Posts Tagged ‘Chad VanGaalen’

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How’s about a shiny new Chad Vangaalen tune for yr ears? “Friendly Aliens / Monopoly Arp” just landed in all the digital music listening places:

What’s the story behind it? According to Chad, “I wrote this song to remind myself that I need be easier on people and ideas in general. To be kind and patient.”

‘Friendly Aliens / Monopoly Arp’ (Release date: November 27th, 2018)

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Also a celebrated visual artist, VanGaalen is widely renowned for his illustration and animation work. As with his previous albums – Infiniheart, Skelliconnection and the Polaris short-listed Soft Airplane, VanGaalen illustrated all of the art for Diaper Island – and is in the midst of animating a music video as well. He has animated music videos for folks like J Mascis, Guster, and Holy Fuck, and his videos have been collectively viewed well over a million times on YouTube.

VanGaalen has been quietly building a catalogue of songs that invite listeners to gently explore his distinctive creativity. Diaper Island extends the adventure into deeper territory, tapping into VanGaalen’s lifeblood and mining the richness of his mind with sharper tools.

As always, VanGaalen wrote, played, and produced all of the music on Light Information (save Ryan Bourne’s bass part on “Mystery Elementals” and vocals on “Static Shape” from his young daughters Ezzy and Pip), and designed the cover art. The product of six years’ work, going back even before 2014’s Shrink Dust, Light Information emerged from the experimental instruments that fill VanGaalen’s Calgary garage studio. Among them is a beloved Korg 770 monosynth, which VanGaalen coveted for years before fixing one up and devoting a lot of recent energy to recording “duets” with it. One of these, “Prep Piano and 770,” is the lone instrumental on Light Information, more atmosphere and chord bursts than the rest of the album’s hooky rock narrative.

‘Light Information’ Release date: September 8, 2017 on Sub Pop Records.

The song “Old Heads” is a sci-fi space anthem to technology that constantly replaces itself, proving both necessary and unnecessary at the same time. It’s also a jangly pop gem, a trip through the fantastical that is ultimately warm and relatable. This remarkable coexistence is one of many achievements of Chad VanGaalen’s Light Information, his sixth record on Sub Pop Records. 

For an album that’s about “not feeling comfortable with really anything,” as VanGaalen says, Light Information is nonetheless a vivid, welcoming journey through future worlds and relentless memories. The rich soundscapes and sometimes jarring imagery (“I’ll be the host body, yes, for the parasitic demons. They can eat me from the inside out, I already hear them chewing.”) could only come from the mind of a creative polymath–an accomplished visual artist, animator, director, and producer, VanGaalen has scored television shows, designed puppet characters for Adult Swim, directed videos for Shabazz Palaces, Strand of Oaks, METZ, Dan Deacon, and The Head and the Heart, and produced records for Women, Alvvays, and others.

While alienation has always been a theme of VanGaalen’s music, Light Information draws on a new kind of wisdom–and anxiety–gained as he watches his kids growing up. “Being a parent has given me a sort of alternate perspective, worrying about exposure to a new type of consciousness that’s happening through the internet,” he says. “I didn’t have that growing up, and I’m maybe trying to preserve a little bit of that selfishly for my kids.”

As always, VanGaalen wrote, played, and produced all of the music on Light Information (save Ryan Bourne’s bass part on “Mystery Elementals” and vocals on “Static Shape” from his young daughters Ezzy and Pip), and designed the cover art. The product of six years’ work, going back even before 2014’s Shrink Dust, Light Information emerged from the experimental instruments that fill VanGaalen’s Calgary garage studio. Among them is a beloved Korg 770 monosynth, which VanGaalen coveted for years before fixing one up and devoting a lot of recent energy to recording “duets” with it. One of these, “Prep Piano and 770,” is the lone instrumental on Light Information, more atmosphere and chord bursts than the rest of the album’s hooky rock narrative.

“If I was going to go out and buy a record, I would probably want it to sound only like that,” says VanGaalen. “That one’s for me.”

