Columbia expatriate musician and chillwave darling Chaz Bundick has done quasi-disco, relaxed funk, and more under his Toro Y Moi moniker, but new single “Campo” straddles all of those genres. A nervous drumbeat that sounds sampled from some vintage jazz act, a theremin-like note threaded through the bass-organ-guitar ether, and a delicate vocal from Bundick are all that anchor this lightweight track. It’s enough, apparently. The actual 7 inch is a tour exclusive that you’ll have to get at a show for now, but here’s “Campo”:
the tour starts soon:
Toro y Moi 2013/2014 Tour Dates:
09/14 – Mexico City, MX @ Ceremonia
09/30 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory *
10/01 – Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up *
10/02 – Tucson, AZ @ The Rialto *
10/06 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/08 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom &
10/09 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s &
10/10 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues &
10/11 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues &
10/13 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/15 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In &
10/16 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre &
10/17 – Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club &
10/18 – Columbia, SC @ Columbia Museum of Art &
10/19 – Charleston, SC @ Music Farm &
10/21 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club &
10/22 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar &
10/23 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
10/25 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues #
10/26 – Montreal, QC @ SAT #
10/27 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre #
10/28 – Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre #
10/29 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall #
10/30 – Chicago, IL @ Vic Theatre &
11/01 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom &
11/02 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
11/04 – Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room &
11/05 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theater &
11/06 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre &
11/07 – Aspen, CO @ Belly Up &
11/10 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre &
11/12 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market
11/13 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
11/15 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
11/16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern
01/17 – Auckland, New Zealand @ Big Day Out
01/19 – Gold Coast, Australia @ Big Day Out
01/24 – Melbourne, Australia @ Big Day Out
01/26 – Sydney, Australia @ Big Day Out
01/27 – Sydney, Australia @ Big Day Out
01/31 – Adelaide, Australia @ Big Day Out
02/02 – Perth, Australia @ Big Day Out
02/13-17 Jacksonville, FL @ The Weezer Cruise
* = w/ Vinyl Williams
& = w/ Classixx
# = w/ the Sea and Cake
I contributed an opinion piece to the Free Times cover story that acknowledged the band has done plenty to deserve the honors they’re getting, even if the monument seems to be about ten years too late to really mean anything, but I didn’t really have the space to expand upon the relative importance of Hootie vs. others who came from their home state. Massive sales figures are great for the bank account but a lasting legacy of musical innovation and influence is not something that even Hootie’s members would lay claim to, surely. With that in mind, here are ten South Carolina acts who ought to have legacies that stand up to and perhaps outstrip their more famous ‘neighbors’ (though even they have some solid connections to Hootie themselves.)
1. Lay Quiet Awhile–the alt-rock of this late 80’s, early 90’s quartet could be artfully spare or a sonic sledgehammer, depending on the song. Their legacy? Singer Danielle Howle went on to a critically-lauded solo career of her own and bassist Dan Cook released two albums with Verna Cannon, served as music editor and now overall editor at the Columbia Free Times alt-weekly. Hootie connection: Cook played violin on the “MTV Unplugged” Hootie special taped on the USC campus.
2. Danielle Howle–Yes, she gets two spots technically since she was a member of #1, above. But her solo output has been even more lauded, appearing on several different indie labels over the past fifteen years. Hootie connection: Howle’s Thank You Mark album was produced by Hootie’s Mark Bryan, and she sang a duet with him on his most recent solo disc.
3. Isabelle’s Gift–one could say that these guys are here due to longevity, as they’re still out there plugging away. I’d argue that their length of service is a deciding factor only because their redneck punk/metal hybrid was ahead of its time when they started and now it would seem almost quaint, if it weren’t for the bulldozing intensity of their best material. Ask anybody in a hard rock band in Columbia what inspired them to play and I guarantee this band’s name will be on the list somewhere, if not at the top.
4. Treadmill Trackstar–Would Angelo Gianni and friends have conquered the world in the 1990’s if they hadn’t signed a dead-end deal with the Hootie-run label Breaking Records back then? We’ll never know, but for a couple of years you could hear “Shouldn’t I Take” on mainstream radio around here in regular rotation, and Gianni’s buzzsaw pop was in line with the then-popular Smashing Pumpkins‘ sound. Their indie release Excessive Use of the Passive Voice remains a favorite locally released album, and while the band’s recent resurrection and new music may not gain them the world, it certainly proves that there’s a lot more artistic output to come from them.
5. In/Humanity, Guyana Punchline, Anakrid--One cannot talk about Columbia’s music scene without mentioning Chris Bickel, and his bands have always had both the attitude and the aptitude to capture whatever punk-inspired zeitgeist was on his mind at the time of their many recordings–tapes, seven-inch records, albums, Bickel has released enough stuff over his career to easily fill up one of those old Peaches record crates.
6. Bedlam Hour–The first Columbia band I can remember signed to a national record label contract (Positive Force Records released the band’s epic Rock The Cradle), the fast and furious yet overwhelmingly positive punk rock that Chuck Walker and company played was a huge influence on a generation of young punks in Columbia and beyond, and “Grey Sweater” is one of the best songs ever to come from Columbia’s music scene. Hootie connection: Hootie’s Mark Bryan and BH’s Walker and bassist John Leroy (as well as second bassist Adam Kolesar) were all student DJ’s together at WUSC in the 1980s.
