The Evolution of Dream Pop

Last summer I discovered a genre of music called Dream Pop. I realized that I had been a fan for a while of this particular style of music, being that I enjoyed indie bands such as Wild Nothing, Beach House, The Radio Dept., M83, and Silversun Pickups to name a few. I fell in love though when I began listening to Youth Lagoon. The band, which consists mostly of artist Trevor Powers, who sings and plays keyboard, was featured on the website Pitchfork after receiving great reviews for their first album The Year of Hibernation. The style of music is called Dream Pop because it is indeed very dreamy. It mostly consists of bright melodies and distant vocals. It could be the soundtrack to your most favorite daydream. One of my friends described the sound as “music underwater.” It is a genre that started in the 1980’s and was referred to as “shoegaze”, but has recently expanded to include a wide variety of artists.

Back in November I had the privilege to see Youth Lagoon live at The Drunken Unicorn in Atlanta. I had always loved the sound of their music recorded but it became vibrant and was really brought to life when I heard it in person. It was amazing to see at the show such an array of people, from high school students to middle age couples, who enjoyed their music. Afterwards I had the opportunity to meet the band and talk to them about what inspired the music they wrote. Hearing about the recording process was very interesting and reflective of how the music industry works today. Trevor Powers said he recorded the entire album at a friend’s studio and then played it in his friend’s garage and rerecorded it so that it would sound distant and echo-y. It goes to show that you don’t need huge effects and expensive, professional producers to become successful. These days, many people like music that sounds genuine and real.

Since they came onto the scene last spring, Youth Lagoon has toured across the country, played music festivals SXSW and Coachella, and their music has been featured on playlists in clothing stores such as Urban Outfitters and J. Crew. They have become the Dream Pop poster child. Their popularity continues to grow as their fan base expands. I feel lucky to have discovered them at the beginning of their journey and will no doubt be a fan of theirs for life.

(Emily Madden – Neurotic Media Intern)

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