May 4, 2010


Douglas Martin has traded in his guitars for a sampler, shutter shades, and an Urban Outfitters dress shirt to be named later.

I’m not sure if you all received the memo, but chillwave is kind of a big thing right now. With Washed Out touring with Beach House and Neon Indian teaming up with Mountain Dew (no, not a new band, the actual soda brand), it’s only slightly baffling that the Wall Street Journal’s blog wrote an article about the young genre. Even if you have absolutely no interest in keeping up with all 640 band aliases Dayve Hawk records under, you have probably heard at least one Toro y Moi (government name: Chaz Bundick) song while shopping for skinny jeans and ten-dollar wayfarers at Urban Outfitters. Causers of This, his official debut released early this year, was chock full of the same muffled drum machines and Rick Ross synths as his peers, only delivered with the keen production smarts and intuition of someone way beyond Bundwick’s 23 years. With the way chillwave has been blown nearly out of proportion over the past year, it may be a little tough to remember Bundick’s demo from 2009, which hosted a wide array of musical styles.

“It’s For You,” the standout track from Toro y Moi’s self-titled demo, is about as far from chillwave as one could get without breaking out an acoustic guitar and a viola. Starting out with an uncomplicated, finger-picked electric folk intro, the tension is palpable, with heavily processed vocals floating in the background and guitar lines spinning backwards. Given Bundick’s limited vocal range, burying his voice in the mix and slathering reverb all over it was a smart move that only further displays his talent as a producer. Before long, the drums crash in and everything is engulfed in flames and swirling around in vertigo with dusty tape hiss. As the song ends, it’s made abundantly clear that Bundick can go wherever he wants stylistically once chillwave goes the way of electroclash and dance-punk. –Martin

MP3: Toro Y Moi – “It’s For You”

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