Panda Riot is a dreampop/shoegaze four-piece who currently calls Chicago home. They got started a few years ago when Rebecca Scott (vocals, keyboards) and Brian Cook (guitar) were in Philadelphia working on documentary films. As the story goes, they were working together on the score for some educational film about marine biology. Inspired by some of the underwater sounds, they decided to form Panda Riot.
As a duo with a drum machine and some other electronics, they self-released an album called She Dares All Things in 2007, which created a bit of buzz. Years later, they found themselves in Chicago with a full lineup and a new outlook.
In 2011, they released an EP called Far and Near. Soon after, they signed to the fantastic label Saint Marie Records. If you’ve been reading my posts this week, you know that I’ve just discovered this label and their amazing roster of dreampop and shoegaze bands.
Last summer, the band released a 7″ record “Serious Radical Girls” on SMR, which was gloriously backed with a retool of the same song as done by Dean Garcia of SPC ECO and Blurred City Lights, and most notably, of Curve fame. Although it’s not the song du jour, you should absolutely check out that SPC ECO remix of “Serious Radical Girls” here.
Finally, in February of this year, they released their new album Northern Automatic Music. All of this flew under my radar until the band submitted their record to the mailbag. That was quickly followed by a barrage of other terrific releases from SMR. If you haven’t yet picked up what I’m laying down, this is the third of what will probably be a long series of posts about SMR artists.
The album is packed with lots of lighter-than air, wispier than gossamer moments. It’s also packed with lots of heavy, crushing waves of sound. Today’s song is a little bit of both.
“Good Night, Rich Kids”
After the field recording of the el train and what may be some backwards tape loops, I love the tsunami of sound at 0:15. Then at 0:45, it suddenly gets clean and quiet when Rebecca’s vocals come in. And then again with the pedal stomping and the cacophony through the choruses. I love that kind of organized chaos.
In some ways, I’m reminded of the Philly noise-pop band Bleeding Rainbow.
Get Northern Automatic Music from the Saint Marie Records webstore here.