Best Lives Shows of 2016 - Limbs @ Oakland Metro, 12/3/16 -KALX 90.7
Reviews For Accept the Juice / Whole Loto Love
My unabashed admiration for this band’s synth-pumped, psychotic circus punk has been well documented,
and my belief that punk rock is worse off with their passing is heartfelt. What these kids were doing was
reveling in the same alluring creativity, unpredictability, and, yes, sense of danger that allowed those first
few waves of punk to fuck up so many lives. They were a band to get genuinely excited about, and I’m gonna
spend the rest of my life kicking myself in the ass for not seein’ ‘em when I had the chance. I guess they
figured there were quite a few fans as dumb as I, so in addition to a disc’s worth of singles tracks, remixes,
and live cuts—all of which are friggin’ choice, I might add—they’ve seen fit to include a DVD filled with live
footage of the band wreaking bloody, occasionally disrobed, havoc on unsuspecting audiences. This one’s a
definite must-have for any collection.
A gleeful cacophony of cabaret vamping and black, blistered psychedelia dominates The Phantom Limbs’ work. It’s as if The
Mysterians exsanguinated Question Mark in a delightfully demented post-punk sideshow and they’ve presented us with the mangled
remains. This double disc compilation is a nail in the coffin of the band’s tenure on the East Bay scene, which spanned 1999-2004,
and took them across the US and Europe. “Hot Knives and Hornets (Witches Mix)” infuses the original version with sped-up, distorted
electro ferocity, the “Jointly Stranded” remix is a spook house rave up with some of the fastest organs in the West, and the
accompanying film captures a bit of the madness in the flesh. For the creepy, carnivalesque squalor The Phantom Limbs have left
behind, it’s a fitting farewell.
- Shadowtime NYC
/ The Big Takeover #65
You will get a taste of what it was like to have seen this band perform live. Playing venues ranging from the fancy Great American Music
Hall in SF to crusty venues in the East Bay, Europe and various parts of the US. Be prepared to see Loto "Hopeless" Ball wearing a
variety of strange costumes/attire including occasionally nothing at all. Witness him biting the head of a dead trout that was
thrown onstage, watch him get bitten and humped by a German Shepard at a show in Europe, watch him fight punks and see him get
pied. Great variety of footage pieced together meticulously. A complete historical video documentation of this extraordinary band.
Ophilia Necro - KFJC
The Phantom LImbs are what punk and the New Wave were supposed to be about in the first place- something new. The first time I saw them,
at Gilman Street, I was stunned- the weirdest band I'd ever seen at the place and the Gilman punx actually liked them. By the end of
the night they were on our label. They asked us to promote them as a goth band, but I sometimes wonder if they spawned their own genre.
The closest reference would be the Screamers, due to the keyboard-driven mayhem and Hopeless's Tomata- like ringmastery. But there is
more of a classical, harpsichord-y/ Phantom of the Opera thing going here- like Gilbert & Sullivan gone horribly terribly wrong. This
is tied-to-the-railroad-tracks music at its finest, like being trapped in a Barbary Coast bordello when the San Francisco Earthquake hits...
-Jello Biafra, excerpt from the liner notes
Cinq ans après la fermeture de leur petit théâtre des horreurs, les énigmatiques Phantom Limbs nous reviennent sous la forme d'une
compilation Dd / Dvd, histoire de calmer sans doute Jelio Biafra qui n'a de cesse d'hurler à propos du groupe et de leur dissolution :
'For crying out loud, wake up, people! Look what you missed!' Pour celles et ceux qui ne connaissent absolument pas l'univers déjanté
des Américains, ce disque constitue une belle occasion de pallier à cette lacune.
Véritable ramassis de sonorités punk et gothiques, cet opus est susceptible de faire frémir les plus 'dark' d'entre nous. Il se
concentre sur la période sise entre 1999 à 2004, années fastes pour le groupe. Au sein d'un univers semblable à un cabaret, l'inimitable
Loto Ball et sa bande inoculent leur parfum maléfique en 19 actes. Possédé et complètement schizophrène, Loto Ball joue un rôle semblable à
celui du maître de cérémonie Dr Frank-N-Furter, campé par Tim Curry dans « The Rocky Horror Picture Show ». Androgyne vicieux et macabre,
Ball n'hésitera pas à vous planter un coup de couteau entre les omoplates, dès que vous aurez tourné le dos ; et ce, avec la plus grande
désinvolture. Les prestations scéniques immortalisées sur le Dvd corroborent ce point de vue. Peinturluré et vêtu de bas et jarretelles,
cet énergumène vient pimenter le tableau en se démantibulant comme s'il était hanté par on ne sait quel vampire. Boosté aux substances
les plus acides, il vocifère dans un micro ses textes maudits. Il incarne même l'essence du dérangeant et du mal-être. « Accept The
Juice / Whole Loto Love » est le dernier cadeau à offrir à sa maman ; car elle n'aurait de cesse de prier pour votre âme, la pauvre.
On espère juste aussi que Biafra se consolera un jour..
Reviews For Random Hymns
"Eddytor's Dozen" -Village Voice
Top 20 of 2005
It seems The Phantom Limbs realize death-rock should be fun! This EP is full of playful rapid-fire synth lines
over pummeling percussion, thick, almost funky, basslines and thrashing theatrical vocals that sound like Johnny
Rotten under demon possession. Mix those elements with equal parts seedy cabaret, Flannery O’Connor and the nihilistic,
doomed punk sound of bands like Savage Republic and PIL and you have a unique sound.
Random Hymns further reveals The Phantom Limbs' deliriously unhinged frame of mind. Their progressive
transition to morbidly ominous mayhem is exhibited by Hopeless' contortedly agonized lyrics and their bizarre
fascination with Jumanji, on "Jackalope Rising," ... Never fear. Random Hymns will keep you supremely occupied
until their next full-length materializes.
They're back with a new EP on their totally appropriate new label home, Gold Standard Laboratories. Still spewin' the ultra
convulso-vocals atop churning thick synth lines and a primal stompin' rhythm section. The Limbs' Random Hymns get even more
chaotic on the fourth track. With its chopped up dialogue samples ..., gimp-style vocals and overall aggressive dissonance,
"Jackalope Rising" takes the listener into what is perhaps the band's most fucked-up and bizarre territory to date.
Pretty darn rad.
[Jackalope Rising] might be one of the more original, in your face tracks in recorded history.
Way too fuckin' short for my taste, but any new material from one of the best punk/death rock bands on the planet is more than
appreciated. If by some fluke you've managed to miss hearing anything by these guys, I suggest you rectify the situation immediately.
- Razorcake #37
Merge the death rock of Bauhaus and the punk edge of Rudimentary Peni and you have the insane intensity of the Phantom Limbs and their
newest release, Random Hymns, will rock your brains to smithereens and torment your family, friends and neighbors anytime, anywhere—like
what smoking PCP will do, but only better.
- Zero Magazine
Try to imagine what most spooky goth-ish art punk would sound like if it didn't suck and you have an idea how this masterpiece sounds.
- Rocktober #40
Give The Phantom Limbs credit for taking post-punk to tawdry new lows, and salute them for creating music that won't appeal to the
mainstream, even if it were given a spangly Britney enema and a truckload of Puma gear. Here's to being starving and damn proud of it.
Very cool band. Whip-smart post-punk behind a curtain of spooky keys, echoed vocals/yarls, rolling percussion, and a touch of death disco.
If you dig theatrical sounding punk that reall gives a feeling of what punk was all about in the early '80s and has Goth leanings,
check this out.
- Punk Planet
Reviews For Displacement
#1 Album of 2003 - CD101 Independent Playground
Top 5 Albums of 2003 -KDHX No Show
Top 5 Albums of 2003 -Agouti Music
The Phantom Limbs voted best "Rock" Band in San Francisco 2003 by the SF Weekly
Lead vocalist Hopeless has honed his unsettling, unforgettable, strangled howl, imbuing even seemingly innocuous line[s] with
undiluted demon's breath; Mike Klösoff hammers the skins with imposing, fascistic precision… Jason Miller's guitar [is] at once
villainous, hallucinatory, and disconcertingly familiar … and organist Stevenson Sedgwick lords over them all, stomping up and down
on his keyboard, as if he were really on loan from hell.
- Silke Tudor - SF Weekly 9/03/2003
I dare you to ignore this band.
- AMP Online
straight-up goth-punk-n-roll with hauntingly carnivalesque organ sounds to sweep everything together… a perfect combo.
As a follow-up to the band's 2001 debut, "Applied Ignorance", this record takes the Limbs morbid, creepy style to a higher plane-or
possibly to a deeper level of Hades… Like many Alternative Tentacles acts, the Limbs take an atypical approach to their genre. Horror
rock is not simply songs about monsters and ghoulies. This rock is about the horror of daily living, the sick truth inside people, and
the terrifying realities that confront people every day.
- Philadelphia Weekly Press
Mixing elements of goth, 77' street punk, and a healthy dose of blood soaked death rock The Phantom Limbs manage to stamp their
own unique style into every song
The Limbs' latest, "Displacement," features the style this five-piece has down cold - '80s synths, goth overtones, grinding guitars and the
talk-sing spookiness of vocalist Loto Ball. The danceable rhythms on songs like "Castanets Cookie" and "Ear to the Ground" give a
dose of fun to mostly dark, discordant mediations on fringe life. The Limbs' off-kilter music suggests J.G. Ballard or William Burroughs
writing the lyrics for one of those NYC dance-punk bands - except it's less pretentious and more truly visceral.
- Reno Gazette-Journal 10/23/03
These Limbs redefine Kant's definition of enlightment in a radically cynical way.
- Toilet Paper Zine #7, Germany
claustrophobic, gloomy, intense, and oddly catchy these boys are, infusing their tunes with just enough art to throw things
outta whack but not so much that it dilutes the rock. Reminds me of all the things I love about punk.
the Limbs keep you surprised and guessing at every turn. Those of you who are keen on the recent surge of evil new-wave in America
(i.e. Lost sounds, Vanishing) will absolutely love this record.
Having all the excitement of early SF punk, but with the modern smarts of applying a dark, almost goth angle to the music … both
incredibly rocking/dancy and cryptic spooky.
- Sincere Brutality
With the most garish show tactics since Suidice, a Phantom Limbs show is a morbid cross between Kabuki, B horror films, and
sweaty punk rock.
- Cleveland Free Times, June 2002
The Phantom Limbs could not have chosen their appellation more carefully. Squalling about forgone appendages and carnival nightmares,
lead singer Hopeless is the skeletal storyteller with the self-destructive vocal chords who propels the Limbs' rock 'n' roll monster,
but it is Stevenson Sedgwick's amphetamine-driven chapel organ that gives the Limbs soul. This is rock music found in the depths of a
catacomb and brought to shuddering, swirling life by Dr. Frankenstein's electrical psychosis. Thus amply fueled by static and doom, the
Phantom Limbs tear apart old men and innocent babes with snarling rhythms and lurching melodies, both maddening and thrilling to those
who have outgrown punk rock and goth but still shroud themselves in grainy black-and-white.
- Silke Tudor - SF Weekly, Jan 2, 2002
Oakland's organ-grinding Phantom Limbs are the violent, vengeful ghosts of punk and deathrock past, screaming their rotten-soul rage in your
face with some seriously malicious intent. Demented circus synths. Doomtown vocals. Drunken insanity. Fear it.
- Wilamette Week (Portland OR) - March 21, 2002
Reviews For Applied Ignorance
Best Records of 2001 - Applied Ignorance
Say what you want about jello biafra,but he's got a great ear, signing the causey way and now the phantom limbs. their music is completely
original, with funeral keyboards, a screamy singer and some kind of new wave punk rock thing holding it all together … If you caught them
at one of their first shows at the stork club, no doubt you stood agape at the skinny singers writhing around with the stoic band behind
him, wailing about someone's lost arm … seeing how this band progresses will be one of the great things about living in the east bay...
-East Bay Express, 11/21/01
The Phantom Limbs' manic appeal lies in the contrast between Sedgwick and Skot's complex interplay of keyboard lines -- which manage to sound both
frantic and eerie -- and Hopeless' yowls, which possess the crazed urgency of a condemned soul being dragged, lungs first, into purgatory.
- Kimberly Chun SFGate.com, December 27, 2001
The Phantom Limbs straddle areas between the typically divergent art, punk, and death rock genres with uncanny success that's due not only
to the songs themselves, but the way the songs are performed live. . . With ample opportunity for everyone to see this phenomenal live
show, it would be a shame if one were to miss the prickly sensation of this particular type of phantom limb (pun wholly intended).
- Performer Magazine, January 2002
When it comes to finding a good show in San Francisco, you can't miss with the Phantom Limbs
- San Francisco Bay Guardian 11/21/01
Totally fucked up and creepy as hell. Second coming of CHRISTIAN DEATH, perhaps? I love this record and it doesn't make any sense to me 'cause
it sounds nothing like DISCHARGE. Distorted, twisted and the perfect soundtrack to my nightmares.
Maximum RockNRoll, November 2001 #222
Wow, this is crazy! Sounds like early American punk-wave stuff circa 78-80 revved up for the new millennium. Very busy musically with strong
hooks and a rocking base to which multiple keyboards and effects are applied with outstanding results. I can see this crossing over a wide
variety of genres with punk, surf, electronic and noise influences all thrown in the blender and set on puree with some desperate, manic
vocals topping the whole thing off. Man, I bet they KILL live - GREAT ALBUM!
- Suburban Voice #45
After a 7", a Split-7" and a fine Videocassette, here is finally THE PHANTOM LIMBS´ first complete album, out on Vinyl and CD on the
legendary Alternative Tentacles label, which gave us many classic records for many years. I am not surpised, that "Applied Ignorance"
is a great album, full of trashy songs between Death- and Punk-Rock. As always, the songs get their unique sound from singer Hopeless´
unbeatable voice, which reminds me a lot on the singer of Germany´s strange Punkband Novotny TV (which would fit great into the program
of Alternative Tentacles, I think). Of course there are also the sounds of the Organ and the the powerful Guitars, I love so much. Well,
THE PHANTOM LIMBS could possibly be described as the missing link between the Misfits and 45 Grave on one side and early 80s The Damned
on the other.
- Back Again Magazine, Germany
hard core keyboards ….a crazy battle of sound; … I don't know who's gonna win, But you better stick around for the show, it's gonna be a hot one...
- Primal Chaos
Ominous keyboards, sporadic guitar interjections, and shrieking detached vocals coalesce into this severed, disjointed tribute to isolation.
Conjuring images of early 1940's horror cinema and roadside circus magicians, this album displays a wide array of emotions, elements and
dramatic effects ... As the album progresses, the significance of the title Applied Ignorance becomes apparent with each resonating scream
and furious guitar riff. Each song is flooded with a morose perspective on the futility of life and the feeling of the fruitlessness of
our every thought and action. The "all is lost" approach and the meritorious message of our society's gradual moral decay is rampant
throughout this album. . . Applied Ignorance is an album that achieves both tranquility and vivid ferocity with equal ardor. It is an
energetic piece of art that will awaken the senses and overthrow the overabundant preconceptions that the nature of punk holds. Strong
and ineffable, this album should not be ignored as its position on suppression is one that should not fall on deaf ears. A menage a trois
of musicality, indifference, and obstinance; Applied Ignorance redefines punk as a genre, feeling and state of mind.
- FMsound.com (Click for Full Review)
These krazy Alternative Tentacles-approved [gods] play maniacal, carnivalesque punk that reimagines the Screamers as an insane fun-house
soundtrack, complete with gouts of organs and gut-punch screams in place of vocals. A reputation for literally in-your-face performances
precedes them, so expect to get messy. (This means you, too, Li'l Miss Vampirella who takes three hours to put on makeup.)
- Wilamette Week (Portland OR) - Oct. 26th, 2001
In contrast to usual practice, the Limbs' music is keyboard- and percussion-driven; guitarist Miller uses his guitar as an accent rather
than as the main instrument. The funereal keyboards and Klösoff's rhythmic banging (a notch down in energy from his work with the Scurvy
Dogs, but that's a proportionally irrelevant measure) hold the songs together tenuously, and vocalist Hopeless' yowling is strikingly
reminiscent of Darby Crash's howled mutterings. The lyrics make no mention of politics, nihilism, or nonconformity, but are dark and
fragmented stories that, in fact, bear a remarkable resemblance to those of the Birthday Party . . .Needless to say, the live show is
where it's at. Proponents of the Bay Area "stand and nod" school of audience reaction should stay well back to avoid bruises, spilled
beer, and the occasional head-butt from an overly avid fan. You'll end up reeking and in pain, but blurred memories of spastic joy should
last at least until your ears stop ringing.
-East Bay Express, 8/22/01
The phantom limbs take a melodic approach to punk, but set it to eerie, grinding keyboards farfisa organ style, like a Baptist sermon
from hell. The singer's voice is fittingly desperate and high energy to match the frantic pace of the songs. The keys are the most
compelling I've ever heard in a punk band, reminiscent of the Dwarves garage punk days, but this is far more dirgey. The frantic
funeral pace of the keyboards meets somewhere in the middle of that and a carnival sideshow. This is really a great band.
- DeathRock.Com (Click for Full Review)
Reviews For Fleshies / Limbs Split 7"
The Phantom Limbs side of this slicks up their live show slightly, but you don't lose anything--my desire to see that singer freak out
again is simply restoked. I never got to see NERVOUS GENDER so these guys'll do nicely. Oh. yeah, buy this.
Maximum RockNRoll, July 2001 #218
Reviews For Hot Knives and Hornets 7"
This is the first release from this awesome East Bay band. They sound a lot like the SCREAMERS, I think mostly due to being heavily
keyboard driven and with similar vocals, although they are darker and more melodic. "Hot Knives and Hornets" starts out with heavy
keyboards and drums--it sounds like a man getting chased down a hole by a swarm of wasps. It reminds me of a new wave RUDIMENTARY PENI.
