Band Aid: Financial Panther

Spend long enough nosing around online punk/hardcore communities – quite often punkers congregate around torrent sites, where it’s easiest to obtain rare, deleted old records – and you’ll be quickly made aware of just how many obscure bands there are out there. More often than not they produce one or two records and then split up, drifting into other projects. Well, why not – that’s part of the joy of the D.I.Y. scene, which supports innovative creative endeavours and the pursuit of fun over the manufacturing of a brand – sorry, band – identity.

One such group was Financial Panther, who I came across accidentally having asked Buz at the Punker Bunker (Brighton’s best indie record shop for punk, hardcore and ska, and also possibly the tiniest room in the city) if he had anything I might be interested in. “Try Financial Panther,” he said. “Their EP sounds like some band or another.” Which was awesome, as some band or another are an all-time favourite of mine.

Anyway, what I ended up with was a 6-track self-titled EP filled with cynical snarling emo – not that “Toni&Guy MySpace” crap, but something made by people who had actually bothered to listen to bands like Rites of Spring, Still Life, Evergreen or whatever (I’m not trying to draw comparisons here, just pointing a broad metaphorical finger at the early US emo/screamo movement). Being a relatively recent band FP were closer in sound to Planes Mistaken For Stars if those scene stalwarts had been interested in simpler melodic songwriting, but FP boasted an aggressive knife-fight edge way beyond melodic hardcore outfits like Hot Water Music, Dag Nasty or Jawbreaker.

With lyrics like “always just the boys marching along to the beat of an amputee movement” you could tell this band not only cared a lot about the punk rock and hardcore scene, but they cared about it enough to be pissed off. This struck a chord with me – and it helped that the music had exactly the blend of melody and raw, guttural noise that appeals to me greatly.

The band split not long after releasing this EP. Some of them went on to form a grindcore band called Landmine Marathon. Grindcore! As far as I’m concerned it’s mostly a comedy genre*, though I guess they might not agree. Still, on the strength of their MySpace tracks it looks like they’ve moved into thrash metal territory.

Since Financial Panther have broken up and will probably never reform, and I’d be surprised if you could buy legitimate copies of this EP anywhere anyway, I figured I’d put the whole thing up here for download. Unfortunately I don’t have a scanner or I’d include the artwork, which is pretty neat.

Financial Panther – self-titled EP
2004, D.I.Y. release

1. Pushing at the Margins
2. Black Ops and Wiretaps
3. This Town Could Be Your Life
4. Low Tide in Knife City
5. The Ghost of Cynthia McKinney
6. The History We Never Taught


* = Well, except for all the trendy haircut grindcore that, I hear, gets tru kvlt metallers kinda pissed off. Which is fair. I mean, I don’t like seeing shit like Fightstar being described as emo. It’s a bit like someone trying to convince you a pint of warm Bovril is, in fact, delicious cool Guinness.

So my favourite thing about grindcore is a demo tape an old housemate bought via eBay. It was by a short-lived Italian grindcore band; I forget their name, but they were probably big among the few hundred people worldwide who bother to seek down obscure Italian grindcore demo tapes. Anyway, the front cover had the usual ludicruous artwork – all dismembered women, guts everywhere, amputated limbs, that sort of thing. They were probably called “Mutilated Cunt” or something. Anyway, inside the cassette case, the whole insert was taken up with a spread that said “GRINDCORE AGAINST SEXISM!” It was awesome. That band, they got the joke. Sadly a lot of other grindcore bands, well, I think they take it at face value. DISMEMBERED FACE VALUE.

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