Question, blogspot readers - what do you get when meshing together the music essence of David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Prince, (Morris Day and) The Time and Peter Schilling (Major Tom song fame) alongwith sounds of hunchback whales? How about music that represents "...deep space doom funk..." by Phantom Tails (MN). It's not how SouthSide's would describe it but that's how the members Sergio, Orion, Logan and Dave did during a recent interview at Elbo Room Sunday night. They were in town performing an one-night only opening set before heading off to New York for CMJ, the "...the SXSW of the Northeast..." according to them. This reviewer must admist something profound about this rockin' band. Phantom Tails was the first band to literally stump SouthSide with their confusing yet eclectic mixture of electro/powerpop/funk (and more) while dazzle her with such an interesting range of sounds at the same time. And believe her, blogspot readers, that's a good thing to which the guys took her comment as a complement.
To understand Phantom Tails' music might pose a challenge to many (SouthSide included) when hearing them for the first time because this band doesn't really follow a set formula especially as seen on Sunday night. And forget about boxing the music into one solid category ...that will not work either. From SouthSide's observation, Phantom covered a wide variety of genres at once or (sometimes) meshing an eclectic mix of different music sounds together thus creating a wondrous vibe and energy so hard to describe in plain words. Sorry, blogspot readers, you have to partake in this experience (and it is truly an experience) in person yourself which perhaps might include recordings of hunchback whales singing. During Phantom's Elbo Room set, this four-membered band rocked the stage with danceable rhythms quite melodic and vibrant channelling an 80s pop vibe at times. Even while taking the music momentum down a notch or two, there was plenty of techno wizardry to deeply immerse the ears.
Speaking of "techno wizardry", each Phantom Tails song performed had its own personality and distinctive sound. For example, one particular song opened with a videogame-like rhythm paired to guitar rock riffs. Or in the crowd pleaser song Real Savage, there's a bit of dubstep (think The Time) intertwining with the rock on a downtempo beat. Fans wanting to hear the recordings of whales songs within a Phantom song should check out Within the Belly of the Whale which is the first track of their current album - Songs of the Hunchback Whale. During the interview, SouthSide asked the band what inspired them to use recorded hunchback whale sounds for the album. They replied "...[we] all have an interest in animals..." to which one of them found the album Songs of Hunchback Whales. They went on to tell her a little something about the hunchback that she never knew like how these amazing creatures can sing a song up to 1 1/2 days. And their song Within the Belly of the Whale though being about inside a belly of a whale had each member feeling some sort of spiritual connection with their animal brethern. However, Phantom Tails wanted to make it clear - they're NOT usint this song and/or the album as the main focus to shed light that these whales (and other sea creatures) are endangered species. "...we're not sponsored by PETA or Greenpeace ...though pocket pitas are delicious with hummus..." What a yummy endorsement for hummus.
Before wrapping up the interview, SouthSide noticed that Phantom Tails was the fourth band from Minneapolis she has reviewed this year, blogspot readers, and wanted to know what's the music scene like up there. "...lots of music of going on ...everyone is friendly and supportive..." with Sergio adding two main things about the Minneapolis music scene "...it's experimentive and very communal there..." They know her friends The Poor Nobodys and The Big Strong Men (who will be returing to Chicago during Halloween weekend) and this isn't Phantom Tails first time in Chicago either. They have graced the stages of Ronny's and Darkroom ...and now Elbo Room. This band likes the mini Midwest tour stops (i.e. Milwaukee, Chicago and Indiana before heading back to the Minneapolis) which has garnered then a growing Chicago fanbase. And not to worry if you've missed this show, Phantom Tails promises to return to Chicago soon. Since they're currently on tour heading to New York for CMJ, SouthSide asked the guys what they hoped to achieve while attending this music conference. They replied "...to have many hear us as possible..." With over 800 bands performing at various venues, they're being very realistic about a record company (or two) coming to see them peform. In other words, they're not looking for that record deal, blogspot readers. But what they're looking for is "...gain more new fans and establish new music connections..." with other bands as well as with those inside the industry. Meanwhile, Sergio has one goal in mind for himself while there - to go to Chinatown to eat.
Lastly, Phantom Tails wants you to know about their new album coming out soon - Armageddon of Experience with the question to you fans - are you armageddon the experience? Well, SouthSide highly recommends getting the experience with this band, Phantom Tails while they're in New York or wherever they rock the stage with whale songs. Visit http://www.phantomtails.bandcamp.com or http://www.myspace.com/phantomtails for more information and details.
Until next time, support your local scene,