Debuting in 1991 as a three-piece support act for the Frogs, Strapping Fieldhands made a few waves as one of the more charming -- albeit ramshackle -- bands in indie-rock's decidedly ragged lo-fi movement. The band, comprised of Bob Malloy, Bob Dickie, Jacy Webster, Sky Kishlo and Jeff Werner, gigged around Philadelphia and recorded their debut EP, The Demiurge, in 1991 for Siltbreeze Records. Several singles for the label followed, and Strapping Fieldhands released their first album, Discus, in 1993. The group played around the East and followed up with two ten-inch EPs released during 1994, In the Pineys and The Caul. The band's second LP, Wattle & Daub, was released by Shangri-La in 1996. Siltbreeze later combined Strapping Fieldhands' seven-inch output on the compilation Gobs on the Midway.
Viking Moses, otherwise known as Brendon Massei, is a nomad of sorts. He's a high-school dropout who's been perpetually on the road since 1996, with much of that time spent with his acoustic guitar, touring with or supporting artists such as Little Wings, Ted Leo, Will Oldham, Cat Power, the Microphones, and Devendra Banhart (on whose compilation Golden Apples of the Sun the song "Crosses" first appeared). He has records under the names Supperbell Roundup, Brendon Massei, and most recently Viking Moses. Crosses is his second release with Marriage Records, actually a two-disc co-release with piano player and labelmate Spencer Kingman.
Swedish singer and songwriter Tobias Fröberg achieved stunning success in his homeland with his debut album in 2004, and has won a growing international following with his second album, 2006's Somewhere in the City, which recalls the cream of the folk-influenced singer/songwriter movement of the '60s and '70s, particularly Paul Simon, Nick Drake, and Tim Buckley. Fröberg was born and raised in Gotland, an island community known as a haven for artists and a popular vacation destination. Fröberg grew up in a musical household -- his father played bass in a jazz ensemble -- but despite his love for music, he initially pursued a successful career as a journalist, writing for a variety of publications in addition to contributing a regular column to Aftonbladet, the nation's biggest newspaper. Fröberg often joked to friends that if he could interview Neil Young and Ingmar Bergman the same day, he'd consider his career as a writer complete and give it up to make music. In 2003, Bergman agreed to talk with Fröberg for a book he was writing on the publicity-shy Swedish filmmaker. The night of his final interview with Bergman, Fröberg attended a Neil Young concert in Stockholm, and figuring this was as close as fate was likely to allow to achieving his great goal, he quit his job and returned to Gotland to begin writing songs. Fröberg set up a home studio, and contacted his close friend Linus Larsson, a successful record producer. Together they made Fröberg's 2004 debut album, For Elisabeth Wherever She Is; Larsson handled the recording and played the drums, while Fröberg played all the other instruments. The album was a considerable critical success, and received an Album of the Year nomination from Sweden's most prestigious independent music award committee. Fröberg and Larsson took their time making the follow-up, spending over a hundred days in their studio recording 2006's Somewhere in the City; once again Fröberg and Larsson played nearly all the instruments, though Ane Brun contributed a memorable duet vocal for the song "Love and Misery." When one of the tracks from the album was licensed for use in a camera commercial, Fröberg's music was suddenly being heard all over Europe, and the British Poptones label signed Fröberg to a deal in the U.K., where Somewhere in the City received rave reviews. Meanwhile, the rising indie label Cheap Lullaby Records gave Somewhere in the City an American release, and in the spring of 2007 Fröberg made his debut in the States, including a pair of shows at the prestigious South by Southwest Music Conference.
"Happiness – We’re All In It Together"