Friday, December 10, 2010

Hanni El Khatib Punks Up Americana Rock In California

Hanni El KhatibHanni El Khatib strips down everything to such a degree that some people say he isn't even indie friendly. His music is battered, written only for those who have only been shot or hit by a train. There's nothing nice to say about any of it.

His style of rawness mocks garage rock with more punk stylings. When he is live, he plays faster and more furious until the crowd starts to get it to the point they're ready to shrug off anybody else who might come on stage. No apoligies, just addictive.

Khatib might make his home in Los Angeles, but he grew up in San Francisco. If there is any throwback sentiment to his music, it probably comes from his self-desecribed obsession with the 50s and 60s brand of Americana culture. His influences tell it all no matter who reviewers try to compare him to — they include Johnny Burnette, Sam Cooke, and Johnny Cash.

His primitive, punk-infused Americana rock comes from the street skate culture.

Known for the specificity of his guitar tone and the fuzziness of his amp, Khatib keeps his mistakes in and dares you not to care. He doesn't. All you get is a little pop and hiss with EPs being dripped out as he works toward a full album without any release date. It does have a title though. The full-length album is called Will The Guns Come Out.

Some of the music, like You Rascal You, are covers. But Khatib has his own flashes of brilliance as a singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. He also worked as a creative director for HUF. It almost doesn't matter if he still does. But in Los Angeles, he packs.

Most people don't appreciate that Hanni El Khatib approaches music much like design. He doesn't create work with a specific theme or concept in mind. He shoots for a look or a feeling. He likes simple. He likes classic. He likes timeless. Captured from an interview in another life...

"You can’t really control other people’s opinion of what you're doing," he said. "So I think it’s best for us to just keep our heads down and make things that we’re stoked on."

Count me among the we. Here's a live cover of the B-side, Loved One, to his new single. Check out the video from You Rascal You to get a better feel for his voice.

As good as Loved One is, it's Build. Destroy. Rebuild. that keeps me up and awake. That's not to say one is better than the other. They belong together.

Last night he destroyed at the Echo in Los Angeles. Tonight he will rebuild at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco. After that, he doesn't know. He'll just do whatever feels right.

Hanni El Khatib Builds, Destroys, Rebuilds With A 7.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Khatib is one of those guys who is an artist by nature. He has diverse interests and gets deeply involved in whatever pursuit he is chasing after. Add him to your watch list. Add his label too. Innovative Leisure.

The keeper, Build. Destroy. Rebuild., is on iTunes. Pick up Loved One too. Build. Destroy. Rebuild. - 7 inch [Explicit] can also be found on Amazon.
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