"Shake a Baby" starts out with a dizzy piano solo thet sounds like glasses falling down stairs, like the singer's left wandering
drunkenly after getting thrown from the ferris wheel. The chorus especially repeats "You were supposed to land gracefully, but you
fell on your face." My favorite song, "Murder Us Windpipes" is the dance infection hit. It is so heavy and tragic. "Murder us windpipes,
we don't belong, strung about, prying in...knocking me down."
Maximum RockNRoll, March 2001 #214
The Phantom Limbs are a new wave circus: a garagey, operatic hurdy-gurdy with a really strange singer named Hopeless and a guitarist
named Captain Phantom. Their music's just got something, and we have big hopes for this band, whose "Somebody Twisted Your Arms" was one
of the best songs we heard last year.
- East Bay Express, March 23, 2001
.. add in a goodly amount of '77-style aggression and a carnival atmosphere, and you've got the idea. A well-fused guitar and rhythm section
pounded out sharp, punk-inspired garage rock while the keyboard player took it all to another level with a dirge of "Sister Ray"-ish
flights and stuttering carny jacks. The words "funeral" and "carnival" appear in pretty much everything anybody writes about these
guys, but actually it's "funeral" as in Drunks with Guns and "carnival" as in Satan playing a little cat and mouse with your brain
before he melts it.
- San Francisco Bay Guardian (Click for Full Review)
Effectively using distressed organ music (via keyboards) with maniacal tempos, this band's crazed lack of stability gives it a freaky funhouse vibe.
- San Jose Metro May 17-23, 2001
Hot on the heels of their wonderful demo comes more surreal dementia from those loveable Limbs. This has three songs, the best being the live favorite
"Shake-a-Baby." Don't forget to yell out "STAY IN YOUR PLACE!" when listening to this. It also has the delightful 'Hot Knives and
Hornets," which appeared on their demo and the calmer "Murder Us Windpipes." Comes decked out in a lavish package, which is covered
with Hopeless' disturbing, brilliant artwork.
People Under No King, April 2001 #8
The Debut 7" from this great San Francisco gloomy punk band comes on sickly green vinyl with three equally sick tracks. 'Hot Knives and
Hornets' is from the demo CD - an outstanding feverish dirge and a showcase of insanity. The vocals are just one of the coolest features
about this band. They are similar to the germs but much more aggressive than the classic pandering of Darby Crash. The most distinctive
feature however is the organ. It plays a major part in the music, above the guitars, which play in sync to the organs. Next is the bass,
a weird amalgamation of fuzz distortion. The organ is played in a classic showtune carnival style, but twisted to create a highly
disturbed sound. Two new songs are introduced as well - 'Shake-a-Baby' and 'Murder us Windpipes' grace the b-side and are just as good.
As if the disorienting strangeness of the music weren't enough, the cacophonous Phantom Limbs lyrics read like cut-ups. They draw you
in and bewilder as the music draws in for the kill. The accompanying artwork sleeve and insert is by the singer, and fit the band like
a glove. Surreal and dark. Lyrics are included. Required listening.
Eine CD, die dem Begriff Death Rock wohl von allen hier beschriebenen am nahsten ist. Abgedrehter, kreischender Gesang, albtraumhafte
Jahrmarkmusik, treibendes Schlagzeug, traurig klingendes Klavier, und immer wieder VERZWEIFLUNG! Einfach irre!
- Necrogoth Magazine, Germany
The band’s nightmarish punk/ midway-carnival music is legitimately spooky, with its organ-like keys and hauntingly mumbled vocals
- S.A.Lamb, East Bay Express
I'm afraid I really can't follow that well if it comes to American band The Phantom Limbs. I tell you why…, this Oakland-based band
are planning to release their debut album on Alternative tentacles which is the record label of ex-Dead Kennedys frontman Jello
Biafra and comparisons that are already have been made are referring to bands like The Screamers or The Dwarves. OK, I'm not
someone who know these bands that well but for me The Phantom Limbs are more having the sound of goth legends like Sex Gang
Children or even a bit The Virgin Prunes. OK, it's just a stupid categorisation and it really isn't that important after all
but what surely is the case is that The Phantom Limbs are making very dark alternative guitar music which is driven by very
heavy keyboard sounds and a gothic-like voice. It's all a bit crazy and at times it's like they're making a carnival out of a
funeral but definitely very good.
Original Sin #34, Belgium