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According to National Geographic, 300 to 400 dead sea turtles were found off of the coast of Jiquilisco Bay in El Salvador since last month.  As of the date of this article, the cause of the die off has not been confirmed.

I had to write this story because it should be told by one who is both on the outside and on the inside. I know and also I don’t know. I want to know, and also I don’t want to know. That is my story of Turtle Stand, but what is the real story? How does one blur the lines of truth, that which should be kept private and that which should be shared with the public? How does one survive a broken heart and not tell anyone the heart is broken? How does one drive down a long lonely rural road when the light in life seems to have gone out and keep driving towards a new dawn?

This was the first time I sat down and talked with the members of Phantom Phunk since the release of their first album, Arboles Ossific. So much has changed, and so much has remained the same.

While part of this album was recorded and mixed at Harmonic Factory in Tampa, Florida, some of it was recorded and mixed at Westfall Recording Company in Austin, Texas. This was a departure from the way they produced their debut album. This time they wanted to explore the other side of the glass. “I enjoyed just being a musician,” Hector said.

As an artist, the musician paints a story with music and lyrics that the listener can relate to. It was an easy question.

What are the songs about?

Hector, Nick and Juan all chimed in with their thoughts. It was an easy conversation. This was different from my first interview with the band, before they had toured the South East, before they had played large festivals. Now, Phantom Phunk are more secure in the way they talk about their work. Conversation is spontaneous and enjoyable with this band. Experience and time are great teachers and we, their listening audience, are reaping the rewards.

If you can relate, that is the point” – Juan

“Our meaning may not be the meaning of the listener, because the listener can create his own meaning” – Nick

“At some point, the music stopped being about one thing and became a metaphor” – Hector

In the Beginning

“It started out as a guitar riff…an unfinished thought,” said Nick. And then, when driving down a rural road on the outskirts of Tampa, he spotted two squashed turtles, and then a third.

“And then I found out that there used to be a lady who had a turtle stand,” Juan explained. “It was a long time ago. People would go to her stand. She sold dead turtles and turtle shells.”

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Turtle Stand (the song)

Music and Lyrics by Nick Emiliozzi

“Come and take a look at my turtle stand.
All my turtles Clean. They fit in your hands.”

Turtle Stand the song is a dichotomy from its haunting lyrics to its upbeat and even humorous presentation. It is a wild ride down a hill with the top down in the mountains of Georgia or a quick ride to the store in an early sixties gold Corvette with shiny chrome bumpers. It will make you happy and it will make you sad at the same time. It will make you long for things that are and things that could be but aren’t.

Listen here:

Memory’s a Ghost

Music and Lyrics by Hector Alexander and Juan Gonzalez

“If I recall you used to be shy
But now your hair is green and you’re with some guy
Who reminds me of Peter O’Toole,
Dancing to songs and ripping the bong.”

Bands like Phantom Phunk are born again and again in the same lifetime. And like real life we sometimes long for the comfort of the past, but its realities are not as sweet as the memories, and like real life, music and relationships evolve, change, and move on. “It’s about growing up,” said Hector, “filled with flashbacks and open-ended.”

Listen here:

My Hands

Music and Lyrics by Juan Gonzalez

“Well my hands are getting bloody
Why can’t you just be my buddy?
Are you real or are you faking?

This one is such a simple song and so complex at the same time. Literally bleeding from playing the guitar and pondering the universal questions of trust and faith in relationships, two sides of the same thought create layer upon layer to ponder long after the tune ends.

Listen here:

Paper Neck

Music and Lyrics by Alexander-Sasha Cheine

Written by a member who is now conspicuously absent from the studio and likely from the future, Paper Neck is a search. It is a pounding Tampa thunderstorm of thought and sound, and an integral part of the Turtle Stand journey.

“Misty salt water splashes up and catches my face
And it reminds me of a feeling I’ve had many times”

Listen here:

The Album

There are two sides, they explained. The public side identifies with environmental issues and the personal side identifies with process. Turtle Stand chronicles the uncertainty that spread through the band at a time when they were not sure what to do, and yet, as time went on they realized that the music told a much more cohesive story than they originally realized and originally planned.

Hearing is Only Part of the Journey

Phantom Phunk are more than musicians and song writers. They are artists as well, with a passion for creating worlds with photography and drawing. This can be seen in the booklet that comes along with the album, Turtle Stand. These pictures are a comment on the environment and a comment on humanity. Clearly, Phantom Phunk knows we can do better. Each of us simply has to find our own way of contributing to the betterment of the world. Ideally vegetarians and aspiring vegans, Phantom Phunk are already doing their part.

