Words by Russell Carstens
As Car Seat Headrest, Will Toledo has released an impressive amount of music through his Bandcamp page, which got the attention of Matador Records, who recently signed him. His new release is Teens Of Style, a lo-fi masterpiece bursting with fun and enthusiasm.
“Sunburn Shirts” begins the album with a wash of hazy, glorious noise and fuzz. It’s a stripped down lo-fi folk tune with a chordal melody reminiscent of “Monday Monday” by The Mamas and The Papas. The bedroom-esque production doesn’t mask things — Toledo’s songs would shine in any setting. A sudden full frontal assault gives the song’s outro the glory it deserves. This kid knows how to effectively utilize dynamics and texture.
Although the lyrics on “The Drum” are hard to decipher, the song bleed good vibes. This is what I thought the early Wavvves releases were going to sound like when I read about them but hadn’t yet listened — like Weezer really hitting the hash pipe hard.
With lyrics like, “I want to kick my dad in the shins,” and “All of my friends are getting married / making money,” Toledo appears to be questioning the authenticity of the “adult” lifestyle all people are expected to settle into post-college reality.
“No Passion” is 8-bit low key minimalist pop, like if Young Marble Giants got their own NES game. “Times to Die” has a great push/pull feel. Its very developed and well thought out, structure-wise, at nearly 7 minutes, without getting boring. “Psst Teenagers…” is a brief punk blast that’d make the Minutemen proud.
“Strangers” will make you want to look at pictures of an ex and be sad, while “Maud Gone” seems to be full of regretful longing: “I know there’s a full moon every night / When I dress black, it snows white.”
Teens of Style deserves repeated listens. It makes the ears itch for other lo-fi music, which captures texture that more professionally-recorded music never could. The one-dimensional production does make some of the longer songs a bit tiring, but it’s not a deal-breaker. Looking forward to seeing what Toledo has planned next.
‘Teens of Style’
© October 30th, 2015
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