Throughout the dark-wave reverb of Light Information are stories of paranoia, disembodiment, and isolation–but there’s also playfulness, empathy, and intimacy. “I sit and do a drawing, a portrait of my dad,” sings VanGaalen on “Broken Bell.” “I should really visit him before he is dead. Cuz we are getting old. Our cells just won’t divide like they told us. But I’m not really good at this kind of thing.”

But VanGaalen is good at a lot of things–and he’s trying to pursue them for the right reasons. “I’m just trying to get over the weight of feeling like I have to be making something of my time constantly,” he says. “Especially with kids, you get these small breaks where you get to make stuff, and now I try to say ‘you know what, I’m going to make something for me.’”

And if he could make anything for himself, it would be without constraint. “I would love to build a living structure from scratch,” he says. “I’ve slowly been ripping my studio apart and building additions, but you’re always kind of down to this box. I’d love to explore more open forms of architecture, with an endless supply of materials to use, even garbage. Building codes keep us in these boxes–You can’t just build a giant hand made out of wood that’s the size of a house to live in. But we really should be able to do that.”

‘Light Information’

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The National return with their much anticipated seventh album, produced by Aaron Dessner, with additional production by Matt Berninger and Bryce Dessner. The album was mixed by Peter Katis and recorded at Aaron’s Long Pond studio in Hudson Valley, NY.

While in some ways it’s typically National-sounding, they’ve definitely added some new elements to their sound. Opening track “Nobody Else Will Be There” is a stripped back ballad with melancholic piano, and Matt’s distinct vocals, but the electronics pulsing away in the background are a sign of what’s to come with the album.

All the usual elements are there, intricate guitars, delicate piano keys, scatter-shot drums and of course Matt’s mumbling/crooning baritone, but a new layer of electronics bubbling away in the mix adds a new dimension to their sound. As with the last couple of albums, it features mostly fairly downtempo ballads but they do ramp things up from time to time: “Day I Die”, “They System Only Dreams In Total” and the big rock-out track of the album, “Turtleneck”. It’s taken a few listens to get into it, but it’s definately their best album yet.

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Although L.A. Witch hail from Los Angeles, they do not partake in any sort of witchcraft. Yet their ability to conjure a specific time and place through their sound does suggest a kind of magic. On their eponymous debut album, L.A. Witch’s reverb-drenched guitar jangle and sultry vocals conjure the analogue sound of a collector’s prized 45 from some short-lived footnote cult band. The melodies forgo the bubblegum pop for a druggy haze that straddles the line between seedy glory and ominous balladry; the production can’t afford Phil Spector’s wall of sound but the instruments’ simple beauty provides an economic grace that renders studio trickery unnecessary; the lyrics seem more descendent of Johnny Cash’s first person morality tales than the vacuous empty gestures of pre-fab pop bands. This isn’t music for the masses; it’s music for miscreants, burnouts, down-and-out dreamers and obsessive historians.

Album opener ‘Kill My Baby Tonight’ is the perfect introduction to the band’s marriage of 60s girls-in-the-garage charm and David Lynch’s surreal exposés of Southern California’s underbelly. Sade Sanchez’s black velvet vocals disguise the malicious intent of this murder ballad, with the thumping pulse of bassist Irita Pai, the slow burn build of drummer Ellie English and Sanchez’s desert guitar twang helping beguile the listener into becoming a willing accomplice to the narrator’s crimes.

‘Brian’ follows the opening track with a similarly graceful, if not somewhat ominous, slow-mo take on a well-worn jukebox 7”. It’s a vibe that permeates the entire album, from the early psychedelic hue of 13th Floor Elevators on tracks like ‘You Love Nothing’, through the motorik beat and fuzzed-out licks of ‘Drive Your Car’, to the grittier permutation of Mazzy Star’s sleepy beauty on ‘Baby In Blue Jeans’.

