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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Toro y Moi
Causers of This
Carpark

Rating: 7/10 ?


March 25, 2010
The easy listening that accompanies Toro Y Moi's sophomore LP Causers of This makes an adequate job of beaming sunshine on your shoulder with his occasionally inspired blend of warm synth-funk and sing-songy vocals. If that doesn't sound like the strongest endorsement, then I have done a poor job concealing my deep-seated ambivalence toward this album, which I have found at times charmingly innocuous and at others a little too cute for comfort.

Stylistically, the now oft-cited "chillwave" signifiers are all here: intentionally degraded sound quality, lackadaisical vibe and wistful lyrics. It all implies a sense of meaning--or at least an earnest search for it--while putting the listener at ease, the desired effect being presumably to unlock childhood memories or perfect summer afternoons. In this regard though, the saccharine hauntology of South Carolinian Chaz Bundwick's one-man project hits the mark while arguably missing the point.

As casual pop, Causes of This pleases effortlessly, though the listener doesn't get the sense that that's what Bundwick is all about here. While he's cobbled together a relaxed, upbeat listen, it's not as usefully evocative as its more lyrical and sonically imaginative counterparts Washed Out and Neon Indian. This is mostly due to its uncompromisingly saccharine nature; by making music that seemingly filters aspects of the past through the aural zoetrope of the present, Bundwick treads on increasingly worn territory without much to add. And his work doesn't always compare favorably with his peers; Toro y Moi is a little too straightforward to seem mysterious, something the conceptual framework implies, and comes across more like a guy trying to reach this effect like a guy at a party asking who remembers Pete and Pete.

Whatever his soundscaping limitations that lodge him firmly into the second tier of his tiny, still-new scene, Toro y Moi's sophomore outing has its uses if you're game for a mere vibrant piece of laptop pop. Though you may find before long that it whets your appetite for something more substantial.

Reviewed by Eric Collin Wedgewood


See other reviews by Eric Collin Wedgewood

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