Sunday, June 3, 2018

Khruangbin - Con Todo El Mundo (2018)

I'm going to briefly explain how a Houston based trio, manages to build a career on making some of the most unique Surf, Psychadellic, Thai-Funk music in the history of the world.  Oh, you don't think it's possible?  What part?  The part where they're from Houston Texas and sound like this?

Maria TambiƩn

It's kind of easy really.  The same way a lot of indie groups figure out their sounds, maybe this one is slightly different.  Instead of meeting in college or on a concert circuit, they met in church.  Not just any church in Texas though.  This was St. John's Methodist Church in Houston.  Yep, the same church that gave rise to some little group called Destiny's Child.  The guitarist, Mark Speer, and drummer Donald Ray started out there playing for the church group.  It wasn't until a little while down the road that Speer met up with Laura Lee and taught her to play the bass that Khuangbin was born.  

Their first EP back in 2010 was nothing short of a tease.  It was a collection of 3 tracks that sounded much more like a DJ set/sampler.  It spanned everything from soul to deep psychedelia to shades of an Afgan that frankly I doubt anybody in Texas had ever heard of before.  While it was brilliant, and the people needed to hear more it wasn't until almost 5 years later that they came out with their first album, The Universe Smiles Upon You.

People Everywhere (Still Alive)

Their newest album, Con Todo El Mundo our this past February, was something that I stumbled on while looking for something different.  Over the past year or so, I've fallen into enjoying psychedelic music more.  Bands like Tame Impala and Gum have definitely made modern psych more popular.  Khruangbin popped up on Reddit of all places as a passing comment on my blog after someone read my post about Tame Impala and how I had been looking for something that in the same ballpark.  Khruangbin was nowhere close.  Their music style has a lot more melody and soul than psych ever will.  You can get lost in the strings of this like you could in the electric(ness) of traditional psych.  This is a lot less synth and a lot more driving.  Lee's bass is powerful, Dj's drumming is simple yet funk driving.  And Mark Speers guitar work is nothing short of world style  If that makes any sense.  Throw in the elements of good old southern church music and you've got a really laid back sound that managed to marry everything exotic of music you just couldn't imagine ever hearing from Texas.

Evan Fins The Third Room

It's kind of fun to listen to all of their music and see where they drew influence from.  I could swear that I've heard shades of west coast hip-hop, European jazz, funk for sure, and definitely some 60's/70's soul.  For an instrumental heavy group, it's cool to hear these guys with such a wide reach, both in their inspiration and hearing their music in the wild.  There's no doubt that with this current album, they're going to become a whole lot more popular.  As a matter of fact, I think, if you really listen hard enough, you'll recognize some of their music.  

As usual, I had to get this album the day it dropped.  I snagged the white edition from Newberry Comics, only because the edition I wanted from Late Night Tales was sold out in the weeks leading up to its release.  Keep an eye on Late Night Tales, those guys have a bunch of artists and series of DJ album's that you're just not listening to and you really should be.  

Here are some links:

Khruangbin on Bandcamp

Khruangbin on Twitter

And in case you missed the link on the left sidebar, their NPR Tiny Desk concert from May 19th


I'll be back, maybe in a few days.  I'm kind of on vacation, not too far from the world famous Red Scroll Records.  Something tells me, I'm going to hit that store like I'm mad at it this week.  Also, if there's anyone in the NYC area that hasn't heard, you're really missing out by not going to Academy records in either Brooklyn or their East Village shops.  You never know what gems you'll find there.  Like that awesome Siouxsie and The Banshees album, I'm coveting on their wall in Brooklyn right now.  

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