Chicago Band Spotlight: Panda Riot

Upcoming shows:
August 2 - Hungry Brain (2319 W Belmont Ave) 9PM
August 14 - Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont Ave.) second of three bands

It's confession time. Okay, I'll go first. I've always had a weakness for ethereal, female-fronted bands like Cocteau Twins, the Sundays, My Bloody Valentine and so on. Call me crazy, but the sound of breathy, femme vox juxtaposed against a wall of shimmering, distorted guitars is absolute musical heaven. Sadly, it seems as if such bands disappeared off the face of the radio dial the minute the 80's drew to a close, never to return.

Sure, there were occasional glimmers of hope in the 90's with the occasional gem from Belly, Juliana Hatfield, or the Breeders, but never enough to fully rekindle the flame.

Chicago's Panda Riot seem to have read my mind and, in doing so, have created a spectacular EP called Far And Near that blows the dust off of a genre I feared long-dead. This isn’t merely some band being revivalist for the sake of being revivalist, though. In Panda Riot’s hands, “shoegaze” has never sounded so good.

Opener "Julie In Time" is an elegiac anthem that is equal parts Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine, with a hint of Throwing Muses added for good measure.

"Motown Glass" answers the question of what Swing Out Sister might have sounded like if they'd had a decent guitarist and a few more Pink Floyd records in their collection.

"Streetlights And You And Me" recalls Papas Fritas and the Primitives, creating an irresistibly playful cacophony of jangly guitars and head-swimming vocal harmonies. Check the it 1989? No? Are you sure?

"When You Said, When I Said" begins with a steady, heady foundation of swirling guitars and keys atop which the rapid-fire chorus refrain glides weightlessly, creating a buoyant yet blissfully dark and spacey neo-psychedelic haze.

The one complaint we have is that Panda Riot chose only to release an EP. Count us among the growing number of Panda Riot fans anxiously awaiting a new full-length. Until then, those of us who are just discovering this great Chicago band can check out their 2007 full-length She Dares All Things.

MP3 - Panda Riot - Julie In Time

NEW INFO: Brian from Panda Riot emailed to let you guys know that the band has a NEW tune called "Northern Automatic Music" on the Crash Avenue compilation Guerilla Vs. Bear. You can download the entire compilation for FREE by clicking riiiiiiiiight HERE.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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