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Car Seat Headrest

Teens of Style


Nov 05, 2015 Car Seat Headrest Bookmark and Share

Car Seat Headrest is the moniker of Will Toledo, a young Virginia musician who has been self-releasing albums on his Bandcamp page for years. He makes lo-fi, fuzzy pop-rock, with an emphasis on “lo.” His first release for a label, Teens of Style, is a collection of reworked songs from his musical past, and he has an album of new material set to be released next year. Teens of Style is full of catchy pop nuggets that, despite their intentional roughness, sound like they are meant to be big and anthemic, and in fact most of them are. The problem is, they all sound like they’re being blasted underwater. Or maybe from a basement, while listeners are a floor above them. Or out of big speakers with even bigger blankets over them. Put simply, these are effective and fun indie rock tunes that are almost ruined by overbearing “lo-fi” production.

Lo-fi can be effective when used correctly: that is, when the music is simple and rough and sloppy. It’s often used purposefully to highlight those elements. Toledo is just way too talented of a songsmith to appropriately filter his songs through such an oppressive sound. The beginning of “Sunburned Shirts” may prompt one to check that headphones are fully connected. When the big guitars kick in on “The Drum,” it’s hard not to long for the vocals and instruments to emerge from their cocoon in sparkling clarity. Toledo’s deep, lackadaisical voice, which perfectly leads these songs, is particularly held back by an overabundance of reverb and filters. If he can lay off the muffled sound for his upcoming album of new material, Car Seat Headrest will really be able to take off as an excellent rock project. Until then, put on Teens of Style and yearn for the door to open and to hear these catchy, fuzzy tunes properly. (

Author rating: 5.5/10

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