the Panda Resistance
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the Panda Resistance

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
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"Nowhere near Extinct - the Panda Resistance frees itself through debut disc - CM ROdriguez"

POSTED ON DECEMBER 16, 2009:

Nowhere near Extinct

The Panda Resistance frees itself through debut disc

By C.M.Rodriguez



Bear Grip. In reality The Panda Resistance deals largely in tones and emotions. It makes often hypnotizing, arresting, occasionally cerebral, often danceable music or any combination thereof.
MICHAEL COOPER

Under the musical guise of The Panda Resistance, members Andrew Bones, Bo Hallford and Clay Welch have found something that was previously unavailable to them as artists and musicians--the potential for complete musical expression.

The members' names might seem familiar to some. The list of bands and musical projects that the three have participated in is lengthy and reads like a partial who's who of Tulsa music: Paul Benjamin Band, Doldrums, Jesse Aycock, Cecada, Lindsay Neal, Stone Trio, Callupsie and Gogo Plumbay.

Let's add The Panda Resistance to that list, a trio of incredibly talented musicians who are pushing the envelope as artists and as what the Tulsa music scene is able to enjoy, embrace and welcome to the fold.

Like the back-story to many bands, Panda Resistance formed because of another band, which shouldn't be that big of a surprise based on the many parties involved with band mates.

When local musician Chris Combs was asked to join Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey on tour in late 2008, the rhythm section for his project Stone Trio--Bones on drums and Hallford on bass--found themselves one-man short for performances. They approached Welch to fill in on guitar duties, and the trio began practicing. Fortunately, Combs nixed the idea of having a replacement, so Welch, Hallford and Bones were left to their own devices. They enjoyed playing together enough to start a whole new entity.

Welch attributes the band's inception to the desire to play the music in their heads that did not have another outlet. Bones confirmed, "For me, there was a whole different kind of music I wanted to make."

In February of 2009, The Panda Resistance was born.

The band is relatively young, but the musicians involved have traversed the music scene of Tulsa extensively. Subsequently The Resistance is on the fast track to being productive and prominent. The trio has played outside of town as far as Lawrence, Kan. and Fayetteville, Ark., and recently the band opened for Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Also, with less than a year under their belt as a group, the band will release their self-titled debut album, a 40-plus minute, seven-track affair at the Soundpony, 409 N. Main, on Friday, Dec. 18 at 10pm.

"Every song took us all summer to write," Welch said mentioning the band's method of meticulous analysis and sampling of a variety of keys, tempos and arrangements for every song. "It's pretty collective," he said of the band's songwriting process. "Nothing is ever fully done until we are all in there working on it together. Everybody has a say."

Bones noted that the flexibility and ability for expression is something not readily available to the trio in their other projects, and that's why they formed The Panda Resistance in the first place. Hallford added that in the band they can play "whatever we want to," whereas in other outfits they often find themselves "interpreting the songs and ideas" of others.

Describing the sound of The Panda Resistance songs is a more difficult task. Like any band, they shy away from genres to the point of expressing contempt for pigeonholing. They love all kinds of music, so why should they say they play just one? Perhaps Bones had the best defense saying that it was too early in the catalog of the songs to start labeling things.

It is, however, simple to recognize and identify some music that has had an impression on the way The Resistance composes its music.

As one listens, hues of influence blossom and rise above the mix of the songs: the funky backbeat of Al Green, the repetition of minimalist music, the lush layering of Grizzly Bear, the jazz fusion of Tortoise and the psychological guitar explorations of Mogwai. But these are just words and references.

In reality The Panda Resistance deals largely in tones and emotions. It makes often hypnotizing, arresting, occasionally cerebral, often danceable music or any combination thereof and does so with such conviction to the point of contagiousness. It means what it plays, and it certainly plays what it wants.

With a debut album to perform, plans for a music video for the song "Gopher the Golden" in the works and a fan base to conquer, The Panda Resistance has much to look forward to next year. But their optimism and anticipation for the New Year radiates well beyond the band itself and onto the scene in general.

"A lot of stuff is about to come out and unfold," Hallford said. "All of our friends are putting out records [next year]."

