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Firefly on the Fly, Day Four: The Shins, Phantogram, Muse, Hamilton Leithauser, Hardwork Movement, Busta Rhymes and more

The Shins at Firefly 2016 | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Our ears are still ringing from this weekend’s tremendously fun excursion at Firefly 2017. A review is coming later this week, but for today, we bring you photos from our final day in the Woodlands of Dover, Delaware…from Busta Rhymes kicking off the day to Philly faves Hardwork Movement in the campground, Hamilton Leithauser soldiering through string breakage on the main stage and Bishop Briggs playing a dynamic set on the festival’s Treehouse stage, dueling stints from top-form indie rockers The Shins and the always-compelling electro rock royalty Phantogram, and an over-the-top energized closing set from Muse. Continue reading →

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When I’m (not) Small: Phantogram stretches out at Fillmore Philadelphia

Phantogram | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Phantogram | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

It’s been a minute since I’ve seen Phantogram in their own element. Sure, they kill wherever they take the stage. But if that stage is at a festival like Firefly or Roots Picnic, or an industry gathering like SXSW, there’s an element of the audience being there for the hang moreso than the bands. And there’s an element of the band subsequently reeling their performance in for maximum impact. At Monday night’s Fillmore Philadelphia show, there was none of that — Phantogram was as loud and epic and arty as they wanted to be. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Phantogram at The Fillmore, Lily & Madeleine at Union Transfer, and Har Mar Superstar at Underground Arts

Phantogram | courtesy of the artist
Phantogram | courtesy of the artist

Synth pop duo Phantogram is currently on tour in support of their brand new album Three, and tonight, they’ll make a stop The Fillmore. Featuring the singles “Cruel World” and “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore”, the album has a decidedly darker tone while still maintaining the anthemic pop sensibilities that makes them who they are. Read our interview with the band’s Josh Carter here, and find tickets and more information on the all ages event here. Continue reading →

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Interview: Phantogram’s Josh Carter on making beats, trimming fat and spanning worlds

Phantogram | photo by Tony Saccenti | via facebook.com/Phantogram

At the 2015 edition of the Roots Picnic, Sarah Barthel of Phantogram told the crowd a story about her band’s first big single. She and longtime creative partner (and childhood friend) Josh Carter were both huge hip-hop fans growing up, and he initially devised the beat for “As Far As I Can See” not as a song of his own, but as a cut to shop around – he hoped it might get picked up by Jay Z, or somebody of that stature. It did not, but that worked out pretty well for Phantogram all the same.

Since the release of 2010’s Eyelid Moves, the New York band has evolved from a brooding duo with a knack for catchy, spectral soundscapes to a hard-hitting electronic rock juggernaut. This fall brings their latest record, Three, which finds Barthel and Carter diving head on into the dark overtones that have always permeated their work, motivated in part by the death of Barthel’s sister, Becky. In a recent interview with Complex Magazine, Barthel summed up a theme of the album as “owning the darkness” – accepting and embracing all elements of yourself, angels and devils alike.

The album features some of the band’s most atmospheric work to date, but also some of its poppiest, like the massive gothic single “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore.” And hip-hop is still a part of their lives, from Carter’s production work for Stones Throw artist Oh No and ATL hero Big Boi (the latter of whom collabed with the band last year on the Big Grams project) to getting namechecked and rapped over by artists from Vince Staples to Nas and Philly’s S.T.S.

With a headlining tour rolling into The Fillmore on Monday, I caught up with Carter over the phone to talk about the band’s origins, its growth in scope and its ability to fit in just about anywhere. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Phantogram at The Fillmore on 10/24

Phantogram | photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Phantogram | photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Add Phantogram to the already stacked list of killer shows coming to The Fillmore this fall. Band of Horses, Glass Animals,The Head and The Heart, and Sturgill Simpson have already been booked, and now the electronic duo is set to make its return to Philly as well. Phantogram’s date is set for Monday October 24th. Continue reading →

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Watch STS and Truck North kick it to a Phantogram beat

STS and Truck North | Photos by Maximilian Shelton
STS and Truck North | Photos by Maximilian Shelton

Philadelphia’s STS has a thing for rapping over Phantogram tracks. After his dynamic and infectious theme song “STSIsGold” lifted a beat from the upstate NY electro-rock duo’s “When I’m Small,” today we got this video of Slim and fellow Philly MC Truck North messing around with a sample of “K.Y.S.A.,” Phantogram’s contribution to The Alchemist and Oh No’s Welcome to Los Santos compContinue reading →

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Erykah Badu, Phantogram, The Weeknd and more to play Roots Picnic 2015

Erykah Badu | Photo via facebook.com/erykahbadu
Erykah Badu | Photo via facebook.com/erykahbadu

The eighth annual Roots Picnic will bring its eclectic, Questlove-curated lineup to the Festival Pier on Saturday, May 30th, and the lineup is, as usual, pretty damn exciting. In addition to a set from hometown heroes The Roots themselves, this year’s “old school guest” will be Erykah Badu – the progressive soul singer who notably sang the hook on The Roots’ 1999 hit “You Got Me” (and who The Roots earned their first Grammy with in 1998, for production on her album Baduizm). Continue reading →

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Phantogram dazzles a sold-out Union Transfer crowd

Phantogram | photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Phantogram | photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

New York based electronica duo Phantogram rocked Union Transfer this weekend with an electrifying performance. On Sunday, the band played the second of two back-to-back sold-out shows in support of their second full-length album, Voices, which was released in February. Josh Carter (vocals, guitar, and electronic beats) and Sarah Barthel (vocals, keyboard, and guitar) were backed by a three-piece band, which allowed them to give a spectacular, full-sounding performance. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: mewithoutYou at the Trocadero, Black Milk at Johnny Brenda’s, Phantogram at Union Transfer, and more!

mewithoutYou | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
mewithoutYou | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Upper Darby-based rock group mewithoutYou brings its Catch For Us the Foxes 10-year anniversary tour to The Trocadero tonight. Their second full-length album came out in October of 2004 and cathartically explored the tension between heartache, faith and the complex emotions of youth. The record contained fan faves like “In a Sweater Poorly Knit” and “January 1979”, the latter of which won mtvU’s “Left Field Award for Most Original Artist,” and the album peaked at number 20 on Billboard’s “Top Heatseekers.” Joining mwY tonight are Lawrence, Kansas post-rock group The Appleseed Cast and Philadelphia art-punk favorites Hop Along. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →