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QUICK SPINS: Foxygen, Youth Lagoon

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 7, 2013 9:40PM

In which we take a quick look at a few recent or upcoming musical releases.

We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic

2013_03_foxygen.jpg Foxygen's debut, Take the Kids Off Broadway, was an intriguing listen but the songs lacked focus, causing them to swiftly fade from memory. On their follow-up, We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic, the band has solved this problem to create a work thatis richly engaging on a number of levels. The band works with a canvas that sprawl musical genres, but much of their approach is firmly rooted in '60s west coast rock with a psychedelic edge. Foxygen has learned to pick and choose the sound stylings that suit each song best and interweave different musical eras together seamlessly. From the chooglin' chorus of "No Destruction" to the sweet call and response refrain of "San Francisco" the band crafts tunes that stick in your head and shove you into a black light galaxy lit by lava lamps hovering above the floor. This is classic rock in the best sense of the term.

Foxygen plays tonight, March 7, at Lincoln Hall. The show is sold out.

Youth Lagoon
Wondrous Bughouse

2013_03_youth_lagoon.jpg Trevor Powers is Youth Lagoon, and he traffics in soundscapes that lean towards the psychedelic while maintaining a steady firm grasp on the beat at the base. Because of this, Wondrous Bughouse's songs have the feeling of standing just off a beach, directly in the path of a rip-current pulling you one way as the waves push you in another. The effect grows even more odd since the top layers are so gauzy and sound as if filmed through a multi-prism lens, the initial discombobulation falls away and you allow yourself to be submerged in the warm bath of musical textures. Listening to this work is a wholly enjoyable experience, but its narcoleptic effects ultimately make it something that only exists in the moment. There is no lasting after effect after the final strains of the closing song "Daisyphobia" fade away. Due to this effect it creates an inescapable insistence that you come back again and again to relive its delights. Is that the mark of a masterpiece or a complete failure? This reviewer can't make up his mind on that question, but the fact I keep returning for repeat listens edges me to believe more strongly that it is the former rather than the latter.

Youth Lagoon plays Metro on May 15.