We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club. Fortunately, we end up liking some of them. In Playlisted, we share our latest recommendations.
Album: The Lion's Roar by First Aid Kit (out now on Wichita)
Press play if you like: Swedish people who sound like American Southerners; tight, piercing female harmony vocals; folksy instrumentation arranged to swell like mini epics; Fleet Foxes but not with beards.
Some background: Nearly everything written about First Aid Kit references this star-making YouTube video from 2008 featuring the Swedish folk duo's performance of Fleet Foxes' "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song." (With good reason—it's pretty damn gorgeous.) The group has since released an EP, Drunken Trees, and 2010's full-length debut The Big Black & The Blue, but the new Conor Oberst-assisted and Mike Mogis-produced The Lion's Roar should really raise the group's profile. It's a little weird hearing Swedish people sing with twang, but the impeccable vocals of sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg and heartbreaking yet catchy songs bring to mind unlikely yet oddly fitting comparisons to their country's greatest musical export, ABBA. The Lion's Roar might try to sound rustic, but it can't hide that uncanny melodic and harmonic perfection hard-wired into Swedish pop.
Try this: On paper, it's easy to be cynical about the overt Americana-isms of "Emmylou," which references both Gram Parsons and Johnny Cash. But when the Soderberg sisters hit the chorus, don't be ashamed if your chin starts quivering a bit.