For young families yearning to own, Fairfax’s London Towne beckons

When Anita Ramos was growing up near Falls Church in the 1960s, her father would occasionally drive into the country to watch the construction of London Towne, a community of 665 townhouses west of Centreville in Fairfax County.

“My relatives would ask, ‘Why are people building rowhouses out in the middle of nowhere?’ ” Ramos said.

The answer became evident by 1985…

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The Washington Post, Aug. 5, 2020

In Loudoun County, ‘village of Oz’ turns into an amenity-rich, family-friendly neighborhood

When Shirley Barber moved with her young family to Ashburn Farm in 1989, “it was like the village of Oz dropped down into this country area — one road coming in and out, no buildings,” she said. “There was nothing here.”

Barber and her husband, David Tabor, were the original owners of a house in the eastern Loudoun County community of 3,863 homes, most of which were built between 1988 and 1993. A few smaller neighborhoods were annexed into Ashburn Farm during the ensuing decade.

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The Washington Post, July 8, 2020

Car Seat Headrest in the news – June 2020

“Frontman and songwriter for the indie rock giants Car Seat Headrest, Will Toledo is an avid user of Fender Telecasters.”

ultimate-guitar.com, June 22, 2020

“The sum total of their efforts is a thrilling left turn from a deeply consistent yet wildly unpredictable band.”

–Chris DeVille on Stereogum, “The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far,” June 10, 2020

“Singer-songwriter Will Toledo discusses new album ‘Making A Door Less Open'”

–Kyle Meredith on Consequence of Sound, June 5, 2020

In eastern Loudoun, CountrySide lives up to its bucolic name

Pat Bour described it as “scary” in 1983 when she and her young family moved from suburban Maryland to CountrySide in eastern Loudoun County.

“There was nothing when we moved out here — no malls, no other HOAs, nothing. But once I got here, I loved it,” Bour said. “We’re retired now. We have no plans to move. I’m going to stay here until I’m taken out feet first.”

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The Washington Post, June 10, 2020

In Loudoun County, you can live on Opportunity, Laughter or Understanding

In 2009, looking for good schools for their children, Christa and Brian Geno moved from Herndon to Kirkpatrick Farms, a new development in a then-remote corner of southern Loudoun County. Braddock Road, which bisects the community, was gravel in that segment, and shopping and other amenities were miles away.

They are happy with their decision, Christa Geno said.

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The Washington Post, May 6, 2020

Car Seat Headrest in the news – May 2020

Making A Door Less Open is unpredictable, ambitious, and unapologetic—and that’s a good thing.”

–Darren DeVivo on WFUV (New York), May 25, 2020

“Car Seat Headrest’s new album, ‘Making a Door Less Open,’ debuted to the biggest sales of the band’s career when it was released earlier this month.”

–Allison Stewart in The Washington Post, May 14, 2020

“Album of the Week: Car Seat Headrest, ‘Making A Door Less Open'”

–Mac Wilson on the current, May 11, 2020

“Nine Songs: Car Seat Headrest”

–Alex Wisgard on The Line of Best Fit, May 8, 2020

“Making A Door Less Open is an album of reflection and one that looks at the choices and desires we encounter over our lives.”

–Matty Pywell on Gigwise, May 7, 2020

“The Restless, Stressed-Out Genius of Car Seat Headrest”

–Simon Vosick-Levinson in Rolling Stone, May 6, 2020

“It seems that going forward each project will not always be for everyone, but it will always be brave, and always be worth a listen.”

–Alex Crowley on Underscore Part 3, May 2, 2020

Making a Door Less Open is his breakout moment.”

–Will Hodgkinson in The Times, May 1, 2020

“Car Seat Headrest have delivered a collection of songs on ‘Making A Door Less Open’ that show that you can leap a chasm in one jump as long as you are brave enough to imagine it.”

–Mark Gannon on Backseat Mafia, May 1, 2020

“It is somehow a perfect mix of all the things you might love from past Car Seat Headrest albums and some wild new stuff that they are doing for the first time.”

–Steven on 107.7 the end, May 1, 2020

“The Story Behind Every Song On Car Seat Headrest’s New Album Making A Door Less Open”

–Michael Tedder on Stereogum, May 1, 2020

“A weird and wonderful new offering…”

–Elly Watson on DIY, May 1, 2020

“It’s another Toledo-driven performance that is accurately conceived, perfectly delivered and flecked with enough nooks and crannies for their fans to get lost in.”

–Jack Whatley on Far Out, May 1, 2020

“…on the band’s latest album, Making a Door Less Open, frontman Will Toledo turns his trademark sound upside down by building sometimes spare earworms with synths, drum machines and samples.”

–Robin Hilton on NPR’s All Songs Considered, May 1, 2020

“Toledo has realised that he can take the band’s sound anywhere he can imagine – and that’s exactly what he’s done on Making A Door Less Open.”

–Rob Hakimian on Beats Per Minute, May 1, 2020

“Lo-fi indie heroes take an ambitious left turn on twelfth album.”

–Lucy O’Toole on Hot Press, May 1, 2020

“Making a Door Less Open, at its best recalls Talking Heads.”

