“Mouthful of Diamonds” – Phantogram
It’s really difficult to choose one song a week. If you are a regular visitor you are
probably getting tired of me saying so (I’m 3/3 with that complaint).
But I think I’ve figured it out. I just need to live until I’m 483 and I’ll successfully
post every song I want!
No but, really, I think I have figured it out. This one-song-a-day format is perfect.
It makes it IMPOSSIBLE for me to seek songs based on specific characteristics or
elements that I may be looking for; there will always be one too many epic riffs,
amazing grooves, or [insert song elements here] to choose from without my choice
feeling totally contrived or not-great-but-good-enough. Instead, by limiting the song
choice to one a day, I am required to pick a song based entirely on feel. In fact, I
don’t even really pick the song…it basically picks me. What could be more pure than
So, why tell you all this? Because I wanted to defend and explain my song choice
this week, which has nothing to do with the fact that this indie/electronic rock
duo of Sarah Barthel (vocals and keys) and Josh Carter (vocals and guitar) is from
Saratoga Springs, NY, (a place near and dear to my heart and only a hop-skip-and-
jump from my hometown of Guilderland, NY) or that I discovered them a month
ago at Bonnaroo in epiphanic fashion (as happens at the ‘Roo). Rather, it has
everything to do with the strange way that this song makes you feel when you listen
to it…ESPECIALLY for the first time. It was a purely impulsive move.
Phantogram—technically defined as a two-dimensional image that via optical
illusion appears to be three-dimensional (I’ve only seen the reverse, but I digress…)
—is best described straight from the horses mouth: “street beat, psych pop [with]
lots of rhythms, swirling guitars, spacey keyboards, echoes, [and] airy [sexy girl
voice] vocals”. They are a bit tongue and cheek, a bit mysterious, and more than a
bit silky smooth. I especially love the use of celestial sirens.
This band is fairly new, having released their first EP in 2009. It’s tough going when
you are a 2-person group but expect to see them around the festival scene for a while.
Perhaps one day they will even play with Radiohead at the Earth welcoming party
for extraterrestrial visitors.
In the meantime, enjoy…