Featured Music: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad are a Rochester (New York) based quintet who define themselves as practitioners of 'Psychedelic Roots Music'. Formed in 2006, GPGDS are famed for their live shows (750+ so far) recordings of which are often uploaded to the Internet Archive.

Slow Down saw the band make a debut in 2006 and aside from receiving tens of thousands of downloads from the Internet Archive, the band have also released two 'straight' live LPs (Live Up! Volumes I and II - 2009 and 2010 respectively). Come 2012 and GPGDS have veered a little away from their signature deep dub sounds and released the somewhat experimental Country, which strips down the band's sound to a primarily acoustic format with banjos and fiddles galore.

Do not however let the album's title deceive, the LP is still very much an upbeat reggae album - there's hardly a single hint whatsoever of stories about crying in your beer. The whole feel of Country is decidedly positive. Bizarrely it brings to mind the mood of Dodgy back in the nineties - not that it sounds anything like them, but there's just a wonderful vein of summery happiness running throughout.

Musically, excepting perhaps one or two Marley-esque numbers (eg. Kids in the Square), what bleeds through is overall more along the 'Americana' lines of The Band, Steve Miller, or the Eagles and similar artists. It's a brave project to undertake perhaps but comes off well, blending what could be thought of as disparate styles into a bright slice of sunshine saturated foot-tappery. Maybe something that has not been done so well since Eric Clapton covered I Shot The Sheriff back in 1974.

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad additionally, have a second album planned to come out this year - In These Times, the title track from which appears here also on Country in an appropriately acoustic version. The band have stated that wheras Country was recorded over a comparatively short period, the upcoming LP has been in the works for much longer;

"We wanted to let the world know that we dabble in all sorts of directions in the music world, and Country is an example of that."

" We had been recording In These Times for the past two years whenever we were off the road. Country was recorded in a few days. It was done first. So we decided to release it as a head spin to the world that knows us, before we deliver to the masses what they have known us for for the past 6 years"

Very much back to what fans would normally expect from a GPGDS offering, In These Times is set for a full release in early April and meantime has been allowed a preview via relix.com