Bedroom-pop wunderkind Cuco forges a new path for pop | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Bedroom-pop wunderkind Cuco forges a new path for pop


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Under the name Cuco, LA-area bedroom-pop artist Omar Banos makes pop music of the future. Since the age of 16, he’s been crafting unassuming, easygoing songs that juggle the sounds of hip-hop, Muzak, yacht rock, indie rock, and shards of other genres as if they’d always been meant to be experienced together in such a fashion. Now 20, Banos has two self-released albums and an EP to his name, and his ability to handle every aspect of the creation process while molding his sound to his collaborators suggests he could be a one-man hit factory. May’s Chiquito EP features a couple appearances by rapper J-Kwest, whose personality fills the woozy Beatles-referencing “Lucy,” though Cuco still dominates this too-short release—he sings in both Spanish and English, and his tranquil, lovelorn vocals get the message across no matter which language he chooses. As he recently told NPR, “Love songs just kind of come out very naturally, me being a very romantic person.” His best performances feel as though they could have come only from him, and also feel intimately familiar, though there’s often some reason for that; the chirping melody of “CRV” interpolates the classic “Mr. Sandman,” but Banos gives the track a hip-hop kick that makes it sound ahead of its time. Banos’s vision has a hold now, and not just in terms of his own success (though, hey, a Lollapalooza gig ain’t bad); Chicago bedroom-pop artist Victor Cervantes, now recording as “Victor Internet,” has quickly become one of the most compelling local musicians to emerge this year, credits Banos as a source of inspiration.   v

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