Goin’ Ham on Haim
These two pieces — one by Grantland, the other by whatever Collapse Board is — are both trying to untangle each writer’s own impossible knots about “pop product” and “indie rock” and “ambition.” It’s the old “rockism” vs. “popism” debate retrofitted for the think-piece era’s narcissism of small differences. If you, a grown adult, think Live or Pearl Jam or Sugar Ray had some different agenda than Metallica because they knew who the Feelies were, well I got a bridge in a Shit Towne to sell you, bruh.
That being said, painting Haim as some money-hungry Neon Trees or Owl City (or any of the bands these exact same articles could have been written about three years ago) is not the move.
There is a defiant weirdness in Haim — the Dirty Projectors hocketing (g-g-g-get familiar), the Neurosis tom-tom breakdowns, the windswept wooshes of Kate Bush reverb, the guitars like the Stevie Nicks sample in “Bootylicious” formed a band, the relationship with R&B that’s actually natural sounding instead of some witch house dorkus malorkus on Instagram straight flexing his Aaliyah MP3s. It’s a lot more “alternative” and ambitious than the regressive music of the National or the Walkmen, who’s career is basically playing the same three chords as Creed, but badly. And if all you hear is “precious” or “empty-headedness” in Haim, then the problem isn’t with “indie.”
Best part of this is the people reblogging it mad that Chris put in a dig at the Walkmen.via • link