I thought I knew who Youth Lagoon was, but this Tiny Desk surprised me. Lead singer/keyboardist Trevor Powers sings passionately. But I was surprised that his voice is quite the falsetto (and at times sounds a bit like Pee Wee Herman).
At first I found this distracting, but after listening for a while I started to enjoy his voice, especially for what it did for the music. They play three songs. Two are new and one is older.
“Kerry” is a pretty song with a simple keyboard melody that is nicely duplicates on the guitar at times. In fact, even though the keyboard is the main instrument, I love the various riffs and melodies that the guitar plays to accompany him. There are some absolutely gorgeous musical passages in this song and Powers’ fragile voice is perfect for them. In the middle, when the guitar plays a great solo section, it’s quite something.
“July,” is a wistful reflection on youth and regret from the band’s debut. It’s a much more spare song with just voice and keys starting for the first minute or so. About half way through, the rest of the band adds some real beauty to the melody as he sings more intensely. I particularly like when the bass comes in at the end with a cool pattern of high notes.
“Rotten Human,” is a meditation on the passage of time and search for purpose in life. I like this lyric: “I’d rather die than piss way my time.” It’s a slow song but once the drums come in the song builds. I love the melody just before the next part which he sings with much more passion. The “No I won’t” section sees his voice getting more ragged and angry-sounding–quite a change from the other parts of the songs. Again there’s some great bass lines near the end of the song.
It took me a couple of listens to warm up to Youth Lagoon, but I really liked them by the end.
[READ: July 18, 2016] Lumberjanes 3
This is the third volume in the Lumberjanes series and I liked it a lot more than the second one. This book collects issues 9-12.
The focus in the middle chapter on Mal and Molly was a nice change of pace. And I thought it was very very funny that the girls tried to spend a chapter collecting “boring badges” for a change of pace.
There were lots of different illustrators in this book, because in the first chapter each the girls tells a story and each has her own illustrator.
“If You’ve Got It Haunt It” (illustrated by Brittney Williams) was really funny. It is all about earning a Ghost Story badge. The chapter begins with Jen telling a ghosts story about a babysitter (“Wrong Number” illustrated by Aimee Fleck) but because she was “reasonable and responsible” things turn out fine. It was very funny. Then it’s Jo’s turn to tell a story (“Ghost Girl” illustrated by the awesome Faith Erin Hicks). It also ends in a hilariously flat way. Next, it’s Ripley’s turn, (“Bad Candy” illustrated by Rebecca Tobin) and it’s a trippy psychedelic mess of candy and colors.
Mal jumps in with a story that she promises is 100% true “Lonely Road” (wonderfully illustrated by Carolyn Nowak) tells a story of a couple getting trapped in a car–but the danger is not coming from outside! Then there’s Molly’s story “Tailypo” (illustrated very creepily by Felicia Choo). It’s really the scariest of the bunch. April tells The final story. “Old Betty” (illustrated by T. Zysk) is a masterpiece of browns and blacks, giving it a wonderfully old-timey look. The scratchy dialogue makes the story especially creepy–and the girls agree. The whole story bookends back to Jen’s story in which she seeks revenge on a popular girl who picked on “Vicky” (who looks suspiciously like Jen).
But the story ends with a very real monster coming out of the woods. And then turning into… an old lady?
Chapter Ten has the camp doing something unusual. There are no required activities–just a day for fun. And the girls are bored stiff. Molly and Mal have planned a picnic but the other girls are stuck reading the handbook and wondering “how is that possible we literally defeated an out of control deity but are “way behind on the badges we need for our bronze axe?. And thus they plan to earn as many boring badges as they can. Or die trying.
Mal and Molly’s picnic is some nice alone time for the two girls who are very different but really like their differences. Until that weird bear woman from the previous chapter stumbles upon them. So of course they follow….right into another dimension (more dinosaurs, although they make more sense in this chapter than the last time they showed up).
Both stories continue into Chapter 11 as Mal and Molly try to help the bear woman with a monumental task and the other girls try to …bake a cake. One of the cakes is meant to be the best cake in the world–with a dragon in fondant. And Bubbles helps Ripley to defile the cake but somehow earns a badge. The next few pages show the girls failing miserably at every boring badge there is (with Ripley and Bubbles winning a surprising number of them).
Chapter 12 sees the exciting conclusion of the Mal/Molly/dinosaur storyline while the other girls prepare for competitive scrapbooking: ‘race against the clock to showcase beloved memories and destroy your opponents.” (April is especially excited about this). In their fury to destroy their opponents, though, they actually enjoy looking at the pictures and wind up making a very lovely scrapbook (with a very funny joke about Molly and Mal earning a badge unintentionally).
This was definitely a great collection of stories and I’m once again excited for the next volume.
I still have to wonder what is up with the crazy unedited blocks of text though. Either nobody is expected to read them or it’s meant to show how badly put together old manuals can be (but if that’s the case, it’s not consistent enough for it to be funny and it just looks careless): “Some trophies in life might be actual physical trophies but most will not be, they will be something that you will take you with and you with share with others.”