Nostalgic Tunes for Old Souls
Where They’re From: Madrid, Spain
When They Started: 2006
Genre: folk pop, alternative
Most Similar: Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes
Sounds Like: Cruisin’ in the woods
Madrid’s indie rock band HATEM pretty much oozes poetry. Like any thought-provoking poem, everything from HATEM’S psychedelic folk sound to the meaning of their name has a deeper, just-under-the-surface layer waiting to be deciphered. To break down HATEM’s acronym, “Hola A Todo El Mundo” is Spanish for “hello to all the world,” a line the band members borrowed from a poem by Walt Whitman.
Reminiscent of Fleet Foxes’s earthy, harmony-rich style, HATEM cites old, spiritual a cappella songs as a main source of influence to their sound. Before each concert, the co-ed foursome joins on stage in a circle singing a “hymn to friendship” which would probably be pretty corny if the group’s vocals didn’t blend so beautifully. While all four contribute their vocals, each member brings another eclectic instrument to the group: ukelele, accordion, mandolin, banjo, glockenspiel, synth, tin whistle, and piano are just some of the instruments they pass amongst themselves during shows. The result is folk music with added quirky nostalgia, quite like the spirituals they draw inspiration from.
Formed in 2006 and taking Spain’s underground indie scene by storm ever since, HATEM released its new album Ultraviolet Catastrophe in October 2012 in Spain and Japan. For the rest of the world, the band is working towards a February 2013 release. Its first single off the album, “They Won’t Let Me Grow” showcases ’60s plucking chord progressions and hazy vocal blends a la Beach Boys ballads. The video below features little kids parading through the woods in vintage pirate costumes as if they could be on set for the latest Wes Anderson film. Observe: