Even the most adventurous alchemists return to their favoured base elements in the pursuit of maximum potency. So it was that The Phantom Band following two diverse albums of singular brilliance in Checkmate Savage (2009) and The Wants (2011) – reached album number three seeking a return to the first principles of performance that brought them together to begin with – to capture the six of them live; raw, rugged, perhaps looser, but still fit to burst with earworms and oddities from every nook and cranny.

Musically Strange Friend is the most straight-up set of recordings the band have put to wax. Fans of their previous critically-acclaimed albums, fear not; those burbling, fluttering electronics that drag their sound through a wormhole and out into the 70’s alongside the soundtracks of John Carpenter and the kosmische of Kraftwerk and Neu! remain; the elements of folk; the woozy organ sounds. The difference is now it feels as though an imaginary thread’s been pulled tight through it all; The Phantom Band were always a rock band that enjoyed pushing the pre-conceptions of what that could mean – never the other way round.

“The Phantom Band should really be celebrated for what they are: that rarest of things – an excellent British rock band” – NME

The Phantom Band Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Watch the video for ‘The Wind That Cried The World’ below:

Plus support from GULP

Gulp are Guto Pryce (Super Furry Animals) and Lindsey Leven, with Gid Goundrey providing guitar and Gwion Llewelyn (Race Horses) on drums.

Fuzzed-up bass, dream-folk vocals, acoustic and electronic drums and synths, their cinematic and ethereal sound is a musical manifestation of the road trip; the landscape and events along the way, filmic scenes and melodies – from the sun-squinting, flickering saturation and lens flare of the Californian desert to the gloaming of ruralScottish and Welsh homescapes.

Their debut LP, Season Sun, is out now via Sonic Cathedral .

“a thing of eyeball popping beauty that deserves to have psychotropic palm leaves wafted at its feet (and then, ideally, eaten)”  – 5/5, Artrocker 

Gulp Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Watch the video for ‘Vast Space’ below: