Terms like "masterpiece" and "genius" are being bandied about in reference to Teens of Denial
. That's the messy, ambitious, compelling, maybe transcendent opus from native Virginian Will Toledo, the driving force behind Car Seat Headrest. The name reportedly stems from Toledo's habit of recording vocals in his car for the slew of Bandcamp-released songs that scored him a deal with Matador Records. Last fall's Teens of Style
was a kind of greatest-hits reworking of older tunes, making May's Denial
the first proper studio foray from Toledo. On it, his cleverly idiosyncratic lyrics depict a teenage wasteland of angst and ecstasy, confusion and revelation — part brutally confessional, part cathartic. The latter is especially true when his brooding, often murmured vocals fuel quirky, angular music that traverses twisted acoustic confessionals and elliptical tangents. The sound ranges from buzzing strings to primal screams, ultimately lashing out as gnarly, prickly, hook-infested rock. Detroit's Stef Chura opens.