Album review: Car Seat Headrest, ‘Teens of Denial’

by Jon E. Lynch

Car Seat Headrest, “Teens of Denial”

Available: Was meant for release May 20, 2016, now seemingly available July 8 via Matador Records as a download, CD, and double LP. More clarification below.

Car Seat Headrest is the bedroom project turned full-fledged indie rock band of Leesburg, Virginia-born, relocated-to-Seattle, songwriter Will Toledo. Toledo has taken a route to his first proper release that is becoming a sort of relative norm: record a boatload of EP’s (13!) and full lengths, upload them to the streaming site of choice, garner a fervent following based on passion and talent, put out a few DIY releases, and prepare your first “proper” release on a mid-major indie label of some repute.

Here is where the story deviates to circumstance that will forever be tied to Car Seat Headrest. A week or so before the latest record release, it was made apparent that Cars frontman Ric Ocasek objected to an homage being paid to him, in one of Toledo’s tracks. The track was an overt nod to the massively popular Cars tune, “Just What I Needed.” Ocasek wasn’t cool with this, though the record label and Toledo thought the sample was cleared. As such, 10,000 LPs and CDs needed to be recalled & destroyed.

Minor bump. Toledo reworked the tune in a few days’ time (now titled “Not What I Needed”) and resequencing and pressing the record commenced. An early July release seems likely. Again, minor bump for a record well worth the wait. Blazing guitars and loud-quiet lyrics churn throughout a record that will likely be a critical darling and not because of the aforementioned sample debacle. “Teens of Denial” is a rock record that is familiar without being rehashed. Anyone with a love of 90s/00s guitar-based indie rock will find this album more than fulfilling.

Recommended if you dig indie luminaries Pavement, Superchunk and Guided by Voices, or even contemporaries such as Parquet Courts and Cloud Nothings.

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]


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