Mary Kang

When Khruangbin released their 2015 debut, The Universe Smiles Upon You, the Houston trio was still relatively unknown. The record’s groovy instrumentals reframe Thai psych jams and surf pop, reveling in a globally inspired paradigm of lush 1970s cool. With their sophomore record, Con Todo El Mundo (released in January via Dead Oceans), the group expands the scope of their sonic explorations to include Middle Eastern, Indian, and Caribbean sounds.

There’s room for commentary about the borderless cultural power of music, especially since the band casting such a wide musical net comes from a border state. For Khruangbin, however, the groove is in the heart.

“We’re a feel band; we all like feel-based stuff,” says bassist Laura Lee. “When you’re at a certain headspace and you’re writing with that feeling, I think it comes out. You see people emotionally dance and it’s powerful, or you see a painting that feels emotional. I think a lot of that is just literally the energy that goes into it.”