Whatever “knife fight music” means, Hanni El Khatib self-proclaims it and can play it. This Ray Ban-clad musician with slicked-back hair and tattooed arms is basically the new-age greaser dreamboat that 2012 has been waiting for.
The LA Times calls his September 2011 debut album, Will The Guns Come Out, “malt shop music for those who like their confections spiked with bourbon.” His songs, which include Local favorites “Dead Wrong” and “Fuck It, You Win” are filled with 1950s blues and rock n’ roll nostalgia that the new underground rappers and DJs could never emulate. And he’s accomplished all of this with cultural tastefulness and recognition: he’s been featured in French Vogue, opened for Florence + the Machine and is currently touring Europe.
As a first generation American with half Filipino and half Palestinian origins, El Khatib grew up in the wake of the San Francisco skate-punk era. Although his sound is vintage rock and grunge-y, El Khatib has worked as an art director, designer and for a clothing label/skating company called HUF. He just used to make music for fun until his songs got into the right peoples’ hands.
Although he doesn’t have an ex-wife who played in his band a la White Stripes, or play at Coachella two years in a row whilst singing for car commercials like the Black Keys, El Khatib’s sound is bluesy garage rock that makes you want to fight with knives.