Panther Style

Panther Style

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Rock Alternative





Sometimes a rock band just needs solid playing and full-throttle songs to make you take notice, and there's plenty of snarling intensity here to justify introducing Panther Style to the upper notches of your volume knob. - CHICAGO TRIBUNE METROMIX

"Meet Panther Style"

Simplicity, it’s such a facile word. Complexity can sometimes spell disaster. Panther Style embraces this concept with all of the natural beauty, precision, and articulation of a cobra’s deadly strike. The Chicago quartet, made up of members Al Rodis (rhythm guitar), Melissa Koehl (lead guitar and backing vocals), Jeanne McClure (bass and lead vocals), and Dan Lutger (drums), apparently has a mantra for rocking out: Keep it simple, stupid! “I guess I’ve always been most drawn to that Gibson/Marshall, mean, loud, distorted, rock n’ roll guitar sound. I mean, why else play rock n’ roll if you’re not going to crank it up?” asks Melissa, and I agree one hundred and ten percent. Panther Style’s latest release, “¡Emergencia!” has all the hallmarks of a band that isn’t trying too hard to impress anyone, except themselves. They just grab their axes, mikes and sticks, and rock out. With a sound that rivals the early-90’s, female-led, grunge, and power-punk bands such as Sleater-Kinney, Veruca Salt and L7, Panther Style takes nothing into their songwriting, shows, or recording that is unnecessary or extraneous. It’s all about the rock and the sound, period. Everything else is irrelevant.

When I asked Dan about his thought process when he’s writing his smooth, clean drum tracks for the music, his response was, “I think about how I can sand things down. I want to say more with less. In terms of a simplistic style, it comes more from listening to other styles of music than one specific drummer…it’s usually parts of songs that grab my attention , not so much specific beats or fills. It’s more about grooves.” Grooves are ever-present when listening to “¡Emergencia!” Al Rodis, formerly of Chicago indie-rock heavies, Dyslexic Apaches, just may be the reason. Three of the four members of Panther Style are also members of The Reptoids, and while the straight-ahead rock of Reptoids may be quite listenable, Dan and the rest of the representatives felt the need to try out an old alliance. “Al and I played together a while back, and there was something there that really clicked. We wanted to hit that again. Most of the songs [in Panther Style] start with Al, and then we play off it until we feel it’s somewhere. With Reptoids, we usually still start with guitars, but drink a lot more beer,” quips Dan. “Dan and Al have always had great chemistry,” adds Melissa, “and started working out a few ideas. Soon after, they asked me and Jeanne to join and it just came together like magic. We had several songs written in just a few weeks.”

That same “magic”, or what I like to call “chemistry”, makes or breaks all bands. If the members cannot get along, then the band is ultimately doomed to fail. Great music might be written and recorded for a time, but eventually the wheels will come off due to in-fighting and drama between the members. Consequently, great chemistry can be heard. It shows on the stage, its audible in the songwriting, and it’s tangible in the thought and care that the band puts into its recording process and production. Panther Style expressly oozes chemistry. When asked about the praise that “¡Emergencia!” has been receiving, Melissa responds, “Yeah, it’s really nice. It’s even nicer being in a band with your best friends and making music that we all love to play.” …Please feel free to wipe all that chemistry off your face at this point, because I’m sure it just splattered all over you right through the computer. “It is pretty awesome when anyone is geeked about something that you helped make and are proud of,” adds Dan…Keep wiping, folks, you missed a spot.

In an attempt to capitalize on the collective “geeking out” of the local music critics, Panther Style plans on taking their great chemistry and mixing it with the success that “¡Emergencia!” has brought by getting back in the studio as quickly as possible. While “¡Emergencia!” is by no means old, Panther Style does not want to just “sit on it”, nor do they want to constrict the flow of their creative juices. “We really want to finish writing the next record and get back into the studio. We’ve learned a lot since we were there last,” says Dan. If the sanded-down, smooth-as-silk compositions of the songs on their first album are a sign of things to come from Panther Style, some larger A & R representatives from major labels might want to turn their attention to Chicago immediately. After all, I can’t imagine any A & R rep who wouldn’t like to hear the clear, simple response given by Melissa when asked to describe her band’s sound: “Loud, bad-ass rock n’ roll. You’re welcome.” I think I speak for the entire rock community of Chicago when I say, “Thank you, Panther Style, thank you very, very much.”

