97x NBT Artist of the Week: Phantogram!

97x NBT Artist of the Week: Phantogram! 

Posted: 1:28 pm Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

By Kyle Taylor

The New York based duo comprised of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter is our Artist of the Week, and it just so happens that they will be performing at this year’s 97x Next Big Thing!

Phantogram’s latest album Three is bursting at the seams of mainstream relevance, as it’s packed with psychedelic vibes, festival ready anthems, and silky smooth electronic jams. The duo gained popularity beginning in 2009 or so for their mastery of mixing electro rock beats and combining those will cripplingly depressing lyrics, the perfect combination for capturing listeners’ attention. Three is a slight departure from their earlier work, mostly because it parallels the duo’s personal and professional growth and maturation. They find even brighter spots in Three, amid the chaotic and stressful world they find themselves in. The duo saw three songs (no pun intended) land on the Billboard charts before the album even dropped last week. 2014’s Voices debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Top Rock Album charts after selling 21,000 copies in its first week, and I would easily expect their newest album, Three, to do the same, if not better.

If you want to read more about their latest album, Three, you can do so here:



Phantogram is the epitome of contrasts, even down to their wardrobe and attire. Much of their work up to now has been about finding beauty amid darkness. We all have our sad days, or even low moments within each day, in which we have to find something to pull us through. Phantogram is no different, and in fact, they make those feelings tangible in the form of their music. Lead singer, Sarah Barthell, described their latest album in an interview with Billboard as “a beautiful car crash, that for whatever reason makes you slow down and look.” She goes on to explain that the two are actually very goofy people. “We’re fun people” she says, “but if you only know us from our music, you’d think we sit in a dark room.”

Their hit single “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” set the tone for the entire record, and I would go further to say that it symbolizes the duo’s entire career up to this point. The song has spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Alternative charts and currently sits at number #7. . It’s black and white, Jekyl and Hyde, and right versus wrong, summed up into 4 minutes or so. You don’t know exactly what to extract from the song, and it probably gets at people in unique ways, and that is where Phantogram finds their success. Their music gets me excited, anxious, and pumped up, but at the same time causes me to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly.


You may have first heard of Phantogram after their hit song, “Fall In Love” started to get radio play a couple of years ago. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Alternative Rock charts soon thereafter. It’s an incredibly catchy song made up of hypnotic layers of Flaming Lips- style psychedelics, heavy bass drops, and seductive lyrics supported by Sarah Barthel’s soft, soothing voice.


I have only seen Phantogram once, and they blew my mind. The bass drops come to really come to life, their light show is memorizing, and their energy on stage is tiresome. That was almost 2 years ago now, and I can’t wait to see how much better they have become as performers at this year’s Next Big Thing! We’ll see you there!