Quick! Press play on the video below and enjoy the song while you read on…<
I really appreciate music I can listen to a lot without it getting played out in my head or interfering with my ability to multitask. That balance is why I’ve come to really listen to a lot of our newest endorser Toro Y Moi. The best way to describe Toro y Moi’s sound is with one of my favorite words. Pleasant, which is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as; having qualities that tend to give pleasure. I can either, listen to it with my eyes closed and my ears wide open to dissect all the textures of each songs arrangements and lyrics, or I can enjoy its melodies in the background while I focus on a task on my to do list or maybe go for light jog. How is that possible you ask? I guess it’s sort of like being able to enjoy a pleasant drive on a very scenic route on a beautiful day, listening to a great roadtrip mixtape, taking in all the lush landscapes, all while you focus on on the road ahead…. The creativity and dreaminess behind the band’s music and videos make a lot of sense after learning Chaz Bundick is a pretty talented graphic designer as well.
I first listened to Toro Y Moi about three years ago when a friend sent me a link to watch the video for Talamak off Toro Y Moi’s first album, Causers Of This, because of the SM57 Chaz Bundick sings into in the video. It was at the time that the sub genre known as Chillwave or Glo-fi was getting more and more attention thanks to bands like Toro Y Moi, Washed Out, and Neon Indian. As a pretty chill person and an electronic music fan, I really enjoyed the balance between the glitchy lo-fi sounds and some psychedelic synth pop and R&B all blended together. As an old Chicago House head and ex-DJ, I enjoy a good long blend of sounds and emotions, and that album definitely was that from beginning to end.
Only a year later, before you could even start taking Causers Of This for granted, Toro Y Moi released a little less glo-fi, more polished, and funky dream pop album called Underneath The Pine, which had me bopping my head most of that year. Its suaveness made it my go-to when at work, and helped me keep my cool during the hectic rush hour commute after a long day at the office. Sometimes it’s hard for bands to follow up on a great breakout album, but Toro Y Moi definitely did not disappoint with songs like “New Beat,” “Still Sound,” and “Elise.”
Then 2013 comes around, and just when you thought you could sit back on your porch and enjoy a yummy iced tea and ask yourself, “Whatever happened to Toro Y Moi?”, the highly anticipated Anything In Return was released. It includes a dancier list of songs as soon as you press Play on your listening device, like “Harm In Change,” “Say That,” “Rose Quartz,” and “Never Matter.” It’s definitely an evolution from his first work but it feels like it’s just a progression to the next phase in the sound scape. The progression of his albums reminds me of the progression a DJ would make during the course of the night. Starting the set slow and simple, with music that doesn’t intimidate, slowly drawing folks towards the dance floor until finally everyone is hypnotized and either dancing or bopping their heads as they were at the sweaty capacity crowd show I caught at SXSW. After what was for me one of the best performances that week in Austin, I introduced myself to Toro Y Moi’s sound engineer Patrick and the rest is history in the making… Now go back up and watch the video to enjoy the incredible visual art along with the music.
You can also check out Anything In Return from beginning to end here:
What are some of your favorite artists whose sound has evolved for the better since the first time you heard them?