You might remember that Chicago band, Calm Palm Vapor? Well, I’m not sure if they’ve since disbanded but band-member Jose Alejandro Rodriguez (woof, could he have a more Mexican name?) hit me up recently with his new project, Panda Riot. Looks like he’s doing aux percussion on this new, The Breeders-inspired badboy, where he’s teamed up with the already established Philadelphia transplants, Rebeca (keyboards and vocals), Brian (guitar, drum machine) and fellow Chi-town addition, Justin (bass).
Promoting their Serious Radical Girls 7“, Panda Riot is gearing up for a knee throbbing rock ‘n roll free for all on Saturday, June 9 (RSVP via Face). This shoegaze-ish dreampop band makes me all warm and tingly inside. Not, simply because I respect and admire the talented Rodriguez and trust that whatever musical endeavour he tackles promises to be solid-gold, but because Panda Riot has all the things I like in a band, faintly- strained female leads, noisy rumbles and a lot of gusto.
The effervescent qualities of the group and their well established stream of releases, makes the weary music journalist in me, calm in my resolve that Panda Riot will stand the test of time. Having garnered some attention already, and survived a move from Phili to the Chi, I have to extend my second-city love to anyone that relocates to our humble, working-class town. The additions of some Chicago residents to the mix can only serve to strengthen, what seems to be, a pretty tight group. The magic Rebeca and Brian started in their bedroom recordings for some film soundtracks then transformed into the magical Panda Riot, captivates all the more.
On their first release, Far and Near EP you can feel the cinematic qualities of R. & B.’s artistry seep through. I honestly can’t wait for their party for Seriously Radical Girls. Join us Saturday on the south-westside, at what looks like the band’s cooky studio practice-space in the warehouse district just a couple blocks north of the Kedzie Green Line stop. It’s gonna be a glorious night. Give a listen to Videotape and Sister Crystal too. The lullaby, sugar pop chill openers promise to make the night all the mores splendid.