Khruangbin are a largely instrumental Houston trio that take elements of ’60s and ’70s Thai funk, soul, psych, R&B, surf, and jazz and pull it all into the same spacious but distinct sonic universe. Bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer, and drummer Donald Johnson recorded their debut album The Universe Smiles Upon You in a barn deep in the Texas countryside, and during the long drives out, they would listen to cassettes they found on the blog Monrakplengthai and compilations of Southeast Asian pop, rock, and funk — their name literally translates to “engine fly,” meaning airplane in Thai. The result is something both groove-heavy and dreamy, and it absolutely evokes the deep-in-the-wilderness, staring-at-the-stars sense of mysticism that its title and cover art hint at. Listen below.
The Universe Smiles Upon You is out 11/6 on Night Time Stories, a subsidiary of Late Night Tales. Pre-order it here.