Release Date: Apr 24, 2012
Record label: Carpark Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Indie Pop
Chaz Bundick began making recordings under the name Toro y Moi in 2001, but he only began to make some noise in 2009 when a flood of releases sparked a lot of interest in the chilly pop sounds he was creating. That year he put out two singles (including the much-hyped -- for good reason -- "Blessa"), an EP, a self-released full-length album (My Touch), and a tour-only collection of songs called June 2009. This June 2009 is a revamped version of that collection; nine of the ten songs here appeared on the original CD-R.
As evidenced by June 2009—a collection of early recordings now finding a proper release—Toro Y Moi's Chaz Bundick didn't spring fully formed from the head of Zeus. While his brainwaves would go on to launch a sea of chillwave thought pieces, early songs showed an artist more interested in Ariel Pink-style experimentation than the retro-tinged dance pop he'd come to embrace. The pleasant surprise? Even in his formative years of four-track bedroom recordings, Bundick displayed an innate charm and low-key charisma.
Chaz Bundick spent 2011 enduring a barrage of subliminal criticism, but other than that, he had a pretty good year. It just wasn't one that gave him much incentive to get retrospective: Whenever his excellent sophomore LP Underneath the Pine and the subsequent Freaking Out EP were deemed "progressions," it felt like backhanded praise for the artistic distance he was creating from Causers of This, an album that's become weirdly underrated as its chillaxed aesthetic is seemingly blamed for everything from the death of indie rock to LeBron James' laissez-faire attitude in crunch time. So, at the very least, you have to admire the audacity of Bundick dipping into his personal stash for June 2009, a collection of singles written around the same time as Causers of This.
Back around the start of 2010, Chaz Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi, told Pitchfork’s Joe Colly that 'If I look at a band like Best Coast or Wavves, they live on the beach. I go to the beach, like, once a year.' It was a neat thing to say, seemingly designed to distance his debut album Causers of This from the chillwave bands who seem to have been so omnipresent over the past two years; a move to help his record stand apart from his coast-pervaded contemporaries. The release of June 2009, with its very title evoking that summer sound, lifts this facade after a mere two years.
Whether he likes it or not, Chaz Bundick is at the head of the chillwave movement, his music as Toro Y Moi smooth, shiny, and groove-friendly. His new release, June 2009, collects ten cuts from the month of the title, some of the material coming from a time long ago, before even Bundick’s debut on Causers of This. The most notable differences between this peak into the past and the Toro Y Moi we’ve come to know are in the rough edges, the significantly lower fidelity production, and some unexpected instrumental changes, rather than any structural or thematic alteration.
Toro y Moi’s latest retrospective comes from the dark ages of 2009 – which in the scheme of our fast moving, trend-crazed society is actually a pretty long time. Back then we were dancing our little hearts out to MGMT’s nonsensical songs about electric eels and the one hit wonders Empire of the Sun – lets not go on any further, lest we invoke the horrific memories of Metro Station’s “Shake It”. The edgiest album you could possibly hope to own at the time was ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’, or a demo by Bundick’s pal Ernest Greene, better known as Washed Out.