A Swedish sister duo with an all-American soul, First Aid Kit (a.k.a. Klara and Johanna Söderberg) are famous for their folksy sound laced with rich, haunting harmonies. This June, the band offers more of its red-dust-covered, country-tinged music with the release of its third album, Stay Gold. And this summer, the sisters undertake the quintessential American pastime, the road trip, as they tour to support the album. Here, they share their choice playlist for a cross-country car ride.
“Here I Am” by Adam Green and Binki Shapiro:
This song reminds us of the Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra recordings, which were a great inspiration on our new album. When a very low voice and a high voice sing together, it’s a really interesting dynamic.
“Diamond Day” by Vashtie Bunyan:
This is a magical song. It makes you feel very calm and safe, because the idea of “just another diamond day” is so beautiful. It’s a good motto.
“Song for Zula” by Phosphorescent:
“This song has a warm, welcome feeling—when we hear it, we picture a sunrise over the highway as we’re setting off on an epic journey.”
“The Swimming Song” by Loudon Wainwright III:
“This is a great summer track, but it’s also incredibly sad, which is our favorite combination— when a song sounds happy, but the lyrics are actually kind of tragic.”
“America” by Simon and Garfunkel:
This is all about traveling around America: going on the Greyhound bus, the New Jersey Turnpike. And it’s almost like a poem—it just grows and grows the more you listen to it.
“I Dream a Highway” by Gillian Welch:
We listen to this a lot on tour and it always puts us in a very calm mode. It’s a 14-minute-long track, so you become very invested.
“I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash
You can’t sing along to this song—it’s like a tongue twister—but it’s really fun. And it’s perfect for a road trip because Johnny Cash lists the many places he’s traveled, which we can relate to since sometimes it feels like we’ve been all over, too.
“Perfect Day” by Lou Reed
Our parents were big Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground fans, so we grew up listening to this song. The line “You made me forget myself” is what we’d picture the perfect summer day feels like.
“I Feel Just Like a Child” by Devendra Banhart
When summer comes, we feel like happy children. Sweden is so dark most of the year, so we worship the sun when it’s out. Also, there’s something about Devendra Banhart’s music that always makes it feel like summer.
“Margins” by Amason
This is a Swedish band that just started up recently and the singer is one of our favorite people ever. They have this great ’70s kind of sound.