Will Toledo — aka Car Seat Headrest — was a Bandcamp legend by the time Matador Records signed him last year. He released 10 albums via the DIY platform and now, he’s releasing his first LP of new material through the esteemed indie label. On this week’s Alt In Our Stars, Toledo took us into the mindset of a musician making the big jump.
With Teens of Denial set to hit stores next Friday (May 20) the band and its label hit a bump in the road yesterday. Nearly 10,000 CD and vinyl copies had to be recalled after they realized they hadn’t received the proper clearance to include elements of the Cars’ 1978 hit “Just What I Needed,” which was reimagined on one of the tracks. Our conversation with Toledo took place before then, but he still told us about the process of crafting the song that’s since been re-written as “Not What I Needed”:
The track was not originally intended to have “Just What I Needed” in the title, because I wanted it to be a complete surprise when it came on in the music. We just kind of ran out of time to get everything cleared and I found out that it would be easier to get it cleared as a medley, which just meant re-titling and splitting it 50/50, I think was the compromise.
According to a statement issued by Matador, a license for the contentious song had been negotiated “in good faith months ago, only to be told last week that the publisher involved was not authorized to complete the license in the United States, and that [Cars frontman] Ric Ocasek preferred that his work not be included in the song.”
But CSH is soldiering on. The physical release has been delayed, but the digital version still drops May 20, including “Not What I Needed.” Listen to the podcast below to hear Toledo speak on perfect band names, faking your own death, and the millennials vs. baby boomers debate. On that note, he also tried to get the rights to interpolate Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” on Teens of Denial, but his lawyers weren’t having it.
To keep up with the podcast (a new episode comes out every Friday) and to stream old episodes, subscribe to The Alt In Our Stars podcast on iTunes. Let us know what you think on Twitter (@cpayneonaplane) and by rating the podcast on iTunes.