A la Sala, Khruangbin

Dead Oceans and Night Time Stories, April 5 

It may sound like trite exaggeration to say Khruangbin’s fourth studio album blows the doors off the barn—except the trio records its music in one, located on the family property of guitarist Mark “Marko” Speer, in tiny Burton (population three hundred), about 85 miles west of Houston. Speer, Laura Lee Ochoa on bass and vocals, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums create a globe-trotting surf-rock sound, though, that is about as far as you can get from stables and haystacks.


Act II, Beyoncé

Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records, March 29 

Queen Bey is, at last, entering her country era, in the second installment of her three-act project, a genre-spanning exploration of American music’s Black roots. The first, 2022’s Renaissance, traced how disco evolved into house and electronic dance music. As she trades in sequins for rhinestones, the question is not if but by how much Queen Bey will change country music. 


Civil War

Produced by A24, for release on April 12 

In this dystopian thriller starring Kirsten Dunst and featuring an appearance by her husband, native Texan Jesse Plemons, a second civil war rages in the United States, journalists risk their lives to document the conflict, and a third-term president orders air strikes on Americans while separatist forces from California, Florida, and Texas fight against loyalist states. If you’re looking for escapism, stay away. 


Loose of Earth, by Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn

University of Texas Press, April 16

Blackburn was twelve and living in Lubbock in the late nineties when her evangelical family was devastated by the news that her father, a former Air Force pilot, had terminal colon cancer. In this moving memoir that weaves together seemingly disparate themes such as environmentalism and religion, the author details her relatives’ faith-driven slide into folly and the likely cause of their tragedy: government negligence.    

This article originally appeared in the April 2024 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Four Reasons This Is a Great Month in Texas Culture.” Subscribe today.