Car Seat Headrest, the prolific project of Will Toledo, gets compared to a lot of bands that it doesn’t really sound like. Pitchfork alone has likened Toledo’s music to Guided by Voices, Yo La Tengo, and Pavement—okay, the last one’s not wholly inaccurate. Teens of Denial is chock-full of scrappy garage rock with hilarious, vivid storytelling about Toledo’s awkward, fumbling path through adolescence. As fun as this album is to listen to, it’s littered with FCC violations, but if you want to play this album during safe harbor, turn it up and let it rip.|
FCCs: 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11
Favorites: 2, whatever’s not marked as an FCC violation
FCC + Favorites (DO NOT PLAY OUTSIDE SAFE HARBOR): 1, 4, 6, 9
1) “Fill in the Blank” (4:05) – FCC “f***.” Song starts at 0:08. Rapid guitar riffs make for a catchy, energetic rock song. Too bad it can only be played during safe harbor.
2) “Vincent” (7:45)* – Long introduction of guitar noodling—skip the first two minutes. Then it becomes a garage rock song with some splashes of funk and guitar pyrotechnics.
3) “Destroyed by Hippie Powers” (5:04) – FCC “f***.” Slower song with blunter riffs and heavier distortion. Toledo practically screams himself hoarse during the last chorus.
4) “Drugs With Friends” (4:05) – FCC “s***,” “p***.” This song’s full title is so long it’s borderline obnoxious. Distortion is turned down quieter on this song, a funny rumination on recreational drug use.
5) “Not What I Needed” (4:31) – This is the song that got Toledo in trouble with The Cars and cost Matador $50,000. A straightforward guitar song that suddenly changes shape at 2:46, becoming a backwards guitar breakdown laid over a clip from an interview.
6) “Drunk Drivers / Killer Whales” (6:15) – FCC “f***,” “s***.” Song alternates between the “Drunk Drivers” phase, with jangly guitar playing, and the “Killer Whales” phase, with overdriven riffs. The single version of this song, if you can find it, is about half as long and has reworked lyrics, but is FCC-clean.
7) “1937 State Park” (4:00) – A heavy rock song with a really cool Hammond B3 organ solo a bit after the two-minute mark.
8) “Unforgiving Girl (She’s Not An)” (5:27) – FCC “s***,” “f***.” Fast, jangly guitar playing that sounds almost like overdriven surf rock. The last two minutes repeat the title ad infinitum while cranking up the guitar.
9) “Cosmic Hero” (8:32) – FCC “a**,” “g******,” “f***”. A slow burn of a rock song that builds to a rousing crescendo. Not as much ear-splitting distortion as some other tracks.
10) “The Ballad of the Costa Concordia” (11:31) – FCC “f***,” “s***.” The first five minutes are a slow guitar- and piano-driven ballad to failure. Then the song slowly builds in intensity and becomes a fast-paced rock song.
11) “Connect the Dots (The Saga of Frank Sinatra)” (6:07) – FCC “f***.” A fast, guitar-heavy song that veers pretty close to punk rock. The curse doesn’t appear until the end of the song (at 5:50), so if you start to fade out at 5:40 (when Toledo starts screaming), you can avoid it entirely.
12) “Fill in the Blank” (1:19) – A short, acoustic tune that’s a bit of a comedown.