Youth Lagoon Goes the Distance with Brotherhood on “Prizefighter”

Singer/songwriter Trevor Powers has also announced his first Youth Lagoon North American tour in eight years

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Youth Lagoon Goes the Distance with Brotherhood on “Prizefighter”

When Trevor Powers started making music under the moniker Youth Lagoon in 2010, it became his calling card to emboss striking electronic tracks with glossy dream pop. With his comeback album Heaven Is a Junkyard on the near horizon, his beloved project is becoming more and more of a soulful, piano-driven triumph. Powers is skipping the psychedelics and embracing the minimalism he once teased on debut LP The Year of Hibernation in 2011. The storytelling is the focus, as Powers’ voice arrives weathered yet grounded.

New single “Prizefighter” doubles down on Powers’ incredible vocal performance from “Idaho Alien” earlier this year, as he floats above a clear-eyed piano, drum machine and subtle, almost missable, vocal samples. Through emotional boxing imagery, Powers fashions a story that aches over how little closure the story has for its protagonist. “Tommy left for war with no goodbye. / I never got a chance to ask him why. / But since Tommy always was a tough guy, / I know it’s cuz he thought I’d see him cry. / He had knuckles that could make the devil shy. / Knuckles of a prizefighter held high,” Powers sings.

Like on “Idaho Alien,” Powers is assembling a portrait of his surroundings, all while blurring the line between fact and fiction. It’s a songwriting approach reminiscent of Richard Bausch’s short story collection Rare & Endangered Species, in which a cast of characters’ singular lives all end up overlapping with each other. On Heaven Is a Junkyard, it’s unclear if every song is told from the POV of one narrator, or how much comes from Powers’ own experience. But what is clear is Powers’ ability to chronicle the underbelly of America and those who live there in thoughtful, narrative-driven ways, and it’s fully on display throughout “Prizefighter.”

“4 years ago, I started writing a song about brothers. I grew up with 3 of them, so our house was doomsday but with more sugar cereal. Our love was strong and so was our barbarity. It was real joy—the kind you didn’t have to look for cuz it smacked you in the face or pushed you off the bed into a file cabinet. Beyond that, we were homeschooled. 4 weirdos home all day who adored each other and hated each other and played baseball everyday in the backyard and threw rocks at each other’s heads and laughed ‘till we threw up. Our bond is forever. That song I started those years ago meant too much to me to finish. I was scared of it. Scared of not making it great…so I tabled it. A couple weeks before leaving to make the record, I went through some old voice memos while watching a VHS of Drugstore Cowboy. I listened to that 30-second sketch called ‘Prizefighter.’ It was like an angel fell from the sky to tell me how to finish it. ‘Don’t make it great,’ she said. ‘Make it true.’ I finished the song in 2 days,” Powers says.

Check out the video for “Prizefighter” and Youth Lagoon’s upcoming tour dates below.

Youth Lagoon’s 2023 tour dates:

Fri. July 14 – Spokane, WA @ Lucky You
Sat. July 15 – Bozeman, MT @ The Elm
Mon. July 17 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Club David
Tue. July 18 – Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s
Thu. July 20 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
Fri. July 21 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival
Sat. July 22 – Louisville, KY @ The Whirling Tiger
Sun. July 23 – St. Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill
Tue. July 25 – Kansas City, MO @ recordBar
Wed. July 26 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
Fri. July 28 – Fort Collin, CO @ The Aggie
Sat. July 29 – Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre
Mon. July 31 – Jackson Hole, WY @ Center for the Arts
Thu. Sept. 7 – Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Hall *
Fri. Sept. 8 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge *
Sat. Sept. 9 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater *
Mon. Sept. 11 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line *
Tue. Sept. 12 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon *
Fri. Sept. 15 – Detroit, MI @ El Club *
Sat. Sept. 16 – Toronto,ON @ Horseshoe Tavern *
Mon. Sept. 18 – Montreal, QC @ Theatre Fairmount *
Tue. Sept. 19 – Boston, MA @ Sinclair *
Wed. Sept. 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg *
Fri. Sept. 22 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church *
Sat. Sept. 23 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage *
Mon. Sept. 25 – Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall *
Tue. Sept. 26 – Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5 *
Thu. Sept. 28 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (Upstairs) *
Fri. Sept. 29 – Austin, TX @ Antone’s *
Sat. Sept. 30 – Dallas, TX @ Trees *
Mon. Oct. 2 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf *
Tue. Oct. 3 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom *
Wed. Oct. 4 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room *
Fri. Oct. 6 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom *
Sat. Oct. 7 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall *
Mon. Oct. 9 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios *
Tue. Oct. 10 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos *
Wed. Oct. 11 – Vancouver, BC @ Cobalt *
Thu. Oct. 12 – Bellingham, WA @ Bellingham Exit *
* w/ URIKA’S BEDROOM

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