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'Teens of Style' review: Car Seat Headrest's arresting remakes

Car Seat Headrest's

Car Seat Headrest's "Terms of Style." Photo Credit: Matador Records

BOTTOM LINE

The making of a new indie-rock sensation.

Car Seat Headrest's Will Toledo started recording music and releasing it online in 2010 because he enjoyed it, a mostly anonymous outlet for him to write about his life in Leesburg, Virginia.

Practice, they say, makes perfect, though Toledo's far-flung indie-rock interests on display in the 11 albums he has already released value authenticity and immediacy over perfection. In any case, practice has certainly made Toledo, now 23, incredibly interesting. And on "Teens of Style" (Matador), he collects some of his best songs and re-records them to reflect where he is now as an artist.

"Something Soon" is a power-pop marvel, built around a fuzz-rock chorus that blossoms into gorgeous, desperate Beach Boys harmonies on lines like "Heavy boots on my throat, I need something soon."

"Strangers" shows how impressionable Toledo can be lyrically, as he declares, "When I was a kid I fell in love with Michael Stipe, I took lyrics out of context and thought, 'He must be speaking to me,' " over an early-R.E.M.-ish jangle and stacks of Mamas and the Papas harmonies.

"Teens of Style" is purposefully uneven and meandering, but Toledo's creativity is always stunning.

THE GRADE B+

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