By Monica Pizzo
With the harsh, cold weather happening lately, many of us have been dreaming of summer, beaches, relaxing music and soothing waves. That’s why this week for The Underground, we’ll be featuring a group that exemplifies those summer vibes.
Khruangbin is a three-person group based in Houston, Texas, that mixes multi-ethnic sounds to create their ambient style. This band, whose name translates to “airplane” in Thai, mixes soul with surf, funk with synth and ambient with pop to produce a sound that is extremely distinctive.
A barn near Houston is the birthplace of this trio. Laura Lee, the bassist, Mark Speer, on guitar, and Donald Johnson, on drums, came together a few years back without any idea they’d become a Thai-funk band.
Lee stated in an interview with Noisey, “We never really set out for a specific sound. I think we decided to go with a very playful intention, and let our influences of the time of day or the feelings that surrounded us influence what was happening.”
Overtime, they developed their distinctive sound and became known as the multicultural surf-soul band far from the sea. Their ‘60s and ‘70s inspired ambient style became popular when their video for “A Calf Born in Winter” was featured on Bonobo’s Late Night Tales mix. This lead to their signing on the record label Night Time Stories.
Their album The Universe Smiles Upon You was released in November 2015 and features songs with eccentric names such as “Two Fish and an Elephant” and “The Man Who Took My Sunglasses.”
The album itself has no particular theme, but most of the songs fall under the category of what you want to listen to on the beach in the middle of nowhere. Their surf-inspired guitar mixed with relaxing bass and muted drums puts you in a trance, making you believe that you’re in the warmth and sunshine, even though you are actually wrapped in three blankets hiding from the snow outside.
Khruangbin is the perfect mix of styles that all mesh together to form a multifaceted, exciting group that makes you want to keep listening. Click the link here whenever you need to escape from the cold.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Khruangbin’s Facebook page.
Monica Pizzo is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.