We've been drawing borders around music for years. The further ahead you go in time, the more you see the provinces (containing particular musical styles) splitting like mutating cells, thereby multiplying into even more provinces. And one can't help but wonder: To what end? How many sub-genres can music break into? It may be the brain's nature to break things up, to categorize in order to define. But such tendencies steal the focus away from what really matters, from the common thread running deep beneath that knows no boundaries the universal power of music to touch you in a way that can't be put into words. So we design boxes, toss what we feel belongs inside, and slap a label on it.
I've got a lot of labels for Panthers (no "The," in case you were wondering) easy ways to define them and easier ways to help you get a feel for what they sound like. They're garage and punk. And they're from Brooklyn. But they're so messy, so fuzzed out, one wouldn't suspect them of being catchy or radio-ready. But hey, who can really say these days? Wow, rock isn't dead after all! Who knew?! When I first heard Let's Get Serious, a five-song EP produced by Steve Revitte (who recorded the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' and Liars' last albums), my initial reaction was: "I like this" (deep, I know) and "I won't sell this to the record store" (even deeper).
I thought, hmmm, I've got to feel something else if I'm going to relate this in words to a reader. So I listened harder, much harder, then rounded up some reference points. For all the howling/screeching and mess of fuzz, I thought of The Catheters (who decided to retain the "The" in spite of current trends, how bold). And then I thought about how young The Catheters are best go back further. So Nirvana came to mind but, then again, who's not influenced by Nirvana? For their creepy, spiraling, Armageddon-feeling riffs, I thought of Black Sabbath, and for the standout, massive attack of beats, I thought of Led Zep's John Bonham.
'Course the sloppy, distorted, filthy mess of instrumentation recalled the classic so-grimy-you-need-a-post-listening-bath acts: Stooges, MC5, Radio Birdman, et al. And the piercing guitar playing, desperate vocals and quiet/loud arrangements reminded me of labelmates Pretty Girls Make Graves, which in turn brought up Pretty Girls' predecessor Murder City Devils ('cause the Panthers' are kinda evil too). For cramming a screaming load of instruments into the garage (Moog, vibraphone, piano, organ, trumpet, sax and the ol' standards), I thought of the '60s. Well, I didn't exactly reminisce 'cause I wasn't there, but from what I'm told, the '60s were pretty groovy like the Moog.
Lastly, I scanned the song titles, smiled at "Sexist Not Sexy" and thought of Spinal Tap. And I didn't exactly know the Tap either, but Nigel, Nigel, Nigel, you're just so stupid it's funny. (Note: Panthers are not stupid and not really funny either clever perhaps).
I hope all of this has helped you to understand a little about what Panthers are like. I suppose that's what this genre inventing is all about making things easy to register and to digest. But what I still revert back to, what I still believe matters most, is that my gut liked it regardless of how my brain wanted to think about it. That my hunch said, "Yeah, let's keep her she's better than lunch money."