Archive for the ‘Car Seat Headrest’ Category

[ATTENDED: April 1, 2022] Car Seat Headrest

I saw Car Seat Headrest four years ago at Union Transfer and it was one of the least pleasant shows I’d been to.  The music was great, but the crowd was uniformly terrible–especially near me.  

I wasn’t sure if I’d want to see them again, but then my son got really turned on to them (I had nothing to do with it) and he really wanted to see them live.  I couldn’t pass that up, and I assumed the crowd would be a little different in this much bigger venue.

And, yes, the crowd was much better–although it felt really crowded in there!

The crazy thing is that the doors opens at 7:30.  We arrived at 7:25 to an enormous line.  And we didn’t get in the venue until after 8.  I asked my son if he wanted to get up front or get merch.  He chose merch–I think getting close will win out next time.  I would have loved to have been closer for sure.

The fascinating thing about Car Seat Headrest now is that lead singer and main Headrest Will Toledo wears a modified gasmask for the entire set.  It’s pretty neat as it has a microphone in it and the eyes light up to display emotions (cute eyes, angry eyes, heart and swirly lines).  The good thing is that Toledo sounds fine through this odd system. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 1, 2022] Bartees Strange

I saw Bartees Strange open for Lucy Dacus back in October.   I was delighted by how well he was received by the Car Seat Headrest crowd.

His set was very similar to that last one.  He exchanged out a couple of songs for newer ones, but the general vibe was the same.

He came out by himself, wearing a bright year rain slicker and started with a quiet opening of “Far.”  After a couple of minutes, the rest of the band came out and rocked out the rest of the song.

I’m not sure if he had the same band playing with him–I assume so.  He got the crowd moving with one of his faster songs, “Mustang.”  And, like last time, he followed it with the rap of “Kelly Rowland” with the memorable refrain: “Broke ass nigga but I got Versace dreams.”

Mixing it up some more, he followed that with the bouncing “Weights.”  He looked up at the audience and chuckled, “Oh, my mom’s here.”

Then he introduced the new song “Hold the Line.”  He wrote the song for George Floyd’s daughter, and it was quite a powerful moment.

He followed that with a cover of Lemonworld by The National.  I thought last time that it was kind of mellow but the chorus rocked pretty hard.

He introduced the “jazz standard” called “Boomer” and ripped the song through the venue with everyone dancing and singing along.

He ended the set with another new song, his new single “Heavy Hearts.”  It’s a bit more mellow, and I probably would have ended with Boomer, but the set was really solid regardless.

Bartees is a great performer and I’m glad to see him getting some attention.  His merch was also really cool.

2022 2021
Far Far
Mustang Mustang
Kelly Rowland Kelly Rowland
Weights Weights
Hold the Line [new] 17
Lemonworld (The National cover) Flagey God
Boomer Lemonworld (The National cover)
Heavy Hearts Stone Meadows


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[POSTPONED: June 13, 2020] Car Seat Headrest / Twin Peaks [moved to April 17, 2021]

indexI saw Car Seat Headrest two years ago. It was simultaneously a fantastic and a horrible show.  The band was great–better than I imagined they would be.

But the crowd was terrible.  Pushing, shoving, some guy crashing into me even though I was no where near the pit.  Just the worst crowd experience I can recall.

I didn’t plan on going to see Car Seat Headrest again.

However, I have been quite interested in seeing Twin Peaks.  I don’t know a ton about them, but the few songs I’ve heard I’ve liked a lot.

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[ATTENDED: September 18, 2018] Car Seat Headrest

Car Seat Headrest had one of the most annoying crowds I’ve ever been a part of.  The show was sold out and I got there later than I meant to.  So I was more in the middle of the crowd than up front.  Usually this is a pretty tame spot, but this crowd was rowdy, with a lot of individuals pogoing pretty hard (enough to get me pretty angry at one particular guy–which rather spoiled my mood for a couple of songs).

In fact a few things were irritating me this night which made it kind of hard for me to get into Car Seat Headrest.  The crowd was one but also was the fact that they took forever to get on stage after Naked Giants left (I realize now that Naked Giants were in the live Car Seat Headrest band, and they probably could use a breather, but it was a long wait between bands).

Car Seat Headrest was just Will Toledo for many years.  From 2010-2015 he released 12 albums (!) on bandcamp.  He has gotten a band [Will Toledo (vocals, guitar, piano), Ethan Ives (guitar, bass, backing vocals), Seth Dalby (bass), and Andrew Katz (drums, percussion)], then he/they signed to Matador, re-recorded a bunch of old songs for a compilation, made a new album and then re-recorded one of his older albums.

