First Aid Kit Head Into The Studio With Producer Mike Mogis

First Aid Kid - the Swedish duo of sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg - are currently recording with acclaimed producer Mike Mogis at his ARC Studios in Omaha, NE.They'll spend the next month working on the follow-up to their highly praised debut album, The Big Black & The Blue, released last year on Wichita Recordings. In addition to being known as a member of Bright Eyes and Monsters Of Folk, Mogis is a renowned producer who has worked with artists including The Concretes, Cursive, Lightspeed Champion, Rilo Kiley, Sea Wolf, and Pete Yorn, among many others.

"We met Mike at Austin City Limits last year. He saw our show there and we got talking about recording an album together," said Klara and Johanna. "Bright Eyes was the band that got us inspired to start making music, so working with Mike is quite surreal for us. We feel honored. So far things are going really well and we believe we're in the process of creating something very special. This truly is a dream come true."

First Aid Kit broke out last year with the release of The Big Black & The Blue, garnering praise from AOL Music's Spinner blog, NPR's All Songs Considered, Nylon, and SPIN ('Breaking Out' artist), among others, and earning spots on HearYa, Nylon, and PasteMagazine.com's 'Best of 2010' lists. The year proved to be one of 'firsts' for the young band, who were only 17 (Klara) and 19-years old (Johanna) at the time of the album's release.

March 2010 saw First Aid Kit perform in the US for the first time at SXSW, which they followed with their first stateside headlining tour in June that included a sold-out stop at New York's Mercury Lounge. In September, they toured Australia and released a 7-inch single for album standout "Ghost Town," which featured a spectral cover of Fever Ray's "When I Grow Up" as a B-side in tribute to mentor Karin Dreijer Andersson (Fever Ray, The Knife), whose label Rabid released their debut EP Drunken Trees in 2008. First Aid Kit returned to tour the US again in October, with stops at the Austin City Limits festival and the CMJ Music Marathon (featuring a second sold-out NYC show at Joe's Pub).

The band rang in 2011 with the January release of a Third Man Records Blue Series 7-inch that featured covers of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier" (made famous in 1965 by Donovan) and the classic blues standard "It Hurts Me Too" (a song much loved by fans of Karen Dalton's 1969 folk-blues version), recorded with Jack White at his own Third Man Studios in Nashville, TN.

Sleepy Sun Announce MORE US Tour Dates

Sleepy Sun is a California band from many Californias. They hail from the rolling oak and sage hills of Sierra Gold Country, The San Francisco Peninsula, where Kesey raged and the Dead were once Warlocks, and the forever-sunshine climes of the Southland.  They came together—young and garage strutting in the coastal Northern California crucible of Santa Cruz. And there they birthed the Sleepy sound—dead blues shaken alive, razor sharp and ramblin’, soul, sonic science and dead-on pop surgery. Wooden, earthy, stratospheric, and swinging…California music of beautiful contrasts for conflicted times.
Now, two records into a frighteningly fast-blossoming evolution, Sleepy Sun are a living machine of fire and focus. Their first release on ATP records Embrace illuminated the golden path to Sleepy land—hard-riffing, delicate, dreamy and cultivated. The latest ATP release, Fever, is arrival at the palace the path promised.

Fever is the honey harmonies and danger wailing of Bret Constantino and Rachel Williams pulled from a tender tangle into steel-strong braid; the wing-on-wing guitars of Matt Holliman and Even Reiss in screaming dives and sweet ascending circles; the lowdown served up tough and thundering from drum and bass authorities Brian Tice and Jack Allen.

