I again owe thanks to Chris at Gorilla vs Bear for introducing me to another great musician. While I can’t reach into my mailbox and break new artists on my own yet, I can pass along great music that I come across in my daily reading, so head over to GVB and then read my post…
Chad VanGaalen comes from Calgary, and Chad VanGaalen’s music comes from a basement in Chad’s house in Calgary, where he writes and records his music on a four track. I’ve spent two days straight listening to his first LP Infiniheart, originally released in 2004, and then again by Sub Pop in 2005, and I now feel qualified to comment on an album the blog-world already covered a long time ago.
His voice has been compared to Sufjan, and Win Butler among others. There is much to discover in his music, his fragile warble can add emotion where at times lyrics cannot, the songs are filled with interesting harmonies and just the right amount of samples. Chad’s mood can turn from chill acoustics to high energy electric in a heartbeat, which can sometimes take you by surprise, similar to Mark Kozelek, this is most evident on tracks like “Echo Train”.
While the song themes on Infiniheart for the most part are as cold and morbid as a Calgary basement (take the first three track titles for example: 1. Clinically Dead, 2. After the Afterlife, 3: Kill Me In My Sleep) the album begins to warm up towards the end (14. “Sunshine Snare Hits” 15. “Liquid + Light”). If this album suffers at all, it may have a few too many tracks in the middle (although sub pop claims this album was culled from 100s of home recordings, so narrowing it down to 16 isn’t so bad).
One of the most interesting tracks on Infiniheart is “Blood Machine”, I’d like to know what’s going through your head when you come up with lyrics like that: Chad, if you’re one of the 368 viewers of this blog, please let me know.
His new LP Skelliconnection will be released on Sub Pop on August 22, and from what I’ve heard so far it’s promising, and may be a bit more polished than Infiniheart. Chad VanGaalen will be playing with Band of Horses (excellent by the way) on Sept. 8th at The Paradise, buy tickets here.
Chad VanGaalen’s Self-Animated Video for “Clinically Dead”