In person, Toro Y Moi's Chaz Bundick looks nothing like the mover and shaker of the moment. He wears Windsor eyeglasses and, from certain angles, looks like Harris Trinsky, the bookish petunia from cult TV hit Freaks and Geeks. Bundick, however, is no Dungeon Master. On record, he has the detached cool and charismatic lean of a star. Three summers ago, Bundick helped invent a rockist-baiting genre of analog pop called "chillwave" and got famous from the comfort of his South Carolina bedroom. Most chillwave is a little too self-reflexive, made by nerdy middle-class dudes on dinky synth factory presets, but Bundick's assured, polished records exist on another plane. His Underneath the Pine was a great pop album, messy and flighty in all the ways that classic pop usually is. It was grounded but fanciful, consolatory but absent of chillwave's usual high sentimentality. What followed was a murderers' row of EPs and one-off collaborations. Of those records, last spring's June 2009 best articulated how it feels to be a misbegotten teenager, refashioning Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me-era Cure for 2012 (2009?) ears. Multiply Royskopp's synthy pleasantry by Sade's hotel-lounge jazz and you get unbeatable new LP Anything in Return. — M.T. Richards
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