Phantogram

If it weren't for the rock-solid beats anchoring them, the songs from New York duo Phantogram would float away, buoyed on expanses of sweetly chiming guitars and singer Sarah Barthel's sighing vocals. It's equal parts trip-hop and dream-pop, though it has evolved by moving past the former's sense of melodrama and the latter's soft-focus melodies; it's an animal all its own. Phantogram can feel grounded and immediate enough to qualify as "catchy," but the hooks are surprisingly light, often pared down to a guitar laced heavily with echo, breathy cooing, and Josh Carter's head-nodding drums holding everything together. Just when you think a song has drifted too far away from its center, the pair introduces something odd or noisy enough to shock you out of your lull, a dark balance to the woozy beauty. Carter and Barthel have turned out a fully realized sound after only two EPs and a debut album, and if you haven't caught them on their past two trips through the Twin Cities, now's your chance. With Josiah Wolf of WHY? 18+.
Fri., Oct. 22, 8 p.m., 2010
 
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