Khruangbin, meaning flying engine of airplane in Thai, are a Houston-based trio consisting of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Ray Johnson Jr. on drums. Hailing from Houston one of the most diverse cities in the country, it’s no wonder their music is able to so seamlessly mix sounds and influences. Johnson and Speer, having first met through their involvement in a gospel church band, recruited Lee after realizing a mutual interest in Afghan music. While the band has delved into many influences, their core sound is that of mostly instrumental psychedelic rock with heavy bass lines. Upon solidification of their lineup, name, and sound, the trio toured with Bonobo, who helped debut the song “Calf Born in Winter” to the world. The traction and fan base developed from the affinity towards this single was the foundation Khruangbin released their 2015 debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You. This album contains some of their most popular songs to date including “White Gloves” and “Two Fish and an Elephant” – two tracks perfect for those cozy Sunday afternoons or long contemplative drives with no destination at hand.
The release of The Universe Smiles Upon You provided most of the setlist for their following tours with artists like Tycho and Chicano Batman. They have also made their mark on the festival world, having performed at ACL, Glastonbury, Outside Lands, SXSW, and most recently Coachella in 2019. In part a tribute to Laura Lee’s Mexican – American heritage, the band’s second album Con Todo El Mundo, was released in 2018. The album follows in Khruangbin style with tunes just as technical and calming as before. To challenge some of the consistency in their style, Khruangbin released Hast El Cielo, a dub reggae style version of Con Todo El Mundo. I personally am a fan of artist covers because it allows you to see how another artists with a distinct sound would take on an already established song. For Khruangbin to in a sense cover themselves adds another layer to their artistry.
After playing countless shows this year, the band is set to make their hometown stop in Houston on November 2nd at the White Oak Music Hall Lawn and it’s said to be a special one. If you need even more of a reason to come to the show, the band has issued a KhruCall for Laura Lee’s birthday in hopes that Houston fans will sell out the show! You can buy your tickets here. After purchasing your ticket to the show be sure to brush up on their tracks by streaming on Spotify or Apple Music.