The Phantom King

by Joshua McCormack

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The Phantom King shows Joshua McCormack embracing a combination of acoustic and electronic sounds to showcase a slightly more straightforward style than found on previous releases. Of course, songs like Devil Killin' Blues and Man From the Future still feature his experimental pop style, while I was a teenage confusor sees him dabbling in post-hardcore sounds.


released April 3, 2012



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Track Name: The Phantom King
I am the downtown phantom king
you are the mystery in song
styx trickles from our toes
ghosts that find the way back home

fill these houses up with tales
of preternatural wails
the cold of our embrace
ghosts that find the way back home

we could be translucent on the opaque plain
a masterpiece melting in the rain
I'm gonna hold ya til death and back again

let's shrink to pinhole size
let's become unrevised
let's take forever for a moment
ghosts that find the way back home

wisps of nightmare kisses
grown up tears fall
the terror and the shine in childrens eyes
as they watch the moon rise
every night
I feel a smile
all the time

whether we both come back as cats
or a fish and bird in love
or the sound that shapes the fear
ghosts that find the way back home
Track Name: Modern Murder Lines
I'm pleased to meet you but I don't need your name
You are my reason for being
I've waited my whole damn life for this fleeting chance
…just to kill a man
I flew my righteous muscles when I can
my fingers tickle the cold will of creation
I am the savior that bares arms
blind beggar of justice
rocket launcher of liberty
your shift eyes see me waiting for you
to pull out that piece
I know it's one of you, or maybe two or three
but I'm Dirty Harry here
and you've never been some mother's child
don't blame society or youth
I don't need the cause or the root
I'm just warming up your grave
and there'll be no roses as I spread your ashes into the sky
I am the reward for the crime

that's close enough for me
close enough to see the whites of your eyes
as I cross your name from the modern murder line

as the crowd moves… I wet myself again
today they'll know to dub me a hero
drown me in kisses
crown me an armored saint
and if no one makes a move today
I'll be back tomorrow to play my vigilante game
said you'll never be tamed
so I put you down like an animal
I see your fatal mistake
you sit by and watch
as the world dives into the void from a ninth floor window
but I'm scanning the crowd for tell-tale signs
for cats and birds who step out of line
the coins on their eyes change from pennies to dimes
the closer you get to the crime

that's close enough for me
close enough to see the whites of your eyes
as I cross your name from the modern murder line

who's lining up to die today
cause without the mole there would be no mallet
and without the murder there'd be no ballad
no, no, no, no sone at all
until that trigger goes click...
Track Name: Devil Killin' Blues
rode the roller coaster with the devil by my side
shook hands as we parted, but he never left my mind
started missing that old devil and his love for the obscene
I called his name out every night at the crossroads of my dreams
the devil found me sleeping in a burned out factory frame
said "son I don't recall your face but I never forget a name"
he'd changed, that sickly devil, to the villain of the earth
at the top of that old stairwell had me questioning my worth
i pointed out my winnings, he pointed out my signings
I pointed at the sky and said heaven's my only home
and as he stood there laughing, hysterically gasping
I stood up to his horned frame, I said "it's time for you to go"

gonna kick that devil down the stairs
make that devil cry
all good things eventually make that devil die
kick that devil down the stairs
make that devil bleed
if I told him once, I told him twice to leave
Track Name: Galaxy of Doom
two way mirrors line the paranoia city
too much meat and not enough plates
when the black hole sucks all the life from your party
speak clearly in the mic at the pearly gates

fists held high as we face the flood
pinch hit mobs throw buckshot stones
washed in the water and stained in the blood
tower to the sky but you're stripped to the bone

galaxy of doom
spindle legged star
melt into my arms
I'm slipping in the dark

make me a believer in the words of modern men
make me a believe in the hands of fate again
I stare at the stars and no one stares back
you put your tiny life in my hands
oh my god it eats me alive

