I’d never heard of First Aid Kit before listening to this set. They are primarily comprised of two Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg– although there are other musicians on the album and live here. And they’re quite a formidable band. They play a kind of folkie alt-country, but when the two sisters harmonize (one with a slightly disconcerting low voice) is sends chills up my spine The chorus of “The Lion’s Roar”: “I’m a god damned coward but then again so are you” makes the hairs on my next stand up. “Emmylou” really highlights their songwriting skills. They talk about this song in the chat with the DJ, and she admits that she wasn’t sure if the metaphor worked, but the DJ and I agree it does.
The harmonies on “Blue” are just spectacular and the subtle application strings and glockenspiel really flesh out the sound. I’m thinking of them as a maybe a more dynamic/indie sounding Indigo Girls.
They DJ also mentions their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song,” which has garnered the attention of Fleet Foxes (and millions of views). You can add to that number :
You can also hear their set.
[READ: October 16, 2012] “Fischer vs. Spassky”
This story opens with the unusual note that Marina cried for a long time after her husband died–she would bite her arm in grief, leaving marks that looked like “irregular postage stamps.” Her husband died 30 years ago and she can still feel the marks tingle.
I say that note was unusual because the story is a flashback that is brought on by the death of Bobby Fischer. Marina remembers back to the monumental chess match between American Bobby Fischer and Russian Boris Spassky. Although most of Soviet Russia supported Spassky, many Russian Jews supported Fischer because of the freedom he represented.
Indeed, Marina and her husband followed the match very closely and her husband even made a pact that if Fisher won, they would flee Russian for America. Marina didn’t believe that he was serious, so she went about her daily life as any practical person would.
The bulk of the story looks at their life in Russia, trying to survive and learning about the matches (Pravda did not announce when Fischer one his first match and it blamed Spassky for losing the 6th match). And although for Marina’s life went on, her husband continued to follow that matches with increasing gusto. And when Fischer ultimately won, he made good on his pledge.
The end of the story bookends the beginning, with Marina speaking to Elijah, the old man whom she cares for. He accused her of supporting Spassky (she explains the part about Russian Jews supporting Fischer). Elijah says that he was in Reykjavik for the matches and that Fischer was crazy even then. Marina finds herself fighting her feelings about everything that happened.
This was a small story, nicely contained about how an incited unrelated to a person can totally impact her life. I actually wanted a little more about the move to the U.S. and their assimilation, but that was clearly not the focus of the story.