KEXP at CMJ 2009, Day 2: Phantogram

photo by Carolina Rivera

Phan⋅to⋅gram [noun]: A phantogram is a form of optical illusion created with a pair of 2-D images that are distorted in a particular way as to appear 3-D to the viewer. Guitarist Josh Carter and keyboardist Sarah Barthel are just that-- an illsusion of depth and perspective with their rich, layered and complex music. Eyes closed, the duo from Greenwich, New York sounds more like a full 5-member band rather than a couple of best friends rockin’ out with a lap top and a few instruments.

Since their formation in 2007, Phantogram has already opened for acts like Ra Ra Riot, Yeasayer and Brazilian Girls. Carter and Barthel’s distinct technological urban rhythm and organic groove sound has also sparked the creation of a new indie genre, “street beat/psyche pop.” Fellow NY musician Matthew Loiacono conjured up the musical category when the two still went by Charlie Everywhere. The pair dropped the “half-baked idea” of a name after running into copyright issues and before releasing their self-titled EP in May 2009.

Unlike many bands forced to relinquish their title of honor, Carter feels the new name better embodies the essence of their project. The two typically begin their music writing process by visualizing short stories or films to create a song’s theme. Check out “Running From The Cops” and “When I’m Small,” which was featured on KEXP’s own Song of the Day, to hear some of their spacey synths and dreamy melodies.


photos by Carolina Rivera
Live at The Cutting Room Studios NYC

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11 Comments

  1. Posted October 21, 2009 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Phantogram are from Saratoga Springs, NY, not Greenwich, New York... there is no Greenwich, New York!!!!

  2. From Greenwich
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    There is definitely a Greenwich, NY. It’s out in the country about 30 minutes from Saratoga. They’re both from there, too. So is the keyboardist from Arpline.

  3. Laura
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    are you kidding doron gild? Why don’t you try Google sometime?

  4. Christy, KEXP
    Posted October 23, 2009 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Greenwich is where the two grew up, but they did relocate to Saratoga Springs.

  5. Owen
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    If you guys are from the North Country, why don’t you play Glens Falls sometime? Love the music!

  6. Been to Easton
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Really Laura why don’t you try and not Google as much...
    Phantogram only went to school in Greenwich, as in high school... they did on the other hand grow up about 20 min away from Saratoga Springs in a place called Easton, and now live in Saratoga.

  7. Posted October 28, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    This is a ridiculous conversation! Does either location make any difference in how good they sound?

  8. Rob
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    There is no such place as Saratoga Springs - these guys are from Brooklyn

  9. Posted October 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    There’s no such place as Brooklyn.

  10. JAG21
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    There is no such thing as New York. I also have a crush on Sarah. Come play in Austin, TX (it does exist)

    ps- you need a bassist aka me

  11. KongThong
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Typo... Their old name was “Charlie Everywhere” not Charlie Everyone.

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