haim Photo: wagz2it for Stereogum.com

LA-based sister act Haim (pronounced "hime") have been riding a fast-building buzz this year, due to the gloriously infectious indie-pop EP they released a few months back. In its wake came rapturous press coverage, a series of high-profile opening slots (the XX in LA in July, and four stops across the country on Mumford & Sons' outdoor "Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Shows" this month), and a suffocatingly packed gig in the upstairs room of Santos Party House on Thursday night.

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While the Haim sisters - guitarists/singers Danielle, 23, and Alana, 20 and bassist/singer Este 26, accompanied by drummer Dash Hutton -- haven't released any new original material since the EP, chatter around them has grown to the extent that the room was filled with an unusual mixture of young 20-somethings and industry vets, including Columbia's Rob Stringer, Scott Greer, Andrew Keller and Matt Amoroso, Universal Republic's Avery Lipman, band manager Jon Lieberberg (who also handles Matthew Dear) and attorney Nicky Stein (who got a "Happy Birthday" serenade from the band and their mom onstage), Neon Gold's Lizzy Plapinger and Derek Davies, Will Griggs and Nick Panama from Cantora Records, Big Hassle's Lallie Jones and Shira Knishkowy, producer/mixer Tom Elhirst, Austin Peters (who directed the band's "Forever" video), Marina of Marina and the Diamonds, Julian Casablancas, and -- go figure -- Jackson Browne, who is connected to the band through mutual friend singer/songwriter Blake Mills. ( Beggars Banquet chief Martin Mills -- whom we saw an hour before at the XX's big show at Terminal 5 -- turned up after the set, but he said he was there to see headliners Pop Etc., a new iteration of the Morning Benders.)

haim Photo: wagz2it for Stereogum.com

Needless to say, such a heavyweight turnout means that the band is very likely to get a North American label deal soon, and while no one would say anything on the record, the heavy Columbia presence and the fact that the evening was a Neon Gold Popshop showcase would seem to suggest that things may be headed NG/Columbia's way (the band has already signed with Polydor or Universal Germany for the rest of the world).

The unfamiliar (to these ears) songs they played during the 45-or-so-minute set were less poppy, harder and stranger than those from the EP, with harsher vocals, harder guitars and loads of percussion -- the three banged on drums at various points, and the set concluded with all three piling on for a percussion-only barrage.

And while it feels like Haim are a new band, that's hardly the case: the sisters grew up playing classic rock songs with their parents in a family band called Rockinhaim, and then struck out on their own some five years ago. Danielle has toured with Jenny Lewis, Cee-lo Green, and Julian Casablancas.

haim Photo: wagz2it for Stereogum.com

As for what's next, Alana told us after the show that the band is currently demo-ing and sifting through many, many songs for their debut LP, which they hope to record later this year; she said the evening's set really only offered a glimpse of what's in store. Lieberberg said they've already recorded with Adele producer Paul Epworth, Ariel Rechtshaid, Ludwig Goransson and Rick Knowles, and are scheduled to go in with others.

Whatever transpires on whichever label in the States, it seems we've hardly heard the last of Haim.