Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial (UK import)

SKU: 600-2-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1 Categories: , ,


Pitchfork review: Sometimes, drugs are no fun. The rad night you imagined, watching 2001: A Space Odyssey and brushing against the outer boundaries of your consciousness, becomes a six-hour hell of wondering Did I leave the oven on? or Did I look weird when I said that thing to that one person or Do I just think I looked weird but was I probably not that weird despite the person obviously thinking I was? and so on. But I’ve never heard someone sum it up as succinctly as Will Toledo does: “Last Friday, I took acid and mushrooms/I did not transcend, I felt like a walking piece of shit/in a stupid-looking jacket.”

That’s from an eminently quotable song called “(Joe Gets Kicked Out of School For Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)” on Car Seat Headrest’s new record, Teens of Denial, wherein Toledo feels both boundless and deeply, deeply lame as he tries to sort out his life and shake off the chemicals. He doesn’t transcend, but he sees Jesus. He coins a perfect phrase for emotionally distraught, image-conscious young hedonists—“teens of style”—and becomes sort of disgusted by them, even though he knows he and them are all one and the same. He says “Mmmhmm” a lot, which is all you can do during a gnarly trip. Built around some delicate chord changes, Toledo’s pensive singing voice, and a backing band that slowly comes in as the trip gets worse, it actually sounds like a guy walking around town while sifting beautiful thoughts from the bad ones—a perfect pairing of form and content.

It’s the best song about being a confused, chemically dependent 20-something I’ve heard in years. Its appearance on Teens of Denial, Toledo’s first properly recorded album of new material for Matador, is the moment you realize he’s running ahead of the pack as an incredibly imaginative, insightful singer-songwriter who’s also capable of crafting a dynamic rock song. Teens of Denial follows last year’s Teens of Style, a collection of re-recorded tracks taken from his prolific Bandcamp output. *Teens of Style *presented Toledo as a promising young voice, but maybe anyone would sound promising if given the chance to curate and improve upon their best moments over the last five years. Teens of Style was already great, but *Teens of Denial *is such a leap forward that it still manages to surprise. Recorded in a studio with a real band, it’s a continuation of Toledo’s every-Matador-band-in-a-blender sound: Yo La Tengo’s soft-loud dynamics, Guided By Voices’ jagged pop iridescence, late-period Malkmus’ guitar theatrics, all bundled with emotive, immersive lyrics detailing a frazzled state of mind. With MP3`s…Mint.




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