With its live shows awash in swirly sonic doom and cryptic visual projections, and its latest album a sprawling two-LP opus entitled Monoliths & These Flowers Never Die, Phantom Family Halo offers a wild, psychotropic clangor. But alongside the psychedelic elements are touches of goth and krautrock, even a surprising lyricism.
"I guess it could be about dealing with anxieties," says Dominic Cipolla, of the Louisville, Ky., band's larger concept. "Fear, love, life, death, calm, horror, beauty, euphoria -- all those things fall in there too. It's my personal therapy through sound."
While Cipolla says there isn't really a scene in Louisville that resembles PFH -- "we just play with other bands that we are friends with and/or we think are doing something that we find interesting" -- the group does have ancestors there. PFH was started in 2006 by Cipolla, a member of the band Sapat, and Michael McMahan of Slint and Louisville post-rockers The For Carnation (on Matador and Touch And Go). McMahan has retired from live performance but is still a collaborator. The current touring lineup consists of Cipolla on stand-up drum kit and vocals, with Neil Argebright (also of Sapat) on keyboards, guitarist William Benton, bassist Corey Smith and Brian Foor on additional keys.
"With the recordings we have time to really settle in and piece things together in layers till we feel we have reached the right feel," says Cipolla. "Live is very much a reflection of that very moment, and that can be good and bad. I feel we have not reached our potential yet as a live band. I think there is some transcending yet to do."
Do a little transcending of your own on Sat., March 20, when PFH and its light show visit the new incarnation of The Nerve gallery/venue, now dubbed The Shop. Also on the bill are a literally one-note band, My Disco, from Melbourne, Australia, and locals Dark Lingo and Biggg Slurpp.
Phantom Family Halo with My Disco, Dark Lingo and Biggg Slurpp. 8 p.m. Sat., March 20. The Shop, 4312 Main St., Bloomfield. $5. All ages. 412-951-0622