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The Waterboys release their brand-new studio double album Out Of All This Blue; their first for BMG Records, with whom they recently signed. Out Of All This Blue is The Waterboys most exploratory recording yet, comprising 23 songs with Mike Scott’s trademark sharp lyrics set to pop music with echoes of classic R&B, country, soul and funk and underpinned by modern hiphop production values and rhythms. String and brass sections were arranged and conducted by Trey Pollard of The Spacebomb Collective. Mike Scott says of the record: “Out Of All This Blue is 2/3 love and romance, 1/3 stories and observations. I knew from the beginning I wanted to make a double album, and lucky for me – and I hope the listener – the songs just kept coming, and in pop colours.”

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Following the release of the critically celebrated Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, Margo Price returns with four fresh, gutsy originals that further explore themes of duality, loss and redemption that expand her musical pallet. The four new tracks are being released as a two-piece 7’’ bundle “EP” – a Third Man Records first.

“Paper Cowboy” (written by Matt Gardner) is a whip-smart anthem tailor-made for the blistering summer festival circuit that touches cosmic country territory with a four minute jam that hits a listener like heaven. Meanwhile, “Good Luck” (For Ben Eyestone) is a bittersweet farewell that stands as a perfect fit for when the credits start to roll, the sun takes seat and the world signs off…

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The song Old Heads is a sci-fi space anthem to technology that constantly replaces itself, proving both necessary and unnecessary at the same time. It’s also a jangly pop gem, a trip through the fantastical that is ultimately warm and relatable. This remarkable coexistence is one of many achievements of Chad VanGaalen’s Light Information, his sixth record on Sub Pop. For an album that’s about “not feeling comfortable with really anything,” as VanGaalen says, Light Information is nonetheless a vivid, welcoming journey through future worlds and relentless memories. The rich soundscapes and sometimes jarring imagery could only come from the mind of a creative polymath – an accomplished visual artist, animator, director, and producer, VanGaalen has scored television shows, designed puppet characters for Adult Swim, directed videos for Shabazz Palaces, Strand of Oaks, METZ, Dan Deacon, and The Head and the Heart, and produced records for Women, Alvvays, and others. While alienation has always been a theme of VanGaalen’s music, Light Information draws on a new kind of wisdom – and anxiety – gained as he watches his kids growing up. “Being a parent has given me a sort of alternate perspective, worrying about exposure to a new type of consciousness that’s happening through the internet,” he says. Throughout the dark-wave reverb of Light Information are stories of paranoia, disembodiment, and isolation – but there’s also playfulness, empathy, and intimacy. The product of six years’ work, going back even before 2014’s Shrink Dust, Light Information emerged from the experimental instruments that fill VanGaalen’s Calgary garage studio. As always, VanGaalen wrote, played, and produced all of the music on Light Information (save Ryan Bourne’s bass part on Mystery Elementals and vocals on Static Shape from his young daughters Ezzy and Pip), and designed the cover art.

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The second album from Alvvays, Antisocialites, is set for release on Transgressive Records. Across ten tracks and thirty-three minutes, the Toronto-based group dive back into the deep end of reckless romance and altered dates. To write Antisocialites, Rankin traveled to Toronto Island, working in an abandoned schoolroom by day and sleeping a few feet from shore at night. “I carried a small PA on the ferry in a wheelbarrow,” she recalls. “Every morning I would listen to my favourite records on the beach, then I’d write melodies and record demos in the classroom.”

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The Dream Syndicate are at the foundation of contemporary alternative music because back in 1981 at a time when most bands were experimenting with new technology, they choose to bring back the guitar. Their seminal album The Days of Wine and Roses (1984) has been cited as influential by artists from Nirvana to The Black Crowes. The Dream Syndicate are at the foundation of contemporary alternative music because back in 1981 at a time when most bands were experimenting with new technology, they choose to bring back the guitar. Their seminal album The Days of Wine and Roses (1984) has been cited as influential by artists from Nirvana to The Black Crowes. Known for their incredible live performances, the band toured with everyone from R.E.M. to U2, before splitting up in 1988. In 2012 after years apart in solo projects, front man Steve Wynn reunited The Dream Syndicate to perform at a charity festival in Spain. The reunited band took everything in baby steps. A few shows here and there—including a still talked-about set at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival. The shows were exciting—for both the band and the eagerly awaiting fans, many of whom weren’t even alive when the band were around the first time.

