Monday, January 9, 2017

Car Seat Headrest - Teens Of Denial

Will Toledo has written an impressive number of songs, especially considering his age.  For several years they were available on the internet, but didn't attract the level of attention a serious young musician desires.  But when the young Virginian moved to Seattle and re-recorded the best of his past songs under the name Car Seat Headrest, the result was a 2015 Matador Records release called Teens of Style (our feature here).  The next year brought Toledo's debut album of new material, Teens of Denial, also on Matador.  It was released in the first half of the year, but distribution was disrupted due to a legal dispute regarding a snippet borrowed from a Cars' song.  But despite the stuttering roll out, the album can be found on a number of year end lists.  And for very good reason.

For this outing Toledo chose to compose a song cycle about Joe, a young man dealing with the life challenges of his late teens and early 20s.  I know you may be thinking "I got through that period, who cares?", but I think that misses the point.  You may not care about Joe or his struggles, but what likely will connect is the classic rock presentation, the smart lyrical constructions, the ambitious arrangements, effective performances, and -- refreshingly -- the very un-rock-god perspective on Joe's travails.  Yes, drug trips can be bad, live can suck, and complaining about life sucking can be its own ironic loop.  Teams of Denial has a certified rock heart, and boasts a very good brain as well.  Think Guided By Voices covering songs by James Mercer and Joe Jackson.  It is a great trip and a record to keep in rotation.

For Teens of Denial, Car Seat Headrest are Will Toledo, Ethan Ives, Andrew Katz, Seth Dalby, Jon Maus, Nick Shadel, and Jim DeJoie.

Bandcamp for Teens Of Denial

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