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Historians will call it the Great Indie Rock Beef of 2017.
It all started yesterday when Sam Ray, the sharp-tongued frontman of Teen Suicide who also performs under the solo moniker Ricky Eat Acid, published a scathing essay on Medium titled “Punching Upwards at a Particularly Bland Windmill,” in which he lambasts Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest.
“I know I’m too old to get mad about whatever sentient collection of Taco Bell Feed-The-Beat gift cards mumbled their way into the limelight this month,” Ray begins, before proceeding to get very mad about Toledo’s music and success over the course of approximately 1,300 words. “If you walk into any house show in America with a handful of rocks, by the second or third throw you’ll have hit a boy with a Bandcamp that sounds exactly like them,” he writes.
Ray’s misgivings apparently stem from the fact that Car Seat Headrest signed to esteemed indie label Matador Records, despite Ray’s beliefs that Toledo’s music is “thoroughly bland & lifeless” and his “public persona exists in between dull platitudes and esoteric name-dropping.” Ray also admits to getting stoned and listening to Car Seat Headrest’s latest record, Teens of Denial, in the interest of objectivity. He confirms he still finds the album “very, very, very dull.”
Ray then successively deconstructs comparisons of Car Seat Headrest to Pavement, Guided by Voices, and the Lemonheads, before compiling a list of fiery roasts against the group he and his friend Erik cooked up. (The best one: “Have you ever wished more music could make you feel the same way dogs feel when their owners go out grocery shopping and leave NPR running in an attempt to keep them calm?”)
Toledo responded to the letter Wednesday morning, tweeting, “my manager just told me that someone on the internet said that my music is bad, can anyone confirm this?” He also dropped a “brand new, on-point diss track” on SoundCloud called “Stoney Bologne,” which allegedly features Ray and comes with the description, “this one’s for you sam.”
can anyone confirm this?— car seat headrest (@carseatheadrest) June 7, 2017
here is our brand new, on-point diss track https://t.co/njsYM9Iuqu— car seat headrest (@carseatheadrest) June 8, 2017
The ragged rap/EDM/metal banger features such savage punchlines as, “You don’t know me, you ain’t my homie, blow me.” Ray seemed unfazed by the track, tweeting last night, “eh even I thought he could do better than that lol and I wrote the damn essay.”
eh even I thought he could do better than that lol and I wrote the damn essay— Nothing To See Here! (@fugazi420) June 8, 2017
Keep punching upward, man.
Bryan Rolli is a reporter who specializes in streaming entertainment. He writes about music and film for Forbes, Billboard, and the Austin American-Statesman. He met Flavor Flav in two separate Las Vegas bowling alleys and still can’t stop talking about it.