Toro Y Moi seemed to come out of nowhere in 2010, with Causers of This coasting nicely along in that summer's "chillwave" craze. The music's swirling atmospherics, introspective lyrics and gauzy feel made a perfect do-nothing soundtrack, but might have pigeonholed TYM mastermind Chazwick Bundick into a musical corner.
He found his way out quickly enough, on this year's follow-up Underneath the Pine. The new album speaks a much different language from the languor of Causers, yet finds a common tongue in the details.
Bundick took a few minutes out of his day to chat with us about what Toro Y Moi is and where it's headed.
Toro Y Moi
With Cloud Nothings and Reading Rainbow, 9 p.m. Monday, March 14, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, 713-862-3838, www.fitzlivemusic.com. Free for 21 and up.
Chatter: So, Causers of This and Underneath the Pine were originally slated to come out in the same year, right?
Toro Y Moi: Yeah. I almost made it. If you look at it by calendar year, I only missed the mark by about two weeks. It's just touring and stuff got in the way, and I couldn't make it happen.
C: Underneath the Pine changes gears somewhat significantly from Causers. Was the intention always to have it be such a different record?
TYM: Sort of. I had a bunch of songs ready for Underneath, but then I completely started over. I felt like I needed to make a better segue between the albums. Mostly it was because the first album didn't really work live, and I wanted to make an album that would work live.
I'm still kind of new to this, but it sucks to go play a festival with stuff that doesn't really work live. I finally got the band together, and there's a lot you can do with just four people.
C: With music that's obviously pretty personal, created largely by yourself, does it feel weird performing it with a band?
TYM: It was definitely weird at first. Lyrically, it wasn't hard. I don't really care about making that stuff plain; it doesn't bother me usually. Trying to separate parts and figure out who'd play what was the harder part. I'm not really shy about my lyrics, or talking about them. The hardest part there is playing songs in front of the people they're about.
C: Do the people in your life know when a song is about them?
TYM: Yeah, they know. Friends, family, whatever; they usually know, and sometimes that gets awkward.
C: Can you see Toro Y Moi ever morphing into a collaborative project, or is it a solo gig through and through?
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TYM: No, not really. I think that Toro Y Moi is just me. I'd have to change the name or something. I'm always into collaborations, you know, to do a song or something, just not an album. I just feel like it wouldn't be Toro Y Moi. I guess I like to keep Toro Y Moi to a certain profile.
One of the biggest bands out there, Tennessee studs Kings of Leon, will headline a free show at Discovery Green the afternoon of Saturday, April 2, Houston's KHOU-TV reported last week. The concert is part of the "Big Dance" event scheduled from Friday through Sunday of Final Four weekend, when the NCAA men's basketball championship returns to Houston for the first time since 1971. Other performers will be announced soon.
In other news, the Texas Blues Project's Eric Davis told the Houston Press last week that the Texas Historical Commission has approved an official state historical marker for the Eldorado Ballroom, Third Ward's chief venue for jazz, blues and R&B from the 1940s through the early '70s. The Board of Directors of Project Row Houses, which bought the Eldorado in 1999 and reopened it in 2003, raised the money to pay for the marker. Project Row Houses director Linda Shearer said the marker might be ready for dedication in April or May, but "we're still in the beginning process."