about events, at other times songs are an imaginative spin on what life throws at you. The music is just a mirror to life, but we try to polish that mirror as brightly as possible.” 13 Rivers spans thirteen tracks. It is an album as much about growth as it is about reflection. Says Thompson, “I don’t know how the creative process works – I suppose it is some kind of bizarre parallel existence to my own life. I often look at a finished song and wonder what the hell is going on inside me. We sequenced the weird stuff at the front of the record, and the tracks to grind your soul into submission at the back.” [Limited black and cream colored vinyl pressing also available.]

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First Aid Kit – Tender Offerings

“Technically, Tender Offerings are the four songs that did not make it onto Ruins. For these ladies, these precious songs did not fit the bombastic folk-nature of the album. Instead, they truly felt like tender offerings; too sweet and soft in scope to be fluidly aligned with their other tracks. Once, you hear such gorgeous tracks like, “I’ve Wanted You” and “All That We Get” you will understand their point. Instrumentally, you feel every hook, melody, and chorus was precisely and clearly made as a cloud creates a raindrop. This duo turn their guitar melodies into field of amber strings dancing in the suns of their voices like grains move with daylight.”

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Paul Weller – True Meanings

To put it simply, True Meanings, the fourteenth Paul Weller solo album and the 26th studio album of his entire career, is a record unlike any he has ever made before. It’s characterized by grandiose-yet-delicate, lush orchestration: an aesthetic to which Weller’s better-than-ever voice, singing some of his most nakedly honest words, is perfectly suited. A dreamy, peaceful, pastoral set of songs to get lost in, it’s both an album that his faithful audience has been wanting him to make for a long time, and an album that many new people outside of that audience will relate to.

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The Doors – Waiting For The Sun [Reissue/1968]

50th Anniversary reissue. This double-CD and single-LP collection features a new version of the album’s original stereo mix on both CD and 180-gram vinyl LP, which has been newly remastered from the original master tapes by Bruce Botnick, the Doors’ longtime engineer/mixer. The CD set also includes a second disc of 14 completely unreleased tracks: nine recently discovered “rough mixes” from the album recording sessions and five live songs from a 1968 Copenhagen show.

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Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now: Live at The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 DVD

Directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Murray Lerner, Both Sides Now: Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970 features new interviews with Joni, discussing her recollections of the event intercut with festival footage, both onstage and behind the scenes, offering a fascinating insight into a now legendary concert from the artists point of view and putting the events of the day into context.

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First Aid Kit

With head-banging, strobe lights, and electric guitar solos, First Aid Kit brought a new energy to the Palace Theatre in January. Sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg just released their fourth album, ‘Ruins.’ The album features songs that fit the texture we’ve come to expect from First Aid Kit folksy sounds with beautiful harmonies  as well as expanding the group’s palette to include a harder-rocking sound.

Live, they channeled that energy with songs like “You Are the Problem Here,” which expresses the sisters’ frustration with the discussion surrounding sexual assault. “I think I can speak for every woman when I say that we’re really really f—ing tired of being afraid,” Klara said after the song ended, inspiring loud cheers.

The stage setup was simple; a white sheet behind the duo acted as a projector screen. Videos of country roads, mountains, hearts, and more were projected behind the group. The sisters were both dressed in red, with Johanna wearing a red shirt and Klara wearing a red dress. The other members of their band wore black cowboy-style shirts.

In addition to their edgier new material, First Aid Kit also delivered the warm, acoustic sound they’ve become known for with songs like “Postcard,” which Johanna said is the “most country-sounding song we’ve ever written.”

The live version of “You Are The Problem Here” was originally recorded in honor of International Women’s Day and is exclusive to this Record Store Day 2018 single. First Aid Kit special 7” for Record Store Day, which will include the live and studio versions of You are the Problem Here. The band have also shared a live version of the song for International Women’s Day 2018 and to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the song’s release.

“You are the Problem Here” is a powerful, direct statement against sexual misconduct and rape culture with proceeds donated to Women for Women International. Given the worldwide #MeToo movement and current landscape which is seeing women speak out against sexual harassment, the song is more pertinent now than ever.

First Aid Kit Say: “You are the Problem Here is a song that was written out of pure frustration and anger. We, as women, felt really sick of being afraid all the time. We wanted to ask the perpetrators of rape crimes why they commit such horrendous acts. Instead of putting the blame and shame on the victim, we wanted to put it back where it belongs. The song has been gaining more and more attention since its original release last year, especially with the #MeToo movement growing. It’s sad that it’s so relevant, but we’re glad to be talking about these issues and taking sexual assault seriously. We all need to keep the conversation going.