Their artwork has become a standout feature of their Facebook page and soon will be released as part of an on-line comic series which will be launched some time in 2018. The series will be based on the band mates chemistry and will follow them along sort of like a diary. Phunk Phans – stay tuned, because they plan to have Phan participation and will even be accepting Phan art as well.

Listening to the whole album, Turtle Stand, is like entering another dimension, one that is unfamiliar and yet familiar at the same time. It is a journey that anyone can take. Come along for the ride, you will not be disappointed.

This is their story. This is their second story. I can’t wait for the third.

Tracks:
Back Seat Sax
My Hands
Sleepy Willow
Turtle Stand
Paper Neck
Raymond Sanders Funhouse
Shadow Lawn
Memory’s a Ghost
Steep Your Body
People Watcher
Aricebo’s Lullaby

Phantom Phunk takes a Stand for the Turtles

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thebluemoment.com

Counter culture 2I’m looking at some 50-year-old cuttings from a morning newspaper called the Nottingham Guardian Journal. The first of them is dated Saturday, May 13, 1967. It’s from a page called The Younger Set, containing pieces on fashion and music. The reviews include Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary” (“magnificent… the most creative musician in Britain today”) and Percy Sledge’s “Out of Left Field” (“reaffirms my faith in soul music”). A week later we have the Doors’ debut album (“a very cool, tight sound”), Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” (“a very mind-blowing cut from from one of the leading new-wave groups”) and, er, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich (“completely moronic”).

The Guardian Journal died in 1973 and is remembered only for having been the place where Graham Greene learned the craft of sub-editing before leaving for London to join The Times. And in 1967 it carried these reviews, along with others of The Velvet Underground…

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Paper Neck, the title of the new single by Phantom Phunk might infer an inability hold a heavy load, but nothing could be farther from the truth. From the opening moments of the track one is thrown into the big arena, where only legendary rock bands go.  This song, no doubt, will propel Phantom Phunk into the mainstream heavy metal conscience.

Sasha’s amped out vocals kick the door wide open for the downpour of drums and bass that rumble under the lightening flash of guitars. Heavy, uncompromising and deep, Paper Neck leads you right into the storm. And as all Phunk Phans know, Phantom Phunk’s music requires the listener to dig below the surface to find meaning. The second to last line of the lyrics asks a simple question – “Do we have the exact same problems?” yet that line alone can evoke a million conversations and quite a few thesis papers.

After their signature “Tommy’s Cosmic Avocado,” off of their first album, Arboles Ossific, it is hard to believe that another epic song was coming right on the heels of their debut.  Released as a new single before their second album hits the shelves, Paper Neck leaves us with only one question: Is there anything this band can’t do?

Check it out below.

Related Artists:

Cage the Elephant

Kurt Vile

Them Crooked Vultures

 

Phantom Phunk Abbey Road Studios

Phantom Phunk, a Tampa-based indie rock band, is set to release their debut album on November 19, 2016 . Arboles Ossific was recorded and produced at Harmonic Factory, in Tampa, Florida and mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London, England.

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Patience Pays

The band spent the last the last year and a half concentrating on composing music, writing lyrics, recording their music and purposely taking the time to form a cohesive group. Since they produced the album in their own studio, they were able pursue their ideas, satisfy their curiosities in the studio, learn about each other musically and form a professional bond based on mutual respect and trust. This has led to a band that has faced challenges head on and come out stronger. They believe that taking this year to focus on recording and developing the band will be a big advantage when they face the stresses of being on the road for long lengths of time, performing in unfamiliar venues and being away from home.

Choosing a Title

When Phantom Phunk was working on their album they broke a lot of drumsticks. Every time a drumstick broke, they planted it in the yard outside their studio. They dubbed the area Drumstick Graveyard and took a picture to memorialize the completion of the album. Behind Drumstick Graveyard is a vast expanse of green grass and behind that is the beginning of the forest.  If you look closely, the drumsticks have the effect of fossilized tree trunks – thus Arboles Ossific.

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Cover Art

The much anticipated results of the cover art contest were announced on July 23 and with the band’s spooky yet elusive persona, it was anyone’s guess which direction the art would take. The band received amazing feedback and a lot of wonderful submissions. The cover they chose can be seen here and was created by Jamie Williams:

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Filling the Park

The official debut of Arboles Ossific will be at a live concert performance in Downtown Tampa at Water Works Park, located on the Hillsborough River and part of Tampa’s now famous Riverwalk. The park itself has a new band shell, expansive lawns and great views of downtown Tampa. There will be a simultaneous release on CD Baby, I Tunes Store, Amazon, Band Camp and in local music stores. Details about the concert are available on their website at www.phantomphunk.com.

