Car Seat Headrest

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Car Seat Headrest
Car Seat Headrest, 100 Club, 2016.jpg
Will Toledo performing with Car Seat Headrest at 100 Club in London, England in June 2016
Background information
OriginLeesburg, Virginia, United States
Years active2010–present
Associated actsNaked Giants, 1 Trait Danger
  • Will Toledo
  • Ethan Ives
  • Andrew Katz
  • Seth Dalby
Past members
  • Katie Wood
  • Austin Ruhf
  • Christian Northover
  • Jacob Bloom

Car Seat Headrest is an American indie rock band originally from Leesburg, Virginia, and currently located in Seattle, Washington. The band consists of Will Toledo (vocals, guitar, piano), Ethan Ives (guitar, bass, backing vocals), Seth Dalby (bass), and Andrew Katz (drums, percussion). Beginning as a solo recording project by Toledo in 2010, Car Seat Headrest self-released 12 albums on the music platform Bandcamp, before signing to Matador Records in 2015. Car Seat Headrest began touring as a full band the following year, presenting material from their 2016 album, Teens of Denial. Toledo's work is notable for its large online cult following.


2010–14: Lo-fi and home recordings, from 1 to How to Leave Town[edit]

Car Seat Headrest began as the solo project of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Will Toledo shortly after graduating high school. Toledo had previously released music under the alias Nervous Young Men, but after struggling to establish an audience, he decided to change tactics, choosing to try and release more experimental songs anonymously, to see if they would catch anyone's attention.[1] Toledo chose the name "Car Seat Headrest" as he would often record the vocals to his early albums in the back seat of his car for privacy.[2] While his production has gradually become less lo-fi, Toledo still remains an effective example of the DIY ethic.

Throughout the summer of 2010, Toledo released his first four albums under the Car Seat Headrest name: 1, 2, 3, and 4.[1] 1 and 2 incorporated less traditional song structures, with stream-of-consciousness lyrics, whereas 3 and 4 would begin to cement his lo-fi indie rock style. Following the numbered albums, Toledo began attending classes at Virginia Commonwealth University, releasing the Sunburned Shirts EP during his first semester.[3] The Sunburned Shirts EP was later partially combined with his fifth LP, 5,[4] to create his first titled album, My Back Is Killing Me Baby, released in March 2011.[5] Songs culled from 5 would later appear on the b-sides compilation album Little Pieces of Paper with "No" Written on Them.[6]

After a difficult and lonely semester at VCU, Toledo transferred to the College of William & Mary, where he would release his next album, Twin Fantasy.[7] The album centred around a relationship that Toledo was in at the time, and was followed up by 2012's Monomania and Starving While Living EP.

It would take another year for Toledo to release his next project, an over two-hour long double album titled Nervous Young Man. Several of the songs, and the title of the album, were taken from his original project, Nervous Young Men. Released alongside Nervous Young Man, for those who paid $5 or more, was a compilation album entitled Disjecta Membra.[8] Toledo's final solo release was How to Leave Town, an hour long EP with heavy electronic instrumentation and more ambitious song structures.

2015–present: Matador Records and hi-fi albums[edit]

In September 2015, Car Seat Headrest announced on Facebook that he had signed an album deal with Matador Records.[9] Toledo, who had recently graduated and moved to Seattle, recruited bassist Jacob Bloom and drummer Andrew Katz through Craigslist to record and tour his next album. In October 2015, Car Seat Headrest released the compilation album Teens of Style, the first to not be self-released exclusively via Bandcamp. Shortly after the album's release, Bloom left the group to attend medical school, and was replaced by bassist Ethan Ives.[10]

Ives played bass throughout most of the band's recordings for their following release, but would later switch to guitar and other instruments, such as synthesizer, with Seth Dalby taking over on bass, starting with the song "Unforgiving Girl (She's Not An)." Ives and Dalby were later cemented in these positions during live shows and future releases.[11] A new album created with traditional studio processes, Teens of Denial, was released on May 20, 2016.[12] The album received universal acclaim, and brought the band a new wave of popularity.

In 2017, Car Seat Headrest released an alternate mix of their single "War Is Coming (If You Want It)" through Bandcamp for one day, with profits going to the Transgender Law Center. The original mix of the track was released ten days later.[13]

On December 13, 2017, the band released a re-recorded version of "Beach Life-In-Death", the second track on Twin Fantasy, through Spotify without prior announcement. This sparked fan rumours that the album would be re-recorded and released the following year.[14] On December 27, 2017, an Amazon listing detailing a re-recorded version of Twin Fantasy was found by fans, and subsequently uploaded to the Car Seat Headrest subreddit.[15] This was followed up by a listing on with the date February 16, 2018.[16][17] On January 9, 2018, Matador Records formally announced the release of the re-recording, entitled Twin Fantasy (Face to Face), alongside a re-release of the original recording. Twin Fantasy (Face to Face) was released via Matador on February 16. The original, which has been re-titled Twin Fantasy (Mirror to Mirror), was released on vinyl as a part of Record Store Day on April 21. The re-recording's announcement coincided with a tour announcement and a music video for the single "Nervous Young Inhumans".[18] On February 15, 2018, the band covered "Fallen Horses" by Smash Mouth, who returned the favor by covering "Something Soon".[19]

Since January 2018, fellow Seattle-based band, Naked Giants, have been part of the band's expanded live lineup.[20]


AllMusic biographer Mark Deming wrote that Car Seat Headrest created "moody and introspective lo-fi pop tunes that are melodic but structurally ambitious at once".[21] Writing for Pitchfork, Jeremy Gordon stated that on Teens of Denial, "Will Toledo reaffirms that he is ahead of the pack as an imaginative singer-songwriter, capable of crafting dynamic indie rock."[22] Car Seat Headrest's influences include Radiohead, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Destroyer, Kendrick Lamar, Leonard Cohen, of Montreal, Modest Mouse, Neutral Milk Hotel, Sufjan Stevens, Why?, and R.E.M.[1][23][24][25][26]



  • Will Toledo – vocals, guitar, keyboards (2010–present), drums, bass (2010–2015)
  • Ethan Ives – guitar, backing vocals (2016–present), bass (2015–2016)
  • Andrew Katz – drums, backing vocals, percussion (2014–present)
  • Seth Dalby – bass (2016–present)

Touring members

  • Grant Mullen – guitar, backing vocals (2016, 2018−present)
  • Gianni Aiello – synthesizers, guitar, backing vocals (2016, 2018−present)
  • Henry LaVallee – auxiliary percussion (2016, 2018−present)

Mullen, Aiello and LaVallee are members of Naked Giants.


  • Katie Wood - guitar (2012–2014)
  • Austin Ruhf - bass (2012–2014)
  • Christian Northover - drums (2012–2014)
  • Jacob Bloom – bass (2014–2015)


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions



  • Released: May 1, 2010
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: DL
  • Released: June 1, 2010
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: DL
  • Released: July 16, 2010
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: DL
  • Released: August 16, 2010
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: DL
My Back Is Killing Me Baby
  • Released: March 26, 2011
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: CS, DL
Twin Fantasy
  • Released: November 2, 2011
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: CD, CS, DL, LP
  • Released: August 1, 2012
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: CD, DL
Nervous Young Man
  • Released: August 23, 2013
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: DL
Teens of Style
  • Released: October 30, 2015
  • Label: Matador (OLE-1088)
  • Format: CD, CS, DL, LP
[A] 117
Teens of Denial
  • Released: May 20, 2016
  • Label: Matador (OLE-1091)
  • Format: CD, DL, LP
180 15 121 82 198
Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)
  • Released: February 16, 2018
  • Label: Matador
  • Format: CD, DL, LP
92 3 43 200 88 [B] 18 29 96 68
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Little Pieces of Paper With "No" Written on Them (2010)
  • Disjecta Membra (2013)[39]

Extended plays[edit]

  • Starving While Living (2012)[40]
  • How to Leave Town (2014)[41]


Year Title MEX
2015 "No Passion" Teens of Style
"Something Soon"[43]
"Times to Die"
2016 "Vincent" 34 Teens of Denial
"Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales"
"Fill in the Blank"
"Destroyed by Hippie Powers"
2017 "War Is Coming (If You Want It)"[44] Non-album single
"Beach Life-In-Death" Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)
2018 "Nervous Young Inhumans"[45] 44
"Cute Thing"
"My Boy (Twin Fantasy)"


  1. ^ Teens of Style did not enter the US Billboard 200, but peaked at number 19 on the US Heatseekers Albums Chart.[37]
  2. ^ Twin Fantasy (Face to Face) did not enter the NZ Top 40 Albums Chart, but peaked at number 1 on the NZ Heatseekers Albums Chart.[38]


  1. ^ a b c carseatheadrest (2018-06-29), Car Seat Headrest - I Haven't Done Sh*t This Year (TIDAL Documentary), retrieved 2018-07-17
  2. ^ "Car Seat Headrest Grows up on Bandcamp". The New Yorker. November 2, 2015. Archived from the original on November 25, 2015. Retrieved 2016-01-10.
  3. ^ "A Guide To All Of Car Seat Headrest's Pre-Fame Albums (All 11 Of Them)". UPROXX. 2016-10-28. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  4. ^ "100 minutes of solitude, by Car Seat Headrest". Car Seat Headrest. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  5. ^ "My Back Is Killing Me Baby, by Car Seat Headrest". Car Seat Headrest. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  6. ^ "Little Pieces Of Paper With "No" Written On Them, by Car Seat Headrest". Car Seat Headrest. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  7. ^ Vozick-Levinson, Simon (2015-11-24). "Car Seat Headrest: Dorm-Room Prodigy to Indie-Rock Sensation". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  8. ^ "Nervous Young Man, by Car Seat Headrest". car seat headrest. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  9. ^ we got a label Archived 2018-01-15 at the Wayback MachineSeptember 1, 2015. Facebook.
  10. ^ Indieheads Podcast (2018-02-17), Indieheads Podcast Episode #111: Andrew Katz vs. The Indieheads Podcast, retrieved 2018-08-16
  11. ^ KEXP, Car Seat Headrest - Full Performance (Live on KEXP), retrieved 2019-01-30
  12. ^ Coming May 20 : Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial Archived 2016-03-27 at the Wayback Machine. March 24, 2016. Matador Records.
  13. ^ Rettig, James (August 14, 2017). "Car Seat Headrest – "War Is Coming (If You Want It)"". Stereogum. Archived from the original on August 15, 2017.
  14. ^ ""Beach Life in Death" by Car Seat Headrest Review | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  15. ^ Twin Fantasy, Matador Records, 2018-02-16, retrieved 2017-12-29
  16. ^ "Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy 2XLP Vinyl". Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  17. ^ "Coming February 16 : Car Seat Headrest – 'Twin Fantasy' ; "Nervous Young Inhumans" Video Premiere". Matablog. Matador Records. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  18. ^ "Car Seat Headrest Announces Release Plans For Twin Fantasy". Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  19. ^ "Smash Mouth Cover Car Seat Headrest: Listen". Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  20. ^ Graff, Gary (2018-03-08). "Naked Giants Premiere 'Sluff' Video, Talk Playing With Car Seat Headrest". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  21. ^ Deming, Mark. "Car Seat Headrest | Biography & History". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-05-23. Retrieved 2016-05-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "Why Car Seat Headrest Is The Indie Rock Hero We've Been Waiting For". Consequence of Sound. 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  24. ^ "even when I dream of you: q&a with peyton thomas". car seat headrest. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  25. ^ "Car Seat Headrest". What The Sound. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  26. ^ "Car Seat Headrest cover story: Will Toledo's 12-album overnight success story". Loud And Quiet. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  27. ^ "Car Seat Headrest – Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  28. ^ "Car Seat Headrest – Billboard Independent Albums". Billboard. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  29. ^ "Discografie Car Seat Headrest". Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 2016-09-20.
  30. ^ "Belgian Positions (Wallonie)". Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  31. ^ "Dutch Charts - Car Seat Headrest". Archived from the original on 2016-09-16.
  32. ^ " - Discography Car Seat Headrest". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  33. ^ " - Discography Car Seat Headrest". Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  34. ^ Peaks in Scotland:
  35. ^ " - Discography Car Seat Headrest". Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  36. ^ Peaks of Car Seat Headrest in the United Kingdom:
  37. ^ "Car Seat Headrest – Billboard Heatseekers". Billboard. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  38. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. February 26, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  39. ^ Elliot, Sean (2013-08-31). "Nervous Young Man by Car Seat Headrest". The Daily Album. Archived from the original on 2016-06-23. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  40. ^ "Starving While Living | Car Seat Headrest". Archived from the original on 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  41. ^ "How To Leave Town | Car Seat Headrest". Archived from the original on 2016-06-01. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  42. ^ "Car Seat Headrest – Mexico Ingles Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  43. ^ "FMQB Airplay Archive: SubModern Rock". Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, Incorporated. Archived from the original on October 6, 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  44. ^ Rettig, James (August 14, 2017). "Car Seat Headrest – "War Is Coming (If You Want It)"". Stereogum. Archived from the original on August 16, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  45. ^ "Future Releases on Alternative Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. Retrieved January 15, 2018.

External links[edit]