Toro Y Moi’s first commercial release, the “Blessa” single, introduced the world to Chaz Bundick’s brand of introspective, atmospheric pop music, and while the A-side wound up laying the framework for his debut, Causers Of This, backing track, “109,” hinted at a side of his music having more in common with the oddball pop of Ariel Pink than any of Causers’ reference points. As it turns out, around the same time he was experimenting with music software and sampling, Bundick was recording a slew of short and sweet lo-fi tracks chronicling his version of college grad indecision. Now, after two albums, an EP, loads of tour dates, and a move to Berkeley, CA, these songs still mean a lot to him, and they’re collected on the retrospective June 2009.
Originally part of the tour-only CD-R of the same name, June 2009 feels like a peek inside the mind of an artist not knowing where to turn once stripped of the structure of school life. He struggles with good friends moving away (“Sad Sams”), the pressing feeling that a move to New York is a necessary career move (“Take The L To Leave”), and the fear that simple pleasures have become a thing of the past (“Ektelon”). But more than nostalgic yearnings for the recent past, the songs are like journal entries—as commemorative as they are therapeutic. Elsewhere, tracks like “Girl Problems” and “Dead Pontoon” show how his first album might have sounded if “109” had been that first single’s A-side, with reverb-soaked, angular guitar riffs serving as focal points of the power-pop periphery. Also included is an early version of Causers standout “Talamak,” one of his first cuts to make the blog rounds and an interesting insight into the process of reformatting his work to fit with the album. Closer “New Loved Ones” sees Bundick in a rare, intimate environment, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar and in the throes of love lost. With songs varied in style but bound together by their personal subject matter, June 2009 is a portrait of a young man unknowingly on the cusp of a fruitful career.
RIYL Blood Orange, Homeshake