There are many words that come to mind the first time you hear Night Panther. One of those words is almost certainly “sexy.” There’s something so sultry about their particular blend of elements—the smooth, almost lackadaisical beats, the falsetto vocals dripping with honey—that immediately transports you to another time and place: somewhere with cabarets and crushed velvet and massively indulgent fur coats. Night Panther don’t just make sex-pop; they seem to effortlessly embody its form.
2013 was a big year for the band. They placed second in The Deli Philly’s annual poll of top emerging local bands, and their single “Fever” was named best local tune of 2013 by yours truly. This April, they’ll be residents at new NoLibs venue Bourbon & Branch, playing every Friday with a slew of awesome supporting acts. The buzz behind their name alone should be enough to put the new spot on the map.
Indeed, it seems like success comes easy to these fur-clad crooners…and in some ways, it does. But in another sense, it’s been a long time coming. The tune “Fever,” I soon find out, was written about 8 years ago when front man Farzad Houshiarnejad was playing in another band, but was shelved because it didn’t fit their sound at the time. Since then, it’s gone through years of revisions (and one previous release under the little-known “Captain Dum Dum” moniker) before being recorded for their self-titled LP in 2011. It was released in 2013.
“We’ve been working on these songs for years,” says drummer Mike Cammarata over drinks at Doylestown staple Maxwell’s on Main. “Even when we were involved with past projects, this was always something we had on the back burner.”
Actually, the whole band’s been together for years. Houshiarnejad and Cammarata have roots in Doylestown act Drink Up Buttercup, a zany, oompah-inspired garage-punk project whose thrilling bashing and Man Man-esque melodies won them props in the mid 2000’s. Keyboardist/guitarist Chris Radwanski was the manager for Drink Up, and they all lived together in a big, sprawling house in downtown D-town, with a recording studio in the basement.
So when that band dissolved, they naturally continued tinkering, and formed Night Panther soon after. (Their live line-up also includes singer-keyboardist Kelly Kurteson and bassist Jon Anderson, who is not the guy from Yes).
“When we first started out, everything was about being sexy,” says Houshiarnejad. “I’m very anal about our image. I care a lot about how things look.” Continue reading →