At the turn of the millenium it became de riguer for bands of 20 somethings in leather jackets to look back and ape bands like Television, Gang of Four, & Talking Heads. Mining “Post-punk” and then labeling your band “post-punk” became the genre equivalent of microwaving a burrito, and instead of honoring the spirit of “post-punk” people were simply borrowing chord progressions and skinny tie aesthetics.

Consequently, in a pretty short span of time, this lead to a kind of homogeneity that lead to a quick (microwave burrito) stale-ification of the concept. However, it didn’t mean there weren’t still interesting ideas to explore. East LA’s El-Haru Kuroi is not microwaving anything, if anything, this is a band still exploring.

As hard as I may try, I can’t really name another band that is doing what El-Haru Kuroi is doing. Combining the snarling urgency of post-punk with the sensuality of bossa-nova, they’ve come upon something very different and exciting to listen to. Trading in the cold Lou Reed-isms of many of their American contemporaries, El-Haru Kuroi opt for a heart on their sleeve romantic Caetano Veloso vibe.

It’s a really good look, and it feels defiantly post-post-punk and at the risk of being clever, I’ll borrow a concept from Gang of Four, and call it an “essence” that’s truly rare.

Make sure to catch them and other wicked genre-destroyers Mariachi El Bronx this Friday as KCRW Presents the first First Friday of 2012 at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

– Mario Cotto

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