The next step was to see if the excitement and newfound chemistry would extend to the studio. From the first day of recording it was apparent that the band was making an album that would live up its history and take their story into the present. Wynn says, “In a way it feels like if The Days of Wine and Roses would have been made in 2017. Which is to say that it’s true to what we did before but it’s also a whole new thing.”

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“Up until 2014 I was an investigator’s assistant in a public law office. I can’t tell you exactly what my job was on account of I signed a shut your mouth agreement around the time I quit for stress related reasons. But what I can say is that I dealt with corruption and badness perpetrated at the highest levels of authority, daily. I clocked all these leads and I made a file. Because these aren’t things you keep in the dark. You shine a light on the badness and you strive to understand it.

“From a dossier on all things delicate and beautiful and sadly human. Crimes of passion and victims of love. All contained in 10 hot songs. Who’s the culprit? I’ve got my inklings and you can get your own. But first you need to listen to the thing, take it all in, stick photos to your walls and connect them with string, measure footprints in the yard, wear a suit made of reeds, track the migration patterns of birds, intercept whispered transmissions, learn to eat spiders with a hunting knife, sleep in air ducts, make the case.

“Here it is, my album: ‘Forced Witness’.” – Alex Cameron

Album features guest appearances by Brandon Flowers (The Killers), Angel Olsen and Weyes Blood.

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Neil Young will open his archive and release Hitchhiker, an unreleased new studio album. The 10-track acoustic solo album was recorded in Malibu, CA at Indigo Studio in 1976. The original session was produced by Young’s long-time studio collaborator David Briggs.

Recorded between Zuma and American Stars and Bars as a solo album in a single session, the resultant performances are truly breathtaking and passionate. The simplicity of a single voice and guitar captured here is as pure and powerful as it gets, with only Young, Briggs and actor Dean Stockwell in the room at the time of recording. A few of the songs would not appear on vinyl until years later. Some have never been heard, included in the original sessions for Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s “Dume” another unreleased record of original sessions that yielded the classic album, Zuma. When the Hitchhiker album was recorded, none of the included songs had ever been released and many of the performances of the songs were the first ever. This is truly an album of original performances

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Experiencing one emotion at a time is a luxury of the past. Think back to that moment at the women’s march or the pro-science rally, when you spied a small child holding a handmade sign that read “I love naps but I stay woke” or “Boys will be boys good humans” or “May the facts be with you.” How adorable! How upsetting! How the hell are they going to make it to adulthood in this toxic environment? Deerhoof is right there with you.

They recognize that we are simultaneously living in two worlds, one a maniacal, mainstream monoculture hell-bent on driving humankind into extinction, the other a churning underground teeming with ideas and dogged optimism and the will to thrive and survive. Mountain Moves refutes the former by ecstatically celebrating the latter. Though Deerhoof have often made albums from start to finish with virtually no input from the outside world, now is not the time for artists to operate in isolation. Mountain Moves throws the doors wide op en. Working quickly, the band invited myriad guests to participate, some of them dear friends, others practically strangers. They are of different ages, different nationalities, different disciplines.

The only common thread was that each and every artist on Mountain Moves doesn’t fit into a single, neatly-defined category – and doesn’t wish to. If Mountain Moves were a movie, it would be a double feature, Journey to the Center of the Deerhoof and Escape from Planet Deerhoof, shown side-by-side simultaneously. The record epitomizes the band at its very best, exploring new realms between the poles of independence and invention. It also serves as a welcoming point of entry for new listeners outside Deerhoof’s traditional orbit, an opportunity to bring even more voices into the communal conversation. We’re all in this together.

