Conner Youngblood – “Stockholm”

For the last four years, Conner Youngblood has been putting out the sort of self-produced, nuanced electronic music that generally qualifies as “bedroom pop,” except he absolutely refuses to stay indoors. One of the first songs I ever heard by Youngblood was “Monsters,” from 2010, and I was fascinated and struck by the way he interpolated a banjo riff with some bombastic bass dubstep production.

Now 24, the native Texan is currently based out of Nashville. Before that, he attended Yale and was a wrestler for the Ivy League’s team before venturing into the music industry. After a deal with a label fell through around 2013, he seems to have refocused and continued to make fiercely independent music that achieves coherence by drawing as easily from Celtic music as it does house, folk, and indie pop. He self-released the Confidence EP in 2014 — you can stream the excellent title track here — and is now following that up with a new, completely self-produced EP called The Generation Of Lift. He also drew the artwork, above, which accompanies it.

The full EP will be out in October, but he’s shared the initial single “Stockholm” today via Fader. Similarly to the way “Monsters” piqued my interest by warping a banjo part, “Stockholm” flips a harp into this song’s tinkling centerpiece. He twists and loops his voice around the lush, staccato notes of the harp, letting the melody rest more in the instrumentation than his vocals. Equal parts nostalgic, mournful, and empowered, “Stockholm” suggests that he’s more adept than ever at manipulating divergent elements until they reach an unnatural harmony of his own design. Youngblood is one of those artists who has simmered under the radar for just long enough to refine his willful brilliance, and it feels like he’s on the cusp of recognizing his own power. Listen below.

The Generation Of Lift is out this October.