The Phantom Family Halo

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The Phantom Family Halo
Origin Louisville, KY, USA
Genres Experimental,[1] Psychedelic,[1] Indie music[1]
Years active 2007–present
Labels Knitting Factory Records[2]
Associated acts Bonnie "Prince" Billy[3]
Members Dominic Cipolla, David Lackner, Ben Lord, Christian Lee
Past members Michael McMahan, Corey Smith, Tony Bailey, Axel Cooper, Brian Foor, Neal Arghabright, Alan the Egyptian, Stephen Shoemaker, William Benton

The Phantom Family Halo is an American indie rock band from Louisville in Kentucky[4][5] notable for music described as having a "post-metal state of ungodly loudness"[6] while managing to achieve a "neat creepy B-movie horror feel."[7] The six-member band,[6] currently based in Brooklyn,[1] has performed with bands such as Black Angels, Black Mountain, Dead Meadow, USAisamonster, Hawkwind, Slint, Damo Suzuki,[8] Acid Mothers Guru Guru,[8] Stormtrippers,[9] Russian Circles,[10][11] Young Widows,[10][11] Sapat,[11] The For Carnation,[12] and Bonnie "Prince" Billy.[3] The band signed a recording contract with Knitting Factory Records in 2011.[2]

Louisville beginnings[edit]

Band members include Michael McMahan, who also plays with the Louisville band Slint, and Dominic Cipolla of Sapat.[4] They frequently collaborated with other musicians active in the Louisville music scene. In 2009, the group released a double LP entitled Monoliths & These Flowers Never Die on Karate Body Records.[13][14] In 2010, the band performed in Louisville's Cropped Out Festival.[15] A report in Twin Cities Music in Minneapolis described one of the band's live performances:

They opened with a fade-in chant, and oscillated between hippie-with-a-knife and palms-up rock, their sound amalgamated from Clinic and/or Suicide and/or the "lovely" lo-fi four-tracked trend sweeping the nation and/or psych bands with modern gear.[16]

Band member Cipolla described his relation to music:

Music is therapy for everything in my life, so I only hope to achieve a even closer relationship with it. It's like a book of potions, learning how to conjure up all kinds of different spells.

— Dominic Cipolla, November 2009 in The Courier-Journal[11]

In 2011 the band recorded songs with Bonnie Prince Billy and included them on their album The Mindeater.[3][7][17] The release date for Mindeater was set for September 27, 2011.

Music reviews[edit]

A review in The Guardian described the band as a "new heavy psych band" which "dwells in a post-metal state of ungodly loudness," and compared their music to Tonys McPhee and Iommi.[6] Prefix Magazine described the upcoming Mindeater album as "spooked-out country" similar to the Palace Brothers using a "downcast slide guitar motif" with singing described as a "cracked vocal delivery" which was "mired in murky lo-fi production values."[7] Reviewer Nick Neyland added that one song has a "neat creepy B-movie horror feel."[7] A review by John Zeiss in Prefix Magazine described the band's sound as psychedelic rock and compared it to bands such as Scott Walker and 13th Floor Elevators.[4] Reviewer Joel Hunt described the band as "inventive."[18] A review in Brooklyn Rocks described the 2LP Monoliths & These Flowers Never Die as a "brain-melting slab of acid rock" similar to Hawkwind and Spacemen 3.[10]


  • "Raven Town Witch" (Sophomore Lounge Records) 2014
  • "Francis Jewel Don't Be Afraid Of The Jungle" (Galtta Media) 2013
  • "When I Fall Out" Knitting Factory Records 2011
  • The Mindeater (with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy)(vinyl on Sophomore Lounge Records, CD and digital on Knitting Factory Records) 2011[17]
  • Music From Italian TV (Sophomore Lounge Records) 2010
  • Hurricane Fighter Plane split 7inch /Meah (Sophomore Lounge Records) 2009
  • Monoliths & These Flowers Never Die, 2009, Karate Body Records[13]
  • The Legend Of Black Six (blackvelvetfuckeree records) 2006