I was really surprised by how rocking and crazy the band were live.  I love when a band is bigger than their album makes them seem, so this boded well. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 8, 2016] Alex G

2016-10-08-21-01-11I hadn’t heard of Alex G before this tour.  He is apparently a prodigy of home recordings, starting his self-released oeuvre when he was 17.  (He’s now 23 and looks to be about 15).

For some reason I’d gotten the impression that he was a shredding guitar god type of prodigy.  But he is not.  He’s more of a pop/experimental/lo-fi song-writing-type prodigy.  He reminded me of Car Seat Headrest both in terms of self released prolific-ness and general style.

He counts Elliott Smith (who I don’t hear) and Doug Martsch of Built to Spill (whom I do hear) as influences. In fact during the set, he stated that Built to Spill was the best band alive today. (more…)

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kokoSOUNDTRACK: CAR SEAT HEADREST-Tiny Desk Concert #506 (February 8, 2016).

carseatI only know of Car Seat Headrest from NPR.  They have really liked some of his previous songs and both Bob and Robin raved about his new song “Vincent” (which is really good).

For this Tiny Desk Concert, Will Toledo (who is kind of the only guy in the band, although not currently if you know what I mean) plays acoustic guitar on a tall stool.  Accompanying him are two friends from Leesburg, Va, who don’t actually do anything, and his two band mates who also don’t do anything (well, the drummer plays a toy “desktop” drum set for the song “The Drum”).  And yes, they all sing along during the sing along at the end of song three.

It’s worth mentioning that Toledo has released some 12 albums under the name Car Seat Headrest since 2010 (and Toledo is only 23).  Find them at bandcamp.  Unlike someone like Robert Pollard who has written hundreds of songs that are about 30 seconds long.  Most of Toledo’s songs are really quite long, with multiple parts.  And amazingly, all the parts are pretty catchy,

He plays three songs in this set.  His voice is a little creaky and high-pitched, but it is really-spot on for the kind of songs he writes.  By contrast,. it’s funny to hear how deep his speaking voice is.

“The Drum” opens with a riff that is almost out of tune seeming (like his voice).  The melody lines in the verses are simple but often unexpected.  And lyrically, the song is quite interesting (“the drum reads James Joyce,” “the drum’s in debt”).  And just when it seems like the song could end, it switches to a slower middle section, after which it all comes back to that catchy chorus.  By the end of the song it’s totally grabbed you.

For “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales,” he pushes his falsetto pretty high.  The  song starts out rather slow but once the verses start properly it picks up.  I love the way in the drunk drivers part he adds vocal melodies that are not in the music to make the song even fuller.   And then unexpectedly, the song shifts gears from the melancholy drunk driver section to the powerfully sung (and I’m not exactly sure how it’s related) “Killer Whales” part. It runs to 6 minutes and is constantly shifting and always stays interesting.

“Sober To Death” is also about 6 minutes long. There’s some great lyrics in here as well “every conversation ends with you screaming.  Not even words just ah ah ahhhhh” (with his voice breaking during the ahhs).   The sing along part at the end has a neat intro where the first guitar line is plucked slowly and the second line picks up speed.  And when everyone sings along it really elevates the song.

After just two listens to this show I was totally hooked and I’m really looking forward to hearing his last album, which is reworking of his earlier songs for Matador Records, and his soon to be released new album with “Vincent” on it.

[READ: February 25, 2016] Koko Be Good

I absolutely adored the art in this book.  I really thought it was outstanding and it has made me search out more of Wang’s stuff (she has a number of online comics at her website).  I also didn’t realize that she drew In Real Life–with Cory Doctorow–her style is similar there but a but less wild as it is here.  And the story is pretty great too.

So this is the story of two main protagonists and a third character who plays a smaller but pivotal role.  Koko is a wild Chinese girl who is carefree and careless.  Jon Wilgur is a tightly wound young man who is planning to change his life pretty drastically.

koko2The story opens with Jon–he is drawn so perfectly, I can’t get over it–a great combination of realism and cartoon style.  He is listening to an audiotape sent by his girlfriend (I love that he is listening to an audio cassette).  He and his girlfriend are planning to move to Peru together very soon. She is currently there and he is about to pack up and head down there himself. (more…)

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