For those who wonder how Trevor Powers has somehow escaped getting lumped in with the recently dispersed chillwave movement, look no further than the latest video from his 2011 debut album as Youth Lagoon.
A methodically paced, reverb-draped track that gives off a strong whiff of nostalgia, “July” even has the chiming keyboards and lilting male vocals that a couple of years ago helped unite acts as disparate as Washed Out, Toro Y Moi, Memory Tapes, Neon Indian, and CFCF. But this standout from The Year of Hibernation, SPIN’s No. 21 album of last year, eventually adds guitars and builds to a ragged yet purposeful crescendo, the kind of moment you’d expect from big-tent indie rockers like Arcade Fire. Decidedly un-chill.
The newly posted video, from the same director as a previous clip for fellow Hibernation cut “Montana,” moves along a similar path, as washed-out suburban imagery gives way to a grisly nighttime denouement. The project may be called Youth Lagoon, but don’t forget, the guy’s name is Powers.
With its intimate closing reflection on love and youth, “July” might six or seven years ago have been tagged by some as “emo.” Here in 2012, let’s just agree to call it what it is: a very good song (via Pitchfork).