Photo by Mary Kang
Khruangbin is a mixed-up thing: a trio of Houstonians, recently based in London, who’ve toured with Father John Misty and Bonobo, all while playing a shadowy, instrumental stew of Thai-influenced psychedelic funk. That time-and-space displacement lends itself well to the music on The Universe Smiles Upon You, Khruangbin’s 2015 debut. It’s become one of my go-to rabbit hole albums: something to fall into and let the outside world wash away.
A wider world sneaks its way into “Maria Tambien,” a new single from Khruangbin. True to its name, the song finds the band exploring Latin rhythms and ideas, partially borrowed from bassist Laura Lee’s own Mexican-American roots. There’s also a heavy Middle Eastern accent, a tacit acknowledgement that a lot of Latin music shares the same DNA. Khruangbin’s pan-global mix isn’t exoticism. It’s played with skill and awe by three genuine students of music, genre be damned. Their new album title spells it out: Con Todo El Mundo (With All The World).
“Maria Tambien” appears on Con Todo El Mundo, out January 26 via Dead Oceans.
–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX