Phantogram is an up-and-coming/somewhat arrived band. That's really the best way I'm currently able to describe them. They haven't quite hit it big with a large audience but they are hardly underground anymore.
Phantogram is comprised of Sarah D. Barthel and Joshua M. Carter from upstate New York in Saratoga Springs. As already stated in numerous places around the Internet, for such a rural setting their music is amazingly urban-sounding. Their energetic beats push forward their dark and growling sound as either Sarah sings prettily above the din or Josh snarls into the mess.
The obvious standout track is When I'm Small. It is the first track most people hear and I was no exception. It opens with a soft drum sample for two measures until the volume gets turned up as the song's drum beat and groove kick-in. I've yet to meet someone who isn't moved by the incredible pull of this song. The vocals float above the grunge, the beat is unstoppable, and no second is wasted.
I had the immense fortune to see Phantogram perform live at Brandeis University this past Friday (April 9th). I knew that this opportunity to see them in such a small and intimate (and free) setting would result in an amazing show and I was not let down. From the first song played - I don't remember what it was - till they closed with When I'm Small the entire room was grooving.
The best part of the show - for me - was after the first minute of their closing song, When I'm Small. The sample started, the drums and bass line began, and Sarah began singing the vocal track. However Josh looking concerned and was trying to get Sarah's attention. When he did he stopped the music and told the crowd that they had started off-beat and were going to start again.
The crowd and I went wild. That honesty, passion, and respect is something I don't see often in performing bands. I'm not saying it doesn't happen - I just don't see it enough.
And sure enough Phantogram started the song again and rocked it.
But really I can't quite explain my great attraction for Phantogram's debut album. It's highly polished and has the aura of professionalism while retaining the feeling that it was recorded in someone's basement. I don't know how this feeling is accomplished but it's there and makes me wish for their continued success.
Thank you Phantogram for the great show and awesome tunes.
[audio:Phantogram - 02 - When I'm Small.mp3|artists=Phantogram|titles=When I'm Small]
[audio:Phantogram - 04 - Running From The Cops.mp3|artists=Phantogram|titles=Running From The Cops]