HAIM-Days Are Gone (Full Album Stream)

For whatever criticism they may field, HAIM’s unique blend of styles and sounds still wins me over almost every time. It’s good to see that they’ve achieved relative mainstream success, and with their debut LP due out tomorrow, they let the full thing go (a few days ago) for streaming. I’ve said several times previously that such a move is confident, but it’s especially so by an act without a full album to their name, and fingers crossed the material holds up.

There are four or five tracks that relatively long time fans will recognise, including the three openers, which should allow for a good level of familiarity with the 11-track album. Within those few previously-released tracks is a wide array of musical influences, so it’s only fair to assume the rest of the album will further display their eclectic, adapatable nature, and result in a very diverse project. Check the stream out below, and grab that album tomorrow if you’re suitably impressed.

HAIM-Days Are Gone

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Kid Cudi-Indicud Artwork and Tracklist

Those who have watched his recent videos will be familiar with Cudi’s glamorous framing, a visual style he’s applied to his artwork here. The centrepiece of the artwork is certainly unique, with the explosiveness potentially representing Cudi pressing the reset button on his work, to some extent, or is quite simply just a massive fireball thrown in for a striking visual impact. It’s probably both, though the title of the opening track would probably suggest a lean to the former.

In any case, it’s definitely original enough to turn some heads on shop shelves (excuse me HMV, people still buy CDs right?). Whilst the artwork might be somewhat ambiguous, the tracklist is not: the features are incredibly diverse, with a collection of well-known and unexpected acts representing a multitude of genres, whilst there are several tracks many expected to be included (such as the three solo efforts he’s released most recently), along with some nice continuations of his Man on the Moon theme. Check it out below, and look out for the LP’s release on 23rd April (probably the 22nd over here).

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HAIM-Falling (Video)

Quick turnaround, as the trio’s single from last week is rapidly backed by a video. The lead and title effort from their upcoming EP (1st April), it’s an audiovisual that should help their burgeoning reputation for sure.

Though it’s far moodier than their other popular singles, there’s still a heavy dose of pop-funk that makes for a repeatedly unique listen. The clip plays upon that, with their foggy, bleak forest surroundings capturing the more downcast, helpless elements of the track, and their actual activities gradually leading to an overwhelming positivity. They begin as foraging for food, and eventually find the group dancing, catching arrows, and seemingly thriving in their environment: clearly, the evolution is designed to represent their emotional maturity, and it’s nicely done. There’s a fun 80′s style to some elements too, particularly the distant camera shots of a lone member that zoom dramatically, and the slightly angled face shots, whilst their tradition of a little co-ordinated dancing continues towards the end as the track hits its peak.

It’s a track that’s mellow enough to allow their personalities and performances to shine through the video, whilst having the right level of liveliness to match up to the climactic sections. A good complement to a strong audio, be sure to grab that track now.

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It’s not an exaggeration to say that their profile has shot up in the last 6-8 weeks, courtesy of widespread coverage in many mainstream outlets, particularly on ‘ones to watch’ lists (including our own, of course). They follow that buzz up with this single, the lead from the upcoming EP of the same name, and it’s another good release from the trio.

Much like the incredibly catchy Don’t Save Me threw in a hint more pop and R&B influences, this one offers the same influences in a more downbeat, bittersweet track that should impress many. The instrumentation draws on a touch of the 80s, composed of funk-inspired guitars, punchy percussion and a touch of atmospheric synth on the hook that helps upscale those sections significantly, giving the track a clear anchor. Once again, the vocal work is mesmerising too, with Danielle’s distinctive delivery at its versatile best throughout, and it caps off what should be a real mainstream favourite for HAIM. Available now.

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13 for '13

2013 v3(2)

Year after year, we change the format of the end-of-year OTU round-up (routine is boring), and this year I’ve opted for a forward-looking feature rather than reflecting on what was a rather disappointing year in the music world. Many are desperate to have their tastes for 2013 dictated to them by either the BBC Sound of 2013 or MTV’s Brand New for 2013, but the interesting thing is we’ve been championing some of the acts they’ve thrust upon you this past week for quite some time. The rest of them we probably don’t care about.

