OK, OK, let us begin by clearly stating from the outset that today’s recommendation couldn’t have picked a more cliché’d hipster name if they tried. It’s the equivalent of trying to find your band moniker by the ‘porn name game’ method of placing the first street you lived on before your first pet name. Find your ‘hipster band name’ by throwing the words “ghost”, “panther”, “tropical”, “wave”, “dream”, “beach”, “safari” and “swim” into a hat and picking out two. “Oh, what did you get?“. “I got ‘Dream Panther’“. “What about you?”. “Me?”, “Oh I got ‘Tropical Ghost’”. “Cool”. “I think I prefer the first one though”. (*Sucks hard on another blunt*). You get the scene, right? Additionally you need to include a selection of half naked babes shot with Polaroids and people smoking weed in hazy pipes for your front covers and you’re in hipster cliché heaven. However, music isn’t about the monikers or the front covers, it’s about, well, the music, and with Tropical Ghost – sorry we meant, with Dream Panther – you get a set of absolutely gorgeous songs.
We’ve been reliably informed that Dream Panther is made up of band members, Nick Kisearas and someone named Gusto Cat (apparently). They are born and raised Angelenos from South LA, who started life as a duo in 2008. They remain unsigned, but have released Serious Sauce Vol. 1 on the Los Angeles based cassette label, MJ MJ. Herein lies the source of our discovery, as The Recommender is currently negotiating with people, blogs and brands that we want to co-host showcases with at next year’s Great Escape Festival (why only ‘host’ a show, when you can ‘co-host’ is our ideology for these things). We’ve recently reached out across the planet to FMLY, an LA-based art/culture/music collective that likes to connect globally with interesting, mainly-music-based projects. The MJ MJ label is affiliated with this collective and it was FMLY’s Cameron that hooked us up with this artist. If they can provide bands half as good as Dream Panther for our Great Escape showcase then it should be well worth the planetary-sized connection.
Dream Panther creates songs that operate on a level that will have your subconscious mind hitting the repeat button even if you don’t choose to. Some of these tunes are found operating so smoothly and so deftly that they almost pass you by without you noticing. That’s not to say that you don’t enjoy them – you most certainly should – but you may well find yourself on track five before you know it, when you swear you hadn’t reached the end of the first song, so seamless and atmospheric is their sound. It’s like when you enjoy a perfectly made cup of coffee, only to consume it without really noticing a single sip. This is refill music to while away hours and hours and fuck us blind if life doesn’t need artists precisely like this on occasion. Listen to this duo when you have time to pass and you’ll find yourself effortlessly transported hours into the future with a smile on your face.
Although Dream Panther’s sound is nothing particularly new, familiar as this genre is to stoners world wide with their drifting, mellifluous music, feeling like several similar counterparts, all of which seem as un-threatening and horizontal as a hipster on holiday in Hawaii, but make no mistake, this is comparably gorgeous. Their next release will be a 6-track EP, called Beyonce’s Child, and FMLY were kind enough to hand us a private listen. You too can stream a couple of it’s finest moments below, with the track, Dorsey’s High, which marries a ghostly guitar echo, that arrives in ever warmer pulses over some wonderful ethereal vocals. The weirdly-titled Late Night Gymnodaedia combines a sound more akin to those familiar with the 1980s Hamlet cigar adverts and the looser, slower-paced world that the early Lemon Jelly EPs used to occupy. As with all Dream Panther’s songs there’s an intangible haze to it all, but hidden inside each track you find melodies that are tweeted at you in a manner that would have Disney’s cartoon birds commenting on how cute they are.
Elsewhere on the EP we find more vocals, which is particularly awesome with the track Chutes And The Ladder, allowing a more soulful silk to be laid out over their usual drifting sands. The EP’s last two tracks introduce a picked up pace, with the final tune slipping in some sun-infused, grooved basslines. It will be interesting to see how this duo deliver it in a live environment, especially as it suits the kind of visuals we see with the below video. You can catch them on stage in LA through September (tonight at Pehrspace) and in October (at The Central on the 3rd and at The Wizards Den on the 19th). Overall their work is a masterclass in how to make music that sits between your thoughts. Their mostly instrumental, sample-heavy soundscape is the sound of another enjoyable day at the beach. They won’t be among your top ten artists of all time, with their music suffering from a strange sense of amnesia, as you forget it all ten minutes after the EPs finished, but if John Lennon was right and “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” then this is the soundtrack to those in-between moments. (MB)
DREAM PANTHER – CHUTES AND THE LADDER
DREAM PANTHER – DORSEYS HIGH