And it's true. Bands like Callupsie, Cecada, Paul Benjamin Band, Dead Sea Choir and Lindsay Neal are currently releasing or recording material for release next year. "Everyone has been on the verge for a long time," said Bones of the musical momentum that is building for 2010. And preemptively leading that charge with banner in hand is The Panda Resistance.

It is really no surprise. The Panda Resistance is about intersections and change. Its songs teeter between the playful and introspective, the overwrought and heartfelt. The band's membership is a nexus between the jazz and rock scenes in Tulsa. It is the result of a fusion and cross-pollination that has slowly been happening between the different scenes here for years.

"There didn't use to be this huge community that's building right now," Welch said. "We're listening to each other's bands and each other's albums. We can't slack either, we're pushing each other. We're trying to make music that our friends will enjoy."

Bones said, "It's like at art school--that healthy competitiveness."

Perhaps there is a revolution behind the resistance after all. The Panda Resistance hosts its CD release show Dec. 18 at Soundpony. The show starts at 10pm, and there's no ticket or cover charge.

URL for this story: http://www.urbantulsa.comhttp://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A28817 - Urban Tulsa Weekly


"Epic Battle of Musical Creativity"

On October 4, 2009, two of Tulsa’s most promising indie bands performed in an epic battle of creativity and musical innovation. “The Panda Resistance vs. Ptiaradactyl” showcased two of Oklahoma’s most innovative and talented bands in a musical event enhanced by costumes, lights, signs, comedy and a slide projector. This audio-visual experience at one of Tulsa’s hippest bars, the Soundpony, seemed to mark a growing trend within the local music scene where bands are pushing each other to new levels of creativity by being innovative and creating a sense of community, even if bands within this community are engaged in musical and creative warfare.
These two bands are quite different in their sound, style and performance, though both have an indie, artsy feel and both perform with some type of costume – the Panda Resistance wore their trademark panda hats and members of Ptiaradactyl wore lighted headpieces and are known to wear other outlandish getups. The Panda Resistance has an atmospheric, upbeat indie rock feel, with impeccable musicianship and symphonic layering of sound effects and bright melodies. Clay Welch on guitar, Bo Halford on bass and Andrew Bones on drums and percussion are an instrumental trio who sound like a trip-hop group inspired by exotic melodies. With the tightest rhythm section in Tulsa, the group can truly hold down some amazing grooves, and with Welch’s ear for tasty reverb-dripping melodies they can also buildup to incredibly powerful moments through atmospheric layering of sound.
Ptiaradactyl, on the other hand, is much more avante-garde, leaning more towards a punk/electronic sound that is raw and energetic. The band has played at Tulsa’s Dfest music festival, toured fairly extensively and has even garnered some national attention. The group plays mostly instrumental rock-inspired jams that are slightly dark with an obvious punk and indie influence. The songs often change tempo and feel multiple times within a song, creating a sense of orchestrated but raw and energetic musical expression.



