As I sat at a desk in the WXPN offices, working on a recap of Esme Patterson’s set here at NonCOMM, I faintly heard on a radio across the room that Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle had just finished up downstairs. I had to hurry if I were to get a good spot for Car Seat Headrest. So, I quickly finished and rushed out the office door, only to find a mob of people already filling the upstairs area of World Cafe Live.
I wasn’t going to settle for the back, so I started to push my way through. As I did, I noticed the guy in front of me, who was pushing his way through as well, looked oddly familiar. Then I realized, it was Will Toledo himself, the man behind Car Seat Headrest.
Toledo made it much further up than I did — all the way to the stage, of course. And when he got up there, he and his band crushed it. They played only four songs, all from their album Teens of Denial, which was released today. It’s first track, “Fill In The Blank,” was the first song of tonight’s set, and it is an absolute jam. It’s exactly what Car Seat Headrest brings to the table with pretty much every song — youthful lyrics (Toledo sings in the chorus, “You have no right to be depressed”) and mind-numbing guitar shredding.
Like I imagine much of the crowd was, I’m new to Car Seat Headrest. Toledo has put out a lot of material on Bandcamp over the past few years, but today’s album is his first real studio work. I think the fact that he had to push through the crowd to go play his own set says everything about where the project stands right now. Toledo is young, just 23 years old, but we can all agree on one thing: he’ll soon be big enough that finding his way to the stage will be hardly a problem at all.