We all hold our music near and dear to our hearts. There’re those songs, albums and artists that we all go to the well to make us feel good, songs that are so exceptional it’s easy to play them over and over. But it’s summer and it’s time to get out and see what else people are listening to. See what I’m digging on right now.
I must admit that HAIM is my summer’s guilty pleasure, that one band you listen to when nobody’s around dancing in front of a mirror using your hand as a microphone. HAIM is a band from Southern California made up of 3 sisters from the valley. As if 2 sisters weren’t enough, 3 seem like a small gift from God. Their 2013 debut album Days Are Gone has everything I want in an album. It’s an ode to mid 80s synth pop: drum machines, breathy melodic vocals, a hint of R&B. This album lets me lose myself in what makes my head bob and my toe tap. The greatest examples of the synth pop infusion are on “If I Can Change Your Mind” as well as the coming-of-age trip down memory lane “Forever”. HAIM hasn’t released a follow up album yet, but they did start a worldwide tour at the beginning of 2016. Rumors swirl that the trio have been working on a new album to be released within the year. So we wait. But until then I’m taking these three girls from the Valley everywhere with me this summer.
Gallant carries his weight in gold for sure on his newly released album titled Ology. Ironically the best song on the album is also titled “Weight in Gold”, a hypnotic, emotionally rich nod to classic R&B. It’s obvious Gallant has much respect for the genre, but also refuses to live in that box. Gallant pushes the envelope and shows us the true progression of R&B. It’s not just what you hear on the radio. Christopher Gallant is 23 years young but sings with such emotion that makes him believable. Gallant is popping up all over the place and shows no signs of slowing down. Apparently he killed it at SXSW, so if you were at that show, I hate you. But I’ve marked my calendar for a September 23rd show at the Long Beach Music Taste Good Festival. So keep your eyes open for this guy. I’m sure we will be hearing more from him as the singer-song writer continues to do his part to bring us back real Rhythm and Blues.
Day Wave is not actually a band. It’s basically one dude: Jackson Phillips. But Mr. Phillips has an eye for musicians. He is meticulous in finding ready and available musicians to form his album and touring band mates. And if you live in California and have been lucky enough to see him live, you can sense that he puts some major effort in finding the best musicians that understand him and his music. Day Wave is one of those local artists I’ve been drawn to lately. For some reason my ear for music changes in the summer. I guess I’m more open and less sensitive and judgement. Daywave hails from Oakland, Ca. The thing I like about local bands is that they tour locally, and if you like seeing shows as much as I do, then these types of bands will literally be music to your ears. I have heard Daywave be referred to as Indie Rock, but to me it feels more like Surf Pop–easy on the ears. Catchy, fluid, moody and highly recommended. His 2015 album Headcase is most definitley in the music rotation for that early morning drive to the beach, as well as that late not-drive back home on the 405 from LA. One thing that impresses me about this album is that almost every song on it is listenable. It sucks you in and transports you to another world, which is what you want when driving from LA to the O.C. There are so many good little nuggets on this album.. “Drag”, “Come Home Now”, “Stuck”, and “Headcase”… I missed his show last week at The Echo in L.A. But you better believe that I will be keeping my eyes open to see what happens next for and from Day Wave.
If you like James Brown, Angelo and Prince, then you’re going to love Anderson Paak. Paak’s deftly produced second studio album is simply titled Malibu, released in 2016. Paak effortlessly blends hip hop and soul that is cohesive and mesmerizing while not afraid to turn it up. His vocals are other worldly and relentless. Let’s also give big ups to his back up band, The Free Nationals. Once you see him perform live, it’s obvious that Paak and The Free Nationals get each other and transcend to a place where few of us will ever have the fortune to visit. Paak and his mates take you on a magical carpet ride and all it costs you is the price of admission. If you decide to dip your toes in the water, before you dive in I would suggest these two songs off his latest album, “Come Down” and “Am I Wrong”. But if you have to get just one song, get “Waters” featuring BJ the Chicago Kid (NSFW). But you owe it to yourself to listen to the entire album. It’s good! If you are one of the chosen and you live in Southern California and have a couple hundred dollars to spend, there are still a couple of balcony seats available to see him perform at The Theater of ACE at the ACE Hotel Los Angeles on June 27th. See you there.