So, here’s a chance to get clued up with some genuine upcoming talents that I expect to release more fantastic material this year and break through that next barrier of success, whether it’s into mainstream consciousness or slightly wider underground appreciation. Note that I didn’t say commercial success. Whilst some will certainly find that and it is a facet of their potential growth this year, it’s far from essential, and each selection here deserves to be so on quality and potential more than anything. Regular reader or not, you’ll have heard of several of these selections before and be assured those acts are here on merit, not because a label asked us to do so; something the aforementioned 2013 ‘predictions’ from the mainstream outlets can’t honestly claim. Let’s go. → Continue Reading

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HAIM-Don't Save Me (Video)

Day by day, there’s less room on that HAIM bandwagon. I’ve said it before, but they’re perfectly primed for mainstream success, whilst remaining talented and versatile enough to garner appreciation from those who don’t need our tastes dictated to us.

I gave this song a warm response on its release, but repeat listening has thoroughly infected me with its positivity. That combination of alternative with a little R&B funk gives their music a smoothness around the edges that makes repeat plays much easier, and this video will certainly add to that appeal.

There’s nothing particular new happening, with the clip divided between performance scenes and a basketball game, but the inherent charisma and confidence of the trio comes across through each shot, whilst the dark lighting throughout tempers the bounce of the audio and complements the attitudinal lyricism. There’s a lot to like about these guys, and with each release they’re going from strength to strength. You can grab this one on iTunes right now.

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HAIM-Send Me Down

Good to see HAIM dropping off their second new track in as many months. Their alternative, pop and R&B crossover generally makes for very easy listening, and much like their last release they’ve opted to lean slightly more toward the pop side of things as they seek to really cement their breakout.

The instrumentation combines heavy, almost dark electronic elements with sprightly percussion and vocals for a contrast that ultimately ends up sounding rather lively and positive. I’m not totally sold on the production as it feels repetetive and a touch too intense, but credit for switching things up a little. A recurrent theme in their music is the use of somewhat bittersweet lyrics, and here they’re used cleverly to build toward a beautifully harmonic bridge and ultimately a catchy melody-heavy hook, and both combine to anchor the song well. Likeable, but maybe not quite on par with some of their other work.

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HAIM-Don't Save Me

Outside of their Forever EP we’ve not had any material from Haim, and hence this makes for a welcome surprise.

The overarching vibe is one of much more positivity than the work on the aforementioned EP. That manifests itself as instrumentation with much more funk and perkier vocals, with the former relying heavier on bouncy guitar plucks and speedy percussion, whilst the latter is catchy, pop-inspired work that’ll rattle around your brain for hours after listening to it. Essentially, it’s the same genre-blending HAIM style, but with a stronger lean on the pop side that gives it plenty of potential to break out into the mainstream. Enjoyable upbeat effort, and fingers crossed there’s more to come. Be sure to check them out on their upcoming tour across the UK next month.

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HAIM UK Tour 2012 Dates

In addition to supporting Ellie Goulding on her 26th September date at London’s Roundhouse as part of iTunes Festival, talented upcomers HAIM have announced a handful of their own dates to satisfy their burgeoning fanbase out here. Head here to get acquainted if you aren’t already, and here for tickets.

Saturday 10th November  – Constellations Festival, Leeds
Sunday 11th November – Stereo, Glasgow
Tuesday 13th November – Deaf Institute, Manchester
Wednesday 14th November – KCLSU, London
Friday 16th November – Bodega, Nottingham
Saturday 17th November – The Cooler, Bristol
Sunday 18th November – Audio, Brighton

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HAIM-Forever EP

I read about HAIM a few weeks back and having briefly listened to a track, I wrongly assumed they were already popular. A band of 3 sisters, Danielle’s feature on Childish Gambino’s Royalty led me to follow up on their work, and whilst HAIM haven’t been around long enough to hit the mainstream, they’re primed to do so.

Fusing indie-folk overtones, R&B sensibilities and a hint of alternative edginess, the trio have a polished and remarkably unique sound that’s very easy-to-digest. The title track is a retro-styled effort with a blend of bittersweet lyricism and lively instrumentation, whilst Go Slow delivers a deliberately-paced, atmospheric vibe that spotlights the harmonic capabilities of the group. Better Off lands somewhere in the middle, with a booming percussion combined with jagged guitar strums and melodic vocal work for a blend of soft aura and sharpness that has a strong pop sensibility. They’re an extremely well-rounded triumverate and it’s only a matter of time before these guys are paraded as the next big find. Jump on board early by grabbing their EP below.

HAIM-Forever EP

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