elusive dreamer with the universe unplanned
make me a believer in those ghostly words again
if he speaks soft to you tell him I miss him like hell
I'm hiding underneath my umbrella
oh my god it eats me alive
Track Name: The Birth of a Star
my new bride
you wonder what the heavens plan for you
do signs align tonight for you
when forces from beyond
slam matter together
collapsing into one
the birth of a star is a curious thing
the dust clears
it's brighter than you've ever seen
so hallelu, my baby blue is a new star

wise men wandered
through the sky for centuries
searching for the earth's reprise
a world born
an unknown form
some kind of new experience revolving in the night
the birth of a star is a dangerous thing
few souls get close enough to see
so hallelu, my baby blue is a new star

a new life
a universe
like fantastic voyagers
new lands to explore
and every night
and every day
another cosmic miracle
this planetary life support
the birth of a star is a marvelous thing
I never knew until i saw it happening
so hallelu, my baby blue is a new star
Track Name: The Stranger of the Springtime
stranger of the springtime
be my only mirror
nothing in reverse
I'm walking cold and clear
in the springtime I was a young man too afraid to die

three-foot tall and rising
whirlwind in his hair
when gravity defies him
I try to be right there
I don't want to be an old man too afraid to die

madman improvising
screaming simple songs
javelina manners
louder than a bomb
and I don't want to be an old man too afraid to die

half my face and half of hers
and double both our moods
stubborn boy I love you too much
hope you got the news

see my true reflection
boy in front of me
each impatient action
and I grow old
I wear my trousers rolled until the day I die
Track Name: The Fog of War
one thousand nights of bitter foreign battles
over moonlit lands
she walks in the mist and I laugh like I'm home again
conquered by a single kiss
she moves through my thoughts like an angel with a knife
into a war torn life
I know that after all the soldiers fall asleep
she cracks the walls that hide me from the sea

crawl low, sweet boy
the killer peddles silence through the shattered air
I fall to my knees
rain hell in 360 degrees
gray skies cry black tears
she reaches for my hand over bullet-ridden shores
the thickest fog of war
I know that after all the guns are snapped in two
trenches shift to panoramic views
after all the legends have been maed
still life captures an angel's serenade

but I never thought that you would command the enemy army
moment maneuvers cease, I'll sign the jagged line of peace
his lover safe in bed,
the soldier rests his head on the lunette's edge
and waits for it to fall
Track Name: Border Jumpers
big fish dig deep
tunnel underwater
big man pass by
let's laugh at the comics
that stare at skies for falling change
walking on the streets of gold
diamonds for rocks
plug up the clocks
no time in the world

little wings take the sky
border jumpers
the canopy is on fire
we're crossing over

scythe-like focus
lasers melting metal
hangman on the moon
drops words from his pockets
they fill the world like a dandelion
blown from a child;s breath
impending schemes
exploding dreams
take over the world

little wings take the sky
border jumpers
the canopy is on fire
we're crossing over

don't want to fade like fireworks
obscured by their own smoke
whatever you try I will admire
even when it burns

little wings take the sky
border jumpers
the canopy is on fire
we're crossing
so hop aboard that mystery train
border jumpers
the engineer lives again
we're taking over
Track Name: I was a teenage confusor
with his death sentence haircut
he's got some time to bend
gets his second glances from the misses on the mend
he's an easy operator on abandoned elevators
he's a switchboard plaster caster
always interviewing natural disasters

well, he's paralyzed with motion
straddling the ocean
trying to make you forget what you just said
and spitting out sarcasm in an endless razzem dazzem
is it art in the accidental ramblings of the hordes of living dead

a world of teenage confusion
lording over ruins like a prince with a family portrait smile
he sucks the toes of terror addicts
more like afterthought than habit
if you've had it all
you've had it silver platter severed headache style

a fantastic mind
with chance encounters hoping to find
the secrets of the world
within your outer orbit
your haunted resting place
these phantom limbs keep twisting
the dreams of peer lachaise
he loves you like a bomb
a neurotoxin song

he is kennedy to ketamine
he's every planet in between
he's distressed when trying to relax
he's stronger than piano wire
skips stones on the lake of fire
never gonna know him till his horse is busy
stomping on your back
Track Name: Terminal Velocity
my love bullets through the window
plotting escape from alcatraz
two minds overflow in tandem
never wanna leave this bed

my love, I'm victim of your gravity
wingless in mid-air
when I reach terminal velocity
will you find me there?