–Steven Ovadia on Northern Transmissions, May 1, 2020

“Lyrically, it’s more of the sharp wit and cynicism that’s come to characterise his songwriting – exhaustion quickly reveals itself as the record’s thematic anchor – but its overall sound is somewhat beguiling, with Toledo welcoming in a whole new range of textures and electronics from outside of the usual Car Seat Headrest sphere.”

–Niall Flynn on Huck, May 1, 2020

“Die-hard fans will find enough new sounds and ideas to keep them occupied, while casual listeners will be relieved to learn that, despite everything, this is still a Car Seat Headrest record, which is usually good news.”

–Nils Heutehaus on Nothing But Hope and Passion, May 1, 2020

“The new album runs rife with experimentation.”

–James Crowley in Newsweek, May 1, 2020

“…the simple yet effective melodies that buoyed Car Seat Headrest‘s earlier work are still recognizable, and the sincere, foggy tone of Toledo‘s voice adds a humanity that makes his uncertainty cut even deeper.”

–Mark Deming on AllMusic, May 1, 2020

“It’s a statement on the way people consume music today, the individual energy of songs wrapped in the illusion of an album.”

–Marianne Gallagher on Clash, May 1, 2020

Car Seat Headrest in the news – April 2020

“…most of Car Seat Headrest’s warm, intelligent, eclectic record has me giddy.”

–Stefan Milne on SeattleMet, April 30, 2020

“Far from experiencing growing pains, Car Seat seem to have had a lot of fun here.”

–Rhys Buchanan on NME, April 30, 2020

“…it takes the standard building blocks of mainstream pop and rearranges them into something idiosyncratic.”

–Alexis Petridis in The Guardian, April 30, 2020

“Toledo has created the kind of record that is the pinnacle of his work so far – masterfully teasing together the elements of Billboard-troubling rock, spacious, slow-burning dynamics, soul-searching intimacy, and, more than anything, songs that embrace his new found fame without compromising his artistry.”

–Chris Hatch on Secret Meeting, April 29, 2020

“‘Making A Door Less Open’ is Car Seat Headrest’s most ambitious project yet; and, most importantly, it lives up to that ambition, every angle of the album feeling exciting and vital.”

–Mia Hughes on Clash Music, April 29, 2020

“Between the cryptic Trait get-up, the heavy presence of electronic instrumentation, and Toledo’s lyrical shift from gut-spilling rambles to concise dispatches from various settings and perspectives, Making A Door Less Open feels like a very different Car Seat Headrest.”

–Eli Enis in Entertainment Weekly, April 29, 2020

Making a Door Less Open ultimately sounds like an entertaining experiment, a test of Car Seat Headrest’s malleability and potential for new directions.”

–Kaelen Bell on Exclaim!, April 29, 2020

“The fresh aggravated sounds are a gift – gritty and vehemently true.”

–Evamoss on About That Record, April 29, 2020

“…a stepping stone into a better and more realized Car Seat Headrest.”

–Kyle J. Kohner in Riff Magazine, April 29, 2020

“Will Toledo has a special talent, creating engaging narratives that provide a unique perspective to the human experience.”

–Matty Pywell on Gigwise, April 28, 2020

“Album Of The Week: Car Seat Headrest Making A Door Less Open

–James Rettig on Stereogum, April 28, 2020

“As one of the most genuinely interesting faces in indie rock to recently emerge, Car Seat Headrest have been gaining an increasing level of traction due to their assertive lo-fi sounds and frontman Will Toledo’s unusually intriguing voice and compelling lyrics. “

–Cameron Wright on Narc. Magazine, April 28, 2020

“Make up your own phrase for this new sound, or let it stay unspoken and ambiguous; either way, don’t go into it expecting anything at all, because this album will surprise you with every new hook and riff.”

–Frankie Hendricks on Alt Revue, April 28, 2020

“The new album is a masterclass in mixing influences seamlessly.”

–Isabel Crabtree on Loud and Quiet, April 27, 2020

“What’s new here, apart from the rippling synth lines and programmed beats, is the sense of fresh-start possibility and hard-won optimism that infuses nearly every track.”

–Alex Pappademas in the New York Times, April 23, 2020

“Car Seat Headrest’s ‘Making a Door Less Open’ Is an Indie Pop Triumph”

–Jonathan Leal on PopMatters, April 23, 2020

“Spoiler alert: The whole album is good!”

–Chris DeVille on Stereogum, April 23, 2020

Car Seat Headrest have shared ‘There Must Be More Than Blood,’ the latest song from their forthcoming album Making a Door Less Open.”

–Noah Yoo on Pitchfork, April 23, 2020

“A slow-burning sizzler that sees Car Seat mastermind Will Toledo imploring ‘There must be more than blood / That holds us together,’ it’s a heartstring pulling look into the upcoming twelfth studio album that Will promises will be ‘full of songs that [have] a special energy, each one unique and different in its vision.'”

