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  • Writer's pictureKristine England


Khruangbin was born in a barn. The Texas trio sounds like they should be from San Francisco, yet they first teamed up in the tiny town of Buxton, TX, jamming in a local barn. Guitarist Mark Speer met drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson while playing in a gospel band at a Houston church. Adding Laura Lee, a former math teacher, on bass, this unlikely triad created musical alchemy.

With Lee’s funky basslines along with Speer’s bluesy psychedelic guitar (channeling Jorma Kaukonen) and tight timekeeping by Johnson, they have formulated a sound that is both funky and dreamy. Their shared passion for a variety of global sounds has shaped their aesthetic. Middle Eastern timbres, 70s Thai funk and surf music all have a home within their mesmerizing world.

Laura Lee barely knew how to play the bass when she first met Speer in 2007. He began to teach her the instrument in 2009, and just a year later the two joined Yppah and Bonobo on tour. That exposure paved the way for the two to get serious about forming a band, and when they enlisted Johnson, Khruangbin was born. The name means "flying engine" or "aeroplane" in Thai. The group’s first EP landed in 2010.

The relationship forged with Bonobo proved beneficial. He included “Calf Born in Winter” on his Late Night Tales compilation in 2014. That got the attention of fans and a record deal. The Universe Smiles Upon You, the band’s first full-length record, debuted a year later. Their latest, Con Todo El Mundo, was released in 2015 and contains more unforgettable grooves and trippy guitars. Largely instrumental, when the group does add vocals, they usually sing together. Their musical odyssey continues to produce magic.

Maria También



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