Thursday, January 12, 2012


First Aid Kit, "Emmylou"

Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg are First Aid Kit, a folk duo known for their oh-so-lovely harmonies and top-notch storytelling skills. After wowing everyone with their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” back in 2008, they went on to release an EP as well as a gorgeous full-length debut, The Big Black and the Blue. Their upcoming sophomore effort, The Lion’s Roar (out January 24), is already promising, with a captivating title track and its accompanying Narnia-evoking video.

“Emmylou,” the second Lion's Roar track to surface, is a sweet tribute to country musicians like June Carter, Johnny Cash, Gram Parsons, and, of course, Emmylou Harris — and about how special it is to sing with your boo. Doing a drunken karaoke “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with your best friend feels amazing, so singing a song that you wrote with someone you love (like your sister!) must be so so dope. The video, shot at Joshua Tree National Park, is really pretty and has a cool little treasure chest thing that emits orange smoke. There's also a lot of trancey dancing in the desert, which is maybe a warm-up for Coachella, where First Aid Kit will soon perform.

Blanca Méndez writes about music sometimes.

31 Comments / Post A Comment


I discovered First Aid Kit when they opened for Lykke Li last fall and I just want to warn all of you that some of their songs are super sad and may cause allergic reactions such as eye watering at your desk or a sense of melancholy. And also they are so goooooooood. I love their cover of Fever Ray's When I Grow Up.

Hot Doom

@sox I love these two, but I hadn't heard of the Fever Ray cover. It's great! Thanks for the recommendation! Also, the melancholy...oohhhh, the melancholy. So pretty.


@sox Yes! Was just singing the Fever Ray cover in the shower. In a fake Swedish accent. No judgment.


Follow-up post on men who will hold hands with me while I listen to this?


But will you dry their tears?


This song just gets to me. They melodize so beautifully. Hard to believe they're Swedes. @k

uff da

oh, i love first aid kit. i've been listening to tangerine and ghost town on repeat for weeks.

Nicole Cliffe

Shout-out for a very gorgeous book of poems by Bronwen Wallace, "Keep That Candle Burning Bright: Songs for Emmylou Harris." Also, this is lovely!


@Nicole Cliffe
You kids are beating my soul like a drum today.

Nicole Cliffe

@Tulletilsynet Awww, thank you! Bronwen Wallace was a friend of the family, and her short story collection "People You'd Trust Your Life To" makes me think she would have been the next Alice Munro if it weren't for fucking cancer.


My twin sister saw them open for Bright Eyes this fall and has been OBSESSED with this song ever since. And it's hard not to love First Aid Kit, seeing as they combine the two best components of pop music: Sisters and Swedes!


@skipperdee guilty as charged :) There's something remarkable about a chorus you can memorize after hearing a song only once.


Ah, First Aid Kit...I've been sweating them since I stumbled upon their version of Tiger Mountain Peasant Song. Finally got to see them play this past fall, and as other have said, an amazing show that I spent alternately smiling and crying.


tangentially related: I once volunteered for an HRC fundraiser a friend of mine was hosting in Nashville and I was assigned to name tag duty. I was doing great, greeting people, breaking the ice, and then this older lady comes in. I was all, and what is your name? you look lovely tonight. There was an audible gasp and then everyone stopped talking, and she was like I'm Emmylou...
anyway, lesson learned: apparently people age and do not look like the cover of one big love in real life!


@tigolbitties I would have been totally ded.


Ohhh I love this so much! I'm going through a "rediscover all the country music that I secretly grew up loving" phase right now, to my boyfriend's lament. MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP. So this pleases me greatly. Thanks.

Actually let me take this opportunity to show you all the greatest ladies' country performance of all time. Trust me, this is stupendous. This is the final song in CMT's Women of Country special circa 1993. You have the present of country music (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Pam Tillis, Kathy Mattea, Suzy Bogguss), the future (Patty Loveless, wee Trisha Yearwood), and the past-but-not-really (motherfucking EMMYLOU HARRIS) all on the same stage! I was trying to convey this to my boyfriend by saying it's as though you had Nirvana, The Strokes, and the Sex Pistols all singing a song together. I mean maybe not that tremendous, but they've got three generations of great female country artists all sharing the same stage and I love it. And look at the fashions! Oh bless you for your bespangled shoulder pads, every woman in this room! And if you don't know about Mary Chapin Carpenter you should go find out immediately, she is just the best ever and the fact that everybody on this stage is singing *her* song is such an honor it's ridiculous. I read that she now lives in Virginia with her husband and six dogs and five cats and rides horses everywhere. Living the dream. Literally nobody I know outside of my immediate family listens to country music so I'm sharing this in the hopes that (as in so many other things) somebody on the Hairpin secretly shares my love of this.

Nicole Cliffe

Love her, love Loretta Lynn, love Shelby Lynne, love Lucinda Williams, love Patty Griffin. COUNTRY!


@Nicole Cliffe

WAIT STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING. I FOUND THE GREATEST VIDEO OF ALL TIME. I can't believe I forgot the END of this same concert. Sit down. Pour a drink. Prepare your body.

For a brief moment in 1993 THE EARTH STOPPED TURNING.. It's another Mary Chapin Carpenter song, this time Wynonna Judd, Kathy Mattea, Michelle Wright, Emmylous Harris, Suzy Boggess, Pam Tillis, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless & a surprise guest at 2:27. BUT THEN THE DRAMATIC REVEAL COMES AT 2:51! I'm trying to find a list of everybody on the stage because the YouTube quality is fuzzy but the little lady - who is she? Apparently it's impossible to find a copy of this DVD which is just absurd. Anyway, watch the greatest moment in female country musicianship ever.

uff da

@Diana Those are amazing! I grew up loving country music too. The Judds are a magical rediscovery when you're in your 20s.



The little old lady is Patsy Montana!!!!!! She had her first major hit in 1935.


@Nicole Cliffe !!! Lucinda Williams and Patty Griffin are the ladies I want to be in thirty years. The Americana rumor mill is abuzz with Patty and Robert Plant's supercoupledom.


@Diana I feel like we should throw Nancy Griffith into this conversation as well. Unless that's not country? I guess I'd put her in the Gillian Welch category of folk/country. Also - I am supremely digging this Pistol Annies band that Miranda Lambert put together. It sounds very 70's country.


Brown haired sister has unfairly thick eyelashes.

And I love this music.
It feels like driving by the ocean on a foggy day.


Also, I'm not usually one to attend music fetivals but this year's Coachella is going to be effing fantastic and I'm jealous of anyone who's gong.


I love this.. :)


Swedish pop music > all.


FYI, the Joshua Tree filming location is quite poignant -- it was one of Gram Parsons' favorite haunts, and they filmed the video on his birthday, as explained here.


Lovely, lovely song and video. I had a friend who I have lost touch with (and it's complicated) who had a small ranch in Joshua Tree, and I would sometimes stay there on weekends. Joshua Tree is an achingly exquisite and unique place where one can find some rest for the soul.


I love First Aid Kit, but I find it difficult to explain them to people who are unfamiliar with them in a way that sounds appealing. "No, I swear, it's a Swedish teen indie-folk duo? Wait, they're also sisters? Come back!" I need to just send this link without commentary.


I know this post is a bit older, but I want to thank Blanca and the Hairpin for introducing me to First Aid Kit's music. Since I saw this video last week, I have been embarking on wonderful musical journeys via the internet because of the spark this song lit in me. :-)

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