For our friends who live in countries where YouTube is blocked, watch the session on Vimeo.
1 Kids In The Square
2 All Night Music
3 Far Away
5 In These Times
6 Good To You
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.