Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Listen: First Aid Kit

This morning a friend sent me a cover of the Fleet Foxes song "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" by sisters duo from Sweden called First Aid Kit. I was instantly a fan and had to investigate further. I love the folky/country sound, the plaid and fair isle garb, and their enchanting voices. 

Below find an excellent little piece about these young Swedes, and two videos of songs (including the cover that brought me to them in the first place. 

“Blessed with the voices of plaid-clad angels” The Guardian 

The Swedish duo First Aid Kit comprises sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg (born 1990 and 1993, respectively), hailing from Enskede, a suburb south of Stockholm. Yes, they are very young, but the pure music they create speaks of bygone times and old souls. The emphasis is on narrative lyrics accompanying playful melodies with intense, dense harmonies. 

The musical journey of Klara and Johanna began with singing along to the pop songs that leaked into their childhood home, radio hits by Britney, Christina and so on. However, it was not until happening upon the music of such venerable artists as Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, that the sisters discovered how music that could touch them in a way that those radio songs could not. 

Klara describes her first encounter with the song ‘First Day of My Life’ by Bright Eyes as a revelation. With authenticity and honesty having struck a deep chord within, this is what came to characterize the music of First Aid Kit. It has the feel of forest folk songs, full of enchanting storytelling, and as on EP highlight ‘Jagadamba, You Might’ a sense of compelling, ancient mystery. Their music has much in common with artists like Vashti Bunyan, Devendra Banhart, Bright Eyes, Joanna Newsom, Karen Dalton or The Carter Family. 

At 13, Klara was given her first guitar, and the sisters started playing music and composing songs together in the spring of 2007. The first lyrics, melodies and harmonies came quite quickly. Then came another song. And another. And another. 

The warm ember glow of ‘Tangerine’ was recorded at home and sent it to a Swedish radio hoping it would get attention. It immediately went on air and was listed as one of the best songs of the summer 2007. In April 2008, First Aid Kit’s 7 track debut EP ‘Drunken Trees’ was first released in Sweden on The Knife’s label, Rabid Records. 

Wichita Recordings is re-releasing ‘Drunken Trees’ with a bonus track, the sensational and much You-Tubed cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=HMrqBldlqzA, along with a DVD with 3 songs performed and recorded live in the Swedish forest. 

Added keyboard and an autoharp to their live set up, First Aid Kit has already performed at high-profile gigs and festivals in Sweden. A full album is set for release in September 2009. The confidence, wide range of obvious natural talent and exceptional promise of these songs is undeniable. 

The future for First Aid Kit feels star bright.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

where the wild things are

I think this has the potential to be amazing. This was a favorite book of mine as a kid so my expectations are high - but the trailer looks promising. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm off to my home town for a few day for Spring Break. Enjoy the weather!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

apple pie

Aaron has some mad pie making skills. Note the leaves of dough -  very creative! We were having dinner over at a friend's and took the pie out just before we left. Everyone from the elevator at our building to the elevator at the Fisher Building received complimentary whiffs of apple from the steaming pie as we carried it over, and were noticeably envious. 

creatively using dumpsters...

I think this is a pretty neat concept. From Here

Monday, March 23, 2009

spring break

So here I am on Spring Break, sitting in front of the computer. Many of the people I know from school have trips planned from Miami to Barcelona, and here I am in Chicago, with exciting plans to head to tropical Sycamore Illinois. But I don't mind this fact. I have high hopes of getting really significant thesis work done this week as well as a lot of job searching. And I was able to take the whole weekend off and spend it relaxing, so now my mind is able to go back to work.

So if you're interested in procrastinating as I have been, here are a few point of interest I've come across this morning....
  • Nicholas Hughes, the son of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath killed himself this month. Not a fun tid-bit, but interesting. 
  • Want a fun and colorful desktop wallpaper? Check out these from Sigrid and Hans Lammle via grainedit.com
  • My oh My! I cant get enough of Anthony Bourdain! Find out when you can watch his show No Reservations on the Travel Channel here
  • Aren't these paper cut outs amazing? see below.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

justin david cox

Wow! How cool is this poster artist. I definitely wouldn't mind having this Andrew Bird poster. Check out more Justin David Cox posters and photography here

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

much to hope for...

Aaron has been gone to DC and Boston for interviews the past few days, leaving me here to my own devices. Which has been pretty convenient actually since my time has been spent working on finals. But tonight he returns, and tonight I finish a paper to finish my school work for the quarter. Yay!

Aaron having interviews has been really great for us mentally. It offers the promise of future employment (ahem... salary) as well as potential locations for our life next year.  But all of his success reminds me of the lack of my own in the job search area. Aaron has a lot going for him that I might be lacking as far as professional experience and definable skills, but he has one secret weapon I'm going to try to use to my advantage. His career services person has been a wonderful help in making he's job search successful, and she has offered to help me as well. Oh, how I hope she can!

