Panda Bear is the alias of the enigmatically passive Noah Lennox, equally known for his role in indie/electro giant Animal Collective. Similar to his band, the solo project of Panda Bear started as a lo-fi bedroom project comprised mainly of quirky and puzzling instrumental tinkering vignettes. Years later and simultaneous to Animal Collective’s critical breakthrough album “Strawberry Jam”, Lennox was somehow finding time to perfect his gestating dark horse, the untouchable “Person Pitch” – an album that has (in my humble opinion) proved to be one if the quintessential works of the indie music world.
A friend aptly likened “Person Pitch” to experiencing The Beach Boys on hallucinogens, playing fathoms away across an echoey wooden hall. In this way, Lennox has crafted a truly novel sound, combining aspects of IDM, surf rock, and indie electronica, as if Brian Wilson became a computer nerd and connoisseur of effects pedals. Celebrated for this talent, Lennox has been featured on the releases of many like-minded artists, often resulting in the catchiest and most memorable (memorablest?) track of the LP. Notable examples include “Walkabout” with Atlas Sound (http://youtu.be/vcMGACqsg5A), “Stick to My Side” with Pantha du Prince, and most impressively, the standout banger “Doin’ It Right” from Daft Punk’s latest (http://youtu.be/t1M2WeMTRis). When Daft Punk invite you to record with them in Paris, you know you’re doing it right (get it?).
Panda Bear has released 4 solo LPs, starting with his 1998 self-titled debut. If you’re new to Panda Bear, I’d obviously recommend going for gold with his 2007 masterpiece “Person Pitch”, and solid 2011 follow-up “Tomboy”. As mentioned, you can also find him popping up all over the place in the “feat.” section, and in a growing collection of intriguing remixes to top it all off (try his version of The Notwist’s “Boneless”: http://youtu.be/S2h4IrrFIoU). Update: Just arrived is Lennox’s new album entitled “Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper”, a kaleidoscopic head trip of bright, shimmering samples, his iconic melody-harmony vocal wizardry, and by the sounds of it, probably a moderate dosage of acid (try stand-out single “Boys Latin”: http://youtu.be/prBaZzYmQrI).
Favourite track: Take Pills (http://youtu.be/8-43dKcfr38)… at about the halfway point, you’ll find yourself gently dropped head first through the rabbit hole that is Panda Bear.