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Maybe they chose their name as a reference to '60s race politics or maybe just because it sounded tough, but either way Brooklyn's Panthers are both tough and heady. Pedigreed as hell, too; 3/5 of the band (vocalist Jayson Greer, drummer Jeff Salene, and guitarist Geoff Garlock) used to play with hardcore theorists Orchid, while multi-instrumentalist Justin Chearno boasts credits on an Unrest album, not to mention his ongoing instrumental trio Turing Machine, and finally guitarist Kip Ulhorn did time in The Red Scare. As Panthers they offer a ferocious brand of slobbery but tight punk, along with plenty of (sometimes) tongue-in-cheek academic references. Panthers' combined humor and aggression might make you think The Jesus Lizard, and there's truth to that, there is, but their brainy polemicizing and controlled angular assault aligns them most closely to the DC political punks of the late '80s and early '90s, i.e. Nation of Ulysses and Fugazi.

The quintet first surfaced in late 2000 and started making serious noise in early 2002 with the Are You Down?? album on Troubleman. The LP's stuttering muscularity won it critical favor, but the band was reportedly less than pleased with their effort. After some touring, Panthers holed up with producer Steve Revitte (Liars) in isolation in the Berkshires, as well as various locations around New York, ultimately producing a five-song EP they really felt proud of. Perhaps its title (Let's Get Serious) was a statement about the band, but in any case its songs are rich with detail, full of purpose, and louder than bombs. It's an explosive effort from a band that figures to make a whole lot more noise.