Chicago Singles Club

September 2013

Panda Riot

The elephant in the room when describing Panda Riot is their root influence: the much-loved O.G. of shoegaze, My Bloody Valentine. Though there are clear sonic similarities, with delicate and ethereal vocals surrounded by huge, smeared waves of distorted guitar, Panda Riot picks up where MBV left off decades ago. The band moves beyond the shoegaze label and incorporates new sounds, explores new territory, and weaves pop melodies throughout their songs.

The centerpiece of the band is the incredible range of textures bandleader Brian Cook coaxes from his guitar using the surprisingly modest array of effects pedals at his disposal. Rounding out the rhythm section are Cory Osbourne's tastefully melodic bass riffs and energetic beats from drummer José Rodriguez, whose minimalist two-piece live kit is complemented by classic drum samples. Above that massive foundation, vocalist Rebecca Scott sings memorable hooks and contributes a variety of secondary melodies from her guitar, synth, and triggered samples. Needless to say, their arrangements are dense, inventive, and expansive.

After recording the single at the CSC studio we hung out at Panda vs. Panda -- the band's loft-slash-rehearsal-slash-recording space -- and discussed their roots, their process, and their relationship with their adopted city.

Panda Riot is

Brian Cook
Rebecca Scott
Vocals, Keys, Guitar
Jose Rodriguez
Cory Osborne

Exclusive CSC Single

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Video Interview

  • Engineer Jeff Kelley
  • Video / Editor Iris Lin
  • Video Cassie Balynas
  • Photography Kerri Hacker