Led by Daniel Alvarez and Jordan Dunn-Pilz, Brooklyn-based band TOLEDO collide indie rock and pop to create a sound at once wistful and playful, all wrapped in a hazy glow. Their debut EP Hotstuff is a lesson in such a style, creating a tangible sense of nostalgia and emotion while maintaining a wry self-awareness too.
Nowhere is this clearer than on lead single, ‘Some Samurai’. With its rich tones and rose-tinted fondness for times now passed, the track serves as the perfect summer bummer gem on the surface, though dig a little deeper and there are other forces at work. The lo-fi aesthetic of the track’s video, by director/cinematographer Mike Vance, reinforce this feel, though the footage itself is altogether more tongue-in-cheek. Things are complicated further by the failing relationship at the heart of the track, the once sunny halcyon vibes swirled into something a little less ideal.
The mood is typical of the release. The title track opens with a languid, downbeat vibe, though the drums do kick in to provide a running rhythm, while ‘Knot’ leans into the lazy heartbreak, the eddies of tempo always falling back into dreamy lulls. The loose-limbed folk of ‘Que Pasa?’ leads into the electronic flourishes of ‘Bath’, the latter providing an increased sense of motion, a breeze lifting through the summer heat. Closer ‘Sick’ caps things off with a slow burn build, rising a luscious soundscape through which vocals and samples drift, memory let loose into the humid air.
Album art by Emma Hill