Youth Lagoon has returned, announcing a brand new album and dropping the first single ‘Idaho Alien’.
Youth Lagoon released three albums between 2011 and 2015 before retiring the name in 2016 and releasing two albums under his real name, Trevor Powers. Now Powers is making the switch back, ready to release his fourth album as Youth Lagoon, ‘Heaven Is a Junkyard’.
The album is due out on 9th June via Fat Possum, and is previewed by the first single ‘Idaho Alien’, with a video directed by Tyler T. Williams.
Powers spoke of his return to the Youth Lagoon name, saying: “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.”
It wasn’t until October 2021 that Powers’ life took a turn for the worse, after a bad reaction to an over-the-counter medicine caused him to lose his voice. “I saw seven doctors and multiple specialists. I lost over 30 pounds. No one could help me,” he says.
After a trying time, Powers found himself with a renewed focus on home. He remarks: “I’ve always written about far away things, but the best material has been right in front of me this whole time in Idaho.”
Speaking about the new single, Powers explains: “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 for ‘Idaho Alien’ was mainly filmed in the farming town of Kuna, Idaho. Powers recalls a particular incident which occurred during filming: “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.”
“We could tell they were shooting into the air now cuz we could hear the bullets coming down in the wind. 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.”
The single and the album, which promises to be an exploration of home and its characters, is a testament to Powers’ strength and resilience. Summing up the album, Powers says: “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.”