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Track of the Week: Car Seat Headrest-“Something Soon”

Ben Noble, Opinons Editor/President of Karl Malone Fan Club

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Will Toledo might be on the tail end of twenty-two, but in spirit comes across closer to forty-four. For almost half a decade, Toledo has put out eleven albums distributed via Bandcamp under the pseudonym Car Seat Headrest. Using this name, Toledo makes lo-fi pop with equal parts indebted to The Beach Boys, Guided By Voices, and even the Elephant 6 collective (although he draws more from later Julian Koster than what little Jeff Mangum material there is to go round). After being plucked from obscurity by Matador Records, Toledo now comes forth presenting Teens of Style, a record that reworks the high points of his bedroom output through a full band arrangement while still retaining the lo-fi edge, albeit a dulled one.

The thematic mission statement for the record (and by extension the thesis of CSH as a whole) comes early on, with “Something Soon.” Originally a glorified organ drone reminiscent of Matt Cohran’s lazier tendencies, the new arrangement brings an anger to the record, now less a plea for help as it is a rallying cry to the apathetic. Drums pound with laser precision filling in the once cacophonous space, while guitars strain against the fuzz and reverb imposed by the muddy mix. Lyrics name drop Raymond Carver as a role model, a man who is equally famous for his mythological alcoholism as well as his actual talent as a writer. However, by the next stanza, he gives the listener a wink and a nudge acknowledging he is romanticizing his own pain. One of Toledo’s greatest strengths as a lyricist is that he uses the minutiae of life to create a real sense of solitude. Between the busted printers and frozen fingers, these concepts feel detached when put under his command, making everyday things very abstract with how they play into a depressive state. The same way Lou Reed and Julian Casablancas spent their years spinning yarns of New York’s bile covered nightlife, Will Toledo chronicles the icy boredom of a suburban Tuesday. Speaking of Casablancas, Toledo’s striking vocal similarity to The Strokes’s frontman becomes only more apparent once put behind fuzzy garage rock instrumentation. However, with “Something Soon,” Will Toledo declares that this is not it for him, and he has plenty more to say.

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The student news site of Kennesaw Mountain High School
Track of the Week: Car Seat Headrest-“Something Soon”