Lo-fi, indie-experimental and bedroom-pop are some of the descriptions used to describe Will Toledo’s current project entitled Car Seat Headrest. However, no matter how one describes his music, the only way to understand he driving force behind his band is to see him perform live. With Red Bull’s 30 Days in LA schedule, Car Seat Headrest showered the locals with fearless and emotional rock tunes that had the fans singing all night long. Originally hailing from Virginia, Toledo now resides in Seattle and has been cranking out self-released albums since 2010 but instead of making music in his bedroom, he would get into his car and drive to isolated and quite parking lots to record audio, hence the moniker: Car Seat Headrest. His first major release (Teens of Style) was out on Matador Records with his latest Teens of Denial released earlier this year.
At the Teragram Ballroom, the night was set for off-the-wall antics with openers Los Angeles Police Department and Naked Giants. Scouring the Internet for Los Angeles Police Department’s bio does tends to lead most viewers to the actual officers in blue but thankfully the cops have not started band, as far as we know. Coming form Philadelphia, LAPD’s Ryan Pollie now makes his home in Los Angeles and has skillfully crafted grungy-fuzz pop mixed with heartfelt lyrics that offers varying styles of indie DIY music. Songs like “Enough Is Enough” and “She Came Through (Again)” struck a chord with the audience and had them wanting more.
Following close behind was Seattle’s harbingers of rock, Naked Giants. The trio has played in clubs since before they were of legal age to enter those establishments and have gained the recognition for being one of the toughest acts to follow. Their inspiration is the man himself, Jimi Hendrix, as like Jimi’s wild guitar rock, Naked Giants take this to another level as guitarist/vocalist Grant Mullen showed off his intense shredding while Gianni Aiello bounced around the stage hammering on the bass and Henry LaVallee beating the drums into submission. LaVallee’s forceful beats even caused him to theatrically give up, just like James Brown did, and walked off the stage and would come back to finish off the job with the next song.
As the crowd recovered from bruised eardrums, Car Seat Headrest came to the stage and swelled up the tears as Toledo paid a tribute the to late Leonard Cohen with a medley that included bits off “Field Commander Cohen” and “Sweet Jane”. The fans applauded the honor to one of the greats and proceeded to devour the rest of the set list, which included “Fill In The Blanks,” “Vincent” (a song about Van Gogh) and “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales.” The show came to an end with a much desired encore which included a glorious cover of David Bowie’s “Five Years.” Car Seat Headrest is currently on tour and deserves to be hailed by everyone as one of the best bands to witness live. Their latest release Teens of Denial is out now on Matador Records.