B-Sides: First Aid Kit, Folk-Music Sister Act

We have included the band First Aid Kit on two previous BitchTapes (Sisters Making Music Together and Queens of Swedish Pop), but it’s time to give this band the credit they deserve.

 First Aid Kit officially started in 2007, but these two young women have been together for life. At only 22 and 19 years old, sisters, Johanna and Klara Söderberg make Americana-inspired folk music that sounds like it’s been around for decades. With the duo’s all-English lyrics and constant references to American folk musicians, it might surprise the casual listenter to find out they are actually from a suburb of Stockholm. 

First Aid Kit--two young white women standing in a field

First Aid Kit rose to fame after the sisters sent a demo of their song “Tangerine” to a local radio station in Sweden and were promptly signed by Rabid Records. The band’s 2008 cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” went viral on YouTube and even got the attention of the Fleet Foxes themselves, who had First Aid Kit perform the song with them at a concert in the Netherlands. Their album The Big Black & The Blue in 2010 put them on tour and got them more exposure in Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia.

But First Aid Kit really garnered attention stateside in 2011, when the sisters collaborated with Bright Eyes—composed of Mike Mogus and (musical genius, if you ask me) Conor Oberst. In January of this year, the band released their newest album The Lion’s Roar (reviewed in the latest issue of Bitch! subscribe here to get your copy!) produced by Mogus and featuring Oberst on the song “King of the World.” (they also do a pretty awesome cover together of The White Stripes song, “We’re Going to Be Friends.”)

For you folk music fans out there, First Aid Kit is definitely worth a listen. The sisters’ rich vocal harmonies paired with just the right amount of folk twang make you feel like you are listening to a cohort of Emmylou Harris’ from the ’70s… and that’s exactly what they’re going for. Check out their tribute to Harris in the video to the song “Emmylou” from their latest album below.

Visit First Aid Kit’s YouTube channel to listen to some of their music and the band’s website for their tour schedule and upcoming events.

Previously: Naomi Hooley and the Wilderness Inside

by Morgan Hecht
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