El-Haru Kuroi: Local Band We Love

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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