Youth Lagoon

Heaven Is A Junkyard (Fat Possum)

Contact Jacob Daneman about Youth Lagoon

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. “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 neighbor’s farmhouse catch fire. “I wasn’t even sure what those words meant at the time,” he says. “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.”


Throughout Heaven Is a Junkyard, Powers stitches together a lyrical style that feels both punk and western. 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, neighbors stealing mail, cowboys doing drugs, friends skipping school, me crying in the bathtub, dogs catching rabbits, and children playing in tall grass.”


In 2016, Trevor Powers shut the door on Youth Lagoon. “I felt like I was in a chokehold,” he says. “Even though it was my music, I lost my way. In a lot of ways, I lost myself.” Following a series of health issues that left Powers unable to speak, he turned 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,” he says. “It all felt symbolic in a way,” he adds. “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,” laughs 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.” 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.



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