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Monday, October 07, 2013

The Stylistic Influence of Pearl Harbor/Puro Instinct on Haim

Puro Instinct/Pearl Harbor photograph

The Stylistic Influence of Pearl/Harbor/Puro Instinct On Haim

This photograph accompanied an LA Times print feature on the bands Best Coast, Dum Dum Girls and Pearl Harbor/Puro Instinc in 2010.

   The class of bands this blog is most closely follows are those that emerged from the greater Southern California indie scene from 2006 to the present.  That list includes:  Best Coast, Wavves, Dum Dum Girls, Crocodiles, Cults AND Puro Instinct/Pearl Harbor.
      Three of those artists were featured in a photograph which accompanied a 2010 LA Times feature, "Queens of the Lo Fi Scene."  Written by Jeff Weiss, the article made statements like, " Over the last half-decade, a group of exciting artists united by their use of inexpensive home recording technology has begun to emerge out of the Silver Lake, Echo Park and downtown scenes. The performers below rank among the brightest talents continuing the female rock tradition..."

Haim photographed in London 2013.
  This article has been very much on my mind over the last couple weeks as I've encountered a tidal wave of Haim in Los Angeles.  Haim, on the cover of LA Weekly perused over coffee at Intelligensia in Silver Lake.  Haim, discussed in the back seat of BMW driving across Hollywood at 11 PM.  Haim, peering back at me from the screen of an Iphone 5 clasping the hand of British Prime Minister David Cameron.   Haim, being played on the Sirius/XFM download 15 driving to a showing of Gravity at the Arclight.  Watching an unfamiliar television and seeing Haim  enter the VH1 top 20 countdown. (Quoth the DJ, "Haim's mom is a huge fan of the VH1 Top Twenty Count Down, and so are the girls.")  Best New Music from Pitchfork, number one record in the UK, Haim, Haim, Haim.

Haim Sisters Strike a Pose

    Haim, of course, was formed in 2012, but all three sisters had been active in the entertainment industry in their formative years. (WIKIPEDIA)  Anyone who thinks that Haim wasn't consciously put together by Hollywood insiders doesn't have a very clear grasp on reality.

Haim, a sister act (see: Hand Holding.)

    I would argue that Haim owes it's existence to the example of Pearl Harbor/Puro Instinct who were, of course, a sister act (2 not three) who evoked the gauzy haze of 70s Los Angeles in a youthful, precious and of course female package.   I can imagine Haim's Mom- who exists- and is probably their manager(?) sitting down over her coffee in 2010, and reading that LA Times article, and seeing a light bulb pop off on top of her head.

Pearl Harbor/Puro Instinct: Sister act.

   I'm not talking about music, although you would expect Haim to share reference points with other similarly aged women who started rock bands between 2008 and 2012, but rather about the concept of "HAIM" as an act.  After all, Haim was not the first try of any of the people involved in its conception and execution.  Rather they reflect an aesthetic sensibility that has already tested well with a smaller Audience.  Haim then, is an example of the larger music industry reaping what indie artists have sowed.  This is neither good nor bad, and Haim is a demonstrably popular band with a huge Audience, so any questions about their aesthetic merit are simply irrelevant.

  I've written this post merely to illustrate the reality of how careers in the Arts are created, people on the inside are always watching people who emerge from the periphery.  They seek to repackage the style generated by outsiders or fringe players and replicate the appeal to the broadest general Audience.  This is a standard event in the culture industries.   There is always some kind of give and take between the fringe and the center, and the people who negotiate that border are remembered as successes. 

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