Fever is a band working, like the heroic combos of old—real, made by hand, eyes ahead on an unbridled future and giving two shits for the sideways glance of the lurking trend spotter.  A band working, and a working band—Sleepy Sun’s soaring and soul-stirring live shows are already mowing down audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.  They’ve opened for Autolux and Mudhoney, rocked Primavera and Treasure Island, and relentlessly toured the capitals and humble hamlets of North America and Europe. And in their path, the converts are fast becoming legion.
They are a band of musical adventure too—tackling Graham Nash’s ‘Chicago’ for a forthcoming compilation celebrating the Hollie/CSNY legend’s work. English electronic collective U.N.K.L.E. have taken note of Sleepy Sun’s eclectic energies as well, working collaboratively on a track with the band for an upcoming single and LP.  Sleepy Sun won’t relent in 2010. Fever in May, SXSW and the Arctic Monkeys in spring. And as always, a hundred twists yet untold in a message—sent with burning love and rock-solid soul—from California to the whole damn beyond….
Also....ATP Recordings will be releasing a limited edition EP to celebrate Record Store Day on April 17th featuring tracks from Built To Spill, Apse, Sleepy Sun and Fursaxa. Limited to just 1000 copies worldwide, the 10” will feature tracks from recent and soon to be released albums on ATP/R.
Each EP will come with a coded card allowing free downloads of MP3’s of the 4 tracks as well as some bonus download only tracks from other ATP Recording artists such as Fuck Buttons (Olympians radio edit), The Scientists (We Had Love), Alexander Tucker (Veins to the Sky) and The Drones (River of Tears).
North American Tour Dates

4/11 - The Pageant - St Louis, MO  w/ Arctic Monkeys
4/10 - Al's Bar - Lexington, KY
4/12 - Liberty Hall - Lawrence, KS  w/ Arctic Monkeys
4/13 - Cain’s Ballroom - Tulsa, OK  w/ Arctic Monkeys
4/15 - Marquee Theater - Tempe, AZ  w/ Arctic Monkeys
4/16 - House of Blues - Las Vegas, NV  w/ Arctic Monkeys
4/23 - Pitzer College Kohoutek Music & Arts Festival - Claremont, CA
4/24 - Rickshaw Stop - San Francisco, CA

6/11 - Lincoln Lounge - Reno, NV
6/12 - Kilby Court - Salt Lake City, UT
6/13 - Hi Dive Club - Denver, CO
6/15 - Record Bar -
Kansas City, MO
6/16 - Off Broadway Night Club - St Louis, MO
6/17 - Summit Club - Columbus, OH
6/18 - Mohawk Place - Buffalo, NY
6/19 - Brooklyn Bowl - Brooklyn, NY
6/21 - Il Motore -
Montreal, QC
6/22 - Horseshoe Tavern - Toronto, ON
6/23 - Magic Stick - Detroit, MI w/ Rodriguez
6/24 - Double Door -
Chicago, IL
6/25 - The Cactus Club - Milwaukee, WI
6/26 - 7th Street Entry - Minneapolis, MN
6/27 - Aquarium (6pm Early Show All Ages) - Fargo, ND w/ Deerhoof
6/27 - Aquarium (11:30pm 21+ Show) -
Fargo, ND
6/28 - Royal Albert Hotel - Winnipeg, MB w/ Black Mountain
6/29 - Amigo’s -
Saskatoon, SK
6/30 - Pawn Shop - Edmonton, AB
7/1 - Sled Island Festival at Palomino - Calgary, AB
7/3 - The Biltmore Cabaret -
Vancouver, BC
7/4 - Logan’s Pub - Victoria, BC
7/6 - Chop Suey -
Seattle, WA  w/ Sleepy Eyes of Death
7/7 - Mississippi Studios -
Portland, OR

North Dakota's Legionnaires: Get the Fever

photos by Janie Franz- for the Grateful Web

Every time I write about these boys, I somehow slip into my hill country roots and all sorts of mountainisms start coming out of my mouth. I guess it's because I get caught up in the theater of the band and the fact that they don't take anything seriously—except their music. You can't believe a word written on their websites—especially the bios of each current member and former member. (I ought to know because my son used to drum for them when the band first started.)  In fact, their names are so far removed and far-fetched from the North Dakota residents that they are that any local would know these folks are pulling more than your leg. They are currently Cactus Kristofferson and his brother Copenhagen, J "Skull" McCready, Phillip DeSnaatch, and Gunter Banger. A couple of the former members' names really tip into rudeness.

The band is called the Legionnaires. They aren't named for anything noble like the French Foreign Legion or even the DC Comics Legionnaires from the Legion of Super Heroes. They are named for the disease that gets into lungs and brings on a high fever. The Legionnaires honestly will produce a kind of delirium and has created an uncommon loyalty among fans.

They also are making quite a name for themselves across the country because of their funny but very adult lyrics. When the band is mentioned, people say, "You know, those guys in the dirty country band." Live burns from their shows have found their way into the hands of prominent bands like the Animal Liberation Orchestra (AOL). They also have gathered a crew of guest musicians who are eager to sit in with the group, becoming honorary Legionnaires.