You can catch Panther Style live at the Double Door on 10/27 for a pre-Halloween party, where they will be performing as one of their favorite bands, The Cult! It should be quite the barn-burner at one of Chicago’s most legendary venues!


Panther Style is our main featured artist for the October 2012 Podcast. Take a listen : - Rock In Chicago

"TVD Album Review: Panther Style’s ¡Emergencia!"

¡Emergencia! is the debut release from Chicago’s Panther Style. Recorded live, on a 16-track analog tape machine, this album is a prime example of digital music’s shortcomings.

The digital tracks just can’t do justice to the sounds and warmth of this record. It was simply meant to be heard on vinyl.

This record channels some incredible pop and punk music while holding it’s roots in good old fashioned rock and roll from nearly every decade. From The Posies to Sleater-Kinney, you can hear Panther Style’s influences across the entire album.

Chicago rock veterans Jeanne McClure, Al Rodis, Dan Lutger and Melissa Koehl remind us with ¡Emergencia! that rock is alive and well in Chicago.

The album’s lead track “Seeing…Just Not Believing” comes in with a punch. This song sets up the rest of the album with its catchy hook, quick and dirty guitar solo, driving bass and pounding drums.

The second and third tracks on the album offer their own uniqueness. With “Rhino”, Panther Style gives us a more ethereal rock song reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Dave Navarro during the One Hot Minute years.

The album slows down a bit for the fourth track, but with a vocal line that follows the guitar, “Fingers Crossed” is a very catchy song.

Side A goes out with a bang, and Side B comes in with one. “Straight Razor” features some more aggressive vocals as well as distinct punk undertones and palm-muted guitars.

The intro on “Forbidden” features a killer bass line and drum beat. I’m probably the only person that would make this comparison, but the driving bass and drums paired with the melodious vocals remind me of early Blink-182 – somewhere around Cheshire Cat, and make for an incredible dynamic on the track.

“Sex Panther” is another quick and dirty track with lyrics like “A night with me you wont regret, cause what you see is what you get.”

The ninth track, and last original song on the record, “Don’t Say You Will” feels like a ‘90s punk song, and has some incredible aggression during the chorus. The album ends with a cover of The Posies’ track “Blind Eyes Open”.

¡Emergencia!, released in May, is available on digital and CD, but as you already know, I am going to highly recommend that you pick this up on 180 gram vinyl through Panther Style’s BandCamp page. - The Vinyl District

"Do It Panther Style"

We admit we were recently surprised to discover recently Panther Style's just released ¡Emergencia! was actually their debut album! Panther Style is one of those bands that feels like it's existed in Chicago forever. This is partially due to the long local music lineage of the members' previous projects, including but not limited to Mary Tyler Morphine, Siderunners, Dyslexic Apaches and the Reptoids. But we think it's also because, like many Chicago groups, they've just quietly worked hard, played shows and tried to write good music. And ¡Emergencia! is proof that they've succeeded at all three of those goals.

Panther Style allowed their catalog plenty of time to develop and cook and acquire its own unique flavor, and the results were well worth the wait. Panther Style is first and foremost a live group, so the music on the album was recorded with all the band playing together. It lends the whole affair an immediacy; the band is tight as hell but there's a certain swagger to their attack. The music is refreshingly straightforward indie rock, filled with big fuzzy riffs and a thumping relentless back beat, all thundering along together, leaving a greasy smear in the pavement behind it.

This is the kind of rock that was played in basements before the Alternative Nation transformed much of the "underground" into a homogenous mixture of bland copycats. The quartet's potent blend of brawny pop is catchy enough for folks looking to shake their hips while being loud and aggressive enough to draw in the punks and the metalheads. Panther Style has mastered the simple equation most bands seem incapable of pulling off; write solid tunes, turn the amps way up and let loose.

Download the lead track off ¡Emergencia!, "Seeing... Just Not Believing," for the super low price of an email address, and if you like it then ink the band onto your calendar for their album release show at Beat Kitchen tomorrow night. - Chicagoist

"Go See Panther Style at Beat Kitchen"

The Beat Kitchen continues its climb up the local music scene ladder this Saturday by featuring Panther Style, a rising Chicago band bordering rock and power pop, sprinkled with a little punk.

