Guitar-toting sister trio Haim top BBC Sound of 2013 list

The Californians are the first American band to top the 'critic's choice' list since The Bravery in 2005

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The Independent Culture

Haim, three guitar-toting Californian sisters whose songs echo Fleetwood Mac in their soft rock prime, are the Sound of 2013 according to an influential BBC poll which has previously anointed stars including Adele and Jessie J.

The Los Angeles band, formed by Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, who are aged between 21 and 26, topped the annual the survey of 200 music industry critics, broadcasters and bloggers.

Haim, who signed to the Universal-owned Polydor label after a record company bidding war, are the first American act to top the poll since The Bravery in 2005.

However, that band’s swift commercial decline demonstrated that topping the “critic’s choice” list, with the accompanying hype, is no guarantee of long-term success for an emerging artist.

Click here or on "View Gallery" for past Sound winners in pictures

The Haim sisters started playing music as children when their parents enlisted them into a family covers band. 

Their sound mixes 80s synth-pop and contemporary dance influences with the melodic 70s rock of Fleetwood Mac, the British-American band cited as a major influence by performers such as Florence Welch and who are themselves set to reform this year according to singer Stevie Nicks.

Huw Stephens, the Radio 1 DJ who announced Haim as the winners on his show, said that band had “an unapologetic passion for music that shines in their songs. They're brilliant musicians who have a real talent for tunes that merge their tales of growing up in the 21st Century with classic song writing ability.”

Matt Wilkinson, NME’s New Bands Editor, said Haim were a “killer live band” who “talk-the-talk miles better” than the “boring indie bands who seem to almost be embarrassed to be featured on mainstream radio or in magazines like NME.”

For the first time, the top five acts in the poll were all either female or acts fronted by women. R&B/electronica duo AlunaGeorge from London came second, followed by New York rapper Angel Haze.

Haim could pave the way for a predicted return of guitar music in 2013, a trend anticipated by George Ergatoudis, Radio 1’s head of music, who said tastes could shift from the pop, dance and urban artists who have dominated the charts.

Michael Kiwanuka, who jazz-soul troubadour who topped the Sound of 2012 list, sold 500,000 copies of his debut album Home Again around the world last year and was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

Este from Haim, a UCLA graduate, said: “It’s the craziest thing to think we’re on a list with so many amazing artists. This year the five bands that were in the list were all female fronted. I think it’s amazing. Obviously we’re all about the ladies. We love female vocalists and female musicians. It’s kind of cool.”

Previous Sound of... winners

Sound of 2012: Michael Kiwanuka – Promising start

Sound of 2011: Jessie J – Ubiquitous hit

Sound of 2010: Ellie Goulding – US and UK star

Sound of 2009: Little Boots – Missed the big time

Sound of 2008: Adele – Record breaker

Sound of 2007: Mika – Peaked with debut LP

Sound of 2006: Corinne Bailey Rae – Soul survivor

Sound of 2005: The Bravery – Fashion victims

Sound of 2004: Keane – Solid arena fillers

Sound of 2003: 50 Cent – Made his $$$