Khruangbin (Thai for airplane, or literally "engine fly") are a jet-setting trio from Texas whose smooth, mainly instrumental music is heavily inspired by Thai rock and funk from the '60s and '70s, as well as a multitude of other influences ranging from surf rock to dub to Iranian pop. Active since the early 2010s, the group's indefinable yet singular and highly accessible sound has attracted a remarkably wide audience. Following the release of their second album, 2018's Con Todo el Mundo, Khruangbin were regularly playing sold-out concerts around the globe, and their music had become a fixture of various streaming platforms.
The band formed after guitarist Mark Speer and bassist Laura Lee performed with Yppah while opening for Bonobo's 2010 American tour. Speer and Lee began working on music together, and Speer's bandmate Donald Johnson, Jr. — also a prolific Southern rap producer — became the group's drummer. The trio debuted with a self-released cassette and a 7", and their song "A Calf Born in Winter" was included on Bonobo's 2013 LateNightTales mix. Response to the song was overwhelmingly positive, and the group was signed to Night Time Stories Ltd. Following a limited Record Store Day 7" of "A Calf Born in Winter," the band's 10" EP The Infamous Bill was released in 2014. History of Flight, a 2015 Record Store Day EP, featured covers of songs by some of the group's influences, including Serge Gainsbourg and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Khruangbin's full-length debut, The Universe Smiles Upon You, arrived by the end of the year, and a remix EP followed in 2016. The year proved to be an important one for Khruangbin — they opened for Father John Misty throughout his tour of the U.K. and Europe, and they embarked on headlining tours throughout the U.K. and America. The band's second album, Con Todo el Mundo, was released in early 2018, and hit the road on highly successful tours with the Mattson 2 and Leon Bridges. By the end of the year, the group had issued a limited concert LP (Live at Lincoln Hall) and a cover of Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here," in addition to collaborating with Maribou State for the song "Feel Good." ~ Paul Simpson