Celebrating a new album, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad has given The Pier 2 Songs as this week’s Leaks. The download contains 2 songs “Far Away” and “Country”, and the Country album digital booklet. See what the group had to say & view their upcoming dates..
To Explain the background of each song, Bassist/Vocalist James Searl & Guitarist/Vocalist Dan Keller pulled the curtain back, describing the meaning of “Country” and “Far Away”:
“The song “Country” is about Mexican Americans being treated like non humans while the fact is this country wouldn’t be anything if it wasn’t for them. This story happens a lot in America. People really have to think about what it means to live within a border with each other. The concept of being American seems flawed by many people who think that this country exists for them and not for others who do the work.” – James Searl
“An anthem for lovers and seekers of life and living, “Far Away” was written in the spirit of discovery. While discovering who we are, what we can do, and where we can go, we come across others that become a part of these experiences. No matter where we end up in life, or who we’re with, home is where your love is.” – Dan Keller
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad Bio/Background:
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 has released new album, Country, on January 31st, 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 has released Country on January 31st, and will release the next album, In These Times on April 10th.
Giant Panda’s Upcoming Tour Dates:
Feb 09 @ Virginia Key GrassRoots Festival, Miami, FL
Feb 17 @ Oneonta Theatre, Oneonta, NY
Feb 18 @ Westcott Theater, Syracuse, NY
Feb 23 @ Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA [Acoustic]
Feb 24 @ Rockwood Music Hall: Stage 2, New York, NY [Acoustic]
Feb 26 @ Zeno’s, State College, PA [Acoustic]
Mar 14 @ Martin’s Downtown, Roanoke, VA
Mar 16 @ North Star Bar, Philadelphia, PA
Mar 17 @ 9:30 Club, Washington, DC (w/The Infamous Stringdusters)
Giant Panda Links
Giant Panda Website
Giant Panda Show Locator
Giant Panda Photo Gallery