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Acclaimed Norwegian singer songwriter and producer Susanne Sundfør releases her highly anticipated new album ‘Music For People In Trouble’ through Bella Union Records.

Sundfør’s most poignant and personal album to date, ‘Music For People In Trouble’ marks her out as one of the most compelling artists in the world.

The album was inspired by a journey Susanne made in a bid to re-connect, travelling across continents to contrary environments and politically contrasting worlds from North Korea to the Amazon jungle.

“We are living in a time of great changes. Everything is moving so rapidly, sometimes violently, sometimes dauntingly. I think a lot of people experience anxiety these days. I wanted to address these emotions on the album.” – Susanne Sundfør

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Third album for all female Melbourne psych-rock icons. Love from Pitchfork, Spin, Stereogum, GvsB. Iconic Australian psych rock quintet Beaches return with epic double LP Second Of Spring – Chapter Music’s first double album by a single artist. Beaches’ much-loved second album She Beats brought the band international acclaim in 2013. Featuring guitar by German motorik hero Michael Rother (Neu, Harmonia), the album earned raves from Pitchfork, Stereogum, Gorilla Vs Bear, Spin and elsewhere.

Second Of Spring takes Beaches even further out, to where the pyramid meets the eye – an enveloping sonic landscape filled with extended instrumentals, overdriven psych-outs and propulsive pop nuggets. The album was recorded in Melbourne with engineer/producer John Lee (Totally Mild, Lost Animal). Artwork is by the band‘s Ali McCann, with design by renowned artist Darren Sylvester. Beaches’ self-titled 2008 debut was shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize, and included in glossy coffee table book 100 Best Australian Albums.

The band released a standalone 12″ on New York lab el Mexican Summer in 2010. They have toured the US twice, playing SXSW and Austin Psych Fest, and shared stages with Roky Erickson, Deerhunter, The Cult, Thee Oh Sees, Lightning Bolt, Mogwai, Best Coast and more. Already revered as sprawling, swirling psych overlords, Second Of Spring is Beaches‘ undeniable magnum opus.

Chad VanGaalen’s Shrink Dust was a hidden gem in 2014, with galactic psych reverb spilling over jangly guitars and weird, spaced-out lyrics. Light Information keeps the formula intact: danceable indie rock with an experimental streak and nimble storytelling. Lead single “Old Heads” is a sci-fi anthem to technology that constantly replaces itself, proving both necessary and unnecessary at the same time. Chad VanGaalen is sincerely one of my favorite artists. I love the control he has over the production and representation of his music and all of the details he puts in to it. Out of a sea of artists I really connect with the lyrics. Have been a fan since I discovered Soft Airplane in 2006.

It’s also just really fun to listen to.

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A notorious homebody, Chad VanGaalen is well known for rarely leaving his rickety house in Calgary, endlessly drawing, recording and making art. With Diaper Island, VanGaalen distills his approach, producing his most sonically cohesive album to date, and the closest thing he has done to a rock album.

Also a celebrated visual artist, VanGaalen is widely renowned for his illustration and animation work. As with his previous albums – Infiniheart, Skelliconnection and the Polaris short-listed Soft Airplane, VanGaalen illustrated all of the art for Diaper Island – and is in the midst of animating a music video as well. He has animated music videos for folks like J Mascis, Guster, and Holy Fuck, and his videos have been collectively viewed well over a million times on YouTube.

VanGaalen has been quietly building a catalogue of songs that invite listeners to gently explore his distinctive creativity. Diaper Island extends the adventure into deeper territory, tapping into VanGaalen’s lifeblood and mining the richness of his mind with sharper tools.

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Last month we heard news that Chad Vangaalen was about to release his highly anticipated new album and a small tour of europe, Now the album is finally coming in September. We’ve since heard one single from the album called “Old Heads”, today Chad has another beauty for us to enjoy. This one is entitled “Pine and Clover” and features a somewhat creepy, yet still cool animated video of Chad’s always unique and distinct drawings. The song itself is of course full of subtle power and beauty typical of what we’ve come to expect over the years.