“You Are The Problem Here (Recorded Live in Stockholm)”/“You Are The Problem Here (Studio Version)”

First Aid KitYou are the Problem Here (Live From the Rebel Hearts Club)

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This week releases include First Aid Kit’s newest outing, with swooning folky rock refrains, sliding guitars and beautiful two-part harmonies abound. Speaking of folky rocking guitars, yer’ man Ryan Adams has produced the debut outing from frankly terrifying youngsters, Starcrawler. they’re terrifically talented, and they trade in very concise and punky indie-rock territory. Great stuff. What else? Well, lots of stuff. the new Liminanas LP is out and again, superbly reminiscent of their earlier work whilst bringing things up to date. New (reversed) Shins, and reissues from The Residents,

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The Limiñanas – Shadow People

French psych duo The Limiñanas have announced their new album ‘Shadow People’ which will be released on 19th January on Because Music. One of France’s most beloved treasures, The Limiñanas are Marie (drums/vocals) and Lionel (guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals). Hailing from Perpignan, the duo straddles the boundary between psych, shoegaze, and yé-yé. With hazy, reverb-laden hooks, combined at times with noisy distortion, and fronted by effortlessly cool vocals, reminiscent of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot, the band is at once timeless and quintessentially French.

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The Shins –  The Worms Heart

When James Mercer was recording his latest Shins LP Heart Worms as a creative exercise he decided to re-record the songs in the opposite way of the originals. Songs that were more rock and uptempo became more acoustic and slow, and songs that were acoustic and slow in tempo became more upbeat. They were flipped. The result of those sessions he calls, The Worms Heart. What began as an exercise in songwriting transformed into a commentary on what it means to be a songwriter. After writing the first track for Heartworms (released 10 March 2017), James Mercer decided to recreate each song from scratch. Driven by its malleability, its ability to be foundationally identical, yet aesthetically and sonically utterly new, Mercer continued experimenting until he had two complete albums: one original and one “flipped”. Mercer’s ability to create two totally divergent albums from the same underlying compositions not only highlights his immense capability as a songwriter, but also functions as a reminder of what it means to be an artist, how an artist acts as both the master and facilitator of his artistic product.

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Shopping  –  The Official Body

Their first release since 2015’s Why Choose and their second album to be released on FatCat Records, Post-Punk trio Shopping return with an album that fans of their earlier records will undoubtedly find satisfying. Recorded over 10 days by Edwyn Collins, the latest album stays true to the minimal dance-punk ethos of Shopping’s previous efforts, but seeks to”amp up the party vibe”.

Coming off the back of an unrelenting cycle of touring, having made their way across the UK, Europe, and the US, the band found themselves without a natural home as the band’s London rehearsal and writing space closed down. Then their drummer, Andrew Milk, relocated to Glasgow, and the band could suddenly no longer spontaneously get together to practice or write. The distance added an element of pressure: “As a band that only ever writes collaboratively, it’s essential for us to actually be together in the room before any songs start to formulate. It can be a little daunting when we all turn up, and we only have an afternoon to pull a song out of thin air”. Add to that a sprinkling of Brexit, Trump, a principally imploding world, and you’ve got yourself The Official Body— Shopping’s second album to be released on FatCat Records.

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First Aid Kit  –  Ruins

Swedish siblings Klara & Johanna Soderberg, release their eagerly anticipated new album “Ruins” via Columbia Records. This will be the girls’ 4th studio album & a follow up to the critically acclaimed breakthrough album “Stay Gold”, released in 2014. “Ruins” is a 10 song album, recorded in Portland, USA & produced by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Laura Veirs). Collaborators include Peter Buck (REM), Glenn Kotche (Wilco) & McKenzie Smith (Midlake).

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Starcrawler  –  Starcrawler

Starcrawler are a Los Angeles rock band who formed in 2015 when 18-year-old lead vocalist Arrow de Wilde first met guitarist Henri Cash at their Echo Park high school. Shortly thereafter they were joined by the rhythm section of Austin Smith (drums) and Tim Franco (bass). The foursome play with squalling riffs and thundering beats, and their incendiary live shows, fronted by de Wilde’s otherworldly magnetism, are truly captivating. Gigwise (UK) recently stated that “Starcrawler are simply the most exciting – and best – band Rough Trade have signed in years.”

