Phantogram releases their highly anticipated fourth studio album, Ceremony—listen HERE! The 11-track album features the band’s lead single, “Dear God,” which they debuted with an explosive performance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night—watch it .
Ceremony marks a rebirth and embodies a dark, but hopeful, chapter for the band, which is comprised of lifelong friends Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel. In advance of the release, the band posted a revealing letter to fans unveiling how the tragic loss of Barthel’s sister, Becky, to suicide, and peers like Mac Miller, Chris Cornell, Prince, Avicii, Chester Bennington and more, impacted their lives and influenced the album—read more HERE.
The process for Ceremony began in summer of 2018, after several years of touring the world in support of their most commercially successful album, Three. The album hit Top 10 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, Top 3 on Billboard’s Rock Albums chart and Top 5 on Billboard’s Top Albums Sales chart. The lead single, “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore,” also peaked at #6 on the alternative radio chart. In the midst of what was their most successful chapter—one that they had been building towards for nearly a decade—the pair were still reeling from the tragic passing of Becky. After returning from tour, both Barthel and Carter were finally forced to come to terms with Becky’s unfortunate death.
Barthel says, “When ‘Three’ was finished, I thought the weight of sadness and anger would release after finishing recording. Boy, I was wrong. Performing those songs every night was like reliving the feelings over and over again. After that tour, I was completely drained and spent. After 10 years of being in this band and pouring my heart into everything that is Phantogram, I felt like I didn’t have anything else. I think life was put on hold for a long time for Phantogram. Going through the loss of my sister from suicide was the icing on the cake.”
She continues, “After ‘Three,’ it was a time to reflect in a way we never had before. Life after losing someone from suicide is very confusing. Performing those songs every night kept us stuck in that one moment. It didn’t allow us to move forward and grow as people. When tour was over, we had to step outside of the Phantogram bubble and face real life. It almost felt like we were in survival mode. ‘Ceremony’ was inspired by self-care and seeing how common of a struggle everyday life had become.”
Ceremony features the band’s previously released singles, “Pedestal,” “In A Spiral,” “Mister Impossible” and “Into Happiness,” which have received praise from Rolling Stone, Billboard, Pitchfork, The New York Times, SPIN, Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, PAPER Magazine and more. It marks the first project the band made entirely around Los Angeles, recording the bulk of the album at Barthel’s new home studio, dubbed “Harmony West,” (previous albums were made at Harmony Lodge in Upstate New York).
Of creating Ceremony, Carter says, “When the cycle for ‘Three’ wound down, we took some much-needed time to focus on our personal life, friendships and mental health. Going into the creation process of ‘Ceremony’ was a more refreshing approach to making music than how we normally create. We went back to our roots in a lot of ways—making art, listening to records and writing in our own secluded studio in the hills of Laurel Canyon. It was liberating and inspiring to just make music as it flowed, while also having fun doing it. This allowed us to still push our boundaries and create new ideas that we hadn’t explored yet.”
CEREMONY TRACK LIST:
1. “Dear God”
2. “In A Spiral”
3. “Into Happiness”
5. “Love Me Now”
6. “Let Me Down”
7. “News Today”
8. “Mister Impossible”
10. “Gaunt Kids”
Lauded as an experimental and alternative band and one that’s never been married to a particular genre, Phantogram—comprised of lifelong friends Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel—have continued to change the zeitgeist for almost a decade by consistently challenging it with their signature blend of hard-hitting beats, guitar-driven dark psychedelia and electronic pop. Since the arrival of 2010’s debut release, Eyelid Movies, the duo has amassed nearly half-a-billion streams, achieved two Gold-Certified singles in the form of “Fall In Love” and “When I’m Small,” headlined sold out shows worldwide, become a festival staple and toured with artists including The xx, Muse, M83, Alt-J and more. In 2016, the band reached a career high with the release of their most commercially successful album, Three. The album hit Top 10 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, Top 3 on Billboard’s Rock Albums chart, and Top 5 on Billboard’s Top Albums Sales chart. The lead single, “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore,” also peaked at #6 on the alternative radio chart. Three was met with critical acclaim from Pitchfork, Billboard, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, People, Vogue, New York Magazine, The FADER, Stereogum, NYLON, PAPER Magazine and many others. With syncs in major campaigns such as “Into Happiness” in a spot for Apple TV+, “Same Old Blues” in ads for Peloton and Apple Watch, “You’re Mine” in Apple HomePod video and additional placement in multiple TV shows, the band’s reach had never been so wide. The success of the album took them to Madison Square Garden playing with Alt-J and around the world opening for Muse and on their own headline tours, building upon their already rampant fanbase. In the midst of what was their most successful chapter—one that they had been building towards for nearly a decade—the pairwere still reeling from the tragic passing of Barthel’s sister, Becky (also a close childhood friend of Carter’s), due to suicide. After several years of touring the world in support of Three, Phantogram was finally forced to come to terms with Becky’s unfortunate death, which resulted in their new full-length project, Ceremony, their most diverse and liberated record yet.