my love, posing for the cameras
entrance fashionable queens
hands held
blood-relation minefields
I kiss the only girl I need

my love, I'm victim of your gravity
wingless in mid-air
when I reach terminal velocity
will you find me there?

my love, verbalizing cyclones
her words might begin to sting
I know they never understand you
but it's alright
you really seem to get me

my love, I'm victim of your gravity
wingless in mid-air
when I reach terminal velocity
will you find me there?

a certain type of strange love
one false move
and everyone is dead
Track Name: Marie in the Lunette
you team up with all-stars
but we bought your trademark
with bottomless billfolds
and fistfuls of power

crown the new welfare queen
sharpen the guillotine
when your dying legs dangle
you move like no other

she's draining your wishing well
do you still believe in magic
and where is sweet marie?
getting dressed for the party

she dances in the tuileries
says everything you have belongs to me
all the robin armies
always trying to co-opt her chemistry
she poisons the reservoirs
before eating her breakfast in style
a figment of your fantasies
just laugh at her jokes while she slits your throat

in a world of war
I want to be uncivilized
there's nothing like good old-fashioned war
to make you realize

her fingers point at lies
the truth was in the crime
boogeymen in ballroom towers
sniping the peasants

marie, like a glass doll
knocked from my fingertips
catapults through the air
and waits for collision

she creeps in the alleyways
makes love to the imbeciles and paperweights
she looks up to see the guns are being drawn
on the front lawns of a world of war
I want to be un-civilized
there's nothing like good old-fashioned war
to make you realize

step into our secret world
whole-hearted boys and girls
marie thinks so much of you
take off your hats and your shoes

no one noticed the mad hatter's tea party
till madness fell into fashion
so have a cigarette marie
cause you know where they lead
they don't care what you believe

hide in our exclusive club
like butterflies in paper cups
until the match is struck

barricades are caving in
untouchables chewing your skin
multitudes mangle your holy spire
why are you smiling while your hair is on fire?

in a world of war
I want to be uncivilized

ain’t no three, four, five ways about it
we’re gonna get to the end of the novel
these pages burn and your fingers are guilty
see history when it’s in syndication

I thought you’d won the war, Marie
premature effigies
collapsing stars looking sweet
sucking the lights out

your lips spill their shapes marie
your showboat eyes fade, Marie
the basket meets the blade, Marie
Track Name: The Man From the Future
I threw myself into the machine
to turn the gears from within
I really don't know what separates a false start
from a clear win
but I can still see the light in the man from the future

tied a chain of blankets and sheets
from window to street
each slips away from the other
my story is complete
and the ground leans in
to give me a good night kiss
and I'm back in my room again

breadcrumb trail gets eaten by the birds
I'm lost deep in the trees
I laugh out loud
and watch the sun stumble through the leaves
as epic men lead epic lives
in deep hibernation
conquering the castles of their dreams
light the sky my firefly
the morning is stalking all your midnight friends you never see
mother earth sends her sons over unknown waters
the man from the future stands up to leave

galaxy of doom
it isn't very far
melt into my arms
just let your secrets out
mirror of your smile
hold me like a child
I'm sleeping in the dark
Track Name: Wolves
the city without dreams has no place in my head
it's leveled instead
and all the shop keepers have been executed
we leave no regrets

the girl of my dreams has a place in my bed
watching my breath
a combined taste for a violent life
space-bending nights

let's bend the time back to when we didn't know sex
and make love til we never forget
rewrite the stories that are only folk tales
my memory fails

let's sing of love in a world built for death
that one hollow breath
tear off my clothes like a curious child
the wolves of the wild

lull me to sleep
throw yourself from the shroud
I dream aloud