Led by founding member and creative mastermind Leslie Sisson (vocals, guitar), who has had stints in The Wooden Birds, Matt Pond PA, Western Keys, Black Lipstick, Black Forest Fire, Tanworth-in-Arden, and Aero Wave, collaborated with The American Analog Set, Windsor for the Derby, Rhythm of Black Lines, RIDE’s Mark Gardener, Dan Mangan, John Wesley Coleman, Snowden, and Broken Social Scene, and has developed a reputation as a solo artist in her own right, the Austin, TX-based dream pop act Moving Panoramas can trace their origins to when its founding member and creative mastermind returned home to Texas to be closer to the members of her previous full-time band The Wooden Birds and her to her family. Sisson took a job teaching music at School of Rock where she met Rozie Castoe (bass), who was in an 80s-themed show that Sisson directed. Interestingly, at the same time, Sisson took up a gig subbing in Black Forest Fire with Karen Skloss (drums), who was a long-time friend. When each of their various creative projects broke up, the trio started Moving Panoramas, rooted in their mutual love of shoegaze; however, since the band’s formation and release of their debut effort One, the band has gone through a series off lineup changes that has result in Sisson collaborating with a rotating cast of previous bandmates, as well as current bandmates Cara Tillman, Jordan Rivell, Jody Suarez and Phil McJunkins.
Moving Panoramas’ sophomore album In Two was delayed by a series of unexpected roadblocks during its production — i.e., health and timing issues — that delayed its release until February 22, 2019 through Modern Outsider Records. Recorded with engineer Louie Lino at Resonate Studio in Austin, the band’s sophomore effort reportedly finds the band expanding upon their sound and songwriting approach, as there’s a concerted effort for diversity in rhythm, volume and instrumentation, including the incorporation of pedal steel. Along with that the album features guest spots fromNada Surf‘s Matthew Caws, A Giant Dog‘s and Sweet Spirit‘s Sabrina Ellis and former bandmates Karen Skloss, Jolie Flink and Laura Colwell.
The album’s latest single “Baby Blues” is a decidedly anthemic track, centered around shimmering power chords, a propulsive rhythm section, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook that recalls Sunflower Bean’s Twentytwo in Blue as the song seems to draw from psych rock, shoegaze and 70s arena rock performed with the easygoing self-assuredness of old pros; but underneath the self-assured performance, there’s the recognition of time rushing by, of people moving in and out of your life — sometimes without even knowing why or how. As the song seems to say, “Remember friends, life is confusing and when you think you may have handle on it, life will throw a monkey wrench or two your way — and you’ll get through it somehow, some way.”
Directed by the band’s Leslie Sisson, the recently released video is part mischievous, Miami Vice–like crime caper with the members of the band smuggling a substance dubbed “Baby Blue,” and part performance video — with the band playing in a studio and on the beach. It’s goofy and yet it still manages to capture (and evoke) the song’s anthemic nature.