by Andrew Sacher
Youth Lagoon at Beacon Theater in 2012 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
It's rare that you get an album like Youth Lagoon's damaged debut, The Year of Hibernation -- an album so deeply affected by the songwriter hitting rock bottom, and made perfect by its imperfections, many of which were due to endearingly low recoding quality. It's the type of album that causes both fear and excitement when a followup is announced. For one, fans of the album are itching to hear more, but there's a hesitance to accept the possibility that the songwriter in question (in this case, YL main man Trevor Powers) can follow up on that rare case of accidental genius. And while it remains to be seen if Youth Lagoon's sophomore album, Wondrous Bughouse, will leave the same impact as its predecessor, early listens prove that Trevor is only moving forward.
It's a little ironic that on the followup to an album whose most overly synthetic instrument was its drums, the loudest and clearest instrument in the mix on this one is YL's new live drummer. But maybe it's a way to say "we're a band now" and a bit of a fuck you to anyone who criticized Trevor for not having one at his live shows. In general, it's a much fuller album than his debut, and his songs are now filled with the sort of noises and sounds that Animal Collective fetishizes, without falling into the mess of post-AnCo bands. Trevor's soft-sung voice is still there, and still pleasantly buried in the mix (though in new ways), but sonically the songs are coming from a much different place. Trevor's very open about the fact that he was listening to a lot of Cocteau Twins when he was writing the claustrophobic dream pop of The Year of Hibernation, but on Wondrous Bughouse, it sounds like he's been spinning stuff like The Zombies and The Kinks. If the name, Wondrous Bughouse, doesn't sound enough like British Invasion psychedelia, the quirky peppiness and baroque pop arrangements of the tunes certainly will.
You can listen to Wondrous Bughouse, which is streaming in full at NPR, and two of its tracks, "Dropla" and "Mute," are embedded below.
You can also catch Youth Lagoon on tour, which includes NYC shows on March 6 at Bowery Ballroom, which Eddi Front has been added to (sold out), and June 5 at Barclays Center opening for The National (tickets). Check out a list of all dates and those song streams, below.
Youth Lagoon - "Mute"
Youth Lagoon - "Dropla"
Youth Lagoon -- 2013 Tour Dates
02-26 Missoula, MT - Badlander
02-27 Bozeman, MT - Filling Station
02-28 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
03-01 Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
03-06 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom w/ Eddi Front
03-13-16 Austin, TX - SXSW
03-22 Boise, ID - Treefort Music Fest
04-12 Indio, CA - Coachella
04-19 Indio, CA - Coachella
04-21 Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
04-22 Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
04-24 Austin, TX - Mohawk
04-25 Dallas, TX - The Loft
04-26 Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's
04-27 New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
04-28 Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree
04-30 Orlando, FL - The Social
05-01 Atlanta, GA - Terminal West
05-02 Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
05-03 Asheville, NC - The Grey Eagle
05-04 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
05-07 Northampton, MA - Pearl St.
05-10 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
05-11 Columbia, MD - Sweet Life Festival
05-13 Toronto, Ontario - Great Hall
05-14 Columbus, OH - A&R Bar
05-15 Chicago, IL - Metro
05-16 Madison, WI - Majestic Theater
05-17 Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line
05-22 Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
05-23 Vancouver, British Columbia - Venue
05-24 Gorge, WA - Sasquatch! Fest
06-05 Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center *
* with the National