Premiere: Philadelphia’s PHNTMS Spark Rock Music Revival with New Single “Back Burner”

Phntms © Zakk Connor
Phntms © Zakk Connor
Philadelphia rock band PHNTMS bring soul, heartache, and a hypnotizing new sound to rock music with their latest piercing single, “Back Burner,” off their forthcoming self-titled EP.
Stream: ‘Back Burner’ – PHNTMS

If you somehow thought that the music world was too centralized around pop music and streaming numbers to be focused on rock music, then Philadelphia-based rock band, PHNTMS is about to prove you wrong. Band members, Alyssa Gambino, Adam Jessamine, Mikal Smith, and Gene Murphy are an electric combination of talent and personality that reflects the feelings of today’s modern world, the way bands like U2 and Kings of Leon do, yet they put a spin on their music that echoes from the depths of 60’s rock and roll, where you feel PHNTMS music strike you so deeply that you actually begin to believe that rock music has soul and truth again.

Back Burner by PHNTMS
Back Burner by PHNTMS

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering PHNTMS’ latest single, “Back Burner,” a staggeringly amazing, bold, and yet heart wrenchingly sad song that proves how comfortable one can get in a painfully stagnant situation.

Hands on your waist. Catch a forty eight.
Lights kill the taste of a pretty face.
Oh, I think she knows.

The track is “rock” in every sense of the word. From competitive and rhythmic guitar and bass sounds laid to the booming kind of cymbal strikes that every rock lover adores, “Back Burner,” is a heated thriller of a song that encapsulates the yearning sound of heartache that true rock and roll music used to capture.

With lead singer Alyssa Gambino’s vocals wrestling against electric guitar solos for the spotlight, the song doesn’t create a loudness in the way you might think. Gambino’s voice demands your attention but in a way that is deserving of it, not selfish. It creates the perfect collision of truth, soul, and honesty that audiences need to be reminded can still live in rock songs today.

Leave me on the back burner
It’s where I’m keeping warm
And I know I felt a flame,
I know I felt a flame

“Back Burner” is all about bad timing, and no matter how strong an attraction might be between two people, the narrative of the song shows that being in the limbo where you’re not sure if making the first move is the thing to do can actually become inescapable. One of the most powerful things about this already forceful track is that its lyrics carry a lot of the weight. Despite the heavy and incredibly instrumentals, there’s a sad story that lives in the song’s words. “I’ve always kept a safe distance when having feelings for someone new and the ‘flame’ represents just that,” Gambino reveals. “For me, being placed on the back burner is a lingering reminder that I will be here waiting.”

The words, “It’s where I’m keeping warm,” highlight the way that there is no getting out of always being placed second. Repetition of the lyrics, “Oh, I think she knows,” followed by the statement, “I believe I try,” also breathe life into the song. It makes it human, as the constant never ending thoughts about wondering if the other person may feel the same way gets transformed into a real life question you may never find the answer to. Where PHNTMS excels is reinventing this dreaded feeling into a poetic snapshot of this moment in time. Gambino’s voice delivers it through the song as not only a cry of frustration, but a declaration of permanence and being slightly accepting of it. What’s more amazing is that the power in that acceptance, elevates the power of the song’s heavy rock sound at the same time.

“We are constantly inspired by everything surrounding us such as places, relationships, growing up, life in general, we try to get people to feel how we feel through melody,” Alyssa Gambino tells Atwood Magazine.

PHNTMS © Tom Flynn

Inspired by everyday situations, relationships, and growing up, PHNTMS dedicate their artistry to making their sound and their music feel so real that their listeners can identify with their stories.

“I think as songwriters, we try to capture these moments and make them as detailed as possible. We’ll always be fascinated by the fact we can freeze these moments and be taken back to a certain place, time, or feeling,” says Gambino. With half of the band identifying as queer, PHNTMS also makes it their aim to be a voice for and support the LGBTQA+ community, using their music and influence to bring to the stage stories from voices that otherwise don’t often get to see the light.

“We openly talk about lesbian relationships in our music and we want to bring hope to anyone who is in the closet and doesn’t feel safe coming out,” drummer Gene Murphy shares. “Whether you are out as queer or not, your identity is valid and if our music helps you escape heteronormativity for a brief moment.” One of the most incredible and moving things about “Back Burner” is that thought Gambino may be singing from a place of hurt and heartache, the song alone proves those who are feeling the exact same way are not alone.

Two feet stepping on different ways
My head says, “It’s late,” with a slight delay
Oh I think she knows, to be apropos
Oh I think she knows

In today’s digital age where the focus of many artist is numbers and name recognition, it can be easy to think that rock music no longer exists in the way that it used to, but the sound that PHNTMS creates seems to drift through the whispers of legends like Led Zeppelin, being inspired by Biffy Clyro, and drawing from the contagious energy of Amy Winehouse. After opening for bands like Kings of Leon, The 1975, Bastille, Fitz & The Tantrums, Pale Waves, and Half Noise, it’s time PHNTMS have claimed a spot in the music world for their own.

Re-igniting the very idea of rock and roll – a freedom to express, no matter who you are – is a rock band that exudes truth and confidence just as loud as their music does.

PHNTMS is the sound of the reminder that no matter what state the world is in, music remains alive. I don’t remember the last time my jaw dropped while listening to a song, but twenty seconds into “Back Burner,” that’s exactly what happened for me: in short, it was an honor.

PHNTMS’ highly anticipated six-track self titled EP is set to follow the release of “Back Burner.” Keep up with PHNTMS here for more info on all their latest music, and stream “Back Burner” today exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

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Stream: ‘Back Burner’ – PHNTMS

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? © Zakk Connor 2020

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