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Alternative & Indie - Released January 18, 2019 | Carpark Records

Chaz Bear never makes the same Toro y Moi record twice. He's spent a decade fine-tuning his chillwave sound, adding elements, refining, and discarding while making albums that constantly confound expectations and still deliver the songs and moods that make him a vital artist. After the narcotic, nocturnal R&B of Boo Boo, he seemingly immersed himself in Daft Punk and the DFA back catalog when putting songs together for his next record. Outer Peace kicks off with a three-song dance party. Rubbery basslines, clicking guitars, wobbly synth squiggles, Bear's open-hearted vocals, and pumping beats fuel the most ecstatic songs Bear has put to tape since his Les Sin's side project. The thunderous bassline on "Ordinary Life" is almost worth the price of admission alone, and the Acid House synth squiggles on "Fading" have a nostalgic glow. It's an impressively exciting opening, but the listener soon crashes back to reality with some late-night R&B that's reminiscent of Boo Boo, but stripped down to radio-friendly basics. "Miss Me" features lead vocals by Abra and skeletal backing and "New House" is introspective and chilly balladry. The rest of the record flits between uptempo, fun dancefloor jams ("Freelance," "Who Am I") as warm and fun as the first day of spring, and chilly, undercooked, and overwrought ballads like "Baby Drive It Down" and "Monte Carlo," which have all the trappings of modern pop, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but Bear doesn't add anything distinctive or very interesting to his versions. The songs come off like bad imitations of Drake or the Weeknd and that's not something anyone needs in 2019. Subtract the handful of tracks that fall into this category and what's left is a fun, very well-crafted EP of uplifting dance music, the best Bear has made yet. Add them back and the record ends up a very mixed, somewhat disappointing bag that takes Toro y Moi to some exciting new places, but also treads familiar ground. ~ Tim Sendra
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 5, 2016 | Carpark Records

"LIVE FROM TRONA is a bit of fun from an artist intent on exploring the bounds of his creative universe, and there’s little telling where that may lead next."
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 22, 2013 | Carpark Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 7, 2017 | Carpark Records

Alternative & Indie - Released December 4, 2018 | Carpark Records

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Pop - Released April 24, 2012 | Carpark Records

Chaz Bundick began making recordings under the name Toro y Moi in 2001, but he only began to make some noise in 2009 when a flood of releases sparked a lot of interest in the chilly pop sounds he was creating. That year he put out two singles (including the much-hyped -- for good reason -- "Blessa"), an EP, a self-released full-length album (My Touch), and a tour-only collection of songs called June 2009. This June 2009 is a revamped version of that collection; nine of the ten songs here appeared on the original CD-R. Anyone who discovered Toro y Moi after 2009 may be surprised at how direct and indie rock-derived a big chunk of the album is, as many of the songs are guitar-based gems that show the influence of Pavement or My Bloody Valentine. There is plenty of reverb and the fidelity is reassuringly low, so it's not a million miles away from later Toro records. A few songs sound like chillwave warmups for Causers of This, the early, looser version of "Talamak" in particular. There's even a track ("Drive South") that nods to the squiggly electro-funk of 2011's Freaking Out EP. There may not be anything particularly revelatory about June 2009, but it's a nice batch of tunes and anyone who's new to Bundick's work will appreciate this glimpse into the early days. ~ Tim Sendra

Alternative & Indie - Released April 10, 2017 | Carpark Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 6, 2015 | Carpark Records

