Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Khruangbin

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Khruangbin | Photo by Katie Tapman for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is the band behind my favorite album of 2018 (so far, anyway). The road to Khruangbin’s formation is as swirling and easily-paced as the band’s music. Guitarist Mark Speer and drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson originally met when they played in a gospel band in their hometown of Houston, Texas. Later, Speer met bassist Laura Lee while touring with another band and the idea came up to form a group focused on performing a mélange of globally influenced music. Once the trio was assembled, their fusion of Thai funk, jazz, film music and more immediately caught people’s attention. Earlier this year, Khruangbin released their second album, Con Todo El Mundo. The album is an expertly crafted blend of in-pocket grooves, textural vocals and the occasional funk breakdown. Before the first of two sold-out shows opening for Leon Bridges at the Fillmore, Khruangbin stopped by our studio for a career-spanning live performance.


Our session kicks off with “Lady and Man,” a multi-part odyssey through Khruangbin’s bag of musical tricks. A light and airy amble gives way to a slightly menacing stomp before the whole thing turns into the funky coda to end all funky codas. Next is “Evan Finds the Third Room,” which happens to boast the year’s most unabashedly joyful music video. Even separated from its instantly iconic visuals, the song is a highlight of both the album and this session. The trio digs into their catalogue for “White Gloves,” which originally appeared on their 2015 debut, The Universe Smiles Upon You. That album was intended to be listened to as a complete experience, but this snippet provides a plenty alluring glimpse into the band’s roots. The same can be said for the closing song, “The Number 4.” Dating back to one of Khruangbin’s earliest EPs, the dreamy instrumental shows that the band’s direction and vision has been strongly in place from the outset.

Listen to Khruangbin’s Indie Rock Hit Parade session and check out Katie Tapman’s photos from the studio below. Also be sure to check out Khruangbin’s expanded Fall tour schedule, which includes a stop at Union Transfer on 11/30.

11.06 Phoenix, AZ The Van Buren
11.07 Las Vegas, NV Vinyl Las Vegas
11.09 Oakland, CA Fox Theater – Oakland
11.10 San Diego, CA The Observatory North Park **SOLD OUT**
11.11 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
11.13 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst Club
11.14 Chico, CA El Rey • Chico, CA
11.17 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom
11.18 Seattle, WA Moore Theatre
11.19 Vancouver, BC The Vogue Theatre
11.27 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue & 7th St Entry
11.28 Chicago, IL The Vic Theatre
11.29 Toronto, ON The Danforth Music Hall
11.30 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer
12.01 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
12.6 – Boston, MA Royale **SOLD OUT**
12.07 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
12.8 Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Steel **SOLD OUT
12.9 Brooklyn, NY BrooklynSteel
12.11 Raleigh, NC Lincoln Theatre
12.12 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
12.15 Denver, CO The Ogden Theatre **SOLD OUT**

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