Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Here are The Phantoms!

Alright! The on-going geographic expansion of Malibu Lou's rock n' roll empire has now reached the American West Coast! From San Diego, The Phantoms are fronted by a well-known name in singer/guitarist Victor Penalosa (Flamin' Groovies, The Riot Act, The Quarter After, The Shambles). He's joined by a stellar cast of veteran players in lead guitarist Xavier Anaya (The Trebles, The Hoods), bassist Chris Iandolo (Dizzy), and drummer Ed Masi (Ghosts of California, Sleeping Cranes). This band is tight! And sure enough, The Phantoms fit right in on the Rum Bar Records roster with their hooky, high energy brand of rock n' roll. The band has been working with the label for two years to get an album out on Rum Bar, and now the wait is finally over. It's time to enjoy the music!

On their 11-song self-titled CD, The Phantoms are all about quality songwriting and straight-forward rocking. Influences run the gamut from garage to punk to arena rock to power pop to pub rock to glam, and it's all tied together by a great affection for the rich history of rock n' roll. "Baby Loves Her Rock n Roll" is the sort of middle-of-the-road sing-along number that every good bar band should have in its repertoire, and it's the perfect tone-setter for this terrific album. Covering everything from Troggs-like proto-punk thump ("Coming After You") to juke joint country rock ("One For The Road") to power pop by way of '70s Stones ("Tears Me Up Inside") to good old fuck-off punk rock ("Ditch Digger") to raucous dive bar rock n' roll ("The Ballad of Overend Watts"), this is a satisfying effort offering tremendous musical variety. It has the feel of a live set - thanks largely to no-frills production and a track sequencing that saves a lot of the best songs for the closing stretch. The "hit" of the album is arguably the KISS-inspired "Stab Me (In My Broken Heart)" - the very last of 11 tracks!

Whether or not you knew about their musical backgrounds, you could immediately identify The Phantoms as grizzled veterans of the rock n' roll underground. Collectively, these guys have been slugging it out in bars and clubs for decades. And it totally shows in their music. The Phantoms have that just-right mix of swagger, seasoned chops, and songwriting steeped in the timeless traditions of rock n' roll. And, man, Anaya sure does play some mean lead guitar! If you're into Rum Bar favorites such as Watts and Los Breakdowns or loud, catchy rock n' roll in general, The Phantoms are a must-hear. Lou has picked another winner!



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