The sister trio from L.A. have been taking their sweet Haim-time with the follow-up to their 2013 debut album ‘Days Are Gone’. In the intervening years they have hosted their own radio show, shared a stage with Prince, made Stevie Nicks the fourth Haim sister and supported Taylor Swift in some whopping great stadiums on her 1989 tour. Despite such pesky distractions, Danielle, Este and Alana have also been getting their heads down in the studio.
Now, as billboards have popped up in London, Berlin, Sydney and Los Angeles, the comeback is imminent. Here’s our progress report.
She bangs the drums
Danielle Haim may be the quietest sister when it comes to interviews, but it’s a totally different story when she’s wielding drum sticks. Having bashed the skins for everyone from Julian Casablancas to Jenny Lewis in the past - and even removing The Killers’ Ronnie Vannuci Jr. from his drum stool for a special live performance of ‘On Top’ in 2014 - it’s only right that her drumming skillz have been the focus of the two teaser clips so far.
As the band’s studio drummer, the first tease captures a wild Danielle in her natural environment. The latest features a sisterly drum circle, with the middle sister leading a primal charge. That’s before the words “APRIL 27 9AM ET” ominously appear on the screen. Eek!
It’s a family affair
Haim have gone hard and gone home, literally. For the writing of album two, they headed back to their parents’ house in the San Fernando Valley. After the hysteria that came with the release of ‘Days Are Gone’, including the three years of touring that accompanied it, they found themselves going full-circle and back to where it all began… Moti and Donna Haim’s living room.
The room is where they have been playing together since they were little Haims. It’s packed to brim with instruments and gear that their dad’s acquired over the years from flea markets and beyond. Although the covers band that they formed with their parents when they were growing up - ‘Rockinhaim’ - is currently defunct, it seems home comforts have perhaps fed into the “more organic” sound of this record.
Ariel Rechtshaid and Rostam Batmanglij are both manning the production desk!
The first sign that something was bubbling in the Haim laboratory came in January 2015 when they posted a photo of the back of producer Ariel Rechtshaid’s head, busy doing his thing on the computer, with the caption “Uh ohz”. After producing the debut album, the band called upon his talents again and made their way across Los Angeles to his Silver Lake studio, following the initial writing sessions at their parents’ house. With clients including some little-known names like Madonna, Adele, Solange Knowles, Usher and Charli XCX (not to mention a Grammy on the shelf for his work with Vampire Weekend), his C.V. is shaping up. Speaking of whom, ex-Vampire Weekend-er Rostam Batmanglij has also had a hand in the production of several songs on the album.
The sisters are doin’ it for themselves
Haim are perfectionists, and accordingly they made it clear with their debut album that they will not be rushed. After Autumn 2015 was originally touted for the release of the second album, they pushed the date back to Summer 2017 and explained to Entertainment Weekly: “We write everything, we play everything, and we help produce everything. These things take time, and we refuse to put out anything we’re not 100 percent in love with.”
While patience is a virtue when it comes to putting out their best work, they’ve been kind enough to appease less patient fans with some sneaky studio footage, and a couple of early live airings...
Return of the bass face
Last summer, Haim had to pull some European festival dates to crack on with the album “at a critical point of finishing up”. Now they seek to make up for lost time, with festival appearances this summer including a headline slot on the second biggest stage at Reading & Leeds, a trip to Hull for Radio 1’s Big Weekend, and Glastonbury: Round 2.
Their first visit to Worthy Farm in 2013 was nothing if not eventful. Este (who's diabetic) admitted that she feared she might die in front of 25,000 punters on the Pyramid Stage after forgetting to eat before the set and losing all feeling in her bass-playing arms. After she returned to the world’s biggest stage to finish the job, the sisters launched themselves welly-first into the rest of the Glasto weekend. They disturbed the peace in The Park with another raucous, stand-out show and went back for even more Pyramid action, kitted out with their leather jackets and tambourines as Primal Scream’s backing singers.
The Eavis family have heeded their appeal for the band to come back for more, and the Haim clan seem equally keen. “We can’t wait to get back to the UK! Glaston-buuuur-aaay! We just wanna play!” they told Q, adding, “We’re so ready to go. Everywhere. And once it starts? It’s not gonna stop! Ever.”
A never-ending Haim tour is a truly heart-racing prospect; live is where they really rock out. Plus, we’ve missed that bass face.
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