Hanni El Khatib initially caught our attention with his video for “Family” which was described to be based on a ”wild Asian motorcycle sex gang”—so there’s that. But now the Filipino/Palestinian rocker is back with another track off his forthcoming album Head in the Dirt, “Penny” reveals a softer, lighter side. If “Family” was based on a motorcycle gang, “Penny” feels like the perfect track for a beach bike ride with your baby—the vibe here is all sentimental, and the contrast speaks to Hanni’s versatility. Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys produced the record and his influence is certainly clear, but the sound on both of these tracks feels fresh in a way that rock in 2013 rarely does.
“The bass line for ‘Penny’ was this thing I’d play bored at soundcheck forever, and eventually tried to turn it into a song,” Hanni said about the song. “It was also the first track that we recorded for the new album. For whatever reason, we managed to record all the live parts in one take and the rest fell into place soon after. It definitely set the tone for the rest of the recordings.” Stream the track above and check out a video of him playing at SXSW this year for Converse Rubber Tracks in Austin, shot at the Big Orange and Shine Studios.