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Music Review: Her Space Holiday – Xoxo, Panda & the New Kid Revival

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My brother moved away and joined the Navy when I was 15 years old. Periodically, for several months at a time, he would go underwater – shipped off on a submarine. On some of these occasions he brought many of his possessions to our home and left them. One time one of these items included his brand new, cherry red Ford Mustang. I coveted that beautiful machine. I was driving a very old, very k-car Plymouth Reliant that was not only a double hand-me-down, but also included a very loud, very embarrassing whining sound from the fan belt that had never been fixed. The Mustang was like a miracle sitting in my drive way.

My parents were weary of me driving the also very expensive little miracle, but one time I managed to talk them into letting me take it to a party. At this party was a very lovely girl who I had been crushing on for a few weeks. I thought the Mustang would impress her, and I was very excited to be showing up in it. Turns out she wasn't impressed at all. In fact she hardly noticed. The ride was also not what I expected. Instead of feeling really cool in it all I felt was nervous. It was bigger than my car, and had way more power than I was used to. As I drove it I kept feeling the fear of a crash and found no enjoyment in the whole experience at all.

The Mustang wasn't me. As much as I didn't want to admit it, the K-Car was. It taught me a lesson – you can't make yourself cool; or you have to be yourself. That's probably not the most innovative lesson to teach yourself and in fact it may be a little trite, but I try to make it true.

These days as I listen to music, and especially when I write a review I find myself back contemplating which car to drive. What do others think of this band, this album? What if I praise it and all the cool kids hate it? Do I pick the hip music to listen to so I can look cool, or do I just dig what I like?

Her Space Holiday may not be the hippest music around (or maybe it is, I'm not sure I can tell anymore) but I like it. A lot. XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival is a great record to plug in as the summer comes to a close. Light up the grill, put on a bright sun-dress, take off your shoes and dance along! “The Boys and Girls” just might be the best pop song you'll hear all year. With it's chorus of “tra-la-la” and “bom-ba-ba-bom” and stomping, clapping melody it has on more than one occasion nearly caused me to wreck from joy while driving and listening.

Her Space Holiday is a band like my old, perpetually single uncle is a family. It is the moniker of Marc Bianchi who writes all the songs and makes most of the sounds. He's like the indie version of Billy Corgan, but less cranky.

They say previous efforts were more electronica, but here it is a lo-fi indie rock – filling the sounds-cape with acoustic guitars, banjo, mandolin, glockenspiel, bass and drums he's created a lovely, immensely fun piece of music.

Lyrically the songs are a bit melancholy filled with heartache and loss but also give a sense of hope. Bianchi proves he is just as innovate and interesting with the words and he is filling up the songs with interesting instrumentation.

I've not heard any of his previous work, but with XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival I'm hoping he has a long career filled with indie-pop pieces like this.  It might not make me hip to say that, but I'll take this record over being hip any day of the week.

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About Mat Brewster

  • Whether it’s “cool” or not definitely should not make a difference. Who even cares when you’re an adult? What makes you feel good, what makes you want to move, what makes your thoughts come into focus, what helps you get through something, all of those things are the only things that matter. I’m crazy in love with the XOXO, Panda album and not ashamed to admit it… no matter how many cynical stuck up writers want to talk smack. 🙂