7. From Safety To Where/Bolt/Death Becomes Even The Maiden–a mutiple band listing that acknowledges the interrelated lineups of these groups, all three of which play some sort of hyphenated post-punk rock amalgam that was (and is, in the case of the ongoing DBETM) light years ahead of their local and national peers. If Columbia were a hipper town in the national music press, Eric Greenwood would be referred to as our Roger Miller (Mission of Burma and No Man founder, not the country songwriter).
8. The Rob Crosby Group–The token 70’s band on this list, to be sure, but Sumter’s Rob Crosby was one of the most popular southern rock acts in the state in his day, and members of his band have gone on to play in other groups and combinations ever since. Crosby ended up a songwriter in Nashville with a string of hit songs, a couple of which he took to the country charts himself.
9. Toro Y Moi–As much as I enjoy Chaz Bundick’s other band I’m not even going to mention them here because this bedroom side project has meant much more to his career (and Columbia’s currency on the international music scene, if it has any). Causers Of This, released back in the beginning of 2010, has immediately secured a spot on my list of the best albums ever by a Columbia act, and one that’s bound to inspire countless kids in bedrooms across not just South Carolina, but the world.
10. Jack Williams–Okay, he doesn’t live in Columbia or even South Carolina any more but there’s no songwriter alive whose music is more intricately entwined in our state’s history, topography, and culture. Since 1997’s Across The Winterline Williams has been releasing album after album of captivating, folksy observations on southern life, and life in general, and touring all over the country.
For a guy who’s being plugged as nothing less than the future of music by the usual round of influential blogs and sites such as Pitchfork, Gorilla vs. Bear, and others, Columbia, SC bedroom musician Chaz Bundick’s new Toro y Moi album Causers of This sounds eerily similar at times to the early Moog-based synth experiments of Dick Hyman.
There’s an endearingly old-fashioned feeling to tracks such as “Lissoms,” which manages to combine “Strait Up” era Paula Abdul with a repetetive, tape-looped style that’s similar to those backwards-masked recordings the PMRC and others ‘exposed’ in the 80s.
Best-publicized track (so far) “Blessa” and others such as “Faux Shadow” are close cousins to Animal Collective, a frequent touchstone so far for the blogosphere’s coverage of Toro y Moi, but there’s a lot more going on here than that lazy comparison indicates. Bundick is akin to the early rap DJs in that he’s an obvious student of his influences; rather than borrowing the beats directly from the 12-inch singles and albums, however, he has managed to assimilate the sounds into his own head, and his laptop, in a way that allows him to transfer those disparate elements into something that’s both completely new and completely old at the same time.
One recommendation: this is a true ‘headphone’ album, in that there are layers and directions that the music contains which are not readily apparent unless you’re connected directly at the ears, in stereo–Dick Hyman-loving audiophile geeks and the Moog inventors would be proud.
Just as in the national releases, the local musicians here in Columbia, SC had a banner year for new music. The biggest trend, from my perspective, was the increasingly professional quality of the CDs from local artists–not just the few with some form of label support, but even the self-released product was of extremely high quality.
The other trend for me was the inclusion of almost all new artists on the list. There were a few ‘veteran’ acts, like American Gun, and solo projects from locals more commonly associated with full bands, but the overwhelming majority of the year’s best music came from rookies like punk upstarts You, Me, and Us. That’s a great sign for the overall health of the local scene, and hopefully it’s a trend that will continue to grow.
Top Local Releases of 2008
Nick Pagliari, Please and Thank You (PalagreenO)
A newcomer to Columbia, Pagliari’s prior experience shows on this tight package of alt-country and power pop tunes.
Hannah Miller, Into The Black (self-released)
The first full length release from this local songwriter combines her spiritual songwriting with some serious pop grooves courtesy of a pro Nashville production.
You, Me, and Us, Beer Can Rebellion (self-released): Punk rock the way it was meant to be—loud, proud, loose, and fast .
The Private Life Of David Reed, Misteps and Miscommunications (Chamberlain)
Former Closer front man’s first solo release, it tones down the band’s pop-rock formula and draws out the emotional core of Reed’s songwriting.
American Gun, The Means and the Machine
The best set of tunes yet from the pens of Donald Merckle and Todd Mathis, Columbia’s best one-two songwriting punch in a single band.
Toro Y Moi, My Touch (Fork and Spoon): One of three separate projects from Heist & the Accomplice member Chaz Bundick in 2008, it’s the loudest and spaciest, drawing Daft Punk comparisons with some funky, unpredictable electronic grooves.
Daylight Hours, How To Make a Mess of Things (self-released): Former Courage Riley front man David Adedokun covers a lot of emotional ground in this first ‘solo’ album; his tender vocals belie real hurt and pain in songs like “The Truth About Girls.”
Marry A Thief,I Am Dying To Outlive You (self-released)
Eric Skelton has an uncanny gift for marrying melody to lyrics that results in the kind of memorable songs on this too-short set.
Daniel Machado, Themes In American Friction (Self-released): Hands down one of the most ambitious rock albums to come out of Columbia in years, and it works beautifully.
Friendly Confines, Remember When ( self-released): I remember a year or so ago when I heard Rob Lindsey was looking for a full band to play with—this is what he found, a sympathetic, rootsy complement to his own unique songs.