Beginning in early 2010, Phantogram toured almost constantly, building a dedicated following by playing in early days in small clubs, and then growing to play on TV and on nearly every major North American festival. Finding ways to work steadily on new music while on the road was a puzzle they finally figured out, and the batch of new songs they wrote in clubs and hotel rooms over the first part of 2011 came together as the mini-LP Nightlife, released just a few weeks after it was mastered (and just in time for the band to head back out on the road).
Although the lyrical and sonic themes of the new recordings are in keeping with those of the previous album, Sarah Barthel notes "It's just amazing how much our lives have changed in such a short period of time, and how all that change has made us able to focus in on what we want to be doing musically."
Featuring the mega-jams don't move and 16 years as well as four other brilliant tracks that walk tightropes between the towers of hip-hop, shoegaze, and psychedelic indie-rock, Nightlife is, in many ways, an extension of the whole process of making and touring behind their incredible debut Eyelid Movies. It's a must-have for Phantogram fans.
Phantogram's music sounds like it's made by a band from the city. Electronic loops, hip-hop beats, shoegaze, soul, pop each finds its way into their songs. Unexpectedly, the band doesn't live and work in a major urban center, but rather calls the town of Saratoga Springs, NY (population 26,186) home. Despite the cultural influence of local Skidmore College (where fellow beat-experimenters Ratatat formed) and a relatively small scene of adventurous musicians and listeners, Saratoga isn't exactly teeming with fans of J. Dilla, My Bloody Valentine or Serge Gainsbourg. But Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, the duo that make up Phantogram, have flourished in Saratoga. In fact, the town itself isn't rural enough for their taste they drive almost every day another 45 minutes into upstate farmland to a barn they call Harmony Lodge to write and record. Serving as their homemade studio/practice space/think-tank/bat-cave, the barn is equipped with various samplers, tapes, records, synths, drums, and both percussive and stringed instruments, and it's there that Phantogram allows their natural surroundings and metropolitan influences to meld together creating beautiful, beat-driven dreamlike pop songs.
Two-song teaser for their full-length release, with one non-album track.
Phantogram's third studio LP, Three.
Since 2007, Phantogram's music has evolved organically, and the band's career has mirrored that development. Formed in Saratoga Springs, a small city in upstate New York, longtime friends Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel crafted music untroubled by outside interference. With each new release and tour since 2009 debut Eyelid Movies, their sound has progressed—and so has their popularity. Yet Voices makes no concessions to commercialism. From inception to execution, Phantogram's second album stays true to the aesthetic that has won them a wide, disparate fan base.