Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Phantom Scars on Manglor Records

The first time I mentioned Phantom Scars on the Obvious Records sampler Vol. 1 I think I dropped John Spencer as a reference? It still sounds stupid to me but I want to defend that for a second. Getting into JSBX happened right about the time they did that "Flavor" track with Beck and I happened to see them at CBGB's at some kind of crazy secret show with a friend not long after moving to NY. It was exciting to have this band not taking themselves too seriously while messing with the sacred blues genre and doing it so well that they actually were sounding like they took those roots seriously and abandoned them at the same time. Now I'm not saying The Phantom Scars are redefining genre's... I think it's more these guys have that cocky attitude you want to have in garage rock to not care what the other guys are doing and that's what makes them worth listening to. They care enough to press a seven inch of fucking off and taking it very seriously...I think?

"Lo-Fi Girl" comes on with a heavy, gritty jangle...loose baselines and a ramshackle drum roll with the feel of "Wipeout". Grungy vocals fed through a cheap megaphone, taking those chords and repeat 'em with room enough for a solo. They bash their way through the verse and then harder on the chorus. A song written in the middle of the summer, in the middle of the day, lots of beers and recorded that way. The solo section, drums are stumbling around, a tight, high pitch snare ringing out, repeat that title phrase all together. "They Call Her One Eye" opens up another ramshackle groove and snotty vocals with a heavy distortion. The clean almost jangle guitar bucks over backup whoooaaa's. It's in between surf and garage, not overly put together...a band that can keep things loose on the record because they want to party so bad they're desperately waiting for the last one to put their instruments down. Could have found a home among the cruddy jangle rock on Hozac.

B-Side "Everything Went Black" - Its fun to play along with five chords, just barely better than the sum that this should be - like they don't give a shit in a great way, its the way rock can be really fun and charismatic, the way it shouldn't even end up on a record. Everyone's idea of put together professional 'rock' just went out the window. Like a rougher, more classic scuzz rock influenced Natural Child they aren't going to be pissed. They're the kind of band that won't break up because the lead singer is taking the spotlight (I'm talking about YOU Jason) and the fame but because they haven't booked a show in months because they each thought the other bandmate was doing that. "4AM Man" - Hi Hat Sammy on drums comes up with new tempo's every verse, he's got to get every hit in there, creating these punishing patterns for himself and it's mixed right up in the front of this thing, fast and loose this feels like 4 AM, the last wind before calling it quits. You pour everything tinto tit becauae this is the last track and now you either go home or pass out. Cut up four piece that knows better than to really clean up their act because it wouldn't be half as good. Stay the course, this fuck all looseness is where things get interesting.

Black vinyl, plain b/w sleeve like punk rock, comics skeletons and heads on turntables on Manglor Records. They like those shitty movies and cheap beer maybe even more than you.

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