Concert Preview: Toro Y Moi’s smooth electronica coming to the 9:30 Club

toro-y-moi,-live-at-the-echo,-los-angelesIf you’re looking for a way to make it feel like summer in the midst of D.C.’s dismal February, here’s your chance. On Feb. 10, Toro Y Moi will bring their warm electro-pop music to the 9:30 Club and make us all reminisce over summer music festival season.

The talented artist behind the project is Chaz Bundick, a 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Columbia, S.C., who is backed by a three-piece band. In 2010, Bundick first received attention after releasing his debut album, Causers Of This, which was heavily praised by many music websites and blogs, including Pitchfork.

Though originally labeled as part of the sub-genre “chillwave,” Bundick’s music has transformed to incorporate more R&B textures and hip-hop vibes. And, over the last six months, music critics have praised his newest album, Anything In Return, as polished and clearly indicative of his ability to balance his own eccentricities with an element of cool.

That’s definitely not to say that Bundick hasn’t always had the swag he has now—his first two LPs and 2011′s most excellent EP, Freaking Out, undoubtedly seduced his fans with their hazy and funky 1980’s vibes. But after a few years of experimentation, Bundick has finally lived up to his full potential.

Anything In Return accomplishes two things that Bundick has apparently been working to master over the past few years: featuring deeply personal lyrics that venture into the pain and passion of his past relationships and creating a musical platform that fully complements the former without falling into classic R&B clichés.

Watch the video for Toro Y Moi’s single “So Many Details” and you’ll see that Bundick’s music exudes an aura of longing and desire as well as a playful, but mature charm. His dark, subdued, and handsome comportment mixed with a 70’s fashion sense (Vox is buying some turtle necks from Lands’ End ASAP) and dance moves make for a similarly subtle, but significant juxtaposition.

But as is clear after listening to the album a few times, Toro Y Moi’s carefree countenance only serves as a facade that hides the real substance and depth of his sound and meaning. Bundick’s lyrics on Anything In Return are not only layered and reflective, but also woven seamlessly into his electro-pop sound. Whether he’s mixing together a chill and textured house jam like my all-time favorite, “Rose Quartz,” or the ’90s R&B genius piece, “How It’s Wrong,” Bundick does it like a boss. Everything you hear on Anything In Return is full-hearted and raw, but altogether still upbeat with a rich bass that makes you want to bob your head. Overall, it’s definitely his most sophisticated and refined record to date.

Needless to say, a trip to 9:30 Club to see Bundwick is well worth it. Tickets are sold out on the venue’s website but still for sale on StubHub.

Photo: Derrick Taruc via Flickr

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