Phantom 309

  • Phantom 309
  • A Sinister Alphabet (Tupelo) 1989 
  • Duh
  • Blowhard (Boner) 1992 

With cover art and lettering by Edward Gorey (uncle of bassist Mac McNeilly, who left P309 to drum for Jesus Lizard) and production by Jon Langford (Mekons/Three Johns), all this trio — self-billed as the biggest band in Picayune, Mississippi — had to do was show up on its first record to make its small cultural impact. A dish of gutter-level grungeabilly and cohesively crude rock noise distinguished by guitarist John Forbes’ devilish growl, A Sinister Alphabet simmers with backwoods weirdness and domineering intensity. There may not be much difference between songs like “Beaver Hollow Turnaround,” “Slowboat to China” and “Janitor to the Stars,” but Phantom 309’s demento racket easily slinks below such petty criticisms.

[Ira Robbins]

See also: Dirt, Jesus Lizard, Mount Shasta