  1. ^ a b c d "The Phanton Family Halo". Myspace designation. 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2011-09-07. Genre: Experimental -- Psychedelic -- Rock Location Brooklyn, Website ... Record Label sophomore lounge-karate body-blackvelvetfuckeree ... Type of Label Indie 
  2. ^ a b "The Phantom Family Halo". Knitting Factory Records. 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2011-09-07. ..The Mindeater.. 
  3. ^ a b c Whitney Matheson (August 30, 2011). "New podcast! Matthew Sweet, Mekons and much more". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-09-07. Bonnie "Prince" Billy, ...It comes from The Mindeater, an EP from BPB and the Phantom Family Halo. That's out Sept. 27. 
  4. ^ a b c John Zeiss (July 31, 2007). "Heading to the record store? Here's what's new.". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 2011-09-07. The Phantom Family Halo hails from one of those cities that has loomed large on the American indie-rock map: Louisville, Kentucky... 
  5. ^ Joe Lord (February 22, 2008). "Sample upcoming Black Mountain/Bon Iver show here". Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2011-09-07. Louisville's Phantom Family Halo, another goodie, is also playing. 
  6. ^ a b c Rowlands, Marc (2008-04-22). "The new wave of psychedelia is a trip". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-09-07. Kentucky sextet Phantom Family Halo ... dwell in a post-metal state of ungodly loudness that appeals both to fathers with fond memories of Tonys McPhee and Iommi... 
  7. ^ a b c d Nick Neyland (May 6, 2011). "Bonnie "Prince" Billy: "The Mindeater" f. Phantom Family Halo (Streaming)". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 2011-09-07. Will Oldham ... in collaboration with Phantom Family Halo. ... "The Mindeater," which represents a return to the spooked-out country of Oldham's earlier career.... 
  8. ^ a b Sisario (August 31, 2007). "POP". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-07. Acid Mothers Guru Guru... USAisamonster is a guitar-drum duo from Brooklyn whose jerky, robotic constructions turn into powerful blasts of sound. With Phantom Family Halo. 
  9. ^ "Weekend Plans". the deli magazine. 20 July 2007. Retrieved 2011-09-07. At the Uptown in Oakland, Phantom Family Halo and Stormtrippers will be playing ... 
  10. ^ a b c "Phantom Family Halo Release 'Monoliths & These Flowers Never Die'; Play Bowery Ballroom on Dec. 1st.". BrooklynRocks. November 4, 2009. Retrieved 2011-09-07. ... Phantom Family Halo ... The band's new 2LP release, Monoliths & These Flowers Never Die, is simply a brilliant, brain-melting slab of acid rock which should strike an immediate chord with fans of Hawkwind and Spacemen 3. 
  11. ^ a b c d (interview with news staff) (November 18, 2009). "Dominic Cipolla interview". Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2011-09-07. The Phantom Family Halo ... touring with Russian Circles and Young Widows... 
  12. ^ "Phantom Family Halo record release show". Courier-Journal. November 24, 2009. Retrieved 2011-09-07. The Halo will play a record release show at Lisa's Oak Street Lounge on Wednesday. Their double LP, which features members of Sapat and The For Carnation, is now available at 
  13. ^ a b Peter Berkowitz (September 14, 2009). "new records from Karate Body". Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2011-09-07. We eagerly await Phantom Family Halo's monstrous double LP, Monoliths & These Flowers Never Die ... 
  14. ^ Peter Berkowitz (November 24, 2009). "Phantom Family Halo record release show". Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  15. ^ "Cropped Out Festival Celebrates Louisville's Creativity". (TV station). September 29, 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-07. The Phantom Family Halo record release show (Louisville, KY) 
  16. ^ Andrew Flanagan (March 15, 2010). "Young Windows, Buildings bring the big guns to the Turf Club". Twin Cities Music (Minneapolis). Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  17. ^ a b "New Song : Bonnie "Prince" Billy + Phantom Family Halo : The Mindeater". My Old Kentucky Blog. May 5, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-07. The Mindeater EP, a 4-song collaboration with Phantom Family Halo ... 
  18. ^ Joel Hunt (2011). "Music from Italian TV". Leo Weekly. Retrieved 2011-09-07. ...There are a number of good bands in Louisville these days, but there's not another band here, much less the rest of the nation, as inventive as The Phantom Family Halo. 

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