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. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Empty Nesters” by Toro Y Moi from the 2015 album What For? on Carpark Records.
Although his early work placed him at the forefront of the then-burgeoning chillwave sound of the early 2010s, Chaz Bundick evolved to make Toro Y Moi one of the most funkiest and fun outfits of the decade. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Bundick was introduced through his earliest bedroom experiments to electronic music, and when he emerged in 2009 with a debut 7″ on Carpark, his music was going through a dreamy, gauzy phase, which led him to be grouped under the chillwave banner. However, with the release of his second album, 2011’s Underneath the Pine, Bundick moved into a spacey, disco-based direction and embraced funk elements into his increasingly strong songwriting, a direction that 2013’s Anything in Return continued in. After taking time off to return to his love of dance music as Les Sins, Bundick returned to Toro Y Moi for 2015’s full-band grooving What For?
A longtime festival staple, Toro Y Moi have increasingly learned how to write tunes that are immediate and danceable, and “Empty Nesters” boldly connects on both of those points. Building swirling keyboards and guitars around a rubbery low-end, Bundick tumbles through the song’s jangly bounce with an equally as agile vocal melody. After spending time away as a dance music producer, it’s enthralling to hear that Bundick has brought that project’s sense of rhythm into his full-band work, making “Empty Nesters” the latest in his string of sun-kissed dancefloor fillers.
Toro Y Moi will be in Seattle later this month when they play the 2015 Capitol Hill Block Party. Stay tuned for coverage of that show after it happens, and keep up with the band at their Facebook and website. Below, watch the band play “High Living” live on KEXP in 2013.