Phoenix and the Turtle – Swallow Up The Moon


Track List

1 - Line Drive
2 - 514
3 - Stuart Drives A Comfortable Car
4 - Wasted Days

Phoenix and the Turtle - Swallow Up The Moon

Swallow Up The Moon is a new destination on Phoenix and the Turtle’s musical journey. Much like the changing emotions and experiences in life, the band shifts and shape their sound from desolate empty wastelands to towering crescendos. It is an aggressively dynamic record where the violin lines, keys are on run with vicious guitars and drums at a full gallop. There are some moments when the dynamism gives its place to peace as in the atmospheric romance of the third track, Stuart Drives A Comfortable Car. Written at the apex of two lovers parting, Swallow Up The Moon is four song introduction on Phoenix and the Turtle’s fruitful dreamlands. Cahn Curtis from the band says “This is the most complete thing we have done yet”. “Nothing we have done before comes close.” adds Bill Barrington.


Kevin Bronson, Buzzbands.LA

I first ran across Phoenix and the Turtle in 2007 when the quartet played a blogger-curated event called Now Blog This (props to LA Underground for curating them). Their climate-changing post-rock, even in a small club with sketchy sound, turned the evening from good to revelatory. Shame on me for not keeping closer track the past couple of years, but the pride of the Inland Empire, with their Bard-inspired moniker, last week released a new EP, “Swallow Up the Moon” (via Fluttery Records). Fans of otherwordly soundscapes, string- and piano-infused euphony and boy/girl vocals will find a cinematic sweet spot in these four songs. It’s graduate-level art-rock.

Bluesbunny Music Reviews

When you think of California, you think of sun, sandy beaches, orange groves and bikini clad women - you can pretty much hear the harmonies and happiness that such things would bring to music from that part of the world. Then you hear the music of a Californian band like Phoenix and the Turtle who instead go altogether deeper into the shadows that come with modern day urban chaos.

This EP starts with "Line Drive" which features indie rock hallmarks like big drums and screeching guitars. Or at least it does until it swerves on to the highway to musical complexity showing almost classical sensibilities as that guitar returns to direct the song down another road towards prog rock city. "514" again shows a grandiose approach with a piano led swirling maelstrom taking the song to a suitably intense and dramatic climax. Though the focus remains on the instruments throughout, the oddly named "Stuart Drives A Comfortable Car" manages to squeeze in a good line or two such as "…I would have blown my brains out if I hadn't lost my mind".

From that last remark, you might well have reached the conclusion that this isn't a collection of happy songs. That's fair comment but the advantage Phoenix and the Turtle have over the preponderance of emo/shoegaze type bands is that they are short of neither musical ideas nor the ability to realise them. Sure, they are melancholic in a sort of Leonard Cohen kind of way but, unlike so many of their contemporaries, they stand tall and proud. Whilst perhaps not the kind of music that you would listen to on your journey into work, there is, however, much to be enjoyed here.


The fusion of rock and classical strings, while incorporating sparse vocals, sonically sound foundations and compositions lends to the uniqueness of this California quartet’s sound.


PHOENIX AND THE TURTLE: "Swallow Up The Moon" EP (Fluttery Records)
RELEASED? Out now.
SOUNDS LIKE? They sound like 'wow'. Theyreally do. I can rattle on about Sigur Ros like guitar clinics exploding in their weirdly coloured skies and gawp, slack jawed, and wonder how pleased or pissed off Roger Walters is going tobe when he hears this. I could even point out the gothic, creeping archly around jazz piano fills and the casual confusion between funeral and military drum beats. Yeah, I could do that, but I'd only be talking about the elegantly extended six minutes plus of "Line Drive" and have little space to...

IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes, yes, yes, it's wonderful and you should know about the oddly compelling synthesis of bass drone and pastel spangle on "Stuart Drives A Comfortable Car", it's almost like The Eels are driving very slowly towards a swamp based and very old Orpry, the strings are a fucking delight and the understated guitar is all sublime understatement and, just buy it. Buy it twice, give the other copy to someone you hate, confusion and pleasure, that's where it's at.

C.W. Ross

Trying to describe Phoenix and the Turtle’s style of music is like trying to explain to a sightless person all the brilliant colors that are found in a Jackson Pollock painting. The band’s music incorporates elements of classical, rock, experimental, progressive and jazz. Even mentioning all of those different styles I’m sure that I missed one or two more that could be also added to the list. While most music uses its vocal parts to put forth a message Phoenix and the Turtle’s music chooses to let the instruments do the talking and accent them with sparse actual vocal parts.

Luna Kafé

As on their previous work, Swallow Up the Moon is a delightful fusion of instrumental rock, classical string and dreamy vocals. But with slightly more depth than they used to. Especially on the third track "Stuart Drives a Comfortable Car". A delicate piece about lost love, that draws on the heartaching images of oh so many folk-tunes, but still manages to be sober in the longing regrets. Phoenix and the Turtle is able to create haunting melodies in a welcoming, romantic post-rock dreamland.


In their music you can find influences from Sonic Youth, Especially on the riffs, from Blonde Redhead on the boy-girl vocals and on the piano sections, and of course you can easily spot some post rock gems. Four songs full on intense moments, neurotic outbursts but also with melodic parts and shades of melancholy.''

Absolute Zero Media Magazine

Alt Indie pop in the that fragile, drifting, dream pop style that bands like The Gathering, Radiohead & Sigur Ros have made so popular. There is always that southern lazy style mixed in with slightly off key male and female vocals. Another band Phoenix and the turtle have a big love for is Mazzy Star as the guitar and tones of piano and simple but very well done bass and string arrangements make this a down right beautiful sounding release . I really do wondering why so many of these bands do Ep's of material rather then just take the time to make full lengths gems. I would rather wait another 6-8 months and have a 60 minute title. Phoenix and the turtle could be ruling the college radio US airwaves right now for all I know as I'm that out of the loop. I just know what I like and its this... GET IT....


The Phoenix And The Turtle had released two CDs and got the attention of Fluttery Records. The band moves on the sharp edge where alternative rock with the length, tempo changes, the ambience, structure and use of traditional instruments have somewhat to the style of this site will be forthcoming. With a little imagination you can see this band hosts the illustrious list of groups or artists Anathallo, St. Vincent, Band of Horses or Warpaint.Particularly Line Drive is very strong.

The Teeth Of Devine

When Godspeed You Black Emperor! lent itself for post-rock to advertise and gain momentum, little did they know just how saturated the genre would become. Soon after, everyone seemed to have a band that played the music by the book, making it harder and harder for the casual listener to find the progressive elements the genre had before been known for. Even now, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd but Phoenix and the Turtle are definitely giving it a shot on their new EP, Swallow Up The Moon.

Most generic post-rock groups go for the traditional End of Days gloom, so Phoenix and the Turtle have found their own niche by going the other way. Musically, Swallow Up The Moon is a warm album with a positive, upbeat spirit, even if deep down it hints of the opposite.

Tempelores Magazine

Phoenix And The Turtle is a Post Rock band from California formed in 2003 as a collaboration for a friend’s funeral. Their apparent weird name comes from a poem by William Shakespeare which deals with the death of ideal love.

Post Rock is known to be a very intense genre. When it comes to be this blended with other styles, its intensity might reach even more powerful levels. Phoenix And The Turtle decided to give every instrument the same importance as the vocals have, that are actually sparely used in the album. The variation of piano melodies, screeching guitars arpeggios and strings are there to express the songs feeling at their best.

Release Date:  February 12, 2010
© Fluttery Records

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