Album Review Toro Y Moi - June 2009

A retrospective glimpse into the demos of a man unknowingly on the cusp of success.

Toro y Moi’s latest retrospective comes from the dark ages of 2009 – which in the scheme of our fast moving, trend-crazed society is actually a pretty long time. Back then we were dancing our little hearts out to MGMT’s nonsensical songs about electric eels and the one hit wonders Empire of the Sun – lets not go on any further, lest we invoke the horrific memories of Metro Station’s “Shake It”. The edgiest album you could possibly hope to own at the time was ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’, or a demo by Bundick’s pal Ernest Greene, better known as Washed Out. In other words, Summer 2009 was the year of psychedelic chill-wave.

It’s hard to imagine a better melting pot for a man like Chaz Bundick, who spent the summer of ’09 busily cultivating his own demo full of lo-fi bedroom pop. Only the most savvy of music connoisseurs had the foresight to snap up one of Bundick’s demo CDs from the tour merch stands - the rest of us were probably too busy sporting novelty festival headgear and drinking Red Stripe in the rare rays of British sunshine. Luckily this re-issue of ‘June 2009’ is a prime chance to correct that mistake, and also serves as a crafty way for Toro y Moi to point out that he was ahead of the music game all along.

It seems likely Bundick had a copy of ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’ on hand that summer too, and it’s easy to imagine Panda Bear coming out with the same kind of warm, reverb-soaked oddball pop. Although this is undoubtedly the same Toro y Moi that we know and love, ‘June 2009’ toys with various styles; fidgety guitar twangs on ‘Dead Pontoon’, and sun-drenched guitar riffs in ‘Girl Problems’ – and even a foray into acoustic on ‘New Loved Ones’. ‘June 2009’ feels less unified than ‘Causers of This’, and ‘Underneath the Pine’ – simply because it was written by a man still experimenting and finding his own musical signature. We’re so used to looking forward in search of the ‘next big thing’ that ‘June 2009’ provides a welcome change, and an invitation to look behind us too. For Toro y Moi enthusiasts, this will be nothing new, but for the rest of us ‘June 2009’ is an altogether pleasant blast from the recent past. It is a retrospective glimpse into the demos of a man unknowingly on the cusp of success, and knowing how well Chaz Bundick really did do post-2009 makes the listening experience even better.


Tags: Toro Y Moi, Album Reviews, Reviews

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