TABLES TURNED: On The Heels Of Sophomore EP, HAWAI Picks 9 Songs For Your Holiday Roadtrip

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Photo Credit: Saamuel Richard

Do you ever get sick of listening to the same old holiday songs, year after year? While Mariah Carey and Wham! are fabulous artists who have created timeless classics, we decided it was time to change things up. Enter HAWAI, SoCal pop-rock band who has valiantly accepted the task of providing us with nine tunes to fuel your holiday season. 

The band managed to fit this serious undertaking in their busy fall schedule, as they’ve just released their sophomore EP, Hide in the Ocean, on Dec. 8. The record is a five-song collection that expands on the sound and themes established in their debut EP, Working All NightHide In The Ocean opens with the anthemic “I’m Not Dead,” an uplifting tune that naturally leads to “Alive”–both of which embody enlightened proclamations of living in the present and appreciating every moment with loved ones. “Circle K (Back To You)” and “Think About It” showcase the more laid back, melodic side of HAWAI, and yet retain catchiness every ounce of catchiness that has come to define the band. 

Ultimately, the EP successfully conveys mind-expanding themes of change, discovery, and limitless possibilities. Jake Pappas (vocals, guitar), Jesse “Bumper” Dorman (drums), Jared Slaybaugh (bass, vocals), and Matt Gillen (keyboards, synths)  of the band shared,

“When people hear this thing, I hope they ask questions…If they feel like it sounds rad and it also makes them think, that’d be all we could ever ask for.”

Listen to HAWAI’s Hide In The Ocean EP, then dig in to their top holiday roadtrip picks below.


 Sufjan Stevens - “Joy To The World

I’ve always loved Sufjan’s Christmas records. This song in particular gets me in the mood of Christmas most.


 Fleet Foxes - “White Winter Hymnal”

The Fleet Foxes have that wintery vibe about them that makes any song you put on of theirs around the holidays appropriate.


Vince Guaraldi Trio - “Christmas Time Is Here”

I grew up watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special on TV at my grandma’s. It was always on, every year, in the background. And I remember this song playing when we’d all be inside, half watching Charlie Brown. Whenever this song comes on, it’s immediate nostalgia of Christmas at Grandma’s.  


 Sufjan Stevens - “Put The Lights On The Tree”

My wife and I once lived in Nashville. And when we moved back home to California, we made a video telling all the family members we were coming home. It was our Christmas gift to them in a way, and we had this Sufjan song as the opener to our video.


Nick Lowe - “Children Go Where I Send Thee”

If you’re tired of the classics like “12 Days of Christmas,” put this one on. It’s an old hymn, but Nick Lowe’s version is perfect for an upbeat drive.


 Nat King Cole - “The Christmas Song”

It’s not Christmas without Nat King Cole…


Bon Iver - “re: Stacks”

Bon Iver always makes it onto a Christmas playlist for us. Once the weather gets cold, any of his songs fit the mood.


David Bazan - “The First Noel”

This has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs, and David Bazan’s version is fire!


Phoebe Bridgers - “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

We love Phoebe.

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