SXSW Preview: Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine

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From KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox

Maybe it was “Blessa“.  Or was it “Left Alone At Night“.  Could have been that bold, iridescent cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature“.  Regardless of what the first song I ever heard by Toro y Moi was, I fell fast and hard.

Devised from the imaginative mind of Chaz Bundick, Toro y Moi has been making music that could lazily be filed under the increasingly awkward genre-label known as “chillwave.”

However, I always felt Bundick distanced himself from his peers with crisper, less-oversaturated production and a playful ear for pop structure — a number of the songs on his debut Causers of This owed more of a debt to Phil Collins than Flying Lotus (I mean this as a compliment, people…).

Then things took an interesting, unexpected turn with last year’s single “Leave Everywhere“, an irresistible 60’s pop gem culled from the Frankie Valli & Four Seasons handbook.

Underneath the pine_Now Toro y Moi is set to drop his next full-length, Underneath the Pine, which finds the artist dipping his toes into an array of new musical waters, with memorable results.  Bundick’s expressive, un-ironic falsetto has always leaned a bit on the soul side, but he takes things a step further with “New Beat“, an ’80s boogie track with a feel for Kano or Fatback’s “Is This the Future?”. Or take “Still Sound“, combining its percolating bass-line and jittery synths for an effect which is flat-out funky.

Got Blinded” shimmers and oscillates like a Stereolab song, while the melancholic acoustic folk of “Before I’m Done” leads you down a misty path just before it free-falls into a silvery ambient cosmos.  It’s a remarkable record, one that suggests Toro Y Moi is an artist who enlivens, exhilarates, inspires and propels… all as a genre unto himself.

— Dan Wilcox

Editor’s Note: Underneath the Pine will be out on February 22 and he’ll be coming through LA for a show at the Troubadour on March 23. Check out all his tour dates below!

TORO Y MOI Tour Dates

03/11 Athens, GA – 40 Watt *

03/12 Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn *

03/13 New Orleans, LA – The Saturn Bar *

03/14 Houston, TX – Fitzgeralds *

03/15 McAllen, TX – M.P.M. Fest @ Ambiente *$

03/16-18 Austin, TX – SXSW

03/19 Dallas, TX – Club Dada *

03/20 El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace *^

03/21 Tempe, AZ – Sail Inn *^$

03/22 Costa Mesa, CA – Detroit Bar *

03/23 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour *

03/24 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall *

03/25 Portland, OR – Doug Fir *

03/26 Kennewick, WA – The Red Room *^

03/27 Seattle, WA – Crocodile *

03/28 Vancouver, British Columbia – Biltmore ^

03/30 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge #

03/31 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge #

04/01 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room #

04/02 Omaha, NE – Slowdown Jr. #

04/03 Minneapolis, MN – 7th St. Entry #

04/05 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle #

04/06 Bloomington, IN – The Bishop #^

04/07 Toronto, Ontario – Wrongbar #

04/08 Montreal, Quebec – La Sala Rossa #

04/09 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall #

04/10 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg #

04/11 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom #

04/12 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church #

04/13 Baltimore, MD – Talking Head #^

04/14 Washington, DC – Rock N Roll Hotel #

04/15 Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506 #^

04/16 Columbia, SC – Indie Grits Film Festival

04/23 Honolulu, HI – Next Door

* = w/ Cloud Nothings

^ = w/ Braids

# = w/ Adventure

$ = w/ Nite Jewel