Car Seat Headrest: Making a Door Less Open review – cult indie star in middle of the road | Indie | The Guardian

Anyone wondering how things have changed in the world of alt-rockers’ vaunted car seat headrests might consider the four years that separate making a door less open from their latest album of new material. There wouldn’t normally be anything unusual about that gap, but in the car seat headrest’s first four years of existence, its mastermind, Will Toledo, released seven albums (one a two-hour double), four EPs (one a them as long as album) and two outtake compilations. It’s over 150 songs and 12 hours of music: a riot of lo-fi ideas that earned Toledo a cult following, which later grew exponentially, both in size and in fury, when he recruited a band and signed to the august US indie label. . bullfighter.

the recent decline in production, plus toledo’s decision to perform on stage and be photographed wearing a gas mask and hazmat gear (current events make the latter a substantially less cute idea than usual which might have been) aren’t the only things separating the 2020 model of car seat headrests from its previous incarnations. For all his endlessly patient explanations that the muffled sound of his early releases was a matter of resources rather than aesthetics, Toledo’s music has thus far existed in the venerable tradition of American pavement, vocal-driven alternative rock. . however, making a door less open was inspired by the band’s “comedy” edm/hip-hop side project Trait Danger 1. fans of the band’s old style are occasionally surprised: Martin’s scruffy guitars, acoustics, what’s the matter with you lately? — but the album is best represented by the fluorescent synth lines of Life’s Worth Missing, which is ostensibly an attempt to “[compete] with some of the other new pop or hip-hop acts at Coachella”, As expressed by the head of the Toledo seal.

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This is a path many other rock artists, from Paramore to Tame Impala, have taken before, but here it represents a dramatic shift in thinking. the danger of 1 trait is, after all, a joke, and you can’t miss the mocking tone he takes towards the music he parodies: there’s something unbearably smug about his mix of indie scene in-jokes about trident and mac demarco and the intentionally hideous racket to which he puts them. Meanwhile, making a door less open to weightlifters, a song dating from 2015, the usual millennial angst found in Toledo’s lyrics is abetted by listening to some pop music while out shopping: “It’s the sound of the machines / of the coins being crushed into cents. ” perhaps it strikes a note of ambivalence about aiming for a broader audience; either way, it produces decidedly mixed results.

at its best, making a door less open proves that the kind of melodic ease audible on even his murkiest early recordings is a mobile feast, as if amid the synth hum of deadline dates ( thoughtful). and takes the standard building blocks of mainstream pop and rearranges them into something idiosyncratic. Can’t Cool Me Down’s minimal ’80s pop skill is disturbed by Toledo’s jagged vocals, and the bridge in which an Emile Zola reference is backed by what sounds like someone absentmindedly messing with the a child’s toy keyboard. hymn (remix) offers a fascinatingly bizarre interpretation of brostep’s wobbly basslines and pop’s penchant for autotune, the latter distorting toledo’s vocals into a particularly sore-sounding shape.

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but at its worst, the album lands with a thud, like in single hollywood, a combination of guitar and torn rap in which the spirit of 1 danger trait seems all too evident, shrill vocals self-consciously eccentric and everyone.

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There are strong songs in between these two polarities, but nothing approaching the kind of cast-iron anthem that would guarantee the mainstream success the album hints it craves. their main problem is their anonymity. the (hostile) deadlines and there must be something more than blood are perfectly enjoyable, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that car seat headrests have wandered into the realms not of pop but of standard mainstream rock, sanding down their beat-up usp so far that the songs can be from any number of bands. It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to imagine the (hostile) deadlines made by the assassins. that’s obviously not a crime, but you wonder if that’s what they were after.

the question of what car seat headrests were pointing to looms large over an album defined more by what it isn’t than what it is: not a riotous, show-me-the-money capitulation to market forces, nor boldly experimental enough to count as a break from a conventional form; neither disaster nor triumph. there is something scattered and uncomfortable in his grafting of ideas that do not fit; the sound of a band that has outgrown its initial incarnation but isn’t quite sure what it wants now.

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surprise chef – blyth street nocturnea dearth of new releases gives you time to discover things you’ve been missing. hence the surprise chef’s charming attempt in 2019 to conjure up the spirits of david axelrod and isaac hayes on a tight budget.

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