Phantogram are Sarah Barthel (vocals, keyboard) and Josh Carter (vocals, guitar). They caused an impressive stir with the release of their debut album 'Eyelid Movies' in 2009 and follow-up EP 'Nightlife' (2011). Now they announce details of their highly anticipated sophomore full-legnth 'Voices', which is released on Island Records on June 30th and will be preceded by the wonderful single 'Fall In Love' on June 23rd.
Since forming in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, Phantogram have evolved their sound organically and gradually. The new album is an atmospheric melding of hazy dream pop and head-knocking rhythms which makes no concession to commercialism and stays ever true to the aesthetic that has won them a wide, devoted and disparate fan base.
Drafted and written both back in Saratoga Springs and current hometown Brooklyn, where the duo build their compositions together around Carter's often sample-heavy beats, it was finished with co-producer John Hill (MIA, Santigold) in LA. The division of labour between Sarah and Josh is unique - writing and producing sometimes together and also apart, immediate proximity was not a prerequisite in such a long-standing partnership.
Released in the US in February, 'Voices' is still making some serious waves over there. It peaked at #5 in iTunes Album chart and #11 in the main chart as America fully embraced the New York duo. The shows at this years' SXSW were one of the highlights for many (named Buzzfeeds standout act after their Snoop Dogg support) and Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel & David Letterman were all quick to book them for their shows. Filter magazine jumped on board early with a cover feature and Pulse magazine named their self-titled EP #1 in their 2013 round up, as well as the likes of Complex, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, USA Today and Entertainment Weekly all coming on board.
Album opener 'Nothing But Trouble' perfectly introduces Sarah's beguiling soprano vocal, whilst being constantly underpinned by Josh's gritty production. Moments later, 'Black Out Days' drive the listener deep into an intensifying fever dream of echo and atmospherics. Lead single 'Fall In Love' (a hit on US and Canadian Alternative and Pop radio since its release) stands tall with its sly hooks and contrasting dynamics - quiet snippets of synthesized strings and isolated vocal passages are layered amidst pulsating bass tones and massive orchestral stabs - it's a track that was originally written by Josh for a rapper, but on hearing it, Sarah insisted they keep it for themselves. - good call.
Whereas their previous work was largely studio-based, it was essentially touring that led the way to the sound of 'Voices'. Phantogram have toured incessantly since their inception, headlining larger and larger sold-out shows and delivering knockout festival performances. Each and every show has been integral to the gradual rise in acclaim and ever-increasing fan-base.
In good news for us and off the back of their UK release of 'The Day You Died' EP, Phantogram heads to the UK in the coming months for a string of headline shows, which will take in The Great Escape Festival and reach London's XOYO on the 13th May (sold out in 3 days) and The Oval Space on the 14th - their first UK shows since a mid-tour injury forced the band to cancel sold out shows at Hoxton BK and Heaven last year. The band recently completed another sold out US tour, which included Terminal 5 in New York, winning over new fans at every turn.
May UK Tour Dates:
8/9/10 - The Great Escape Festival - Brighton
10/05 - Ruby Lounge - Manchester
12/05 - Thekla - Bristol
13/05 - XOYO - London (SOLD OUT)
14/05 - Oval Space - London
'Voices' Track List:
01. Nothing But Trouble
02. Black Out Days
03. Fall In love
04. Never Going Home
05. The Day You Died
06. Howling At The Moon
07. Bad Dreams
08. Bill Murray
09. I Don't Blame You
10. Celebrating Nothing
11. My Only Friend.
'Voices' is released in the UK on June 30th via Island Records.
In partnership with Soundcloud, the band are running a remix competition for their single 'Fall In Love':
"Fall in Love" was initially written years ago by Josh. We originally intended to have someone rap over the track, until we pulled it out of the archive and Sarah wrote a song over it while we were writing our latest album, Voices. We can't wait to hear your interpretation next!"
Open to both producers and rappers. Download stems and submit your remix at the band's Soundcloud here - http://soundcloud.com/groups/fall-in-love-remix-competition
Competition closes 9th May 2014.