SXSW Band To Watch: Car Seat Headrest

Ahead of South By Southwest, Stereogum is highlighting a handful of our Band To Watch alumni who have busy schedules at this year’s festival. If you’re in Austin this week, now’s your chance to actually watch some Bands To Watch.

Car Seat Headrest was already a national treasure before Matador Records signed the band last year, it’s just that nobody knew it except devoted Bandcamp surfers and/or zealous fans of lo-fi guitar music. The killer compilation Teens Of Style clued in a much larger audience to Will Toledo’s brilliance, revealing a songwriter capable of conjuring seemingly infinite rock ‘n’ roll reference points while never sounding like anyone but himself.

As you might have inferred from early teaser track “Vincent,” the upcoming Teens Of Denial ups the ante and compounds the exhilaration. At the risk of sounding like a RIYL sticker, it sounds like the Strokes, Guided By Voices, Spoon, Pavement, Okkervil River, the Fiery Furnaces, and several dozen other indie-rock heroes all jumbled and jostled until they cohere into one bombastic fuzz-bombing monster of a record. And if you think that description is overlong, it’s only fitting for an album with song titles like “(Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem).”

The hooks, the riffs, the rhythms, the memorable lyrics — this album has everything I want from a rock band. I cannot recommend it enough. And although you’ll have to wait until later this year to hear the album, perhaps you’ll get a little preview if you attend one of Car Seat Headrest’s many SXSW sets. Check out the band’s full itinerary — which includes a stop at our unofficial SXSW bash — below.

03/14 Barracuda (A.V. Club) – 5PM
03/14 Hotel Vegas (Do512) – 8PM
03/16 Hype Hotel (yvynyl & Stadiums And Shrines) – 1PM
03/16 Central Presbyterian Church (Under The Radar) – 10PM
03/17 Barracuda (Pitchfork) – 1:50PM
03/17 Space 24 (Urban Outfitters) – 6PM
03/18 Spotify House – 3PM
03/18 Hole In The Wall (Stereogum) – 7PM
03/19 Cheer Up Charlie’s (Brooklyn Vegan) – 12PM
03/19 End Of An Ear Records (in-store) – 3PM