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How Come I'm Dead

Hot Panda

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Album Review

On their debut album Volcano … Bloody Volcano, Hot Panda sounded like the sort of band that loves pop music, but thinks it's more fun to mess with it a little than to play it straight. Apparently, Hot Panda enjoyed this approach enough that they decided to mess with it a lot more on album number two, and How Come I'm Dead? takes their music significantly deeper into the twilight zone than before. How Come I'm Dead? opens with the dire and droning "Membership Fees (Intro)," whose languid repeated melody is punctuated by horns and naïve guitars, while the snappy uptempo twist of the next tune, "Evil Nature," is punctuated by shards of guitar noise like Thurston Moore hasn't unleashed in a decade. "F**k S**t Up" sounds like a polite variation on the themes of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, with a sassy Darby Crash impersonator on lead vocals, and "1995" could pass for a vintage funk single played at 78 rpm if you weren't paying close attention. And the faux siren that refuses to resolve itself on "Poor Little Ambulance" will make most folks wonder where the rescue squad is headed. The willful eccentricities of How Come I'm Dead? take up enough space that on first listen, it's easy to overlook just how good Hot Panda are when they're in the mood to write a solid tune; the slightly garage-y pout of "Shoot Your Horse" is delightful; "Start Making Sense" is a canny and effective interpretation of the sort of indie rock/guitar rocker that's Yo La Tengo's stock in trade; "Pools" is an exercise in dance-friendly pop that's spirited and charming, and the atmospheric waft of "Late Night Calling (Outro)" could be stretched out significantly longer without losing its impact. Hot Panda are better being a great little indie pop band than a great little art-damaged indie pop band, but even when they get a bit pretentious, How Come I'm Dead? is effective enough that these folks manage to have it both ways.

Customer Reviews

I like it, others not so much?

I read a lot of reviews on the free single of the week page for the song Start Making Sense, from this album, that said they hated it. I'm not sure I really understand that, I like this album quite a bit. Maybe you just have to have an ear for indie rock or something like that. Anyway, don't let those reviews on the single of the week page fool you if your a fan of indie music, this is a great buy, especially for the sale price of 6 bucks. I'd snap it up while you can!

They are really great

This band came to my school to play, and we absolutly loved it. They know how to entertain. With the diversity of instruments, it was very interesting to watch. They sound great too. For someone who doesn't usually like this genre of music, i give it two thumbs up!

GREAT!

awesome band i personally know the drummer! worth ten dollars i swear!

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

While driving past a billboard advertisement for a Panda Hut, Chris Connelly jokingly asked his bandmates whether the Chinese buffet chain served steaming panda bear on rice. This spawned the name Hot Panda — an appropriately cheeky name for a cheeky indie pop group. With an admitted inability to play their instruments with skill and a love for peppy melodies, the members of the Canadian four-piece take a lo-fi approach to their music. Despite being rooted in '70s punk and Brit-pop, they sound...
Full bio