Catching Up With . . . Car Seat Headrest

Will Toledo, the 23-year-old songwriter behind Car Seat Headrest, is not sweating the release of Teens of Style, his Matador Records debut.

He’s excited, sure, but these songs – culled from his massive discography on Bandcamp, where he’s uploaded songs since 2010 – are well broken-in for Toledo. The album will introduce his fuzzed pop to a wide audience, but he’s already started thinking about the next record as his proper “debut.”

“It’s intended to be sort of a compilation,” Toledo says from Seattle, belying the cohesive sound of the new record, for which he re-recorded older compositions with his band. “If definitely takes the edge off the debut when it’s not anywhere near the actual debut,” Toledo says. Fittingly, Teens of Style reads like a greatest hits record. Songs like “Sunburned Shirts,” “The Drum,” and “Los Borrachos” bristle with energy, like prime Pavement or Guided By Voices, with traces of the Beach Boys’ sunny pop and Animal Collective’s endlessly looped melodies. Toledo’s songs are often compared to those of the Strokes, and while they share spiky elements with that band, Toledo’s freewheeling narratives are more akin to those of Courtney Barnett – hilarious, sharp, and whip smart.

Car Seat Headrest :: Something Soon

Toledo began fooling around with GarageBand in high school, inspired by records by Deerhunter, Panda Bear, and Leonard Cohen. The band’s name serves as an origin story: Too embarrassed to record vocals at home, he’d take his laptop to parking lots and record in his parent’s car. These nascent recordings are still available at BandCamp. Rather than scrap them, he figures they might as well be there for anyone who wants them.

“I remember spending a lot of time with the Nirvana boxset,” Toledo says, of the rarities and B-sides collection. “For me, there’s no reason to hide that away until you’ve got a legacy. You might as well leave the story open to whoever wants to check it out.”

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