Car Seat Headrest: Teens of Denial - music reviewby James Belfield
A young cult favourite and three golden oldies pick and mix their way through pieces of the past.
One word that has morphed beyond recognition in recent years is “shared”.
From its positive toddler-training connotations, sharing has become less about learning not to fight over possessions and more about making the concept of ownership hazy and indistinct.
Social-media meddlers foist their breakfast, beach and banal pet pics on us; the internet’s Robin Hoods bypass property’s traditional financial framework; and emoticons march across our screens condensing a billion synaptic sparks into animated smiley faces.
The base of this change is the digital world’s infinite capacity for multiplication. Sure, you can call it sharing, but it’s really copying and pasting – the old PC control-C, control-V keyboard trick, this time played on life. Nobody sacrifices anything by sharing – it’s rarely an altruistic act and it’s making the universe a hectic, noisy place to live.
Artists have a choice to opt in to this cacophony and risk being drowned out, or sit on the edge and risk irrelevance.
Will Toledo – a 23-year-old from Virginia via Seattle who records as Car Seat Headrest – jumps right into the maelstrom, making both a glorious racket and a documentary of this fuzzed-up world.
After sharing his first dozen albums on Bandcamp, he now has a serious deal. But that’s no reason not to continue sharing his love for the sounds of Pavement, the Pixies, Nirvana, Weezer and other lo-fi 90s indie deities. The lyrics offer few solutions, instead outlining the highs and lows of recreational drugs, mental illness, drink-driving and a crowded, internet-dominated world through epic singalongs and gloriously hook-heavy guitar songs.
Of course, not everyone appreciates the sharing. When the Cars decided a verse of Just What I Needed couldn’t appear on Teens of Denial, it delayed the release and led to piles of CDs and vinyl being dumped. Proving that some people still like to fight for their property.
TEENS OF DENIAL, Car Seat Headrest (Rhythmethod) ••••½
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