Under the stage name Youth Lagoon, Trevor Powers makes the kind of Bandcamp music you'd work on during a winter lull and then play for your friends who'd shrug and say, "That's pretty cool." Using electronic glitches and layers of three-chord piano progressions, songs like "Montana" and "Cannons" off his 2011 debut album, The Year of Hibernation, take the listener to a sonic space already well explored by artists more dynamic than him, such as Beach House or Kurt Vile.
Powers sings with an introverted innocence about his childhood in Boise, hiding his tenor behind a baffling amount of reverb that unfortunately muddies his lyrics. The tunes are repetitious, and after his third or fourth attempt to uplift the listener with a "whoa oh oh" vocal line, it's easy to get bored.
However, I have some hope for Youth Lagoon. Powers' latest single, "Mute," off the upcoming album Wonderous Bughouse, takes a step in an interesting direction. The six-minute epic ditches the canned Postal Service beats of Hibernation for some actual percussion and washes everything in arpegiated synths reminiscent of Animal Collective. It's still background music, but at least it's more exciting background music.
Youth Lagoon plays the Badlander Tue., Feb. 26, at 9 PM with locals Haunted Maze. $15/$13 advance.