Brooklyn-based duo Dan Álvarez de Toledo and Jordan Dunn-Pilz, who record and perform as TOLEDO, are back with two more singles from How It Ends (Sept. 23, Grand Jury Music), their forthcoming debut album. “Flake” and “What Happened to the Menorah?” are accompanied by visuals created by Matt Hixon.
The surefire standout of the two tracks, “Flake” is a lush indie-folk strummer that lands like a shot to the heart. The titular flake is the narrator’s father, who always ends up hurting his child, whether by his blood or behavior: “Everything wrong with me lands where you are,” TOLEDO sing, an indictment laced with as much sadness as anger. The duo find catharsis at the crest of each chorus, harmonizing, “I fuckin’ hate your guts right now”—it’s only by expressing this pain that they can find a way to carry it. The song swirls through its crescendo, twangy guitars and thrumming bass masking TOLEDO’s enjoined voices as they resolve to protect themselves from further suffering: “And I could take the hand that you’re reaching out / But you’d only disappoint / You did it then / You’ll do it now.”
TOLEDO say of “Flake” in a statement:
It’s one step forward, two steps back. Sometimes when you feel like you’re heading in the right direction, you slip up and fall back into old habits. You only have yourself to blame, but aren’t your parents to blame for how you end up? It’s really a fuck you to myself and my dad. Our legacy of shit. Sonically it’s Barenaked Ladies meets Fleetwood Mac. And that’s Twitch live streamer Dakotaz in the opening of the song! Accidentally caught in the recording crossfire.
After the wrenching emotions and dynamic instrumentation of “Flake,” “What Happened to the Menorah?” feels like a reprieve. The meditative instrumental ode to Hanukah is all electric guitar reverb and resonant cymbal hits, with a staccato riff and percussion interlocking as the song builds slowly to a crest, only to soon recede peacefully.
TOLEDO signed to Grand Jury and made their debut release on the label in early June with “L-Train.” Soon after, they announced How It Ends and shared two more singles, “Climber” and “Leopard Skin.”
Check out “Flake” and “What Happened to the Menorah?” below, plus TOLEDO’s June Paste session further down.