Recorded by Ryan Adams on analog tape at his Pax-Am studio, the 10 songs on the album prove that yes, they ARE making rock and roll exciting again! Ryan has been tweeting up a storm about them saying things like “This starcrawler record is gonna peel the paint off your brain!” and “Starcrawler are so fucking insanely good. Soon they will rule this galaxy.”

The first single from the album is “I Love LA” and the video, directed by famed music photographer Autumn de Wilde (AKA Arrow’s mum) is a fun and feisty homage to the city of dreamers

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After signing to Rough Trade earlier this year, they quickly released their debut single “Ants”, which caught the ear of Elton John who played the track on his Beats 1 radio show. Soon after, they were on the cover of LA Weekly – their hometown paper. The headline was “With Fake Blood and Frenetic Songs, Starcrawler make rock feel dangerous again”. In the article, Arrow describes that “bands are boring nowadays” and that “there’s no mystery”. That helps explain a little bit of why their shows have become the stuff of legend. They also recently played LA’s CalJam Festival, which is curated by Dave Grohl (Starcrawler was the first band he reached out to, and he raved about them the next day on KROQ.) Gerard Way is also a fan, describing them as a “mix of 70’s theatricality and Stooges electricity.

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Fleetwood Mac  –  Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac reissue their 1975 eponymous album. This album was the first of the most successful incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, where Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Christine McVie to form the legendary band who continues to be highly successful to this day. The album introduced a smoother more radio-friendly sound and a new beginning and by 1977 the emotional monolith of Rumours would make them one of the biggest bands on the planet.

CD – Newly remastered version.

2CD – Expanded edition. The first CD features the original album with newly remastered audio, as well as single mixes of Over My Head, Rhiannon, Say You Love Me and Blue Letter. CD2 features an alternate version of the album comprised of unreleased outtakes for each track, as well as previously unreleased live versions from 1976.

5CD – Deluxe 3 CD / 1 DVD and 1 LP Set. Comes packaged in a 12×12 embossed sleeve with rare and unseen photos along with in-depth liner notes written by David Wild, as well as new interviews with all the band members. The deluxe editions features a newly remastered version of the original album along with single mixes for Over My Head, Rhiannon and Say You Love Me. Also included is a second disc with an alternate version of the complete album comprised of unreleased outtakes for each album track, plus several unreleased live performances from 1976. The third disc includes even more unreleased live recordings, including stellar performances of Landslide, Oh Well and World Turning. Also included in the deluxe edition set is the original album pressed on 180-gram vinyl, as well as a DVD featuring 5.1 Surround Sound and high-resolution 24/96 Stereo Audio mixes of the original album and four single mixes.

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The XX  –  On Hold (Jamie XX Remix) / A Violent Noise (Four Tet Remix)

Limited 12″ featuring Jamie’s own Remix of On Hold. It’s comes across like Daft Punk dropping Homework on a Ibiza terrace. Four Tet is on the flip with a fresh re-rub of A Violent Noise. Mr Hebden takes the track to Berghain and drops it at 4am.

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Moon Duo  –  Jukebox Babe / No Fun

Following the resounding success of their two-volume, Yin-and-Yang song cycle Occult Architecture, the Portland psych heroes in Moon Duo return with a limited edition 12″ paying tribute to two of their musical heroes — Iggy Pop and Alan Vega. Moon Duo’s versions of these classic songs push them into bold new sonic territory, and show that Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada’s expansive musical imaginations are still firing on all cylinders.“We started playing No Fun after BBC6 Radio asked us to record an Iggy song for his 70th birthday. We added it to our set to work it out for the session and kept playing it every night because everyone loves that song. We worked up a version of Jukebox Babe because our sound engineer Larry got it stuck in his head and was singing it all the time. We figured, we may as well play it if we’re going to hear it all the time. The Stooges and Iggy, and Suicide / Alan Vega / Martin Rev, are all huge influences on us. But we never want to do faithful covers of great songs, because what’s the point? So we tried to push both of the tracks in less obvious directions, incorporating other influences, like California psych and cosmic disco, giving them more of a summer vibe. We knew Sonic Boom was working outside of Lisbon, so we asked him to produce the tracks, recording them in August for maximal summer heat.”

