10 Pool Valley
It’s the Friday night of the Great Escape 2009 and this writer, having ruined his chances of catching Holy Fuck as a result of drunken procrastination, takes a look at his program and vaguely remembers reading something in Drowned In Sound extolling the virtues of a mysterious Scottish outfit called The Phantom Band. As mistakes go, it was a great one and the start of an enduring relationship with the strange but comforting Glaswegians that remains strong to this day.
Their 45 minute set, supporting the then recently released debut Checkmate Savage, was the highlight of the entire weekend. The six-piece kraut-folksters (we know – stick with it) being infinitely danceable on the dirty synths and metronomic beats of ‘The Howling’ or all brooding, moody and doomy on the set highlight ‘Folk Song Oblivion‘. It didn’t hurt that the visually disparate six-piece looked so damned brilliant. Frontman Rick Anthony, possessed of one of those deep Scottish baritones loved by fans of Frightened Rabbit or The Twilight Sad, and his cohorts had the air of a dangerous gang of hobos dragged in off the streets, as they bashed what looked like shelf brackets as auxiliary percussion and produced a number of unconventional homemade looking instruments. They also had beards, well before they were cool.
Five years later and not a whole lot has changed; it didn’t need to. A gradual sharpening up of the songwriting, removing some of the more aimless kraut of the first record, a slight move of Anthony’s voice to front centre. But truthfully all the elements that make the Phantom Band a great band were present at that gig. The critics have stuck by them, the BBC deservedly giving second album The Wants a laudatory review.
New effort Strange Friend feels like their strongest yet. It’s the kind of record that seeps into you, bursting at the seams with clever musicianship and big choruses. They’re a band on an ongoing process of refinement and the wealth of material that three excellent records gives them should make for a fine show.
Also, The Phantom Band at The Haunt. Spooky huh?
Founded by Alex Murray, One Inch Badge (or OIB it’s also known) is an independently minded music collective based in Brighton. Disheartened by the lack of support the true Brighton scene was receiving at the time, OIB Records launched as a label that focused on the artist and did justice to the innovation and creativity of the underground.
While One Inch Badge Records has expanded beyond its original parameters, releasing records for acclaimed international artists as well as less established acts, they remain dedicated to supporting the local scene that built and inspired them. This is particularly evident in the April 2011 released 18 track compilation ‘Sea Monsters’ which is a comprehensive 18 track compilation of the most crucial bands out of Brighton right now.
The One Inch Badge collective are also active and prominent local promoters on the Brighton scene, recently promoting Brighton shows for MF DOOM; Wire; Venetian Snares; Sage Francis; Nina Nastasia; Why?; KRS-One; 65daysofstatic; Health; Wolf Parade; Vashti Bunyan; Pains of Being Pure at Heart; Liars; and many more.