Panther Style will be playing off their brand new album, Emergencia (released May 31, 2011), which features squealing, edgy guitars complimented by Jeanne McClure’s strong but understated vocals that are reminiscent of Shirley Manson, at times, except for the occasional primal scream or two. Dan Lutger violently bangs the drums to make sure you don’t forget this is a rock band first and foremost, while Al Rodis and Melissa Koehl shred sexy guitar riffs and occasional solos that evoke fond memories of some of the best eras of rock – from epic hair bands to indie and punk revival.

Panther Style is the product of veteran Chicago rockers and a very welcome, refreshing addition to the scene. We like straight-up rock around here and that’s what you’re going to get on Saturday. Something else we like – live recordings, of which Emergencia is one, recorded at Chicago’s B-Side Audio.

Have a listen below then get your tickets for Saturday’s show – it’s going to be a good one. - Sound Citizen



Panther Style is an alternative rock band based in Chicago. It’s not easy to stand out in one of the world’s most competitive cities when it comes to alternative music, but these musicians set out to make waves in the local scene and beyond with their loud, unapologetic, and raw sound. Still, Panther Style’s music also offers a diverse and nuanced scope, highlighting the diverse background of these experienced music makers. Comprised of seasoned players Jeanne McClure, Al Rodis, Dan Lutger, and Melissa Koehl, the group has honed its craft through years of musical experimentation, other projects and collaborations.

Dan and Al first crossed paths in the local music scene as members of the enigmatic band Dyslexic Apaches, which made its mark on the bustling Chicago music scene. Dyslexic Apaches was a force to be reckoned with, headlining iconic venues like the Metro and sharing the stage with luminaries like the Smashing Pumpkins during a time when grunge and alternative rock had the world in its grip. Despite their strong presence, Dyslexic Apaches eventually disbanded, and each member ventured into different projects. Front man Bruce Lamont, now a Chicago legend, went on to lead Chicago jazz-metal group Yakuza and is a prominent member of several other successful projects, including Corrections House, and Brain Tentacles.

Years later, Al found himself playing in a band that featured the talented Jeanne McClure on bass. Jeanne had left her indelible mark on the 90's touring scene with her band, Mary Tyler Morphine, and had continued to shine in subsequent projects like The Siderunners, Little Man Complex, and Tom Daily. It was during a show where Jeanne and Al shared the stage that Dan witnessed something remarkable. He was blown away by their tight-knit chemistry and their undeniable musical prowess and longed to pair up again with his former bandmate. A conversation was struck where both agreed they were done playing in bands without each other and together decided to take the plunge and start Panther Style, a band that would become a testament to their enduring friendship and deeply rooted musical bond.

The two both expressed how their affinity is an essential component to how well they bounce off each other musically and personally. To complete the lineup, they recruited Melissa, a guitarist who was forging her own unique path in the music world with her atmospheric and haunting tones. The members of the band jelled so well together that they actually also teamed up with Melissa as members of another band, Reptoids, which leans towards post-punk and metal.

The sound of the band’s music channels groovy riff rock that’s as reliant on rhythm as it is distortion in the vein of artists such as The Cult, New Order, Failure, Van Halen, Jane's Addiction, 80's metal, and Chicago legends Naked Raygun, among others. Panther Style’s sound harkens back to the golden era of 90s alternative rock while injecting a fresh and contemporary energy into it.

The album "¡Emergencia!" from 2011 marked the band’s debut. This record was a pivotal moment in the band's journey, gaining critical acclaim for its organic and timeless approach. The decision to record the songs straight to tape was a testament to the group’s dedication to authenticity. It meant no shortcuts or excessive studio polish - Just capturing the tightest performances and allowing the band to breathe, live, and punch through like a unit. This dedication to their craft is what makes Panther Style stand out in an era of music production that often relies on technological shortcuts.

The band’s upcoming single, “Dynasty,” is also a fantastic example of the hands-on, uncompromising attitude that drives the group. Fans of 90s alternative rock will undoubtedly enjoy what Panther Style is all about. However, this band is far from being a mere nostalgia act.

Each song by the band is bursting with a vibrant energy that keeps the flame of great alternative rock alive and well.

Band Members