Weekly Spins

Still in Hibernation

Solo artist Youth Lagoon brings Dream Pop with soul on The Year of Hibernation.
Ganglians have a mid-tempo, messy good time with their third LP.

Youth Lagoon
The Year of Hibernation
Lefse Records

There’s that feeling again, when you listen to an unknown’s debut and get blown away. It’s been too long. Youth Lagoon’s Year of Hibernation came out of nowhere (well, Idaho), and quickly found itself sitting pretty on the dream-pop shelf. With distinct, shy vocals that lead to powerful and extremely catchy harmonies, there’s a soulful layer which words can’t do justice to.

Trevor Powers left university and an English Literature degree to pursue music full-time and came up with an album that is up there with the latest from Beach House, Deerhunter and The Antlers. He is 22 years old. As wonderfully surprising the guitar riffs and Powers’ tonal switches are, perhaps the most surprising thing of all is how such a well structured and developed album came from someone so young.

There’s lots of heart here. In “Posters,” Powers’ faint voice sings, “You make friends quickly / But not me,” echoing the anxiety and depression that still clings to the artist’s past. And then there’s “Montana” with its wonderful build-up and conclave of sound. Each song has a unique and unforgettable touch, making the only complaint that at 35 minutes, it could stand to be a bit longer. But maybe it’s for the best, as it only wets the appetite even more for his next project. Either way, Powers won’t be having much trouble making new friends now.

Youth Lagoon / Nov. 18 / Il Motore (179 Jean-Talon Rd. W.) more info
– Nikola Grozdanovic

Still Living
Lefse Records

With the greeting, “This is a sad sad song / For all the sad sad people,” Californian four-piece Ganglians open up their latest record, a lively push of indie-pop as accompaniment. It’s a brief cheery moment before the album dissolves into nonchalant falsetto and mid-tempo jams.

Still Living is a messy good time, a record with a few drinks in it. What’s surprising is that they can keep it up for a good 55 minutes. From the half-paced sway that dominates the album, bookended by slightly more upbeat tunes, it’s an extended indie flight that makes all the usual stops: the ever-so-slightly rough tracks smoothed over with reverb, vocals floating above, unconcerned with being perfectly in tune.

So then is there something that makes this record stand out? Not really. You can spin any lo-fi take on the Beach Boys and get the same thing out of it. But everything isn’t about breaking the fourth wall, and this stuff is far from pulp. Light synths, dirty guitar, gang vocals-it’s all here but for a reason. It’s a chill-out and a good time, without reason to get experimental. Just keep it simple, and enjoy the moment.

Ganglians / Nov. 22 / Casa Del Popolo (4873 St. Laurent Blvd.) more info
– Colin Harris