Saturday, March 16, 2013

Album Capsules--Youth Lagoon

It occurred to me, after reading hundreds of music reviews over the last year, that any goofball with spare time and a blog can review music.  Luckily for me, I happen to be such a goofball.  The best part is how it encourages me to resume my law-school hobby of collecting as much music as I can get my hands on.  Back then, friends and I would swap whatever music happened to be taking up space on our hard drives.  Seeing album after album transferring from one computer to another--what a rush!  Another strategy was to buy used albums by the dozen on Amazon, ebay, and a site called has since been acquired by ebay--copy them, and resell them for a similar price, thereby getting many of the newest albums for the price of postage and transaction fees.

And to think that back when I was a teenager, I used to save up my monthly paperboy earnings to buy the newest Robert Palmer.  Nowadays, I look back at that internet-less kid and have one thought: What a sucker!

Youth Lagoon

Wondrous Bughouse


The second album by Youth Lagoon, the creation of Trevor Powers, a college kid from Idaho, is as weird as it is excellent.  If you checked out his even-better first album, Year of Hibernation, you enjoyed an intimate collection of songs anchored by drum machine and melodic keyboard.  Wondrous Bughouse expands the sound quite a bit, exchanging some of the first album's intimacy for richness and psychedelic freakout.  His imagination has more room to roam here, and if you give these songs a chance to get under your skin, you might discover that this is one of the best albums of 2013 so far.  Perhaps more likely, you'll give "Attic Doctor" a listen and decide that it's just . . . too . . . strange.  Or: carnival music.  But with Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits showed the world that carnival music could be made into an insane masterpiece.

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