SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #244: THE PHANTOM BAND

Edited from wiki:-

“The Phantom Band are a Scottish indie rock band based in Glasgow, consisting of Duncan Marquiss (guitar), Gerry Hart (bass), Andy Wake (keyboards), Rick Anthony (vocals and guitar), Iain Stewart (drums) and Greg Sinclair (guitars). They are often generally described as indie rock but are known to utilize a variety of genres and styles. The band’s debut album Checkmate Savage was released in January 2009 (re-released on vinyl in January 2019) and the follow up The Wants in October 2010. In June 2014, the band released their third record, Strange Friend, followed by Fears Trending in January 2015.

The band initially performed and released material under various names, never sticking with the same band-name for long. In 2005, using the adopted name Robert Redford, the band released a one-off CDR titled The Mummy and Daddy Dance on their own temporary label Extreme Nudity, self-distributed to independent record outlets in the UK, before removing all reference to it from their online presence and reforming under a new name, Robert Louis Stevenson. The sought-after release now only changes hands on online auction sites, and the only element traceable from the band’s current incarnation is the presence of the track “Crocodile” (formerly “Crocodile Dundee”) on their 2009 album Checkmate Savage.

In 2006, the band began using The Phantom Band as their name (apparently in reference to their elusive activities up to that point) and, in 2007, released a 7″ single, “Throwing Bones”, on the London-based Trial & Error Recordings. The critical acclaim of this single, their first fully distributed release, was the impetus for their signing to Chemikal Underground.

The band began recording their debut album early in 2008. Despite planning on recording it in a few weeks in the labels Chem19 studios in Blantyre, the whole session ended up spanning many months and was mixed at Franz Ferdinand’s studios in Govan. Checkmate Savage was eventually released in January 2009 and it peaked on the UK Albums Chart at number 181 in February of that year. Early in 2010, the band once again returned to Chem19 to begin work on their second album.

The recording sessions for the band’s second album were quite difficult – even more so than the first record. Much of the music was written in the studio and under quite tight time constraints and this seems to have led to some difficulties within the band. Sometime in the summer of 2010, between the records completion and its release, the band parted ways with original drummer Damien Tonner.

The Wants was released in October 2010. On the day of its release the band travelled to the United States of America to appear at the CMJ festival in New York. Directly after this, the band supported Frightened Rabbit on a string of dates during their headline tour including shows in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, New York and Chicago. On returning to the United Kingdom the band embarked on a small tour of their own culminating in a sold-out show at Oran Mor in Glasgow.

In March 2011, they completed a two-month tour of Europe. Beginning in Ireland at the end of January the group then travelled through France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain.

Throughout the summer of 2011 the band appeared on the stages of many UK and European festivals including: Latitude (Suffolk), The Great Escape Festival (Brighton), Friends of Mine (Manchester), Walk the Line (Den Haag), A.F.F. (Genk), Tramlines (Sheffield), Camden Crawl (London), Summer Sundae (Leicester), Belladrum (Inverness-shire) and T in the Park (Kinross-shire).

The band returned to the studio in 2013 to record the follow up to The Wants. Largely self-produced, their third record Strange Friend was released on 2 June 2014 followed by a short tour of the United Kingdom and several summer festival dates. Later in 2014 the band announced the release of their fourth studio album, Fears Trending. The album came out on 26 January 2015. It was recorded during the same sessions as the band’s previous album.

In October 2015 the band embarked on a European tour. They played in Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Hamburg, Cologne, Luxembourg, Zurich, Paris and Lille. After the gig in Lille on 20 October 2015 all of the band’s equipment, worth over £13,000, was stolen from their tour van. The remaining dates of the tour in Brighton and Liverpool were cancelled and, despite strong support, the band have not played live since.”

JC adds……

I’m really not sure if The Phantom Band are still an entity, but I don’t think there’s ever been any formal announcement of a break-up.  But having said that, the official website is no longer active and, here’s a few words lifted from a newspaper interview given by Gerry Hart and Rick Anthony around the time that Checkmate Savage was given the vinyl re-release:-

Q: Is there any likelihood of the band adding to their four albums?

“Some people are keener than others,” says Hart, “but who’s keener depends what day of the week it is.”

“At that point in Lille we were thinking it would be good to have a break anyway,” says Anthony, who has released two solo albums under the alias of Rick Redbeard. “It was kind of cosmic. It was hard practising a couple of times a week and we were all working too.”

“When the band started it seemed to propel itself through whatever momentum was created by everyone getting together,” adds Marquiss, who also performs solo under his own name. “I think it’s good to allow it to tail off. The other challenge is it’s increasingly difficult to be able to afford to do it.”

“It would take a lot of energy to build it back up again,” concludes Anthony. “It’s nice to imagine we might release something ourselves but I don’t know if that’s likely.”

“That’s never going to happen,” Hart retorts quickly, smiling.

As such, the legacy is the four excellent albums alongside a couple of 7″ singles, all of which I reckon I’ll condense someday into an ICA.  In the meantime, here’s the single that was released on Trial and Error back in 2007:-

mp3: The Phantom Band – Throwing Bones

JC

3 thoughts on “SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #244: THE PHANTOM BAND

  1. Brilliant song and another band that I’d not heard of before today’s post. Just one thing: the link states The Howling, but the MP3 is Throwing Bones (Single Version). No complaints from me, though, I’ll be checking out their back catalogue whilst I’m looking forward to your Phantom Band ICA…

  2. Thanks Khayem. It’s been sorted. ‘The Howling’ is another excellent single, but ‘Throwing Bones’ is the one I meant to feature today.

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