Phantom Caste
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Phantom Caste

Fort Worth, Texas, United States | SELF

Fort Worth, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


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"Phantom Caste - "Phantom Caste (2011)""

Phantom Caste hail from Fort Worth in Texas and set their stall out with footholds in the camps of shoegaze, post-punk and goth. Attempting to merge these influences in to a coherent whole would be no mean feat but it’s been achieved by the likes of Chapel Club and The Horrors in recent years and this foursome give it their best shot on their self-produced debut album.

‘Here In Hundreds’ opens with glistening guitars and effects caught halfway between The Cocteau Twins and, indeed, The Horrors. From the outset though there is a danger of the vocals struggling to become submerged above the noise in a manner that wouldn’t happen, say, with Puressence. Furthermore, the military percussion which ushers in ‘Atlas’ promises gothic melodrama but – despite picking up its urgency by the song’s conclusion – it ends up sounding like a watered-down Interpol.

However, three tracks in, for ‘Cavlier’, the group seem to be on the same page as the singer adds croaky vulnerability to a well arranged song whilst ’Fates’ has a strong enough melody to be wordless. They truly hit top form towards the end of the record and ’Fireworks’ is arguably their best song as falsettos twist around twanging guitar shapes; the song swooping between euphoria and darkness in a most appealing manner.

At the moment Phantom Caste sound too much like a mish-mash of the groups which have inspired them. Yet if they can reach out beyond their influences, this band could become something quite special.

Jon Leonard - (sic) Magazine

"Phantom Caste - "Phantom Caste""

Relatively quietly, Phantom Caste recently released one of the most impressive albums of the year so far. The Radiohead-ish Fort Worth band's eponymous album is atmospheric -- shimmering guitars, synth washes -- but hyper-melodic, a mix of early-'80s romanticism and Brit-influenced machine-fetishism. - FW Weekly Weekender

"Phantom Caste Surges Forward by Jimmy Fowler"

The moody electronic rock quintet Phantom Caste released its debut EP, Hands to the Light, last summer to considerable praise from critics and fans. The band’s high-drama combination of runaway beats, angular guitars, dark watercolor synths, and lead singer/guitarist Paul Cooksey’s soaring vocals invariably placed the band within a contemporary spectrum of ’80s-influenced acts from The Killers to Black Tie Dynasty. Cooksey speaks for the whole band –– guitarist Bryan Stamps, keyboardist Fabian Salas, and newcomers Trey Colmbre on bass and Alex Hughes on drums –– when he says they don’t want to be pigeonholed as ’80s revivalists.
“We like the ’80s because they were back in the ’80s,” said Cooksey. “We try to keep our sound organic and not focused on a particular era. Post-punk bands like Television, Depeche Mode, and Joy Division are touchstones for us, but we try not to sound too similar.”

Cooksey, 29, lives in Denton while the rest of the band resides in Fort Worth and Arlington. After graduating from high school in East Texas, he enrolled at the University of North Texas in 2001 to study Latin American literature. Throughout the ’00s he also played guitar with several bands, but eventually he wanted to expand the pool of musicians he was working with. He put ads on Craigslist and other online networking resources and met Stamps and Salas in October 2009. Phantom Caste played its first Fort Worth show at The Pour House in January 2010.

The band members produced, recorded, and engineered Hands to the Light themselves and were fairly confident that it would be received well, Cooksey said –– they had played the songs at live shows to get a sense of what worked and what didn’t. The fact that all the Phantom Caste members had songwriting experience with other bands helped enormously. Although writing Phantom Caste tunes is a collaborative process done in rehearsals, Cooksey does reserve one element for himself.

“I write all the lyrics,” he said. “That’s from a selfish standpoint, I know, but it’s hard for me to sing other people’s lyrics. I run the lyrics by everyone else for constructive criticism.”

Phantom Caste hopes to record its first album in March with an outside producer and release it in late spring. They’ll hit the North Texas club circuit again in late February to road-test the new songs and get fan reaction before entering the studio. They’ve also submitted an application to perform at this year’s 35 Conferette (formerly known as NX35), Denton’s music festival of national, regional, and local acts whose size and reputation have exploded in just two years of existence. Cooksey likes living in Denton –– he calls it “comfortable” –– and he appreciates the city’s vaunted music scene. But right now he sees excitement and creative ferment southwest of there.

“The camaraderie and energy that I felt when I first moved to Denton I feel now in Fort Worth,” he said. “Denton has changed a lot since I’ve been here. It used to be, people would drop into a club to see a band they’d never heard. I don’t think they come out to shows as much. When we play a show in Fort Worth, we always see new faces. I guess it’s cyclical, though.” - Ft. Worth Weekly, Jan. 5, 2011

"Phantom Caste Hands to the Light EP (Self-released), by Mark Schectman"

Maybe there's something in the water out in Fort Worth? Tough to say, but the Fort sure seems to be cranking out more than its share of indie dance-pop outfits in the past couple of years. First Black Tie Dynasty and The Burning Hotels garnered national attention. And now their possible heir apparent hopes to strike the same chord with fans.

And it should: Phantom Caste's debut EP, Hands to the Light, is chock full of the same brand of swagger and syncopation that made those other acts such popular fixtures in the region.

Opener "The Silent Tide" sets the tone for the rest of the EP and is filled with reverb, synths and energy. But Phantom Caste can also do moody: "Choke" nearly sounds like an Interpol cover with its dark, masochistic lyrics and all. Credit frontman Paul Cooksey for that much; his voice is front and center throughout this release, powerful and fragile all at the same time, while displaying fairly impressive control when reaching those higher registers.

The songs on this debut EP are catchy and listeners will find that their reactions to this crop will run the gamut from addiction to love. In short: This is a very promising start for a band that's fairly new to the scene. More, please. - Dallas Observer


Phantom Caste (2011)

Hands To The Light EP (2010)



The summer of 2011 may very well see Ft. Worth band Phantom Caste become a national commodity behind the strength of their latest effort, the self titled "Phantom Caste". It finds the band blending their danceable post-punk structures with gazed-out guitars, pulsing organs, and tinges of electronica, drum and bass, surf rock, and even Morricone westerns. Phantom Caste has huge aspirations, and this record could go a long way in attaining them.

Released the polished and immediate "Hands To The Light EP" in July 2010, receiving glowing reviews, as well as local and internet streaming airplay. Released their eponymous full length record in July 2011 to much acclaim from local, national, and international press.

Cultivated fervent fan-base in the DFW area in thanks to highly energetic and blistering live shows. Nominated for Best Live band of 2011 and Best New Artist of 2010 by the Ft. Worth Weekly Music Awards.

Shared the stage with some of DFW's finest artists, such as The Burning Hotels, Titanmoon, Grassfight, Cityview, Fate Lions, RTB2, Ella Minnow, The Spiral Sound, The Early Republic and many more. Played with nationally known talents like The Delta Mirror, Baker Family, Language Room, John Lefler (Dashboard Confessional), and Lindsey Rae Spurlock.