Tastemakers Presents: Car Seat Headrest with TV Girl and Mutual Benefit
By Nate Smith and Cassandra Cloutier:
Tastemakers Magazine kicked off the 2016/17 school year with a bang (in addition to some incredible synth, dreamy banjo, and alt-indie guitar riffs) with TV Girl and Mutual Benefit, headlined by Car Seat Headrest. The show opened with TV Girl on the After Hours stage at Northeastern University on a drizzly Sunday evening. It was an extremely intimate gathering, with about only 60 to 100 people in attendance, clad in the usual indie mix of jean jackets, vans, and slouchy beanies. California based indie pop group TV Girl brought bright, synthy production that included tasteful references to the 60s california beach scene. The playful instrumentals contrasted thoughtfully with their contemplative and emotive lyrics. TV Girl’s themes touch upon youthful love and loss, while remaining upbeat and whimsical. After TV Girl came Mutual Benefit, switching up the lineup with dreamy indie guitar and expansive emotion. Mutual Benefit incorporated an impressive array of instruments into the performance, including african drums, flute, and a melodica. For our listeners who are fans of gentle, atmospheric indie, Mutual Benefit is right on the money. To sum it up, if the Mamas and the Papas had a lovechild with Vampire Weekend, it might be similar. Many of their songs included long harp-like guitar instrumentals, and all had a dreamlike quality that is often attempted but seldom tactfully achieved. The show was headlined, of course, by Car Seat Headrest. Listeners who follow indie closely will know them as one of this years most up and coming acts. Their hit song, Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales, off their most recent album, “Teens of Denial” has received much attention from indie bloggers. Car Seat Headrest’s performance was energetic and passionate, providing a welcome contrast to the more low key nature of the first two acts. A few enthralling solos by guitarist Ethan Ives paired excellently with the raw energy brought by drummer Andrew Katz. However, frontman Will Toledo stole the show, belting out powerful, emotive vocals, especially during Fill in the Blank and of course Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales. Overall, both the bands and attendees could not have asked for a better atmosphere, despite a last-minute venue change due to rainy weather. Every act was unique, but each meshed with the others seamlessly. For someone completely new to indie music, this show would have been a perfect chance to experience a plethora of diverse sounds, from the more alt-rock Car Seat Headrest, to the dreamy, low-fi vibes of Mutual Benefit, to TV Girl’s bright, atmospheric synthpop. There was truly something for everyone.