Youth Lagoon Announces New Album, Shares Video for New Song “Idaho Alien” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 28th, 2024  

Youth Lagoon Announces New Album, Shares Video for New Song “Idaho Alien”

Heaven Is a Junkyard Due Out June 9 via Fat Possum

Feb 28, 2023 Photography by Tyler T. Williams
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After releasing two albums under his given name, Trevor Powers has revived his Youth Lagoon moniker and announced a new album under that name, Heaven Is a Junkyard. He has also shared the album’s first single, “Idaho Alien,” via a music video. Heaven Is a Junkyard is due out June 9 via Fat Possum. Tyler T. Williams directed the video. Watch it below, followed by the album’s tracklist and cover artwork.

As Youth Lagoon, Powers released three albums: 2011’s The Year of Hibernation, 2013’s Wondrous Bughouse, and 2015’s Savage Hills Ballroom. Then he retired the name in 2016 and released two albums simply as Trevor Powers: 2018’s Mulberry Violence and 2020’s surprise-released Capricorn.

“I felt like I was in a chokehold,” Powers says of the initial name change. “Even though it was my music, I lost my way. In a lot of ways, I lost myself.”

He adds: “My mind has always been a devil. It tells me terrible things—like I’m worthless, ugly, or broken. It’s like a motel TV stuck on a channel that won’t shut off, with static and endless late-night ads and preachers screaming about the end of the world.”

Things took a turn for the worse in October 2021, when Powers had a bad reaction to an over-the counter medicine that a press release says turned his stomach into a “non-stop geyser of acid” and coated Powers “larynx and vocal cords for eight months.”

“I saw seven doctors and multiple specialists. I lost over 30 pounds. No one could help me,” says Powers.

By Christmas that year, he could no longer speak. “I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to speak again, let alone sing,” he says. “It all felt symbolic in a way. I’d been swallowing fear all my life and now here it was coming back up.”

Following this trying time, Powers had a renewed focus on his songwriting, writing about home rather than the larger world. “Family, neighbors, and grim reapers,” says Powers. “I’ve always written about far away things, but the best material has been right in front of me this whole time in Idaho.”

That includes first single, “Idaho Alien.” Of the song, Powers says: “I’ve always loved old hardboiled crime novels. They’re twisted but pure. ‘Idaho Alien’ comes from that space. Home often feels like a Jim Thompson book. One of my neighbors smokes meth all day and mows the lawn at 2:00 am. Her boyfriend lived in a tent in her backyard, and one day she locked him out of the house so he went as far as trying to stab her. He got sent to prison for 10 years. She told me she still loves him, and I told her she deserves better. The last time I asked her not to mow the lawn at 2:00 am, we wound up talking about aliens and Subway sandwiches. Every November, a church group rakes her leaves and tells her about Jesus. I don’t think it’s working.”

The video was mainly filmed in the farming town of Kuna, Idaho. Powers had this to say about the video: “Ty and I found the right spot and parked our truck in the clearing. Fifteen minutes later, two black trucks pull up. Ten teens with shotguns and automatic rifles get out. This is normal in Idaho. They start shooting at the dirt by each other’s feet and using liquor bottles as clay pigeons. Still pretty normal. Then they take a shot at a car driving past on the highway. This wouldn’t be considered normal.”

Powers and Williams took a dinner break in hopes the kids would leave.

“We could tell they were shooting into the air now cuz we could hear the bullets coming down in the wind,” Powers continues. “Right before magic hour, wartime finally ended, and we heard their trucks peel out. We went back to the clearing and set up the camera. Their shotgun shells make an appearance in the video at the 10-second mark. The scenes with the dad and young drifter were filmed the following day in Nampa, Idaho by the train depot. That’s their house… they’re a real father and son. This story couldn’t have been told without them.”

Summing up the album, Powers adds: “Heaven Is a Junkyard is about all of us. It’s stories of brothers leaving for war, drunk fathers learning to hug, mothers falling in love, neighbors stealing mail, cowboys doing drugs, friends skipping school, me crying in the bathtub, dogs catching rabbits, and children playing in tall grass.”

Read our 2011 interview with Youth Lagoon.

Read our 2015 interview with Youth Lagoon.

Heaven Is a Junkyard Tracklist:

1. Rabbit
2. Idaho Alien
3. Prizefighter
4. The Sling
5. Lux Radio Theatre
6. Deep Red Sea
7. Trapeze Artist
8. Mercury
9. Little Devil from the Country
10. Helicopter Toy

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