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Wednesday, 16 July 2014 10:10

Charting the Music: PHOX, 'PHOX'

Charting the Music: PHOX, 'PHOX' facebook.com/phoxband / Jade Ehlers
Written by Julian Loida
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There are many ways to describe what it's like to listen to the new PHOX album, but let's allow Jimi Hendrix to take it away: "You make me wanna get up and scream...I'm tired of wasting all my precious time, you've got to be all mine, all mine...Foxy Lady." Or in this case, "Phoxy."

PHOX, a multi-instrumentalist, six-piece band, creates deep grooves and expansive textures on its self-titled debut album. This group of Midwesterners succeeds in combining psychedelic and symphonic elements, with some Americana thrown into the mix as well.

88.1 KDHX chart position: #2 CMJ and #4 Adult Album Alternative for the week of July 7, 2014.

Record label, release date and producer: Partisan Records released "PHOX" on June 24, 2014. It was produced by Brian Joseph.

Can be heard on: "Wax Lyrical" with Caron, "The Space Parlour" with Nick, "Mystery Train" with Tim Rakel and "Bittersweet Melody" with Allen.

RIYL: Feist, Natasha Bedingfield and Adele.

Hometown: Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Standout tracks: "Slow Motion" begins with a joyful banjo line that is then smacked down by a powerful drum fill leading in to a head-nodding beat. PHOX shows its uniqueness here by taking the listener from the Smoky Mountains to the streets of Austin all in the course of 10 seconds. Monica Martin quickly entrances the listener with her soulfully soft voice. The rest of the song just flows out as the band crosses genres left and right, going from strong rock beats to open jams and chant sections full of glorious vocal harmonies. Immediately after "Slow Motion" comes "1936," reminding listeners why they listen to music. A canvas of color and space appears, created by the mesmerizing sound of plucked guitar strings covered with the soaring notes of the vibraphone overhead. Then the beat drops and it's all over. The strut pushes the harmonies and reveals "1936" as a story all the way through.

About the band: PHOX was born in 2011 after band member Zach Johnston took his newly written songs to singer Monica Martin. Together they formed the band with a group of friends from PHOX's hometown of Baraboo, Wisconsin. Since the release of their "Confetti" EP in 2013, PHOX has played at several large music festivals including South by Southwest, Lollapalooza and London's iTunes Festival. Currently the band is touring throughout the United States, followed by a European tour at the end of the year. (Wikipedia)

What the critics say: Stephen Thompson from NPR writes, "Phox rose to prominence on the strength of its undeniable charisma -- particularly that of singer Monica Martin, for whom star power seeps out of every pore...The band's sweetly sullen folk-pop isn't showy, needy, brash or melismatic, and it's not bound up in a melodramatic backstory. It's ingratiating without crossing into pushiness."

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