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Slothrust  – Show Me How You Want It To Be EP

A collection of unexpected and inventive takes on classics by icons as diverse as Al Green and Britney Spears, Marcy Playground and Louis Armstrong. Led by guitarist and vocalist Leah Wellbaum, with bassist Kyle Bann and drummer WiIl Gorin, Slothrust form one of the most exciting and agile trios in recent memory. The selections on Show Me How You Want It To Be showcase the diverse and discerning musicianship that has earned Slothrust an army of admirers that first began building with their song 7:30 AM, featured as the theme song for 4 seasons of the FX Network show You’re The Worst.

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Belle and Sebastian  –  How To Solve Our Human Problems (Part 2)

Harkening back to their 1997 release of three consecutive EPs (Dog On Wheels, Lazy Line Painter Janeand 3.. 6.. 9 Seconds Of Light), Belle and Sebastian release three new EPs under the umbrella title How To Solve Our Human ProblemsJust as those three early EPs are at the very heart of the Belle and Sebastian canon, so these three new releases deserve to be treated not as a stopgap, but as definitive releases in their own right. How To Solve Our Human Problems is both an era of its own, and part of a long, rich history. How To Solve Our Human Problems is, if you like, Belle and Sebastian Redux.

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Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit have unveiled the title track from their forthcoming LP, Ruins, due out on January. 19th via Columbia Records.

Following the release of advance tracks “It’s A Shame,” “Postcard” and “Fireworks,” “Ruins” is a more somber affair, its introspective folk musing on the end of a relationship with the duo’s vocals beautifully weaving in and out of one another, surrounded by minimal, calming instrumentation.

The “Ruins” video is a live performance from the Rebel Hearts Club Austin Texas, featuring a witty introduction from an older British man before the duo’s acoustic song gently mesmerizes with its lap-steel guitar and luscious, tender country vocals. Watch the live video for “Ruins” below.

The duo’s fourth studio album, Ruins was produced by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Laura Veirs) and recorded in Portland, Ore. where the Söderberg sisters collaborated with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and Midlake’s McKenzie Smith.

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So many songs have taken on new meaning over the past nine months or so. Ask Van William about his song “Revolution” and he’ll tell you that it “started as a song about the anxieties of being in a relationship, where both people want to fix its broken parts, but disagree on the means,” but “became something else during and after the 2016 election.”

However, that original inspiration was the video’s guiding force, Van William . “Something simple and stark that followed a linear progression into the madness found in the waning days of a romantic relationship. I wanted the video to show the claustrophobic feeling that can form by sharing too much of each other’s lives and being unable to repair the damage from inside the walls of what was built together.” It’s an idea, he says, that came while binge-watching Ingmar Bergman films.

Director Grant James wrote to tell me that “‘Revolution’ is an emotional performance delivered by Van, as well as First Aid Kit’s Klara and Johanna Söderberg, within the confines of a black void. The focus was to compose moving portraits of the artists that express the meaning behind the lyrics of the song as the musicians go through an emotional journey individually and together. The result delivers a variety of raw and striking imagery that balances the fine line between high-fashion cinematography and keeping our subjects grounded in their own natural aesthetic and realism.”

When Van William was listening to a version of his song in the studio, it was clear to him that he wanted the duo First Aid Kit to add their sibling voices to his song. “We have all known each other for almost ten years, when they opened for my old band Port O’Brien on a European tour. Life and the Atlantic Ocean separated us from continuing a real friendship for many years, but we reconnected at a mutual friend’s house party in L.A. early last year. We rekindled our connection into one of the most important friendships I’ve ever had, and tracked this together before they went back to Stockholm. When the three of us are together, it feels like family in the best possible way.”

The Revolution EP is the solo debut for Van William having been in previous bands Waters and Port O’Brien

The Revolution / Cosmic Sign (Demo) 7″ is out today at indie retailers. Go support your local record store.

 

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First Aid Kit, noted Swedish pop duo consisting of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, have released the latest single from their upcoming album Ruins. “Fireworks” is somewhere between a gentle waltz and a march, bolstered by a lithe string arrangement, backing vocals, intricate guitar interplay, and as usual, a remarkably tuneful lead melody. “Why do I do this to myself every time,” Söderberg sing in harmony, in a chorus that sounds like it could have been cribbed from a Righteous Brothers single. “I know the way it ends even before it’s even begun/I’m the only one at the finish line.” Listen below. Ruins is out on January 19th.

“Fireworks” off First Aid Kit’s upcoming album ‘Ruins’ is available now.

