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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, May 28

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Review Thu Feb 18 2010

Review: Phantogram @ Schubas, 2/17

A Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week, a KEXP Song of the Day and a full-length album on Barsuk don't exactly hinder a band's popularity. Neither does an ethereal electronic/pop/trip-hop sound like what Phantogram delivers. Debut LP Eyelid Movies can come off as a hybrid of Chairlift, Massive Attack and School of Seven Bells without being overbearing or polluted. The atmosphere is similar to that of the xx, in that it's not difficult to soak in the background if necessary.

However, on a stage the duo commands undivided attention. At Schubas on Wednesday, multi-instrumentalists Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel initially played it cool with a sleek detached vibe. Soon enough they thrashed at their gear, headbanging and flailing in controlled chaos for the near-capacity crowd. It didn't hurt that the music was ratcheted up with their self-described street beats at the forefront. But perhaps the most striking element of their performance was the shared vocal duties. It seems some bands keep the male/female dynamic simply as a gimmick. With Phantogram it sounds genuine. Even though Carter writes a majority of the usually dark lyrics, Barthel pulls hers off with aplomb like a haunting sweetness through crowd favorites like "Mouthful of Diamonds" and "When I'm Small."

At the end of their 40-minute set with a 2-song planned encore, it was clear that Phantogram on record and on a stage are two different beasts. And neither should be passed up. (Luckily, Phantogram will be back soon as openers for the Antlers at Lincoln Hall on April 22.)

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


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Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
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Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
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Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
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The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

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  & Shops:

Alligator Records
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Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
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Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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