Monday, November 9, 2015

Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Style

I must admit that I don't know the background of the decision to name a musical project Car Seat Headrest.  Perhaps it was a game to close one's eyes and name the band after whatever one sees first when opening one's eyes.  In that case, the name chosen may not have the sparkle of Beautiful Blue Sea or Majestic Waterfall, but is a damn sight better than Unidentifiable Mess On My Lawn or Suspicious Mole On My Friend's Arm.  But we won't dwell on it, because we are here about the music, and the music that brings us here today is decidedly feature-worthy.

Car Seat Headrest is young Will Toledo.  A prolific musician, the Seattle-based transplanted Virginian has just released Teens of Style, which I expect to be his breakout album, via Matador Records.  The songs are a bit scruffy at the edges, but the hooks and melodies are great, the production crisp, and Toledo never forgets to flex his rock muscles.  Add in an outsider's observational perspective and an adventurous craftsman's approach to structuring his songs, and you get an album that sounds like Guided By Voices songs reinvented by a talented, voluble young young man with an appreciation for orchestral pop.  In the wrong hands, that could be a messy combination, but on Teens of Style, it is magic.  Not all of the songs on the LP are recently, but rather represent selected songs that Toledo has penned over the last several years and recorded (or re-recorded) in the first half of 2015.  But unless you have collected his prior work, that detail should be of no consequence to you.  Perhaps that makes Teens of Style a bit of an appetizer, as a following release of new songs named Teens of Denial is planned for 2016.  But I suggest that you don't wait. This album is too good to ignore and who knows what will really happen tomorrow, much less next year.

The players on Teens of Style are Andrew Katz (drums), Jacob Bloom (bass), Amanda Schiano di Cola (trumpet on tracks 5 and 10), Eleni Govetas (sax on track 8), and Will Toledo doing everything else.

Bandcamp for Teens Of Style
Matador Records

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