Khruangbin & Leon Bridges are pleased to announce Texas Sun, their forthcoming collaborative EP out February 7th on Dead Oceans, in partnership with Columbia Records and Night Time Stories Ltd. In conjunction with today’s announcement, they present its title track. Over a slowly rolling backbeat and strums of flamenco-style guitar, Bridges sings of the pull the unique Texan landscape can have on you, even from miles away. It’s a stunner of an opener, kicking off the EP’s own journey through homesick reminiscences, backseat romances, and late-night contemplations.
Texas Sun is the kind of record made for listening with the windows down and the road humming softly beneath you. Their first time writing with a vocalist, Texas Sun finds Khruangbin—formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums—tailoring their exotic funk to Bridges’ soulful melodies. On the EP, these Texas natives meet up somewhere in the mythical nexus of the state’s past, present, and future—a dreamy badlands where genres blur as seamlessly as the terrain. The state’s music is as varied and wild as its geography, producing Southern rap pioneers Geto Boys and UGK, lysergic trailblazers The 13th Floor Elevators, and genres-unto-themselves like St. Vincent, Gary Clark Jr., and Beyoncé. Texas Sun lives here too, a record that calls equally to the chopped-and-screwed hip-hop fans rattling slabs on the southside of Houston, to those who grew up on listening to both mariachi and post-hardcore out on the Mexican borders of El Paso, to the Austin acid-dropping art school kids. All of these things overlap on Texas Sun in a multicolored melange, purple hues as vivid and unpredictable as one of the state’s rightfully celebrated sunsets.
“We try not to have too much of an intention, because it gets in the way of what the music wants to do,” Lee says. “If you just let the music do what it’s supposed to do, it will reveal itself. We tried to take that same approach with Leon. For us, it was opening up our world to have another person in it. But all of it feels like Texas to me.”
Texas Sun started on the road and wrapped up in the studio. Both Bridges and Khruangbin had been touring nonstop behind their acclaimed sophomore LPs when their paths converged for a joint North American tour in 2018, a run of shows stretching from Los Angeles to New York. Although both of their musical lanes were slightly different, they shared a dusty, laid back vibe. When a Khruangbin session yielded a song that seemed like it might pair well with Bridges’ voice, the band sent it over. Bridges returned the track with his vocals the very next day. They all soon decamped to the studio with engineer Steve Christensen, hoping to make it into a B-side. But everything flowed so naturally, it was obvious this would be something bigger, leading to Texas Sun.
“Big sky country, that’s what they call Texas,” Lee says. Texas Sun effortlessly evokes the feeling of being behind the wheel, nothing but that big sky before you, your mind set free to wander. It’s a sound that should keep you good company on your own winding roads, wherever they may lead, and always back home.