|Commentary by Jeff Rey
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|The Phantoms have recently released an album, Wagon Loopy, that fully captures the essence of the group via recordings from 1981. Eleven of the tracks are from a live performance at Club 1, the very underground, basement venue run by the band’s principals Micky Metts and Angelo “Vice” Aversa (aka Piggy Apple). The final cut is the audio portion of three songs from their memorable TV appearance on Boston’s Channel 5 from that same year (including tacky station promos and disclaimer).
Ms. Metts is in particularly good voice here with her guitar bordering on the psychedelic on more than one occasion. This is dynamic and up-beat stuff for the most part with Phantoms’ staples like “Blastphemy” and “Hip Hippy Punk,” so unless you listen carefully you may miss some of the dark places where the lyrics go or the irony that flows so easily throughout their music. A prime example is the power-poppy “Bobby Franks” which is in fact a serious ode to the young victim of the notorious child murderers Leopold and Loeb.
|The mid 70s to early 80s was a fertile time for new and innovative music across the cities of the U.S.A. This was especially true in New York where the punk/new wave scene spawned such widely diverse groups as the Ramones, Television and Blondie - and in Boston where garage bands (DMZ, the Real Kids, the Nervous Eaters), punk rockers (Tracks, Unnatural Axe), art bands (the Rentals) and a mixed bag of new wavers (i.e., influenced by the Cars) shared a sometimes fragile co-existence. Out of this motley melting pot came the Phantoms, a band that was firmly punk in spirit and format and who embraced the absurdities of life in 3-minute blasts of thought-provoking witticisms
|The Phantoms and the later Metts/Aversa collaboration the Organ Dönörs ventured into New York now and then and it was on one such trip to CBGB that their heavy metal/punk metal group Diabolix was spontaneously birthed. The duo is also about to release a full album from that incarnation titled Guilty But Insane (a 2-song sampler is now available). It’s much obviously darker and of course heavier, but still manages to retain that twitchy edge that made the Phantoms such a perverse pleasure.
Both recordings have been re-mastered, re-mixed and otherwise tweaked by the inimitable Screeg Neegis a mainstay and aficionado on the Boston scene since the very beginning. More on the recordings, including lyrics, photos and flyers from the era, purchasing details and other fascinating items can be found at www.PunkTV.com/phantoms.
|Piggy Apple and Micky Metts - The Phantoms in 1978
Photo - Lorry Doll