Amidst the Lady Gaga glitter, the Kanye West clamor, and the Animal Collective scruff in the pop music scene, one Swedish soldier has managed to cut through the loud, plastic, image-heavy clutter and quietly rise to stardom. His name is José González, and armed with a guitar, a near-whisper tenor, and no real “look” in particular, the Argentine-blooded musician in his 30s has kept his fans riveted while defying (or just ignoring) every pop culture convention out there.
To his own surprise, José gained a global audience through his simple, aching folk covers of The Knife’s “Heartbeats” and Massive Attack’s “Tear Drop.” The tracks didn’t just tug at heart strings, they burrowed through to deeply felt yearnings and nestled there, leaving you emotionally naked and somehow satisfied. The media clamored to get to know the shy guy behind these enigmatic, sad, and strangely cathartic arrangements. Unfortunately, they couldn’t rely on his Twitter account (he doesn’t have one).
Turns out, nobody knows José better than Junip, the folk trio he founded 12 years ago with friends Tobias Winterkorn and Elias Araya. The band recently reunited after a five-year hiatus and just dropped the EP Fields, a deceptively quiet and intimate record built for nostalgic moments and post-breakup sobbing.