LATE NIGHT TALES, the long-running and superb compilation series curated so far by pretty much every cool band of our times, from Belle & Sebastian to Air, from Jon Hopkins to MGMT, from The Flaming Lips to Nils Frahm and, most recently, Hot Chip, has announced that the latest in the series will see Texan sonic voyagers Khruangbin at the controls, for what promises to be a joyously eclectic journey.
Actually, Khruangbin and Late Night Tales have a long relationship; for, after self-releasing a CD-R and a brace of singles, the first time they featured on a lot of music lovers’ radars is when their track “A Calf Born In Winter” was selected by Bonobo for his edition in the series back in 2013.
That appearance led to Khruangbin being the first people to release on Late Night Tales’ sister imprint, Night Time Stories, with The Universe Smiles Upon You and its follow-up, Con Todo El Mundo, which really broke them globally, coming out in 2015 and 2018, respectively. It’s a relationship that continues to this day; letting them invite us all back to theirs for a late-night tunes session was an invitation that had to happen.
The band say: “Late Night Tales is such a special thing to be a part of, because we wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for Bonobo’s. That’s how we got into the LNT family – and got a break.”
As is da rulez with a Late Night Tales release, Khruangbin have had to include a cover version – and they’ve shared their blissed-out take on Kool & The Gang’s “Summer Madness”. Take a listen below, and hear how they remould it into the lazy, noonday glimmer of Khruangbin at their best.
“‘Summer Madness’ became a staple in this medley that we play,” says drummer DJ Johnson.
“Specifically, one of my favourite things about it is the tone of the bass; [it] really reminds me a lot of Laura Lee’s bass, which has this chunky, peanut butter, rich tone.
“It was always a special moment getting to that song because it just did something to the room, everywhere.”
Laura continues: “‘Summer Madness’ was paying homage to Kool & The Gang, a band we aspire to be like – we’ve played it a hundred times, but never in full.”
And as you might expect, Khruangbin’s late night tale is one of global groove, from Asian pop to Nigerian reggae and Japanese mellow tuneage to Latina flavours.
Features are tracks like Nazia Hassan’s Hindi-disco “Khushi,” produced by British-Indian legend Biddu; South Korean rock band Sanullim, who contribute “Don’t Go”; a pair of African bangers from Nigerian Maxwell Udoh and Roha Band, from Ethiopia.
Elsewhere, the Lone Star state represents proudly, with David Marez and Kelly Doyle, while the mix concludes with an exclusive, Khruangbin-produced spoken word piece by Tierney Malone, accompanied by fellow Houstonian Geoffrey Muller’s atmospheric banjo rendering of Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne.”
“We definitely wanted to cover as much global territory as possible,” say Khruangbin, “so it was the globe and then home.
“We wanted to show the treasures from our hometown, or people from our hometown that the rest of the world probably doesn’t know. Then these gems from across the world, showcasing them in the same way.
“That’s what makes Khruangbin Khruangbin. The stubbornness about being so hometown-centric. But what makes Houston is this constant international influence; that’s the gulf stream, bringing it right into the city.”
Late Night Tales: Khruangbin will be released on December 4th, and will available on digital download, cassette, CD and vinyl; there’s also limited bundles of the cassette and vinyl with an orange 7″, which is pretty sexy. Pre-order yours here.