Khruangbin release The Universe Smiles Upon You

Khruangbin - The Universe Smiles Upon You

Khruangbin are a pretty distant cousin of surf, but they're worth mentioning here because:

a) They're guitar-based and mostly instrumental
b) c) I am going nuts over this album and it wouldn't surprise me if there are other surf fans that would too.

I found out about Khruangbin how I found out about a lot of surf groups: my morning scan of bandcamp new releases tagged as surf. Since then they had a Record Store Day vinyl release, got featured on a mixtape from Bonobo, and then the hype machine really got rolling. But it's very hard to call them a surf group. I've seen them list influences like Ernie Isley (makes sense once you point it out), Takeshi Terauchi (definitely), and thai pop, which has been stuck to them as a genre. No genres, y'all, this is a very unique sounding record. It's slow and contemplative, kinda sexy, definitely mysterious, absolutely pretty. 

This is their first record to have any vocals. Apparently people had been bugging them about all their instrumentals, which makes me bristle... but damn if I don't love the vocal tracks. Their initial single "White Gloves" is probably my favorite on the album. Vocals are an instrument as well, and they use them with strategy and restraint. The whole LP is definitely a bit on the cool side, with only one real upbeat track in the wonderful "People Everywhere (Still Alive)".

I know I said it's unique, and it is, but if you're listening to this and going nuts trying to find something close, the best I can do is Angelo Spencer et les Haunts Sommets.

Stream it now! I've got the vinyl release, sounds excellent.

This may be my overall favorite record this year.


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