The Phantom Band is a Glasgow-based band 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 and the follow up The Wants in October 2010.
The band initially performed and released material under various names, never sticking with the same band-name for long: NRA, Les Crazy Boyz, Los Crayzee Boyz, Tower of Girls, Wooden Trees. 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 trackable from the band’s current incarnation is the presence of the track “Crocodile” (formerly “Crocodile Dundee”) on their 2009 album Checkmate Savage.
Under the title of Robert Louis Stevenson, they played a number of exclusive live shows in Glasgow (Stereo, Nice’n’Sleazy) and Edinburgh (Wee Red Bar) and released a limited run of 150 audio cassettes under band member Nobodaddy (Andrew’s DJing alter-ego) and Hugo Paris’ home imprint, ‘Sweat on Cassette’.
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 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.
After signing with Chemikal Underground the band began recording their debut album early in 2008. Despite planning on recording the album 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 to critical acclaim and it peaked on the UK Albums Chart at number 181 in February of that year.
The recording sessions for the band’s second album were apparently 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 to critical acclaim. 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.
The plan had originally been to post The Howling which was the debut Chemikal Underground single on the basis that the 45rpm version is a couple of minutes shorter than the LP version while there’s also an unreleased track on the b-side. But then I spotted that the single version of Throwing Bones (which would be later re-recorded and included on the debut LP) is a much rarer beast so thought I’d pull that out of the cupboard instead:-
mp3 : The Phamtom Band – Throwing Bones (single version)
mp3 : The Phantom Band – The Riff
Then I thought, what the hell:-
mp3 : The Phantom Band – The Howling (single version)
mp3 : The Phantom Band – The Tall One