Toyota, “Model Concept(s) I-V”

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L​.​P​.​1. Aka 14 Year Old High School PC​-​Fascist Hype Lords Rip Off Devo For The Sake Of Extorting $​$​$ From Helpless Impressionable Midwestern Internet Peoplepunks L​.​P​.

That’s the title of Coneheads’ 2015 LP. A winking nod to tiny labels’ false-scarcity ploys and caddy subcultures’ baseless whisper campaigns, it’s also an altogether too-true encapsulation of hype as it plays out in contemporary punk. And yet, Coneheads-mania eclipsed the usual narrative of internet-hype—for this writer, at least—when an Oakland act called Toyota was described, somewhat humorously, as “Coneheads-worship.” Homage is familiar to punk; entire subgenres are predicated on emulation. But for a band to be flattered with outright mimicry before their first round of artificially-inflated cassette prices ends—that’s heavy.

Toyota posted their first recordings last week, a suite of songs entitled “Model Concept(s) I-V”. Like Coneheads—and, yes, like Devo’s early material, compiled on Hardcore—Toyota arrange songs like unstable grids: committed to eighth-note rigidity, rendered with wiry lines, and yet constantly threatening to derail and veer off course. Unlike Coneheads, Toyota style themselves as machines, trafficking in the engineering lingo of prototypes and mass-production.

And really, the resemblance to Coneheads is more interesting as subcultural symptom than practical reference; “Model Concept(s) I-V” is not a carbon-copy, despite the scientific references. Here, Toyota sounds too reckless to imitate, too palpably thrilled by the discovery of new mutations.