If you’ve watched any Khruangbin concert videos, then you know the trio loves to weave in some covers alongside their original funky material, including songs by Toni Braxton, Chris Isaak, Michael McDonald, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and Sade.
One of their best covers is of Kool & The Gang’s “Summer Madness,” which the band has covered in full for their entry into the long-running “Late Night Tales” album series. The goal of the “Late Night Tales” series is for artists to create the best mix of music for late night listening, and that’s precisely what the Texas trio does with “Summer Madness.” (Previous “Late Night Tales” participants include Ólafur Arnalds, Belle & Sebastian, Nils Frahm, and David Holmes.)
I’ve written at length about what’s so intoxicating about Khruangbin’s music, and “Summer Madness” is Khruangbin at their Khruangbin-iest. Mark Speer’s guitar tones will expand your mind more than any psychedelic, Laura Lee’s bassline is smooth and supple, and Donald Ray Johnson Jr.‘s drumming is as precise as any atomic clock. Combine all that with some lovely string accents and you’ve got a song that’s far too short at just three minutes; a song this mellow can and should go all night long.
2020’s been a busy year for Khruangbin. In addition to their “Late Night Tales” entry (which comes out December 4), they’ve also released the Mordechai full-length and Texas Sun, an excellent collaboration with soul singer Leon Bridges.