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Go Outside

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iTunes Review

Hot Panda's fourth full-length release, Go Outside, could be a turning point. It’s a smartly packaged collection of tunes that showcase the band’s stylistic dexterity: a trumpet's brilliant shine plays off abrasive, noise-tinged guitars, while snappy rhythms sit neatly next to jittery, over-caffeinated keyboard ululations. The roiling, grimy “One in the Head” starts things with an ominous thrill, but the band quickly slips into the surprisingly summery “Language,” full of sweet and simple plucked guitar notes and a cello that see-saws a rhythmic bottom when it’s not exhaling a lungful of baritone. That cello is a highlight of the bittersweet, spry “Littered Coins,” while “Future Markets” is all electropop and guitar-stealth cool. Female vocals (from drummer Maghan Campbell and multi-instrumentalist/cellist Catherine Hiltz) are a most effective counter to the vinegar bite of frontman Chris Connelly. From the lulling pop of “Maybe Now?” to the sad waltz of “Holidays,” there are enough textures here to keep listeners entranced for a good long time.


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 nothing...
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Go Outside, Hot Panda
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