The band is the brainchild of Pat Linerts, who used to be the front man for a Fargo band called Bad Mojo that was one of the first regional bands to play the 10,000 Lakes Festival in Detroit Lakes, MN, back in 2003. Shortly after that major gig, the band broke up, and Linerts spent a lot of time writing songs just for the heck of it. These were parodies of the country music he grew up on, but none of those songs were strictly parodies of any one particular country song like Cletus T. Judd did with the songs of country icons like George Strait and Faith Hill. Linerts just used the standard country structure to hang his tales of love, loss, and hope that had titles like "You've Got Worms" and "Rotten Rhonda" (about the guy who only dug up—literally - his girlfriend Rhonda when he got lonely).

As Linerts made the rounds of the local club scene, talking to other bands, he shared some of these songs and soon found key players to form a new band, mushrooming into a six-piece extravaganza that spilled over the stage when guest musicians joined them. Those early songs he wrote became Legionnaires' favorites and began to draw fans. Though the band claims it started in the basement bar of a Fargo strip club, I do know for a fact that the boys played the Moose Lodge and the VFW in Moorhead and quickly skyrocketed to the Cabooze stage in Minneapolis and repeated appearances at the annual Log Jam Music Festival in Minnesota. They have played with many regional bands like the White Iron Band, Down Lo, WBPN, Trampled by Turtles, Javier Trejo, the Afro-Cuban funk/dance band New Primitives, and  the Big Wu. They have also opened for The Radiators, Shooter Jennings, and Banyan—and Linerts sat in with Banyan.

The main attraction at first was their raunchy lyrics. But the songs themselves were not just vehicles to say an X rated word or to write about something perverse. They just were experiments in songwriting that often stretched the limits of even bad taste. Over time, Linerts has used his new songwriting ability to pen some good songs that aren't so adult. However, even the most adult show now has some good straight-up ole country or peace-and-love reggae that doesn't have a hint of XXX.

In fact, it's been said that if Linerts would just replace the lyrics of one of his Legionnaires's standards to "Wash my truck, it's Christmas," instead of "Suck my b***s, its Christmas," they could get radio play.  And his "Feets Don't Fail Me Now," a song about being held held captive by a wild woman, has some of the best four part harmony I've heard in a long time! But, Linerts can write a good song that doesn't have anything too weird attached to it. "The Ballad of Jose" is a song in the vein of  "Poncho and Lefty" about a weed dealer pursued by the federales. "Take Me to the Other Side" is Linerts' own take on reggae, and it rocks.

But no one can deny the showmanship and musicianship of the players. The band has expanded and contracted over the years, but always maintains a lineup with chops. Linerts, of course,  handles the lead vocals and plays a killer electric guitar. Josh Reinhardt (Günter Banger)adds lead guitar flourishes. The other members, all under aliases as J. "Skull" McCready (bass and sometimes guitar), Copenhagen Kristofferson (drums), and Philip DeSnaatch (keys) complete the sound with very tight vocal backup harmonies. The keys player adds a whole new level to what would have been just a plain country band. Under Linerts' influence, the band has become a country/jam entity that is poised to sweep across the country—if they could get loose from their day jobs long enough.

Long Time Comin', the Legionnaires' first studio album was mastered last year at Wonderland Studios in St. Paul, MN.  The twelve tracks include songs with the original band members and new ones with the current lineup.  Half of the material is straight, serious stuff.  Linerts still is constantly writing new materials. The band is currently in the studio (this time one in Fargo), working on a new  CD that will be out later this summer or the early fall.

Last year's CD tour had them playing while artist  Norman Wisdom painted. Wisdom created the energetic cover for Long Time Comin'. He has done interpretive painting for other events such as the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, the opening of the Baliagio Hotel in Vegas, and the premier of Cirque du Soliel's "O" and "Alegria" shows also in Vegas. He has also painted with other bands, including Ivan Neville, Beck, Rob Wasserman, Richie Havens, and Steven Perkins (Jane's Addiction), as well as classical orchestras, jazz bands, dance troupes, and poetry readings. And he is sometimes flown to Morocco to paint murals for a prince.

Whether it's the raunchy lyrics or the great vocal and instrumental talent of the band, everyone wants to get infected with the fever of the Legionnaires.