One of my favorite albums of 2016, hands down, is Teens of Denial by Car Seat Headrest. It's a solid indie rock album, from beginning to end, that tackles the subject of depression in a very articulate and accessible way.
I can relate to a lot of the topics covered in this album because of my own struggles with depression over the years (namely those which have been caused by my issues with anxiety). My own dealings with depression were at their worst when I was younger, from puberty until I was 20. I didn't recognize it at the time but looking back, I see signs of how little I was taking care of myself and how I'd replaced self-care with unhealthy coping mechanisms. To have an artist like Will Toledo be able to spell out how it feels, to draw his own struggles out into the light, is really important because it helps to show others that it's not uncommon and it's not something to be ashamed of; his voices lends words to others, so they can feel understood and not so alone ion their human experience.
I've been listening to CSH since he first put out Twin Fantasy on BandCamp in 2011, though I forget how I came across that album. The song I remember most is "Stop Smoking" because a friend of mine was trying to quit smoking at the time, so I added that track to a mix CD I was making her. It's funny how those little anecdotes are what ground us to music, and vice versa. But while I've had that album in my iTunes since it first came out and had heard a lot of buzz about Teens of Style, it took until this year, with Teens of Denial, to pull me all the way into the boat: partly because of this album's themes, partly because of its cleaner production (which really highlights Will's talents), but also because it's sometimes hard to connect with music when you only have so much time and energy to sort through the sea of "content" that's out there. This moment just happened to come at the right time and I am thankful it did.
Last night, I watched CSH play The Ready Room in The Grove. It was a everything a good show should be: great music, a responsive crowd, and full of these small and intimate moments that help to break the wall between performer and audience (humanizing the experience, which is something I enjoy). Seeing CSH live felt like the culmination of years, from casual download to full fandom, and they did not let me down. It helped to remind me why I enjoy live music so much, as well as music in general.