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Anthony Carew

Introducing: Youth Lagoon

By June 20, 2011

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Name: Youth Lagoon
From: Boise, Idaho
Story: A small-sounding next big thing
Sound: Tender piano ballads, fuzz-pop drone

Trevor Powers is a 22-year-old kid at Boise State University who's experiencing that now-familiar meteoric rise: going straight from bedroom to buzz-band, not bothering with the slow build.

Powers kicked off his Youth Lagoon career early this year, merely throwing out a couple of songs via his Bandcamp page. The feedback was, as is the internet's way, instantaneous: listeners instantly flocking to the bruised balladeering and ghostly, fuzzy production.

What makes this curious is that Power's introspective songs are not the usual blog fodder, even if they're reminiscent of Perfume Genius, whose own piano-centric fragility made for a breakout debut in 2010.

The rise of Youth Lagoon may have no traces of the slow build, but the music itself does. Take "July," the five-minute epic that announced Powers' existence to the world, and earned a 'Best New Music' stamp of approval from internet overlords Pitchfork. The song commences in a barely-audible haze of synths and reverb and whispers, before gradually gearing up towards a cresting crescendo, with Powers' Jonathan Donohue-by-way-of-Wayne Coyne voice swimming through memories (the lines "five years ago/in my backyard" glimmering through the fuzz) deep in emotion.

Youth Lagoon's imminent debut album, The Year of Hibernation, is filled with that same sense of tender recollection: "Seventeen" about summers by lakes and maternal advice and teetering on the cusp of adulthood; "Posters" beginning with "when I was only nine years old..."; titles like "Afternoon" and "Daydream" tipping their nostalgic hats.

Listening to The Year of Hibernation, it seems less like some next-big-thing fluff designed for mass-market consumption, more a secret recording never intended to be played in public.

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