An enticing blend of indie pop hooks and crisp electronic beats in the style first perfected by Saint Etienne's Foxbase Alpha, Little Dragon are a showcase for Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano, a mainstay of the European downtempo and lounge scenes. Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Nagano first broke through in 2000 and 2001 as the singer on several singles by Swell Session, the project fronted by Swedish DJ and producer Andreas Saag. She later sang lead on the club hits "Summer Sun" and "Bright Nights" for the Swedish electronica duo Koop, as well as Hird's house singles "Keep You Kimi" and "I Love You My Hope," along with several contributions to the acid jazz collective Stateless' 2003 album Art of No State and the stylistically similar Sleepwalker's 2006 album, The Voyage. Little Dragon, by way of contrast, are Nagano's own band, featuring keyboardist Hakan Wirenstrand, bassist Fredrik Kallgren Wallin, and drummer Erik Bodin. Bodin is also the percussionist for Swedish alt-folkie José González; in fact, Nagano sings harmony vocals on González's second album, In Our Nature.
Little Dragon debuted in 2006 with the "Test" single, on the Scandinavian Off the Wall label. The following year, Little Dragon signed with the larger British indie Peacefrog Records (Nouvelle Vague, etc.) for their self-titled debut album, released in 2007. Its opening song, the hushed ballad "Twice," was featured during the 2008-2009 season of Grey's Anatomy. Later in 2009, the group released Machine Dreams, which showed new wave inspiration through bigger hooks.
After Little Dragon collaborated on recordings by Gorillaz (Plastic Beach), TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek (Maximum Balloon), SBTRKT (SBTRKT), and Big Boi (Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours), the band released a third album, Ritual Union, written and recorded during gaps from their schedule as worldwide support for Gorillaz. The record exposed them to a wider audience, charting in both the U.S. and the U.K. In 2012 the band, exhausted from touring, decided to take some time out to record their next album at their own studio space in Gothenburg. For the recording, they drew musical influences from Prince to Janet Jackson and claimed that the dark and cold Swedish winter played a part in shaping their sound. Nabuma Rubberband was released in 2014 and was preceded by the single "Klapp Klapp." ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi