Phantom Planet

Krista Tschetter

Krista Tschetter

Maybe you think you’ve never heard the California band Phantom Planet. You’re probably wrong.

Since their 1998 release, Phantom Planet is Missing, the band has marketed themselves on a variety of TV and movie soundtracks, mostly of the teeny-bopper persuasion.

They covered Dobie Gray’s “The ‘In’ Crowd” for Drive Me Crazy, a 1999 Melissa Joan Hart flick, and Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby” for the Not Another Teen Movie: Original Soundtrack in 2001.

Also in 2001, the Orange County soundtrack.

The same song, “California,” landed in the opening credits of FOX’s rich kid melodrama The O.C. in 2003.

They even filled a slot on the ultimate tribute to pubescent cinema – In Their Eyes: ’90s Teen Bands vs. ’80s Teen Movies.

Such affiliation with Hollywood movies may have had something to do with band member Jason Schwartzman, a sort of teen actor in his own right. Schwartzman starred in the comedies Rushmore and Slackers.

But with Schwartzman’s recent departure, the band could begin to steer the publicity boat away from Hollywood a bit (or at least be known for more than having an actor for a drummer).

It certainly seems the sunny, hook-laden songs of 2002’s The Guest, have given way to a much grittier, gutsier sound.

Released in January, their newest (self-titled) album is more Big Apple than Orange County.

The remaining original band members, Alexander Greenwald, Sam Farrar, Jacques Brautbar and Darren Robinson (with drummer Jeff Conrad), seem to have flagged down New York’s garage bandwagon and climbed aboard.

While heavy guitar and jerky rhythms may all but end a lucrative career in the soundtrack aisle, Phantom Planet may gain even more critical credibility, or at least appeal to a more diverse group of listeners.

Abby Bischoff is head of the concert committee for the University Program Council, the organization that is bringing in the band.

“Their sophomore album (“The Guest”) is a little more, I like to call it sunshine rock, because it’s sunny and happy,” Bischoff says.

“Their new one, a lot of people are comparing it to the Strokes. I don’t want (to call the album) dark, but I guess it’s just less upbeat.”

Ashley Allen, station manger for KSDJ, agrees that the difference between the two albums appeals to two different sects of people.

Of the two songs that have been on rotation on KSDJ, “California” and “Big Brat,” he says more women call to request the former.

“They have harder songs that appeal to guys and softer ones that will appeal to women.

“A lot of girls (have been) calling for ‘California’.”

He also says the station has been getting more calls for “California.”

“I really think Phantom Planet has some rock out songs and they can kick it into down tempo,” Allen says.

Brad DeBeer, a DJ at X107.1 Depot Radio, says the station has been playing “Big Brat” fairly often at night.

“(Our night DJ) says he’s had a lot of feedback, or responses to it. He’s gotten a lot of calls requesting it more,” DeBeer says.

“The way he talks it’s really getting a lot of good play and a good response from people around the town.”

Both Allen and DeBeer think the band will be well received.

“(Brookings listeners) are pretty excited UPC went out and brought this band in,” DeBeer says.

Allen says the whole KSDJ staff plans on going.

Nathan Tom, a junior apparel merchandising major, bought a ticket because he really likes watching “The O.C.” and it piqued his interest enough to want hear more.

“I’m going because I know them from my favorite show,” Tom says.