There’s three members of First Aid Kit, two sisters and a boy drummer all from Sweden. I don’t know if coming from Sweden has any impact on their singing, but their voices are extraordinary especially when they harmonize. “Blue” is one of their great songs and it sounds amazing live.
They also do a stunning cover of Joan Baez’ “Diamonds & Rust,” and on their final track, “King of the World,” Conor Oberst gives a guest vocal (he’s on the album too).
Lyrically, the band is interesting too. I love the premise of “Emmylou” and the phrasings in “The Lion’s Roar.” In this show, they dedicate “Hard Believer” to Richard Dawkins, so the band are definitely not lightweights.
It’s a great set and a wonderful introduction to this compelling Swedish band. I hope they get some more airplay in the States. You can check it out here.
[READ: December 10, 2012] “Flesh and Numbers”
Stephen Marche publishes a lot of stories in The Walrus, and I find that I’m hit or miss about him. And, indeed, I was even hit or miss about this story. I feel that Marche is often trying to go for shock in his stories–and this one has two kinds of shock in it.
The first is that a husband pays his wife for a blow job. (A bright red Canadian $50). And later he starts paying her a $50 every time they have sex. This all begins because she wants to buy a pair of boots that she deems too expensive. The story kind of looks at the idea of prostitution and power roles in marriage, but only glancingly.
The story talks about their financial situation (they are both successful, although there is a marked discrepancy in who makes how much and how they divide up the bills). But once this casual money-for-sex situation arises, she finds that she is enjoying the feeling of getting the money. Indeed, since he always pays with a red 50, she stars getting mildly turned on whenever she sees them in her daily life. They both find that they are having sex more and doing more interesting things in bed. In fact, hen the new iPad comes out she offers anal sex as an option for more cash.
The rest of the story talks about children. They have a single musician friend who is surprised they don’t have children. And they do begin to wonder if children are in their future when a sudden, horrific occurrence happens. This is the second shock, and it really comes from out of nowhere and it really changes the tenor of the story.
The ending also comes as something of surprise. I kind of liked the surprise ending, and yet the whole story feels like it’s more about shock than actual story. I might say that the surprises are unearned, they come from out of nowhere so maybe they’re not entirely earned. The big surprise really changes everything–its impact should really undermine the whole story, but it doesn’t and I’m not sure that that’s right. I did enjoy parts of this story, but I felt whiplashed by it.