Aina Haina (pronounced “Eye-na High-na”) – named for an unincorporated town on the island of Honolulu – traces its roots to the South Pacific, where guitarist/vocalist Mike Ailes and drummer/producer Dylan Magierek first met while attending the University of Hawaii. They reconnected years later in Portland, Oregon, the city in which Magierek has been piloting Badman Recording Company (My Morning Jacket, Nyles Lannon, the innocence mission) and working as a renowned recording engineer for artists including Fleet Foxes, Mark Kozelek, The Portland Cello Project with Thao Nguyen, The Mother Hips, and STRFKR. Their first, self-titled release was recorded briskly and hailed for its energy, which Magierek explained in an interview as being partially the result of the band’s “power duo” formation: “We grew tired of having to work around [a third bandmate] and decided to try playing louder instead.” 

On the duo’s follow up, Second Best, they’ve expanded their original “hard rock” sound by incorporating more sonic layers. The album blends electronic drums with a live acoustic set, with Magierek adding triggers to his kit in order to play synth parts with his sticks. While the initial tracks were created quickly after the release of Aina Haina, the final recordings on Second Best are the result of a long and considered songwriting process. Ailes worked meticulously on his vocals and lyrics, spending hours alone adding vocal harmonies and guitar lines. Though the album is only seven songs long, it covers a lot of ground, from the electronica-influenced “Barnacle Boy,” to the whimsically rocking “Garage Sale,” to the twangy “Don’t Need Your Love.” But while there’s a lot happening on Second Best, the songs were all crafted to be performed live. Says Ailes, “We decided this time around we’ll play out with an actual bass player. I’m already singing, playing guitar and doing a bunch of switching of guitar effects with my feet, so I’m looking forward to having one less thing to do on stage!” 

RIYL: Metric, Tokyo Police Club, The Killers, Futurebirds, Killing Joke, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Liam Gallagher, The Black Keys

“Aina Haina is a testament to Dylan Magierek’s unfailing ear.” –iTunes

Smithereens-styled artisanal power-pop craft.” –Willamette Week

Recommended Tracks: Track 1, “Barnacle Boy,” Track 3, “Don’t Need Your Love,” Track 4, “Four Walls And A Ceiling,” Track 5, “Hometown”

FCC Warning: Track 2, “Garage Sale;” FCC Caution: Track 6, “Goddamn People”

Label: Badman Recording Company

Going For Adds 7/16

Skip to toolbar