Saturday Afternoon Artist – Phantogram

photo by Doron Gild

photo by Doron Gild

Hi, DJ Michele Myers here. Every week I review new songs to consider for my Saturday radio show on KEXP. It takes hours to go through the lists of the latest music coming in. And to find older music that will compliment it in a set.

New songs are especially tough to choose because there is no history involved. I think most of my favorite music is connected to a time or event when I first enjoyed it. Hearing The Beatles “Here Comes The Sun” for the first time as a kid. Listening to the new Franz Ferdinand with my friends in the car on the way to the Gorge. Absorbing the first notes of Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain” as it echoed into an empty Alaskan valley…

But to hear new music through headphones at the station, or on my laptop at home, strips it down to just sound qualities. Many songs that I choose from the new bin are ones I am curious about, meaning as I listen, I am staying on to hear what happens next. Or I pick other songs because they are so completely unique. Or because I respect the artist.

Some songs, though, the BEST songs hit you right away, whether you know who the band is or not. They feel like you’ve heard them before and there is a recognition there. Sort of like when you meet someone for the first time and it seems like you’ve known them forever. That’s how I felt when I first heard Phantogram’s single “Mouthful of Diamonds”.

Phantogram is a duo from Saratoga Springs, New York. They released a few demos under the name “Charlie Everywhere”. And then recently signed to the label BEE, took the name Phantogram (which is an optical illusion where 2-dimensional pictures appear 3-dimensional) and put out their 2009 EP.

Sarah D. Barthel is on keys and Joshua M.Carter is on guitar. Both do vocals, but the songs I like all have Sarah singing. Those songs are so catchy, and have so much intensity. They’re somehow both primal and sophisticated.

Not only do I love the mystery and tension in the music. But their stage show videos are all very trippy. Phantogram is obviously concerned with the visual. I can’t wait until they come to town.

Michele Myers hosts on KEXP every Saturday from 3-6pm, choosing music from all over the musical map. Every week she plays 3 songs from her Saturday Afternoon Artist. She also DJs “Wake Up” Thursday mornings on WNYE 91.5FM in New York and is the producer/creator of KEXP Documentaries.

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