For over five years, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad’s live show has defined the band. Touring relentlessly, the Rochester, NY-based group is sustained by its passion to reinterpret, explore, and expand its music night after night in cities throughout the country.
Now, 767 concerts since the 2006 release of their debut album “Slow Down,” GPGDS is set to release a new album, “Country,” on January 31, 2012, on the California-based label Controlled Substance Sound Labs. With this release, the quintet has charted new territory and put together a lyrically-driven roots Americana album.
Combining acoustic instrumentation including slide guitar, banjo, harmonica, upright piano, percussion, and bass, the album showcases songs as they were first created: on the road, riding in the van, and jamming backstage. The production of “Country” taps into that spontaneous rhythm, allowing the music to wash over listeners like a conversation between old friends. James Searl, Dylan Savage, and Dan Keller trade off lead vocal duties, with back up vocals provided by drummer Chris O’Brian, and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Lipp.
“Country” is an immensely personal album that balances the themes of love separated by distance, while also inspiring reflection on the tumultuous times that we live in. On songs such as “Country” and “Kids In The Square,” James Searl explores elements of the social unrest and Occupy movements that have defined 2011. These emotions are evident when he sings “Time to get living is now / YouTube the moment try to teach us how / Run to the square with the people you know and you gotta get moving cause the movements been slow” (Kids In The Square).
“Country” was recorded at Scanhope Sound, the Colorado studio owned by the band’s longtime sound engineer Joel Scanlon. Searl says the album was born unexpectedly last summer when “we walked into Joel’s studio and he just pressed record. This is what got laid down. It was unplanned, fun, and real.” The album kept moving forward when Atlanta-based producer Billy Hume (Nas, STS9, Ludacris, Josh Ritter) mixed the tracks shortly after meeting the band at The Festy, near Charlottesville, VA this past October.
Later this spring, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad will release a full electric album, “In These Times.” The psychedelic roots sound will be more familiar to fans who have gotten to know the band through their concerts and live recordings. Controlled Substance Sound Labs will release “Country” on January 31, 2012, and “In These Times” on April 10, 2012.
“Like early Wilco, with a healthy powdering of the stuff that made Gram Parsons’ music so deeply moving, “Country” is a gorgeous collection of Americana ditties.” – The Buffalo News
“On their newest album “Country,” Giant Panda unplug the dub machines and pour out their souls on a special collection of songs that reveal the true heart of this band. It is acoustic roots music at its finest, and it amounts to a major statement of purpose from a group who truly embody the spirit of their music.” – CBS Street Date
“Honestly, it’s as if GPGDS had always been a country band in the vein of, say, The Flying Burrito Brothers. Though the punch wasn’t quite the same – not better or worse, just different – the intensity and harmonic layering at the show was simply beautiful. This just furthers my prediction that this band is going to be huge.” – Rochester City Newspaper
“The band’s five masterful musicians weave layers of complex music within a reggae framework and may be one of the most diverse bands in the genre.” – JamBase
“Giant Panda sounds more than at home live onstage and the band knows it, filling the live set with musical segues and extended, improvised jams throughout the night. This spontaneous approach to a live performance, along with instrumental excursion, comes as no surprise considering the band has played 500 shows in the past three years alone.” – Reggae Movement
James Searl: Bass, Vocals
Chris O’Brian: Drums, Vocals
Dylan Savage: Guitar, Vocals
Aaron Lipp: Hammond B3 Organ, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Harmonica, Vocals
Dan Keller: Guitar, Vocals
Joel Scanlon: Sound/Dub Engineer
Edited by giantpandadub on 30 Jan 2012, 21:42
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