DIY Magazine, April 23, 2020

“Car Seat Headrest Shares ‘There Must Be More Than Blood’ Single”

–Nate Todd on JamBase, April 23, 2020

“Now, the group has debuted their upcoming record’s stunning, seven-minute centerpiece, ‘There Must Be More Than Blood’ with an acoustic video.”

–Carolyn Droke on Uproxx, April 23, 2020

“The new song is called ‘There Must Be More Than Blood,’ and it’s accompanied by an acoustic music video featuring a performance by Toledo as his newly debuted alter-ego, Trait.”

–Natalie Keogan on Paste, April 23, 2020

“In its mesmeric slow burn, album centerpiece ‘There Must Be More Than Blood’ presents another facet of the broad palette found on MADLO, with Toledo placing emphasis on the individual songs, each with its own ‘special energy.'”

Broadway World, April 23, 2020

“Car Seat Headrest Share New Song ‘There Must Be More Than Blood’ and Acoustic Video for the Song”

–Christopher Roberts on Under the Radar, April 23, 2020

“It’s some of the most infectiously multifarious material Car Seat Headrest have ever released.”

–Gary Walker in Guitar Magazine, April 21, 2020

“Seamless melds of indie guitars and electronic pop, stuffed with spry choruses and poetic self-castigation… MADLO’s higher-fi moves demand wider attention.”

–June edition of MOJO Magazine, April 21, 2020

“Will Toledo rails against Hollywood in latest song from ‘Making a Door Less Open'”

–Alex Gallagher on NME, April 17, 2020

“The warped, jerky synth-rock of Hollywood will take its place on Will Toledo’s new record ‘Making A Door Less Open’, which is out on May 1 through Matador, promising a left turn in to experimental terrain.”

–Huw Baines on Stereoboard, April 17, 2020

“Blessing us today, Car Seat Headrest have unleashed the latest taste of their upcoming new album ‘Making A Door Less Open,’ sharing new track ‘Hollywood.’”

DIY, April 16, 2020

Car Seat Headrest have shared the latest song from the new album Making a Door Less Open.”

–Evan Minsker on Pitchfork, April 16, 2020

“[Will Toledo] has further teased the record with a song called ‘Hollywood,’ which isn’t exactly laudatory about its namesake place.

–Derrick Rossignol on Uproxxx, April 16, 2020

“It’s a no-nonsense tune that features familiar heavy riffs, a big hook and heavy grooves.”

Spin, April 16, 2020

“‘Hollywood makes me want to puke’ is thrown at you with the velocity of a home run.”

–Matty Pywell on Gigwise, April 16, 2020

“CSH tapped Sabrina Nichols to helm the video for ‘Hollywood.’ The visual features an animated Trait, Toledo’s masked alter ego.”

–Nate Todd on JamBase, April 16, 2020

“The music video follows frontman Will Toledo’s alter ego in animated form, Trait, who is heavily featured on the album.”

–Natalia Keogan on Paste, April 16, 2020

“Car Seat Headrest isn’t holding back on their new song ‘Hollywood,’ which arrived today with a video directed by Sabrina Nichols.”

–Dustin Heidt in Variance Magazine, April 16, 2020

“[Will Toledo] channels a similar spirit of revision with his latest record, Making a Door Less Open, which has two takes: one recorded as a traditional rock band, and another built around synthesizers and sequenced sounds (as heard on lead single Can’t Cool Me Down).”

Pitchfork’s “25 Most Anticipated Albums of Spring 2020,” April 1, 2020

10 Influential Albums

A couple of weeks ago, I responded to a Facebook challenge to post the covers of 10 albums that had influenced “my musical tastes and upbringing.” I posted my responses in chronological order, starting with …Moving, by Peter, Paul & Mary.

Not all of these albums would rank among my favorites. But, for one reason or another, they changed the course of what I was listening to at the time, and in some ways helped shape my own style of musical composition. Explanations are below.

Shot Through the Heart – Jennifer Warnes

This Jennifer Warnes album influenced me in two ways.

First, her song “I Know a Heartache When I See One” was my gateway to country music in the early 1980s.

Around 1980, I grew bored with what I was hearing on mainstream rock stations. “Heartache,” which crossed the two genres, got me listening to country stations, and I continued to do so for the next several years.

Country music had long appealed to me. I recall songs from my childhood such as Billy Grammer’s “Gotta Travel On” and “He’ll Have to Go” by Jim Reeves. And after I discovered Top 40 radio, I had enjoyed crossover hits such as Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” and Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors.”

My 1980s foray into popular country music greatly expanded my knowledge of the genre. Then, around 1986, I found programs on Los Angeles-area radio stations KPFK and KCRW that took me in several different directions, including contemporary acoustic music, old-time country, bluegrass, “world music,” Celtic and what is now known as Americana.

With the inclusion of her gorgeous, a cappella rendition of “Hard Times Come Again No More” on the album, Warnes also rekindled my appreciation of the music of Stephen Foster. It motivated me to find a book of Foster’s songs, which in turn provided a wellspring of inspiration for my own music.

Favorite tracks: I Know a Heartache When I See One, Hard Times Come Again No More, You Remember Me, Frankie in the Rain