“I just wanted to write honest songs. So much music nowadays is really shallow. There’s not much heart or emotion in it.” Whether you agree of disagree with the second part of this statement, it is hard to argue with the first. This is a quote from an interview Pitchfork did with Tervor Powers, who is Youth Lagoon. For me that honesty is really important, whatever the medium. It’s great to hear somebody say it – wise words from a 22 year old.
He is from Boise, Idaho and he released his debut album, ‘The Year of Hibernation’ late last year. I picked up a free download but, as it wasn’t available in my normal download locations, it has taken me a little while to get my hands on the album. Now, I have banged on quite a bit on this blog, about music that crosses genres and this album is no exception. The album mixes electronica and live instrumentation but is based around song structures. It was the work of Powers alone, but it does have a grand sound that suggests more musicians. Saying that, the DIY production does give it an edge that a fully fledged band or production wouldn’t, but is all the better for it, as it gives the music the emotion that he asks for. I love the guitar work on the album and I love it even more for the fact that sometimes you can here the slight faults in the playing (very very slight) – the fact they are left in ensures that a live, emotive feel is not lost to the programmed / electronic elements. His voice has that high, frailness of the Flaming Lips or Mercury Rev, but the whole package reminds me a little of The Earlies and from a newer range, Sun Airways who are also fantastic and who also love to go reverb heavy. In the Pitchfork interview he names the Cocteau Twins as an influence and I can definitely see that too.
The lovely melodies and great songwriting make this an accessible album and I had real trouble picking one to go for – but in the end I have settled on ‘Daydream’. As well as the components mentioned above, this track utilises dance elements such as a 4/4 beat, synth stabs and a break down in the middle. The guitar at the start is tremendous and when added to his vocal, adds that bit of passion that electronic music like this can easily lack. It really is a great album worth getting and I highly recommend you check out the Pitchfork interview too.
*Image from pitchfork.com
Playlist: Tuesday 13th March 2012
I didn’t have a commute today so this selection was a freebie