Youth Lagoon shares new single "The Sling" & announces UK tour dates. Album 'Heaven Is A Junkyard' out 9th of June on Fat Possum.
Youth Lagoon, the beloved project of Trevor Powers — releases “The Sling,” a new single/video from his forthcoming album, 'Heaven Is a Junkyard', out June 9th on Fat Possum. He also shares November European tour dates, including a UK run and a headline show at EartH for Pitchfork Festival London.
“The Sling,” a song Powers refers to as “the album’s core,” is a ghostly and naked piano ballad. We hear each line like a voyeur peeping through a crack in the wall. “On a lonely street, children still play. Families still eat,” he sings. Heaven Is a Junkyard is a phrase Powers wrote down in his journal after watching a neighbour’s farmhouse catch fire.
“I wasn’t even sure what those words meant at the time, I’m not sure I still do.”
But when the album’s title is heard at the end of “The Sling,” it feels substantial. “Heaven is a junkyard, and it’s my home,” sings Powers. Of “The Sling,” Powers adds:
“For years, I’ve been chasing a phantom. This feeling of an unseen world deep inside of me. It’s why I make music. I have a compulsion to understand myself. Or learn to love myself. Maybe that’s the same thing. I’ve been asked by multiple people to describe ‘The Sling’ — where does it come from?
What does it mean? Every time I start an explanation, I contradict myself. I’d consider it a song about time. And love. That I can say with confidence. I wrote it one night I felt trapped. The next morning I was free.”
“The Sling” is accompanied by another stunning video, filmed in Idaho and directed by Tyler T. Williams.
With whispers of country, Heaven Is a Junkyard is mutant Americana in a world of love, drugs, storytelling, and miracles—held together by Powers’ voice and an upright piano. In Powers’ own words,
“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, neighbours stealing mail, cowboys doing drugs, friends skipping school, me crying in the bathtub, dogs catching rabbits, and children playing in tall grass.”
Following 2011’s The Year Of Hibernation, 2013’s Wondrous Bughouse and 2015’s Savage Hills Ballroom, in 2016, Trevor Powers shut the door on Youth Lagoon.
“I felt like I was in a chokehold, Even though it was my music, I lost my way. In a lot of ways, I lost myself.”
Stepping back from the alias, Powers found personal transformation at his home in Idaho and released experimental tapes under his own name (2018’s Mulberry Violence and 2020’s Capricorn).
“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.”
In October 2021, something changed the channel.
After taking an over-the-counter medication, Powers had a drug reaction so severe it turned his stomach into a “non-stop geyser of acid,” coating his larynx and vocal cords for eight months
“I saw seven doctors and multiple specialists. I lost over thirty pounds. No one could help me,”
By Christmas, he could no longer speak, turning to text messages and a pen and paper as his only ways to communicate.
“I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to speak again, let alone sing, It all felt symbolic in a way, I’d been swallowing fear all my life and now here it was coming back up.”
The growth that followed that nightmare narrowed Powers’ focus. Rather than writing about the world at large, he started writing about home.
“Family, neighbors, and grim reapers,”
“I’ve always written about far away things, but the best material has been right in front of me this whole time in Idaho.”
Recorded in six weeks with co-producer Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, Adele, Gil Scott-Heron), ‘Heaven Is a Junkyard’ is a work of absolute devotion. A portrait of the God-haunted American West. And a reminder that there is always love in the tall grass.
“Youth Lagoon was never the chokehold,”
Photo credit: Tyler T. Williams
Youth Lagoon European live dates:
Mon. Oct. 30 - Hamburg, DE @ Kent Club
Tue. Oct. 31 - Copenhagen, DK @ Lille Vega
Thu. Nov. 2 - Amsterdam, NE @ Paradiso Noord
Sat. Nov. 4 - Berlin, DE @ Pitchfork Festival (Festaal Kreuzberg)
Mon. Nov. 6 - Paris, FR @ Pitchfork Festival (Saint Eustache)
Wed. Nov. 8 - Zurich, CH @ Bogen F
Thu. Nov. 9 - Cologne, DE @ Luxor
Sun. Nov. 12 - London, UK @ Pitchfork Festival (EartH Theatre w/Barrie)
Mon. Nov. 13 - Manchester, UK @ YES (The Pink Room)
Tue. Nov. 14 - Glasgow, UK @ Oran Mor
Thu. Nov. 16 - Dublin, IE @ The Button Factory
Fri. Nov. 17 - Leeds, UK @ Belgrave Music Hall