You wouldn’t expect it given the near-universal critical acclaim for his last album Teens Of Denial, but Will Toledo’s Car Seat Headrest project is an absolute beef magnet. Other indie rockers don’t seem to have time for Toledo or his opinions, as we saw when he critiqued the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and woke Titus Andronicus’ Patrick Stickles from the hibernation chamber where he’s writing his next rock opera. Now, Toledo’s fellow prolific lo-fi rocker Ricky Eat Acid is coming after him in a long and venomous essay.
Sam Ray, the artist behind Acid, wrote a critique of the band called “Punching Upwards At A Particularly Bland Windmill” where he constantly belittles Car Seat Headrest as an “annoyingly persistent Last.fm recommendation” and repeatedly calls the band bland in more and more elaborate ways.
Ray says that Toledo’s “consistent lack of personality might actually be the most sincere thing about him & his band” and tries to tear down comparisons to Pavement, Guided By Voices and The Lemonheads. He accuses Car Seat Headrest of not having hooks in spite of the fact that they wrote this song.
The essay ends with a series of faux slogans for the band in the same vein as the Last.fm comment. A few examples:
“Car Seat Headrest –The ‘I have an associates degree, you know, so one day I can go back to college and become an English teacher, or whatever’ of guitar rock.
Car Seat Headrest— Because all the other hyper-opinionated, ego-obsessed, self-aggrandizing artists out there make albums that are just a little too interesting.
The “Michelob Ultra” of indie-rock.”
In a post-script, Ray acknowledges that the essay is probably a bad career move that will negatively effect his relationships in the indie-rock world, but that somehow didn’t stop him from hitting publish. Give it a full read here and for more indie rock dudes having opinions, check out Toledo’s essay about The Life Of Pablo.
Toledo, for his part, seems to be brushing off the criticism.