TOLEDO Announce Debut Album How It Ends, Share Origins of “Leopard Skin”: Exclusive

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Origins is a recurring new music series that gives artists a platform to talk about everything that went into their newest release. Today, TOLEDO reveal “Leopard Skin” from their forthcoming debut LP, How It Ends.

Freshly signed to Grand Jury Music, Brooklyn indie folk duo TOLEDO have announced their debut full-length, How It Ends. The cycle began with the release of “L-Train,” and continues today with a pair of new singles, “Leopard Skin” and “Climber.”

Arriving September 23rd, How It Ends finds bandmates Dan Álvarez de Toledo and Jordan Dunn-Pilz helping each other navigate their 20s by exploring “each other’s family histories and traumas.” As Dunn-Pilz put it in a press statement, “As best friends, we know what’s going on in each other’s lives and we’ve been there for most of them. We’ve been saying for a while that we should write around these experiences with our families.”

“Climber” does just that, exploring the type of one-sided relationship Álvarez de Toledo witnessed between his parents. The story — “a ‘love song’ a la Michelle Branch or Sixpence None the Richer,” as the band describes it — is about someone so hopelessly in love with their disinterested partner, that even though they’re “same book/ Different pages/ But I wouldn’t change it.”

Then there’s the sibling single, “Leopard Skin,” as track which TOLDEO describes simply as “a song about a hickey.” The slow, wistful tune looks back at youthful make out sessions with a simple, romantic nostalgia. It’s those awkward moments of inexperience (“The tries and the false starts/ Bending our backs to make it stick”) that as a teen are filled with importance and new feelings: “Blue in the neck, red in the face/ But it feels good to carry your shame/ And live in the stain glassed body you made.”

Take a listen to both “Leopard Skin” and “Climber” below, followed by TOLEDO’s Origins of the former track. You can also peep the cover art and tracklist for How It Ends, which is available for pre-order here.

How It Ends Artwork:

TOLEDO How It Ends AlbumCover TOLEDO Announce Debut Album How It Ends, Share Origins of Leopard Skin: Exclusive
TOLEDO How It Ends AlbumCover TOLEDO Announce Debut Album How It Ends, Share Origins of Leopard Skin: Exclusive

How It Ends Tracklist:
01. Soda Can
02. Boxcutter
03. Hideout
04. Keep It Down!
05. How It Ends
06. Climber
07. Flake
08. L-Train
09. Leopard Skin
10. What Happened to the Menorah?
11. Ghosty
12. Fixing Up the Back Room

Church:

church toledo leopard skin
church toledo leopard skin

Photo via Debby Hudson/Unsplash

We are not churchgoers, but we did rent out a church in our hometown (Newburyport, Massachusetts) to record some vocals. They had a functional organ that helped provide a bed for the second half of the song and is featured on a few of the album tracks. You can also hear Daniel banging on the church pews for percussion. Lyrically, the song bounces between shame and sexuality while referencing stained glass, so maybe we were feeling the spirit.

Old Furniture:

old couch dan meyers
old couch dan meyers

Photo via Dan Meyers/Unsplash

Jordan’s mom used to have some raggedy couches in the basement. There was this one particularly ugly specimen that was yellow and brown, covered in holes, and fraying at the seams. While writing about a hickey, the sense memory of this couch came to mind. Not going to dig too deep into why.

Animal Planet:

We were mixing the album with our buddy Brandon Shoop, and he likes to put on visuals while he works so people think he is cool. We got to working on “Leopard Skin” in the late hours of the night, and this slow-motion video of birds fighting (mating?) was playing throughout. That primal energy worked with the latter half of the song, and we set out to capture that sonically.

The Bronze:

toledo leopard skin the bronze buffy
toledo leopard skin the bronze buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (20th Television)

We are outspoken Buffy enthusiasts and have always wanted to write music that could play at the best spot in the bad part of town. Downtempo, looking at your feet, baggy clothing type. Also the song is about hickeys and veins and getting hollowed out… vampires… again, probably best not to think too deeply.

TOLEDO Announce Debut Album How It Ends, Share Origins of “Leopard Skin”: Exclusive
Ben Kaye

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