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Panda Riot

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Inspired by the dreamy underwater imagery of their collaborative short film, Dolphins and Porpoises, Rebecca Scott (vocals, keys) and Brian Cook (drum machine, guitar) formed the equally dreamy indie pop group Panda Riot in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania circa 2005. The band's buzzy guitar riffs, gossamer vocals, and swaths of synthesized distortion (the duo filtered their keyboards through a death metal pedal) gave a nod to early-'90s acts like Tender Trap, the Softies, and My Bloody Valentine. The duo handed out their debut handmade CD-R EP, Paper Airplanes, at their live shows in 2006, and they self-released their first full-length album, She Dares All Things, the following year. After moving to Chicago, Panda Riot brought a couple new members into the fold, bassist Justin Cheng and drummer Melissa, who soon parted ways with the band. Percussionist José Rodriguez was brought on board to round out the group's sound. Panda Riot's sophomore EP, Far & Near, was released on the Mirror/Mirror label in 2010. The band's profile enjoyed a healthy boost in 2011 when they made an appearance at NYC Popfest, sharing the stage with like-minded indie pop acts Silver Swans, the Motifs, and Kids on a Crime Spree, and in early 2012 when they released the "Serious Radical Girls" single for Saint Marie Records. A year later they released the "Amanda in the Clouds" flexi disc before their full-length debut, Northern Automatic Music, saw the light of day in March 2013. ~ Margaret Reges

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