Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “New Beat” by Toro Y Moi from the 2011 album Underneath The Pine on Carpark Records.
One of the most anticipated artists slated to appear at this year’s SXSW festival will be Columbia, South Carolina native Chaz Bundick, also known as Toro Y Moi. This isn’t Bundick’s first trip to the festival, which is held every March in Austin, but with his latest album Underneath The Pine having been released last month to near universal-acclaim, Toro Y Moi is riding a wave of popularity that will put him in the SXSW spotlight in 2011. Underneath The Pine is the follow up to 2010′s debut full-length Causers Of This, and along with danceable singles “Still Sound” and today’s featured song “New Beat,” the album’s intriguing cover art, as well as Bundick’s unconventional - by “indie” standards, anyway - South Carolina roots and African-American/Filipino heritage combine to bring Toro Y Moi out from under the radar and into the open as one of the year’s most talked-about bands.
Above all else, what has drawn music fans to Toro Y Moi is the music itself. Bundick and his band combine throwback, bass-heavy funk grooves, an endless array of old-school effects, and airy, lackadaisical vocals to result in a sound that is as retro as it is modern. Much of Underneath The Pine is very mellow and watery, flowing like an easy-going, funkified river from track to track, but it is the infectious energy of songs like “Still Sound” and “New Beat” that have had the masses talking. The two singles showcase more forceful grooves as well as funky bass, keyboard effects, and vocals that seamlessly weave in and out of each other, hitting every mark along the way. The amazing videos for both songs don’t hurt either, and it’s not hard to believe that Bundick has a background in visual design. You can view the video for “New Beat” below. Click here to see “Still Sound.”
In addition to playing at SXSW on March 16, Toro Y Moi will be performing at the KEXP @ SXSW Radio Day Stage on March 19 at 1:00 PM Austin time. Unlike the KEXP @ SXSW performances at Mellow Johnny’s, the Radio Day Stage performances will not be broadcast live, but will be recorded and played at a later date. And if you can’t make it down to Austin this week, fear not. Toro Y Moi will be coming by The Crocodile in Seattle on Sunday, March 27. Get your tickets now!