Arboles Ossific will be released on CD’s and LP Vinyl and will be available for download. For those who buy the download version, Phantom Phunk will be offering fans bonus tracks not otherwise available to the general public.

Sneak Peak

Meanwhile, Phantom Phunk invites you to explore their music before the official release date. On the tracks available here, you will discover a collection of songs that represent the spirit of Phantom Phunk. Musically, the album covers a lot of ground. From the appealing ballad of Sip of Wine to the punk circus of Snowy in Florida to the fast paced rock of The Unheard Spirit Symphony to the symbiotic relay between electronic and acoustic rhythm elements in Jungle Crunch with special guest rapper Wayne Price, the music of Phantom Phunk provides plenty to get psyched about. Be assured, every track on Arboles Ossific will capitalize on the groove you can hear right now.

The full tracklisting

  1. Snowy in Florida – lyrics by Juan Gonzalez
  2. Sip of Wine – lyrics by Alex Cheine
  3. The Unheard Spirit Symphony – lyrics by Erica Goldman and Alex Cheine
  4. Gateways – lyrics by Alex Cheine
  5. Hey There – lyrics by Hector Alexander
  6. Looping – lyrics by Hector Alexander
  7. Brother’s Keeper – lyrics by Alex Cheine
  8. Distant Kaleidoscopes – Instrumental by Phantom Phunk
  9. Tommy’s Cosmic Avocado – lyrics by Alex Cheine
  10. Jungle Crunch – lyrics by Hector Alexander

 

 

Snowy_Blog_Collage_1000x1500pWebSnowy in Florida

With their newest release, Snowy in Florida, Phantom Phunk is changing up the standard playlist. This is their version of a punk circus.

While the lyrics are almost nonexistent, there is a coherent musical narrative. The song’s structure and tone recreate the agitation of our everyday existence without jamming the obvious down our throats. The riveting guitar licks, pumping bass and hammering drums are the house of mirrors. The constant bombardment of soundbites offers a stereophonic substitution for the fun house. So ladies and gentleman, step right up, and prepare to be amazed…

 

You’re driving down the road, listening to the radio. A song comes on. Do you keep listening or do you change the station? Take a chance, roll down the windows, turn up the volume and allow yourself to remember. Music does that. Phantom Phunk has done that. They brought back a moment in time with their newest release, Distant Kaleidoscopes. Vintage without even trying, classic yet brand new, this music is right out of their playbook. This new song will “inhabit your thoughts and meddle with your soul.”

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. ~Charlie Parker

Walk into the room and take out your favorite vintage record album.  Spread the dry leaves across the top of the cover and hold it out in front of you.  Tap the cover from underneath, gently.  Look around the room, are you still alone?  Watch the seeds come to the top and roll off the album cover and drop to the green shag carpet below your feet. Don’t spill the pot, that wouldn’t be right.

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The lonely piano starts playing, the drums kick in.  By the time the guitar hints at its presence, you are ready to open the door.  Slowly people start showing up; another night, another party. The trumpets sing. There they are, your crazy friends, in various states of dress and sobriety, ready to go again. Bongs get lit, the beer gets passed around and before you know it, crash! A bottle breaks and pills of all colors fall to the carpet.  Someone spins them into a complex pattern of colors and shapes. The music continues to get more complicated.  The pills and the pot get passed around and you are off.

The music demands your concentration, but you on turn the TV, sound all the way down.  The black and white flashes from the screen illuminate the room.  The drums command attention, the trumpet fills your head. The vintage guitar work satisfies your expectations, but you are waiting for that voice. You are expecting to hear Alex sing, but then you realize, you are singing in your head.  You are all alone, watching amazing colors spin right in front of you. That Distant Kaleidoscope is so close that you can almost touch it, yet it is too far to grab. Suddenly you hear a knock at the door.  Hurry, flush the evidence. The music stops abruptly and the night is over. The memory fades into the background of your existence.

This song has it all.  It has that middle of the night beer run kind of groove, that vintage 7-Up can with the flickering light bulb kind of feel, with a fabulous display of Afro hair, dark sunglasses and The Mod Squad all wrapped up into a well-honed digital masterpiece.  Yet, it is new and it is fresh and it is modern.  Distant Kaleidoscopes is all instrumental and beckons to the listener in no uncertain terms, “take a walk with me down memory lane and right into your future.”   Go ahead and listen, see where this song takes you. Drop me a line and let me know. I’d love to hear your story.