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Album Review

First things first: if the name of this band leads you to expect a sort of Chinese reggae sound with radical-socialist lyrics, abandon that idea. If the album title leads you to expect country music, then you're actually more on track — though even here, the reality is a bit more complicated. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad use an instrumental lineup (guitar, fiddle, harmonica, banjo, bass, slide, drums) that makes them look, on paper, like something close to a bluegrass band. But the music they make is more like a roots rock fusion of country, Southern rock, and alt-Americana with the occasional sly insertion of psychedelia and, yes, reggae thrown in for fun. Some of the references are oblique: the vocals often evoke Jerry Garcia's strained tenor gruffness (especially on "Far Away" and on their live cover version of the Grateful Dead's "New Speedway Boogie"), and while "In These Times" uses the most explicitly reggae-based rhythmic pattern, "Healing" draws pretty explicitly on the lyrical themes of classic roots reggae. Overall, though, the mood here is a weird sort of stoner-country fusion: lots of long, discursive intros that feature resophonic slide guitar and harmonica, lots of high-lonesome harmony vocals, several deceptively laid-back calls to popular action ("Country," "Kids in the Square"). Aaron Lipp's slide playing is a highlight throughout.

Customer Reviews

Very fresh...

Giant Panda continues to blow me away with their depth as musicians and song writers. They will be heard for decades to come. Very refreshing. Thank you Panda!

Worth the wait!!

I've been patiently waiting for these pandas to release an album for like 5-6 years. And it was so nice to download a new studio GPGDS album. As part of a two pronged attack on the senses the album "Country" (Which will be followed by the album "In these Times" in March) is a album that was born and raised on the road. My favorite song on the album is "Kids in the Square". The album itself is a crossover album into several different styles of music Including: Bluegrass, Country, Americana, Reggae, World, did I miss any? American Roots? Is that what Americana is? Anyway it's a great album and I would expect to start hearing this music all over and everywhere.

Working Mans Panda!

These guys are great! Check them out live. The new album us great.


Formed: 2001 in Rochester, NY

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s, '10s

In some ways, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad are the live dub version of the Grateful Dead, mixing traditional American folk and country with Jamaican reggae and dub rhythms, with plenty of improvisational jams and interludes, all while looking and sometimes sounding like a bluegrass band. Toss in just a little of the Clash, and it's a balancing act that made this uplifting and energetic group a huge draw on the jam band circuit. Formed in 2001 in Rochester, New York, Giant Panda grew out of a fertile...
Full Bio
Country, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
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Customer Ratings