Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Sights and sounds: First Aid Kit, Robert Cray

Here are some of the top news releases to land in my inbox overnight concerning two great artists, including Sweden's First Aid Kit and singer-songwriter-guitarist Robert Cray...

The cover art for First Aid Kit's forthcoming 'Stay Gold' LP due on June 10, 2014.

First Aid Kit to release 'Stay Gold' - the duo's Columbia Records debut on June 10, 2014

Listen to the first single "My Silver Lining" via Pitchfork: http://bit.ly/1gTAOFY

First Aid Kit in Death Valley. Photo: Neil Krug
On June 10, Swedish duo First Aid Kit will make their Columbia Records debut with Stay Gold. First single "My Silver Lining" is now available for streaming via Pitchfork (http://bit.ly/1gTAOFY/). The band has also announced a full headlining North American tour this spring that has already begun to sell out, with stops at NYC's Webster Hall and their first-ever appearance at Bonnaroo Music Festival. Full dates below.
With Stay Gold, First Aid Kit - sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg - have honed their lush arrangements and blossomed as vivid storytellers in creating this ambitious 10-song collection of originals. Recorded at ARC studios in Omaha and produced by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Monsters of Folk), the duo also enlisted The Omaha Symphony Orchestra to play on the record, with arrangements by Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes, Broken Bells, Rilo Kiley). They say of the recording process, "We took new directions and turns with the arrangements, building them up and creating more dynamics, yet always following where the songs wanted to go."
Watch: Exclusive album trailer, filmed on location in Death Valley (directed by Neil Krug): http://bit.ly/1gTvIJQ

Drawing inspiration from sources as varied as Spaghetti Westerns and Lee Hazlewood productions, "My Silver Lining" features the duo's most sophisticated songwriting and arrangements to date. They explain, "It's song about searching for a reason to keep on keeping on, to find the good that comes with the bad. We wanted to create a piece that was dark yet uplifting at the same time." Elsewhere, songs like "Master Pretender" capture the lush, confident instrumentation of 'Graceland'-era Paul Simon.
Hailing from a southern suburb of Stockholm, Klara and Johanna began composing songs as teenagers in 2007. Their heart-wrenching song "Emmylou" off 'The Lion's Roar' was chosen by Rolling Stone as a 'Single of the Year' in 2012. They have performed on Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, and shared the stage with artists including Jack White, Lykee Li, and Bright Eyes.
On Tuesday April 1, Stay Gold will be available for iTunes pre-order, orders will come with an instant grat download of "My Silver Lining." Deluxe collectors edition bundles will also be available for pre-order at thisisfirstaidkit.com, featuring limited edition gold vinyl, an exclusive tote bag, and an autographed 14x20 lithograph while supplies last. Pre-order here:http://smarturl.it/FAK_StayGold

'Stay Gold' Tracklist:
1. My Silver Lining
2. Master Pretender
3. Stay Gold
4. Cedar Lane
5. Shattered & Hollow
6. The Bell
7. Waitress Song
8. Fleeting One
9. Heaven Knows
10. A Long Time Ago
Tour Dates:
5/22 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
5/23 - Vancouver, BC - Vogue Theatre
5/24 - George, WA - Sasquatch! Festival
5/26 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
5/28 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
5/29 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
5/31 - Houston, TX - Free Press Summer Fest
6/2 - Omaha, NE - Waiting Room
6/3 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater
6/4 - Chicago, IL - Park West
6/6 - Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall
6/7 - Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre
6/8 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
6/9 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
6/11 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
6/12 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
6/13 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
6/14 - Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo Music Festival

ROBERT CRAY releases new LP 'In My Soul' on April 1  

New EPK takes fans behind the music!

Robert Cray, 5x Grammy winner (15x nominee) releases In My Soul -a rich emotion of classic soul storytelling that never strays from his incomparable guitar mastery.  A new behind the scenes EPK takes fans inside the music.

Produced by Steve Jordan (Keith Richards, John Mayer) the 10 song album blends funky originals with surprising covers.  A bonus track "Pillow" is included on the limited edition CD:
Amazon CD - http://bit.ly/1jrKtDg
iTunes - http://bit.ly/1lhXoaN
First single "You Move Me," is classic Cray with his signature slicing guitar leads woven throughout. The bulk of In My Soul is made up of original material with a few covers including Otis Redding's "Nobody's Fault But Mine," "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)" and "Deep in My Soul" by the late Bobby "Blue" Bland. "I didn't want to change it—just do it pretty straight up as a tribute to Bobby, who was one of my real heroes," says Cray. 
"When I think of Robert Cray, I think of a great singer," says Jordan. "Most people gravitate to his guitar playing because he's such a gunslinger, but I don't. He's got so much soul it's ridiculous." 
Wall Street Journal says In My Soul is "a tasteful, laid-back album, and while there's plenty of Cray's distinctive guitar playing, there's more to the new LP than fiery licks."  UK Daily Mirror calls the album "Impressive" and gives it 4 stars.
Widely recognized as one of the greatest guitarists of our time, The New Yorker calls him "one of the most reliable pleasures of soul and blues for over three decades now " and Rolling Stone Magazine credits him with having "reinvented the blues with his distinct razor sharp guitar playing."
The youngest living member to be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, Robert Cray has sold more than 12 million records, has his own line of Fender guitars and has established himself as a genre defining artist- a signature blend of r&b, pop, rock, soul and traditional blues. 
This year marks the 40th year since the formation of the Robert Cray Band. The band includes Cray (vocals/guitar), longtime bassist Richard Cousins, Dover Weinberg (back with the band on piano/keyboard) and Les Falconer (drums).
Tour Dates visit: http://robertcray.com/tour/

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