DJ Daniel’s Review of Toro Y Moi’s What For?

Last week, Toro Y Moi released his latest album, What For?. KWVA DJ, DJ Daniel from Ambience!, doles out his opinion and compares this release to Toro’s past albums. Read on to see what he got out of the record.


In spite of his love of all things digital, Toro Y Moi‘s Chaz Bundick is a rocker at heart. His latest album What For? is a return to his indie rock roots, best showcased on his June 2009 singles collection. But he’s brought the tricks he’s learned from dabbling in house, chillwave, pop, and funk to the table. The result is a modest record, not his best (that’s Causers of This), but with a subtle greatness and a light touch anyone familiar with Toro Y Moi is used to.

These songs aren’t very tight; they meander and sound just great in the background. But they’re hooky as hell. Even if you don’t remember the lyrics to “Buffalo” and “Empty Nesters,” the melodies stick. So do the production touches, like the gorgeous piano on “The Flight” or the seasick funk clavi that opens “Lilly.” Though there are few electronics, Bundick has a producer’s ear for effects, particularly phasing, which he may have the best ear for in all contemporary pop.

What For? is best suited for casual listening–background or otherwise–which may cause some to misinterpret it. Bundick’s approach to rock is holistic; he doesn’t focus on specific things like hooks, lyrics, or sound as much as combining them all into a package that’s immensely enjoyable to listen to. It doesn’t have the sheer beauty of Causers of This or the puckish auterishness of his next-best album Underneath the Pine. But don’t come expecting your mind blown. Come for a fun, baggage-free listening experience.

– DJ Daniel

Clara’s Review of YamaYama’s Party Dog EP

KWVA DJ Clara is comin’ at you today with a review of YamaYama‘s Party Dog EP! Scroll down to check it out. 0000633864_10

Yama Yama gives ‘college bands’ a good rep. This group of four musicians assumed their connection over a shared appreciation of strangely compatible elements. Drummer Merlin Showalter, entering the group with nearly a too broad breadth of music articulate, bass Milo Fultz “exploring every idiom in the music world he can find”, Pianist and keyboardist Dario LaPoma perorming with salsa and funk bands alike, and saxophonist and composer Scott Mitchell ranging from free jazz to funk.

The genre of their music is in no way generic, and it fuses jazz and funk with the realm of electronics and video games. They claim to take influence from a broad spectrum of performers including Mark Guiliana, Parliamente Funkadelic, Dave Holland Group, and many others. These influences become apparent though the complex texture of their sound, a relaxed jazz at times is spattered with electronic grooves on keys or guitar.Personally, I couldn’t help but pick up on a heavy 90s daytime television vibe, though the rhythms seem fundamentally much more impressive than what would generally accompany a talk-show.

Above all other elements, their time signatures cause the most consideration while casually listening. . “Party Dog EP” acts as Yama Yama’s first debut, released in the Fall of 2012. The album opens Both the opening and ending tracks convey an intended old-timey mood, cast by what sounds to be a minimal phonograph. Maintaining a strong, fast moving beat that sustains throughout the song, the 2nd and 3rd songs include minimal melodies to allow for wild solo features. The 4th song has a more subdued start and fades to background noise of children playing on a playground, then gradually integrating the soft melody of a guitar floating in the background and finally transitioning into full bodied yet gentle song. The 5th song feels like the equivalent to a chill police chase, genuinely incorporating the sounds of sirens, and the 6th keeps this fast pace conveyed in a more optimistic, upbeat tone.

Considering this is their first album, it’s mighty impressive how collected and established their sound is. Coming from a moderate jazz enthusiast, this album is much more accessible than more free-jazz. Definitely worthy of a good listen.

– Clara Dunklee