Where the Buffalo Roam: New Toro y Moi

Chaz is back with two new singles off of his upcoming album "What For?"
By    March 13, 2015


Peter Holslin has seen into the future and, yes, the future looks good

Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bundick has got to be the most agreeable songwriter working today. His music is a complex, often funky fusion of pop, hip-hop, psych, R&B and dance music. He isn’t afraid to dig into his anxieties– in a feature for SF Weekly from 2013, he even talked about being gripped with fear over California’s numerous earthquakes, after moving to the Golden State from South Carolina with his girlfriend. But whatever he’s playing, he’ll smooth it out with his breathy, post-chillwave incantations, creating the perfect sound for sunny-day hangouts and midnight makeout sessions.

On his two latest singles–off his forthcoming new album What For? (out April 7 via Carpark) — Bundick sounds happier than ever. “Buffalo,” a piece of mildly funky psych-pop, takes off like a spaceship with its levitating synths and super-positive message: “’Cause you’ll find a way / To keep on,” Bundick sings in the chorus. I wonder what someone with sound-to-color synesthesia might make of this song — surely its bright guitar tones and happy-go-lucky beat would offer a kaleidoscopic visual treat. And yet “Empty Nesters,” the other single, is even giddier. In this one, Toro y Moi seems to take a note from ’90s indie bands like Apples in Stereo, blowing up vintage psychedelia into full-on power-pop with ecstatic riffs and cosmic synths all aflutter in the background.

Compared to the sultry songs on Bundick’s last album, 2013’s Anything in Return, these are much brighter. Indeed, in the video for “Empty Nesters,” Bundick even comes to terms with Death, taking him on and ultimately beating him in a street race. And yeah, sometimes I wish he’d be a little more like Prince in “The Beautiful Ones,” fighting for something even if it makes him scream. But you can’t fault a guy whose biggest musical strength is making people feel good.

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