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It's not easy to pin down Toro y Moi and Chaz Bundick. Since he first started releasing music in 2009, one never quite knows what he's going to do next. From super-chilled bedroom pop to slick R&B-influenced jams, his albums have covered a lot of ground. Everything he does is relaxed and smoothed-out at its core, though -- that's the one thing to count on. On 2015's What For?, Bundick takes another unexpected left turn. Casting aside the late-night R&B of 2013's Anything in Return in favor of a guitar-heavy '70s approach, Bundick casts a wide net that includes bits and pieces of power pop, album rock, AM-ready soft rock, some fiery post-acid rock guitar riffing, and even a little disco. He proves to be a master of every stylistic avenue pursued here, turning in the catchiest songs he's written yet in the process. From the sparkling "Buffalo," which sounds like the best Seals & Crofts song never written, to the absolutely lovely "Run Baby Run," every song on the album sounds like it was borrowed from a K-Tel collection. Except perhaps "Yeah Right," which lasts for six slow grooving minutes and is the perfect AOR-style album closer, hair-raising guitar solo and all. What For? has Bundick taking a much more extroverted stance, with songs like the incredibly hooky "Empty Nesters" and shimmery disco confection "Spell It Out" showing more confidence and loose-limbed energy than he often does. Even the songs that have roots in the kind of chillwave he used to do, like the dream-inducing "Lilly," have his vocals higher in the mix and a less murky, more nuanced sound. Bundick must have known he was taking a risk of alienating his fans who looked to him for synth-filled music to soundtrack chilled nights and lazy mornings. Hopefully, they will be won over by the smooth grace with which he delivers his take on '70s pop and rock. No doubt anyone with a predilection for laid-back, good-time guitar rock will find lots of stuff to love here; so will people who like their pop unassuming and hooky as hell. There's no telling what the next Toro y Moi album might sound like; all that is certain is What For? is the best one so far, with Bundick really coming into his own as a songwriter, vocalist, and producer. ~ Tim Sendra
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 4, 2010 | Carpark Records

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Toro y Moi (aka Chaz Bundick, who began making bedroom recordings under that name in 2001) was slated to release his first two albums in 2010, and Causers of This is the first of them. Causers of This sounds like a dance-pop mixtape plunged underwater -- it's all smeary synthesizers, chopped-up dance beats, and washes of reverb. In other words, it's a sound similar to that of Neon Indian or Washed Out (which makes sense, seeing how Washed Out's Ernest Greene and Bundick were friends well before this album came out). Causers of This' main appeal is in its subtlety, and there's real pleasure to be found in all the little sonic tweaks and doodads Bundick has tucked into each track (a ghostly mesh of sampled vocals on "Fax Shadow"; a delicate drumbeat echoing, as if suspended midair, on "Minors"). But in the face of how imaginative and meticulously crafted it is, Causers of This is surprisingly forgettable. It's not that the album isn't interesting (it is!); it's simply that no one track sticks out. "Blessa," with its haunting, chant-like lyrics ("Come home in the summer...It's all right/I'll fill you in, fill you in") comes close, but comes to an end before it really hits its stride; "Minors" gets closer (Bundick's reedy vocals offer a nice contrast to the track's big basslines, booming reverb, and swollen synths), but it lacks a pronounced hook; and "Low Shoulder," a dancy, squinchy single, something like a sweet, shy mash-up of Pacific! and Cut Copy, comes so close it almost hurts (leading one to wonder why it wasn't given a spot earlier in the album). That said, Causers of This is a promising album; it's well worth a spin or two if, say, you're a fan of Neon Indian in the mood for something a little more introspective, and it's reason enough to stick around for Bundick's sophomore effort. ~ Margaret Reges
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 4, 2012 | Carpark Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 7, 2015 | Carpark Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 22, 2013 | Carpark Records

Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bundick isn’t the kind of guy who likes to repeat himself from release to release. His debut album, Causers of This, was murky, subtle chillwave, the follow-up, Underneath the Pine, was a much brighter affair that sounded equal parts space age bachelor pad music (à la Stereolab) and late-night disco. He followed that up with Freaking Out, a bubbling, funky EP, and then 2013’s Anything in Return, where he mostly casts aside the guitars that populated Underneath the Pine and sticks closer to a sleek and subdued Chill&B sound that sounds like a sadder version of Freaking Out. All the songs are dipped in shimmering layers of synths with the uptempo tracks underpinned by gently bouncing drums, the ballads with stuttering beats that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Miguel album. Though the arrangements are the most complex and carefully built he’s done yet, Bundick’s vocals are more out front than ever and filled with a newfound high level of passion that gives each song a strong emotional heartbeat. Despite the occasional diversion like the super sweet love song “Cake” or the percolating “Studies,” the album is a quietly melancholy late-night experience that unspools slowly and smoothly like a brilliant quiet storm mix tape. The first time through the album, it almost seems too quiet and too smooth, but repeated listens reveal the album’s strength and power. It’s almost a daring step for Bundick to take, as expanding his sound by making it brighter and simpler may have led to some mainstream success. Instead, his retreat into more complex and restrained sounds makes for a richer and more rewarding listening experience. That’s not to say that there aren’t any tracks that stand out and sound like singles; “Say That” has insistent rhythms and chopped up vocal samples that are sharply hooky, “Never Matter” has an almost Prince-ly strut that is infectious, and “Rose Quartz” is a softly pretty R&B ballad with some great falsetto. Bundick’s genius on Anything in Return is that he blends these poppy moments into the overall fabric of the album and the whole thing holds together in a tightly wound, perfectly constructed ball of sound and songcraft. It may not be the most immediately exciting album of his career, but it is the most impressive and affecting. ~ Tim Sendra

