Nikki & the Phantom Callers

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Having grown up in rural Dadeville, Alabama, Nikki Speake has a specific Southern grit embedded in her soul. More Flannery O’Connor than Margaret Mitchell, there’s a morbid spirit to much of Speake’s writing, and nowhere is that more apparent than Nikki & the Phantom Callers’ debut LP, Everybody’s Going To Hell (But You and Me). The eleven-track collection of boot-stomping alt-country and jangly indie-rock weaves a series of stories exploring a beautiful darkness in stark contrast to their predominantly sunny tonality; a Southern Gothic study of grief soundtracked by country-tinged ‘60s pop. Speake has been living in Atlanta for years now, playing in the garage-rock power trio Midnight Larks and the all-girl psych-rock outfit Shantih Shantih, and performing alongside acts like Black Lips, Lydia Loveless, L.A. Witch, Joshua Hedley, Shooter Jennings, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires & more prior to forming the Phantom Callers in early 2017. In the short time since their formation, the band—featuring lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Speake, lead guitarist Aaron Mason, drummer Russell Owens, and Speake’s Shantih Shantih bandmate Anna Kramer on bass and backing vocals—has garnered acclaim from national media outlets including Paste, Wide Open Country, PopMatters, Cowboys & Indians Magazine & more, and in 2018 was named Atlanta’s best country band by Creative Loafing.

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