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Archive for the ‘Haim’ Category

ja1SOUNDTRACK: HAIM-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #34 (June 17, 2020).

haimWhen Haim first came on the scene they were marketed as a kind of hard rocking sister act.  So when I heard them I was really disappointed because they are anything but hard rock.  In fact this Tiny Desk (Home) Concert shows just how nicely their music works as  kind of poppy folk songs.

I haven’t really liked most of their songs, but I do like first and third in this set (I was unfamiliar with the middle song).

“The Steps” is like a classic rock song that’s been around for ever.  “The sunny, take-no-prisoners assertion of independence of “The Steps” recalls the soft rock jams of their earlier albums.”  The very cool sounding lead guitar riff that opens the song is definitely missed in this version, but the song itself is really solid and their harmonies are lovely.  The bass is mixed too loudly in this song, which is a bit of a shame since the rest sounds so good.

Strangely, it’s only Danielle who speaks and introduces only herself.  So you need the blurb to tell you that on her left is her sister Este Haim (bass, keyboard, drum pad, vocals) and on her right is her sister Alana Haim: (guitar, vocals, bongos).

The second song is “the muted techno glimmer of ‘I Know Alone.'”  Este switches to keys, Danielle switches to a rhythm machine and keys and whole Alana keeps the acoustic guitar she is also playing keys.  I think she keeps the guitar for one dramatic harmonic moment..  This song is kind of bland–not much really happens in it.

In comes Henry Solomon (the screen splits into four) to add saxophone for the final song “Summer Girl,”

a song that wavers like a heat mirage reflected off New York’s summer sidewalks, thanks to Henry Solomon’s whisper-toned sax.

I had no idea this song was HAIM  I recognized that saxophone melody immediately and have hear it many times on the radio.   Once again the bass is too loud, which is a bummer since this song is so chill. This song also feels like it has been around forever–there’s a real timeless quality to it.

HAIM recorded its Tiny Desk set before the death of George Floyd, and released “Summer Girl” last year. The world has changed a lot in that time. With its opening line — “LA on my mind, I can’t breathe” — “Summer Girl” becomes another piece of music that takes on a parallel meaning in the evolving social and political landscape of 2020.

I didn’t enjoy Haim’s early stuff, but I have come around on this album.

[READ: June 19, 2020] “Free”

This was a short story about who love ages.

Henry was married to Irene, but he was having an affair with Lila, who was married to Pete.

Irene was stuffy, very proper.  Lila, by contrast, once stripped off all her clothes and skinny dipped into a cold lake in front of him–“her bottom a sudden white heart split down the middle, in his vision.”  Lila lived in the now and gave herself to him completely.  But Henry “was no good at adultery…because he could not give himself, entirely, to the moment.” (more…)

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2007_04_02_p139SOUNDTRACKMETZ-“Wet Blanket” (Live at SXSW, March 20, 2013).

metzIt’s amazing how much different two bands can sound (comparing Haim from yesterday to Metz from today).  Obviously, they play very different styles of music, but Metz is just three guys and they are loud and bass heavy and raucous. Whereas Haim, with their four members, have practically no low end at all.  It’s an amazing look at how different bands can be while playing basically the same instruments.

Anyhow, Metz are a noise rock trio from Canada.  I’d never heard of them before this song.  There’s a lot of noise as the song opens, but once the groove starts, it’s fast and heavy with pounding drums and a persistent, fast bass.  The band, who are dressed nicely (the singer guitarist has a button down shirt open over his T-shirt), are really abrasive and punky.  And the singer/screamer is a wild man–climbing on the bass drum to wail his solo, feedbacking the guitar from the amps and not even playing the guitar as he screams into the microphone (but there is noise, so I wonder if he has an echo effect on).  At one point someone in the audience even holds the microphone closer to him while he screams as he seems to be having trouble with it.

It’s an intense set and I’d like to hear more from them.  Their debut came out last year (on Sub Pop).

You can watch this song here.

[READ: March 26, 2013] “Teaching”

Another story from Doyle, this one is a dark story about being an old and near-retirement teacher (Doyle was himself a teacher).

The story opens with a girl saying that he, the teacher, knew her mother.  This has been happening more and more now that the students he taught when he was young have had children who are now as old as they were.  The girl says her mom fancied him and he makes a poor joke wondering if the girl can believe it, but he’s just made uncomfortable by the exchange.

In fact, he mostly just seems to want to try to get through the day.  It’s only September and he has a whole school year ahead of him.  He never drinks at school, that is a rule he will always abide by, but that doesn’t mean he won’t drink after school.   Which he does.  Although to describe him as an alcoholic (which I guess he is) kind of takes something away from the thrust of the story.  The alcohol is a part of who he is but it doesn’t impact the story, exactly. (more…)

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stringer SOUNDTRACK: HAIM-“Falling” (Live at SXSW, March 17, 2013).

haim

Haim are three sisters and a drummer.  The sisters play guitar and sing, play bass and percussion and play keyboards.  And yes, they look a lot alike (an a lot like Alanis Morrissette).  But they sound very classic rock–kind of like Heart, with a more modern, noisy twist.

I didn’t really care much for the sound of this song–it seems kind of anemic to me.  The sisters are all quite talented and when the lead singer/guitarist started wailing they were really good.  But the overall feel of the song seemed more high school than rock show–like they couldn’t get the mix right, like the keyboards (which were little bopping notes, rather than waves of music) were the main force behind the song–which I don’t think is true.

Maybe they’d sound better on record, or if they had a better mix on stage.

[READ: March 26, 2013] Like Shaking Hands with God

I had been reading a lot of Vonnegut, but I got a little burnt out by him.  However, when I was checking his bibliography all those months ago, I found that Princeton University had a book that I couldn’t find anywhere else.  Well, given my new employment situation, it was time to take advantage of that connection.  So I went to the Firestone library and grabbed this book (and a few others that I didn’t see elsewhere).

It’s a lot of fuss over an 80 page book, but I’m glad I read it and it did get me back in the mood to read more Vonnegut (I have five books of his left to read, although I believe more posthumous stuff seems to come out all the time).

This book is essentially a transcription of two conversations that Vonnegut had (one public and one private) with the author Lee Stringer and the moderator Ross Klavan.  The first conversation occurred on October 1, 1998 at a bookstore in Manhattan.  The second was a private affair in January 1999  (which was of course, recorded), in which they followed up on some of the same ideas.

Stringer had written one book (Grand Central Winter) when the first conversation took place (he has written two more since).  Stringer says he always admired Vonnegut and Vonnegut talks about how much he liked Grand Central Winter (which Vonnegut wrote a forward to).  GCW is nothing like Vonnegut’s books, it is a serious book about being homeless (Stringer himself was homeless for a long time) and it is real and gritty.  It sounds good, although maybe a little too gritty and real for me. (more…)

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