Alternative & Indie - Released October 23, 2018 | Carpark Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 19, 2013 | Carpark Records

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Pop - Released September 6, 2011 | Carpark Records

After two records that established him as one of the guiding lights (if not THE guiding light) of the chillwave wave, Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bundick released an EP that is less of a stopgap between releases than it is a further refining and expanding of his hazy, chopped-out sound that falls somewhere between Christopher Cross, A.R. Kane, and Prince, only cooked up on a computer in the corner of a crowded bedroom instead of in a brightly lit studio. This time out the sound is a little less smeared, a little more direct and punchy with the (still choppy) vocals more to the forefront. Bundick’s love of dance music and disco is more obvious here, as the tracks are all very danceable and he has the good taste to cover the Alexander O’Neal/Cherrelle duet "Saturday Love." (Quite well, it should be added.) Stripping away all the shoegaze and dream pop influences may have seemed like a risky move since his albums were bathed in them, but Bundick is skilled enough at creating propulsive, breezy dance-pop that the move pays off nicely. ~ Tim Sendra
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Pop - Released February 21, 2011 | Carpark Records

Toro y Moi's debut record, Causers of This, fit firmly in the newly formed chillwave tradition. Chaz Bundick (the sole member of the group) created a sound that was hazy, lazy, and submerged with lots of peaceful melody and an easygoing late-night warmth and charm. On the follow-up, Bundick could have done more of the same and it would have been just fine, thanks to his way with a melody and the invention he put into the lo-fi arrangements. Instead, Underneath the Pine takes some of the chill out of the wave and strips away much of the murk. The resulting record is a shiny, dreamy affair that retains all the hooks and feel of the first album but adds some energy and pop immediacy. The biggest change, apart from the more focused production, is that in between albums Bundick seems to have (mostly) forsaken his shoegaze fetish and discovered Stereolab and their take on space age bachelor pad music. Many of the songs on Underneath have the chiming guitars, blocky organ parts, squiggly synths, and robotic rhythms, as well as the tight and looping vocal harmonies, that Stereolab patented. Bundick adds some soft rock chord changes to the mix, and the resulting sound -- while highly reminiscent of the Lab -- actually ends up sounding quite unique. The real piano (or a reasonable imitation of one) that pops up now and then is a nice touch that distances Underneath from the chillwave aesthetic. The unabashedly fun dance tracks on the album are also a leap forward. While Causers’ "Low Shoulder" was danceable enough, “New Beat” and “Still Sound” leap feet-first onto the dancefloor with steady rocking beats, pumping basslines, and sensually delivered vocals. The keyboards on both tracks are kind of magical too; the shimmering piano runs on "Still Sound" and the cheesy but super-funky synth on "New Beat" are perfect. Based on these songs, Bundick could easily slip out of this whole chillwave thing and become a disco hero. Within the context of the album, though, they provide a boost of energy and fun that makes the record really pop. Underneath the Pine is an improvement in every way on Causers of This, and it should be the start of a long and interesting run of records by Bundick and Toro y Moi. ~ Tim Sendra
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Pop - Released July 19, 2010 | Carpark Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 5, 2009 | Carpark Records

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