The Return of Haim + Two Other Pop Records We Need Right Now

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It was as early as the fall of 2014 that confirmation of a new record was in the works from Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim. Yes, we came to adore them so quickly after being electrified by the ravishing pop wonder of their debut, Days Are Gone, that we forever refer to them on a first-name basis. In the ensuing months – and even years – after the release of the Los Angeles band’s full-length, the sisters toured the universe and charmed everyone with smashing success, leaving us pondering where they would go with their sophomore effort. The trio were a surging star on the rise without a ceiling in sight.

Unlike the usual commercial mainstream artists who dominate the majority of attention, Haim is the kind of pop band who offers something much different. They operate on a cool, collected wavelength with one another, each member delivering an essential energy vital to the distinct sound captured. There’s not a vapid or wasted moment within any second of any song they’ve ever written, and the group’s dedication to taking as much time as necessary to churn out a quality product makes them musicians that the popular American music realm simply needs. There’s no need to create coolness with the Haim sisters, because they were born with it.

This is why the emergence of a simple teaser video in late April, displaying a studio run-through of the track “Right Now”, is the ideal example of a terrific group not concerned with boasting an explosive announcement. Working with Paul Thomas Anderson, the video is raw and observant, placing the fans directly into the studio with the sisters, and the result is literally hair-raising. They are a patient and trusting band, and their fans were handsomely rewarded with not only this introduction, but, only a week later, with the official single releases of “Want You Back” and the aforementioned “Right Now”. If there were any doubters during the decent stretch of time between the band’s debut and their latest release, these back-to-back songs should forever lay that skepticism to rest.

Haim’s second album is called Something To Tell You, but you probably already knew that by now. So, until we get to indulge in the entire thing on July 7, here are two recently released pop records that deserve a lot of attention and can be good tide-over’s until then.

 

Sylvan Esso – What Now (released April 28)

After making a bit of a splash with their self-titled debut in 2014, and more specifically with the smooth single, “Coffee”, the east coast duo comprised of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn are heard sharpening their skills even further with What Now. The lead single, “Die Young”, finds them operating at the highest peak yet and remains one of the best singles of 2017. What separates this sophomore effort considerably from the band’s debut is the pure front-to-back cohesiveness. Meath’s vocals remain a highlight, but her songwriting gets even more personal and effective, and combined with Sanborn’s frequently inventive, sometimes makeshift beat production, they offer a flat out satisfying pop record.

Rating: 4/5

 

Nite Jewel – Real High (released May 5)

Another strong and semi-overlooked pop vocalist, this one creating music at the other end of the country in LA, is Ramona Gonzalez of Nite Jewel. Since the inception of this project in 2008, Gonzalez has permanently embedded a fuchsia-tinted, nighttime, west coast skyline soundtrack sound to compliment her hypnotizing vocals, and it comes fully realized on fourth LP, Real High. The record paints an image of permeating light from fully lit skycrapers sharing apex real estate with the California sunset. There’s absolutely no reason any true pop/R&B fan wouldn’t make it a priority to keep this entire album on regular nighttime driving rotation for the duration of at least this coming summer.

Rating: 4/5

 

There you are. As we wait out over a month before Este, Danielle and Alana officially unveil the album, it can be comforting to know that there are plenty of other artists within the same vein delivering considerably excellent work, and we need to give them attention.  

 

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Author: Andy Ferguson

Much of who Andy Ferguson has become can be directly attributed to the summer of 1997, when he stumbled upon VHS copies of ‘Swingers’ and ‘Bottle Rocket’, while almost simultaneously becoming introduced to the Dr. Octagon album, ‘Dr. Octagonecologyst’. Living in a small country town in Indiana as a 13 year-old worshipping artists like Kool Keith and Pavement instantly makes one into more than an outcast. Instead of becoming the cliched friendless and depressed shut-in, he embraced the otherworldly culture that these records and films were presenting him.

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