Forgotten 90s bands – Phantom Pregnancies

The third in an intermittent series. Just found a stash of ripped 7″ singles, so may be more of these soon

In 1996 I was in the habit of going into Magpie Records in Worcester* and buying anything that looked even remotely interesting from the 7″ singles bin. One of my favourite of the many purchases must be this superb compilation EP of female-fronted underground bands.

From the six groups featured LungLeg were already fairly well-known, with a Melody Maker single of the week, and Helen Love would go on to have a certain amount of success. All six tracks were uniformally great, but the one I kept playing over and over was side two, track three – “Ants In Your Pants II” by Phantom Pregnancies. Here it is, just as it was. Be warned, it’s a little harsh on the ears.

Naturally I was curious about this band – I don’t think I’ve heard anything like it before or since – messy, disorganised garage punk with well-formed classic rock licks, played like they were trying to get through it as quick as possible in a single take, but somehow, somehow just amazing (I fully realise the vast majority of people reading this will not agree on this point, but never mind, eh?) Its one-minute-twenty running time later saw it filling up little gaps at the end of many compilation tapes.
I never found any more information about the band, only a seven minute, seven track EP with song tiles like ‘Almighty Civilization Cat People’ and ‘Do You Think I’m Going To Eat It Now You’ve Squished It Out Of Shape’ which was all almost as good as the above, and carried a message that the band were no more. The only information I was ever able to find out about who (and why) they were comes from their last.fm page;

“The Phantom Pregnancies are a British cult band that supposedly used to crash other bands’ shows, and set up on stage totally uninvited and play one of their famous five-minute sets. Their music sounds like a riot grrl tornado. Featuring former members of Huggy Bear, Phantom Pregnancies’ trashy garage punk is blended with lo-fi dance tendencies in a very indelicate fashion.”

So it’s odd, all of 15 years later, to find a new compilation of what looks like their entire works being released by Dim Mak records in the US.

*Amazing now to think that we had a record shop of that quality in Worcester. There can’t be more than three or four left in the whole of the UK that could match it.

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