Lets hope for a safe return for Aaron, successful completion of finals, and jobs for the both of us! Here is Aaron before he left. Hopefully there will be more to smile about upon his return.

Periodic Table of Typefaces

wouldn't it be cool to have this big and framed on the wall. Hmm.... maybe I'll try when we move. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

if I could see anything...

You know that question, "If you could go anywhere at any time in history, where would you go?" Well I think the usual answer is to insert yourself at some historical moment that shaped the world from that point on, like the Last Supper, the "I have a Dream" speech, or the Kennedy inauguration. These are good answers. I wouldn't mind seeing these things. But I think the place I would most want to go is the Stax-Volt concert in Oslo, 1967. You get Booker T and the M.G.'s, Sam and Dave, Otis Redding and more. Otis died not long after this show, and he is definitely a favorite of mine. Oh to have been at that show. Luckily, someone thought to film! Enjoy...

Sam and Dave, with "Hold On"

And Otis Redding with "Satisfaction" and "Try a Little Tenderness." Its a little long but totally worth the encore. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

damien rice = nostalgia

I was at work the other day and we were trying a new station on the sirius. It was a great station, and it kept playing Damien Rices songs. I'm usually someone who goes through a phase with a certain artist, and then it retires for a while. I hadn't listened to Damien Rice for such a long time, and when I heard his songs a rush of high school came back to be and my relationship with Aaron at that time. We cuddled to Damien Rice a lot. I think its important to remember those things from time to time to remind yourself of your history.  

Enjoy Rice's album 'Cannonball' from his album O, a favorite from the past.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pretzel Rolls

I can't take credit for these delicious pretzel rolls. Aaron, as usual, tackled this baked good, and even though, unlike his bagels, they aren't as good as bakery pretzel rolls yet, they were so yummy. I'm a huge fan, and they can be baked in an evening which is nice. 

Pretzel Rolls, Bon Appetit, Jan. 1994, via epicurious

"These really do taste like pretzels, but they're shaped like regular dinner rolls. Quick-rising yeast makes them a cinch to prepare, and boiling them before baking is the secret to their superb texture."

Saturday, March 7, 2009


how cool. a sock octopus. 

from the home of stylist elisa nalin via the selby

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I hope you had a good birthday aaron!

Monday, March 2, 2009

claire huxtable

reasons Claire Huxtable is my idol:

- she is a high powered career woman, yet very attentive mom
- despite her career, she seems to always be at home and cooks dinner
- she was ALWAYS stylish... and might I say hot
- she has a sense of humor and knows how to have fun
- the sparks are always alive between her and Cliff
- she somehow attained a giant house in brooklyn 
- maintains city living with small town benefits (kids in the neighborhood, local appliance store)
- is wealthy but not snooty
- can quote Shakespeare at will
- is an excellent mom
- is a sassy lady

I've maintained a long idolatry of Claire Huxtable. The fact that she isn't real helps add to the awesomeness of her life, but what a great character. Something to strive for. And doesn't she always look good?  

Sunday, March 1, 2009

dinner around town

So I ate out a number of times last week and thought I would share my experiences.

Chicago is having Restaurant Week (although not really a week since it's now extend to March 6) where select restaurants offer a fixed menus for $30.  Its a great way for poor students like me to venture to more expensive establishments. 

We took advantage of Restaurant Week on Wednesday when a few friends and my sister, plus Aaron and I went to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I selected the seafood gumbo, salmon with scallops, and stewed spinach, with bread pudding for dessert. I can't say the salmon wasn't excellent or the petite fillet not really tasty (I had a taste of Aaron's) but overall I regretted the dinner. It was a great deal compared to the usual prices, but the entree focused meal and formal old boy's atmosphere just wasn't worth it for me.  I would prefer a more lively atmosphere with more unique dishes.

(whiskey soaked bread pudding)

This is what we got the next night. On Thursday my program at school was hosting a dinner at Cafe Iberico, a tapas place, that I was really looking forward to. Then Aaron's brother came into town and invited us out to Bin 36, so we stopped there first.

Bin 36 was INCREDIBLE. We both enjoyed a wine flight (small portions of 5 different wines). Mine was from South America, with 5 reds, 4 from Argentina and 1 from Chile. So good. We also enjoyed the Bin36 cheese flight, Prince Edward Island mussels in tomato saffron broth, the charcuterie plate for 2, and gougeres. I really love small portioned meals. This was so excellent!

After that deliciousness we headed over to Cafe Iberico where the food was pretty good, but maybe not perfect since it was from a set large party menu. But the free-ness of the dinner, free flowing Sangria, and wonderful company of my fellow classmates and Aaron made for a wonderful dinner. The servers came around asking if we wanted some free shots (yes!) and a girl from my table ordered Sambuca. This is my mother's drink, and I never thought I would like it. But it was so good it kindled a new love. All in all it was an awesome night. 

This also reaffirmed my disappointment from the night before. I love eating out, but with budgetary concerns it has to be really good for the price. I've also learned I really enjoy smaller, multiple portions.