Need a quick fix for the sweltering summertime blues? No, we can’t send you to the North Pole, but we can offer the next best thing: cool new jams! As you’re about to find out, these come courtesy of raw rockers Steel Phantoms, our most recent Bushwick Music Crush. Keep reading for more on this dynamic Bushwick-based duo, including highlights and photos from their bumpin’ record release show, and a Spotify playlist.
Shiny new Steel Phantoms EP may be the band’s first release since downsizing from a trio to a duo but together, Aaron Harris and Jesse Newkirk are more than capable of creating a thoroughly full, ample sound. Contrary to their name, Steel Phantoms embody a style that is warm, powerful, and jam-packed with raw, rock ‘n’ roll flavor. Aaron used to play drums for Canadian band Islands, but now holds vocal duties in addition to his role as master of the skins. It’s rare that a band successfully pulls off the tricky drummer/singer combo, but Aaron – a spectacular multitasker – gets the job done with ease. Co-conspirator Jesse Newkirk is similarly skilled, injecting dizzying depth into each track via slicing, dicing guitar.
Endless energy abounds throughout Steel Phantoms and, thankfully, the duo’s live show does not disappoint. Thermals-esque opener “Curtain Call” and the epic, dreamy “Overflow” are record highlights, the former of which, especially, is a real treat performed in person; reminiscent of the mid-aughts indie rock many of us were raised on, “Curtain Call” is what happens when sweet, lonely melodies and precise power drumming live together in perfect sonic harmony. But don’t say we didn’t warn you; thanks to jangly, scratchy riffs and a memorable chorus, criminaly catchy single “Matt LeBlanc” will stick to the inside of your head like super glue.
At Mercury Lounge, where we caught them last week, there was plenty of carefree dancing to go around, including some expert pogo-ing that would have left any potential competitors in the dust. Towards the end of the set, we were also treated to a song that was brand spanking new, a slick, surf-rock tune that expertly sailed the wave between groovy garage rhythms and even more displays of fast, fierce riffage.
Bummed that you missed out? Good news! We don’t have to wait long to catch these guys again; next on Steel Phantoms’ agenda is a show at Union Pool on July 26th alongside fellow Brooklynites See Through. Pretty cool, indeed.