First Aid Kit
First Aid Kit are a Swedish duo comprised of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, whose vocal harmonies and woodsy, folk-influenced songwriting take influence from the likes of Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom.
Hailing from suburban Enskede, the siblings began composing songs as young teenagers in 2007. The home-recorded "Tangerine" enjoyed airplay on Swedish radio later that summer, and the debut EP Drunken Trees helped expand the girls' audience upon its release in April 2008. The London-based Wichita Records reissued Drunken Trees one year later, bolstering its track list with a reverent Fleet Foxes cover (which was like the biggest music thing on youtube for a few weeks) and three additional songs performed live in a Swedish forest.
The duo then set to work on a full-length album, balancing schoolwork with the recording sessions. The Big Black & the Blue was released just a few weeks ago.
Dylan LeBlanc’s sophomore album Cast The Same Old Shadow will be released on August 21st by Rough Trade Records. Born in Shreveport, Dylan moved to Muscle Shoals, Alabama when he was 11 and he is the dark horse of the vibrant and close-knit musical community there that includes Alabama Shakes, Secret Sisters, and Civil Wars to name a few.
Dylan’s songs however, are considerably darker than that of his Alabama counterparts. He says “I wasn’t conscious of a theme before I made it – I didn’t mean to, but I just happen to base a lot of my work on emotions – and at the time, they just happened to be negative ones.”
The songs on the new album are fraught with recollections of love, loss and regret. He was admittedly an emotional wreck when he wrote them, but emotions of that sort often lead to the most heartfelt music around. Since his debut album Paupers Field, Dylan has grown as a singer and a songwriter and a guitar player. He’s experienced a lot of life already, and while he’s still trying to figure it all out, he’s ready to share the melancholy emotions he loves so much.
Dylan states “I love it when music puts me a melancholy mood. Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and especially the song “Forever” by Pete Drake – those ones put me there and I want to give people that feeling too. I want people to feel something when they hear my music. A good hurt.”
But Dylan wants to make it clear that he also had a good time while he was making the record. He had fun working with Trina Shoemaker, who-co-produced the album with him, and for the first time he had someone next to him telling him if something was a good take or a bad take, which was a big help. She’d mixed Dylan’s previous album.
Late nights, he would listen to a lot of Ray Charles, Beach House, Kitty Wells and Wilco and contemplate the day. Dylan cites George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass as being a major influence on this record, and you may also hear echoes of Ennio Morricone, Radiohead and Gene Clark as well.
It was when the record was nearing completion that Dylan’s anxiety and stress got the best of him.
To silence his fears, he tried to self-medicate, and in doing so, he chose to be a recluse until he got his head together. It was a tough time that he ultimately got through by reminding himself why it was he started making music in the first place – because it is fun.
Dylan is now on a more positive spiritual journey and he is proud to sing these songs and he realizes that life doesn’t have to be so hard. He says “the songs are honest and they come from an honest place. I’ve been given the privilege to be able to write songs that come from the heart and for that I am grateful.”
When Dylan thinks about sharing these songs, he often thinks of the words of Jeff Tweedy on Wilco’s “What Light” when he sings the line “Just remember what was yours is everyone’s from now on”.
Putting his personal thoughts into the lyrics of a song has been cleansing for Dylan and now he’s ready to tackle the next step….and have some fun again.
Indian Blanket is the collective collaborative efforts of Joe Andert, Jim Hughes and Alex Beaven. Indian Blanket has collaborated with some of the most righteous artists in music today, including First Aid Kit, BigColour, and McKenzie Toma.