CAR SEAT HEADREST – ” Making a Door Less Open “

Posted: November 29, 2020 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , ,

The struggle continues on Will Toledo’s latest effort. Id does battle with superego; fame seduces and repulses; and self-acceptance tangles with self-loathing. What’s evolved magnificently is the music: Toledo has stowed the seven-minute-plus rock operas for a collection of single-length songs that are crawling with earworms, such as the shimmying “Can’t Cool Me Down” and the stunning LP climax “There Must Be More Than Blood.”

This album was made from January 2015 to December 2019, starting as a collection of vague ideas that eventually turned into songs. I wanted to make something that was different from my previous records, and I struggled to figure out how to do that. I realized that because the way I listened to music had changed, I had to change the way I wrote music, as well. I was listening less and less to albums and more and more to individual songs, songs from all over the place, every few days finding a new one that seemed to have a special energy. I thought that if I could make an album full of songs that had a special energy, each one unique and different in its vision, then that would be a good thing.

Andrew, Ethan, Seth and I started going into the studio to record songs that had more finished structures and jam on ideas that didn’t. Then I would mess with the recordings until I could see my way to a song. Most of the time on this album was spent shuttling between my house and Andrew’s, who did a lot of the mixing on this. He comes from an EDM school of mixing, so we built up sample-heavy beat-driven songs that could work to both of our strengths.

Each track is the result of an intense battle to bring out its natural colours and transform it into a complete work. The songs contain elements of EDM, hip hop, futurism, doo-wop, soul, and of course rock and roll. But underneath all these things I think these may be folk songs, because they can be played and sung in many different ways, and they’re about things that are important to a lot of people: anger with society, sickness, loneliness, love…the way this album plays out is just our own interpretation of the tracks, with Andrew, Ethan and I forming a sort of choir of contrasting natures.

The songs are shorter but denser, a melding of driving guitar rock and euphoric EDM, with unexpected flourishes that range from white-boy hip-hop to prog rock. Toledo has credited drummer and his co-producer Andrew Katz with the album’s electronic direction — a direction related to their electro-comedy side project 1 Trait Danger, which has something to do with the gas mask that the frontman has been wearing in recent photos. Ignore the get-up, listen to the album. Music should be about enjoying yourself, especially live music, and I think of this costume as a way to remind myself and everyone else to have some fun with it. I don’t think it changes anything else about the songs or how you feel about them to be able to drop it for a second and have fun with it. If you can’t do that then you’re in a bad place…


The character comes from another project Andrew and I have been working on called 1 TRAIT DANGER. This is something Andrew started doing on tour¬—recording ideas for his own songs as they came to him, and forcibly enlisting everyone else to participate. It appealed to me because it was nothing like Car Seat Headrest, and the ideas cracked me up. Before we knew it we had two albums released, a video game that was almost impossible to beat, and a growing number of people who seemed to be enjoying it all. It’s been a great outlet for weird and untenable musical experiments, and the live performances have been a blast. I play a character called TRAIT, and we’ve been working out the backstory as we go. I think he spent a lot of time in classified government facilities before getting into the music business.

‘Making A Door Less Open’ is the new album by Car Seat Headrest released May 1st, 2020

Written by Will Toledo. “Hollywood” written by Will Toledo and Andrew Katz.
Published by Mattitude.

Will Toledo – vocals, synths, keyboards, organ, guitar, piano, drum programming
Andrew Katz – vocals, drums, drum programming
Ethan Ives – guitar, vocals
Seth Dalby – bass guitar

Violin on “Can’t Cool Me Down” by John Huggins.
Guitar on “Hollywood” and “There Must Be More Than Blood” by Gianni Aiello.

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