Panda & angel
Josh Wackerly - guitar, electronics
Carrie Murphy - guitar, vocals
Zaun Zehner - drums, electronics
Laura Enderle - bass, sampler
Kara Kikuchi - keyboards, samplers
Like Belle and Sebastian, there’s no Panda and there’s no Angel in this band who takes its namesake from two “famed” addicts from one of the musicians’ hometown. Constructing haunting pop music with room for mood, the group has garnered comparisons to cornerstones like My Bloody Valentine and Postal Service. The raw simplicity of some compositions suggests an artist as unguarded as Cat Power, while the layered production and crashing waves of reverb invoke Jesus and Mary Chain and Lush. Formed in the fall of 2004 from the duo of Carrie Murphy (Touchdown Eagle) and Josh Wackerly (S), Panda & Angel included Carissa’s Weird drummer Sera Cahoone before eventually settling on a permanent line-up. In recent years, the group has opened for Wolf Parade, Band of Horses, Crystal Skulls, the Elected and Azure Ray’s Maria Taylor. While there’s plenty of heavenly melody to remind listeners of Taylor and her Omaha kin at Saddle Creek, Panda & Angel distinguishes its music with a foreboding sense of cool, collected gloom, never quite gothifying the music, but creeping always beneath the surface. Murphy’s deadpan delivery comprises the sort of cagey unpredictability behind many a great singer—from Joy Division’s Ian Curtis straight through to Elastica’s Justine Frischmann and chairwoman of the board, PJ Harvey.