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While the name Van William may be new to some of you his first band more than likely won’t be – well at least not if you were a regular listener to Folk Radio UK back in 2008 when Port O’Brien, his first band, was receiving plenty of airplay . He then went on to form a second band called Waters. Whatever musical shifts these two bands explored there was, and still is, there is no mistaking Van’s vocals which first drew me to the Indie-folk sound of Port O’Brien . It turns out that during this time he managed to cultivate a tight-knit community of fellow musicians, embarked on a serious, years-long romantic relationship, even found time to spend summers in the Kodiak Islands of Alaska working on his father’s commercial fishing boat.

Although my time on Kodiak Island, Alaska has always been a huge part of who I am, I’ve never been able to share much of it with anyone other than my immediate family. this video highlights how life feels up there and how heartbreaking it is to say goodbye to my years as a commercial fisherman. the songs on my EP and forthcoming album are deeply tied to my experiences on Kodiak. the fact that my life up there is ending while this project is starting feels right in every sense.” but with it came a “renewed sense of purpose” and a new musical direction, heralded by the arrival of ‘Countries’, Van’s vivid and open-hearted solo debut full length album, set for release on 19th January 2018 via Fantasy Records / Concord Music.

The songs on his new album are very much tied to his experiences on Kodiak Island, Alaska, something he clearly wanted those listening to his music to be aware of. This recent introductory video is very revealing about “how life feels up there and how heartbreaking it is to say goodbye to my years as a commercial fisherman. The songs on my EP and forthcoming album are deeply tied to my experiences on Kodiak. The fact that my life up there is ending while this project is starting feels right in every sense.”

The album includes Van’s recent single ‘Revolution’ (featuring guest vocals from First Aid Kit) and marking the album’s announcement a fresh new single: The Country.

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First Aid Kit have announced the full details of their fourth album Ruins which will be out on January 19th, it is the follow up to 2014’s acclaimed Stay Gold.

The Söderberg sisters announced their return at the end of September with ‘It’s A Shame’Ruins will come out on 19th January, and the band have shared another sample of the new record with ‘Postcard’.

The single leans heavily on the style of classic country ballads about a fading romance, with sliding guitar swells and ambling rhythms accented by sophisticated piano lines. The duo’s seamlessly blended harmonies bid a lover farewell: “Send me a postcard when you get to where you’re going / Send me a line to everything you’ve left behind.”

“‘Postcard’ is one of the most traditional-sounding songs we’ve ever written, and we wanted the production to mirror that,” the sisters have said . “It’s not a resentful song, but more of a reaching out to a lover to wish them well on their journey in the midst of having to let them go.”

The Swedish band’s Instagram reveals Ruins was produced by Tucker Martine and recorded at Flora Studios in Portland, Oregon. the girls collaborated with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and Midlake’s McKenzie Smith.

So many songs have taken on new meaning over the past nine months or so. Ask Van William Pierszalowski about his song “Revolution” and he’ll tell you that it “started as a song about the anxieties of being in a relationship, where both people want to fix its broken parts, but disagree on the means,” but “became something else during and after the 2016 election.”

However, that original inspiration was the video’s guiding force, Van William told me. “Something simple and stark that followed a linear progression into the madness found in the waning days of a romantic relationship. I wanted the video to show the claustrophobic feeling that can form by sharing too much of each other’s lives and being unable to repair the damage from inside the walls of what was built together.” It’s an idea, he says, that came while binge-watching Ingmar Bergman films.

Director Grant James wrote to tell me that “Revolution’ is an emotional performance delivered by Van, as well as First Aid Kit’s Klara and Johanna Söderberg, within the confines of a black void. The focus was to compose moving portraits of the artists that express the meaning behind the lyrics of the song as the musicians go through an emotional journey individually and together. The result delivers a variety of raw and striking imagery that balances the fine line between high-fashion cinematography and keeping our subjects grounded in their own natural aesthetic and realism.”

When Van William was listening to a version of his song in the studio, it was clear to him that he wanted the duo First Aid Kit to add their sibling voices to his song. “We have all known each other for almost ten years, when they opened for my old band Port O’Brien on a European tour. Life and the Atlantic Ocean separated us from continuing a real friendship for many years, but we reconnected at a mutual friend’s house party in L.A. early last year. We rekindled our connection into one of the most important friendships I’ve ever had, and tracked this together before they went back to Stockholm. When the three of us are together, it feels like family in the best possible way.”

The Revolution EP is the solo debut for Van William having been in previous bands WATERS and Port O’Brien. That EP will be out in September .