This is the type of event that helps a city’s music scene expand and evolve. The epic battle-like feel, the lights and props, the costumes and comedic banter all added to this experience that was unlike any other concert I’ve seen in Tulsa. The broad-ranging musical styles and impressive audio/visual performance was amazing and somewhat unexpected, but Tulsa could use more of these types of events. The very fact that this was promoted and hyped up as something more than a concert with two different bands helped this night stand out for many people, and the actual show did not disappoint one bit.
“You know Pterodactyls lived during the Cretaceous period right?” Hallford asked the crowd during a song break. “You know what they didn’t have during the Cretaceous period? Music lessons! …Or showers!”
Hallford and the Panda Resistance really got into the battling mindset during the show, projecting slides on a wall at the side of the stage while they played with drawings of a Panda beating, threatening and degrading a Pterodactyl, followed by cheeky comments, jokes and digs at the other band between songs. It was all in good fun, though, and the whole aura of a musical battle seemed to make both bands play better and allow the crowd to become more of a participant in this crazy, over-the-top musical experience. There was an even a point towards the end of the night when a huge Chinese-dragon-like Pterodactyl was paraded in front of the crowd with the help of about a dozen people. This concert was more like musical theater than just two bands playing music… the visuals, costumes, crowd interaction, the undercurrent of two great bands locked into musical and creative warfare all added to this imaginary mystique that made me feel like I was witnessing something special. I still feel that way, and Tulsa should have more bands doing things like this.
There should be more Flaming Lips style enthusiasm in the local scene where the circus atmosphere and incredible visual experience forces everyone in the crowd and in the band to have a good time. These aspects may seem like gimmicks to some people, but this is the type of event that can truly excite people and get them involved in the increasingly creative Tulsa music scene. A Flaming Lips show wouldn’t be the same without the mass amount of confetti, the blinding lights, the props and the hamster-ball contraption that Wayne Coyne always opens the show with by walking out on top of the crowd. These things create an experience that makes the music that much more powerful and emotional, and bands that can pull this off are always on people’s list of must-see concerts. The whole point of going to a concert is for an experience, and when all these aspects are combined in a creative way, fans can have an almost spiritual sensation that makes music unique and powerful like nothing else. This epic battle was on a smaller scale than a Lips show or a festival-type show, but these two Tulsa bands really know how to create an amazing event rooted in fresh, original music and artistic expression.



**Thanks to Brian Horton for the videos** - Twyler.com


"Soundpony Music Attack"

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 by Andy Wheeler
The Lava Children, The Panda Resistance and Daniels.

While each band is a separate and unique entity in the local music scene, all contribute to the burgeoning brilliance that local music fans are getting used to enjoying.

Having just released their mini-LP on the Graveface label this past May and enjoying some love on NPR’s Web site, The Lava Children’s bizarre but catchy tunes will be bouncing on your cranial walls long after the show is over.

On Tulsa’s own Organum label/artistic co-op, The Panda Resistance chooses to let their skills as musicians do the talking for them. And their instruments talk a lot about “How hard we rock,” “When do we get to rock next,” and “Man, we so rocked.” You can tell this trio spent a lot of time together. Sometimes that’s a polite way of saying, “Maybe they shouldn’t hang out so much.” But not here. They sound great. AND they are playing at the Blue Jackalope at 6 p.m. on July 5.

Daniels was a total mystery to me before I started writing this piece. Now that I caught a few of their songs, it sounds like I was playing “The Legend of Zelda” in the late 80s and found the room where they keep the Wizard of Rock.
Tags: Blue Jackalope, soundpony
Posted in Indie | No Comments » - www.tulsapeople.com


"Weekend Roundup"

Weekly Roundup

Aside from the aforementioned issue of our local venues, we're headed into July 4th weekend and many will be going out to the lake or on vacation, so the local calendar is rather quiet this weekend. Nevertheless, we've still got a handful of shows worth checking out.

I scour the club listings every week to find the highlights, but there's plenty I miss and many venues that don't post schedules. If you're a band with a coming gig or a club that wants to get word out--let me know in advance at ghizer@urbantulsa.com. I can't promise you a preview every week, but it will definitely get you considered for recommendation in the weekly highlights.

Now, here's what we've got going on this week:

Thursday night's best bet is Cairde na Gael, bringing her Irish cheer to Arnie's. If you didn't hear, Dustin & Jessie's Higher Education held its final session at McNellie's last week, due to a threatened lawsuit form ASCAP because of all the cover tunes. Here's to hoping our boys find a new home soon.

Friday July 3, is a great night to stop in at Soundpony for The Panda Resistance, The Lava Children and Daniels. Just down the sidewalk, Copeland and Sherwood will play at The Marquee with newcomer Meese opening the show.

Unfortunately, Stephen Christian's latest project, Anchor & Braille, will not be performing as originally advertised because his other band, Anberlin, is headlining the Cornerstone Festival. Still, this will be a great show.

Also on Friday night, The Red Alert will be at the PAC's Charles Norman Theater for "Oklahoma Weather," part of the summer stages concert series. Tickets are $10 and $15.

July 4th is extra quiet to make space for the fireworks. However, you can always chill on the patio at Los Cabos in BA with Brandon Clark or crash at Arnie's with Phillip Zoellner Band. The most rockin' show of the night, however, may well be Rodney Parker and 50 Peso Reward at Mercury Lounge.

Looking into next week, the calendar heats up. Monday July 6, has another Disney-rated show at the BOK with Demi Lovato, American Idol's David Archuleta and a $50 ticket. Meanwhile, Flytrap Music Hall will be rocking with the Scream the Prayer Tour, featuring Haste the Day, The Chariot, Project 86, Oh Sleeper and Gwen Stacy. - Urban Tulsa Weekly - GK HIZER


"Prepare for Battle."

Prepare for Battle. Sleepy post-rock trio The Panda Resistance brings the fight to Soundpony, 409 N. Main St., on Fri., Aug. 21, along with L.A.’s ambient/experimental troupe Geronimo and local electronic act Daniels. - Urban Tulsa Weekly


"New Tunes: Album Review of The Panda Resistance - CM Rodriguez"

New Tunes: Album Review of The Panda Resistance

Independent Release

The Panda Resistance's self-titled debut EP is an EP in name only. The seven-track disc approaches proper album status as it flourishes for more than 40 minutes, crammed airtight with melody, rhythm and texture.

The trio of musicians is obviously well versed in their craft from even a casual listen. The super-imposition of jazz, funk and minimalism over a canvas of instrumental indie rock is both tasteful and well calculated. On the album, homage is paid to a diverse cast of unusual suspects such as Philip Glass, Tortoise and Mogwai, while retaining the sense of identity that the band has accumulated in their short time together.

The largely instrumental collection of music seems to be exercises in musical ideas; dreamscapes painted under varying emotional influences that pivot and shift in unexpected ways. The material teeters back and forth between dreamy and dark, between furious and gentle, from the melodic to the abstract--often in the same song.

The compositions begin to feel like their own little journeys, starting with one concrete musical or melodic theme and ending much farther down the road.

The opening track "An Honorable Death" starts out mysteriously with a foreshadowing bass and sweeps of effected guitars clearing the palette for the sequences to come. But the song quickly develops a melodic theme and builds upon it a climax in a gentle guitar/bass/drum fury that has become a trademark of the band.

The song "Gopher the Golden" is largely wound around a memorable waltz melody lead by a xylophone. But just as the rhythm settles, the meter of the song switches to a more forward figure and the entire sensation of the song morphs with it into something more driven and upbeat. The band revisits both themes back and forth leading the listener by their ear unaware of how the seven plus minute track will finally resolve.

These song descriptions might read rather heady or stuffy but really the sound of the band is often fun, too. There is such an intense interplay and tangible enthusiasm between the trio's playing that on a track like "lemonade all by myself," which is both revelatory and moving, one can easily get lost in the backbeat of the drums or the leading melody of the song, or on the track "Ebenezer" that starts out with a simple marimba figure before the rhythm section settles into a playful groove that carries the entire track and launches the guitar off into synthesizer sounding territory.

Fans of the band that have been following The Panda Resistance's live show will be surprised to find the inclusion of some vocal tracks on the album. Although the contributions are rarely lyrical, except for the namesake of "lemonade all by myself" appearing in the track itself, they provide an additional dimension to the material that no other instrument could.

The band has yet to add the vocal parts to their live performance, so the album is really both a landmark for where they are and where they are going, while providing testament to the fact that they continue to be a band to follow.

-C.M. Rodriguez - Urban Tulsa Weekly


Discography

Self Titled LP - the Panda Resistance - 12/18/09

"Oh, Helen!" - the Panda Resistance - 12/16/11 - Horton Records

Photos

Bio

The Panda Resistance is an instrumental trio from Tulsa, OK. Since 2009, this band has been determined to create and perform their own brand of original live music.

The band is known for putting on a memorable live show. The compositions, often nostalgic and fervent in flavor, drift in between danceable anthems, merciless post-rock ditties, and experimental love songs.

After much anticipation the Panda Resistance is happy to be releasing their second Album entitled "Oh,Helen!" in December 2011 with Horton Records.