Bands to Watch #232: Youth Lagoon

By on Wednesday, 16th November 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

The birth of the MacBook has led to an interesting progression in music, especially because each machine comes equipped with the program Garage Band. Now, everyone with a laptop has access to a creative outlet, enabling every nostalgic, angst-y, twenty-something to express themselves via premade loops and heavily altered vocals. These projects tend to run together like the pigments in an over-saturated watercolour painting, making it hard for any particular composition to stand out amongst the floods of reverb that have doused the scene, and easy for any such project to be written off as layman.

However, Trevor Powers, the man behind one such project, has found a way to distinguish himself from the masses. Under the moniker Youth Lagoon, Boise, Idaho native Powers crafts budding, dream-like melodies which are conversely grounded in complex lyricism, making his project a legitimate effort. Powers has all of the necessary components of someone to write off: he is overtly nostalgic, drenches his vocals in reverb, and crafts simple, looping melodies. But unlike most of the amateur efforts, Powers has a distinct knack for both poetry and arrangement, and his recently released album, ‘The Year of Hibernation’, is one of the best bodies of work to hit the chillwave, homegrown scene. Watch the video for ‘Montana’ below.

Though Powers’ songs are somewhat methodical, he employs a formula that works. Beginning with a fragile melody, he layers effects, loops and haunting vocals until the song shifts from a quiet whisper to a booming hymn. It is a structure reminiscent of waking up from an all-too realistic dream, echoing the feeling of trading a somewhat unsettling dream for the cold breath of reality.

Lyrically, Powers poetically entwines themes of youth, mentality, and God with natural imagery, crafting cyclical and persistent metaphors. Powers is not touching on something unique or profound, he is tapping into questions many are asking, which is perhaps why there are so many bedroom musical projects in the first place. The difference is that Powers does it well.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IKPT30jOJw[/youtube]

Keep your eyes peeled for further Youth Lagoon releases. If Powers plays his cards right, it is not unlikely that he will continue to be successful, joining the likes of Panda Bear, Toro Y Moi and Neon Indian, and continue to progressively define a growing scene.

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