“Not Enough” video + song trivia: Chad VanGaalen is the mastermind behind this great video and none other than Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses can be heard singing with J Mascis on the song. That’s a Sub Pop three-fer-one right there!
Your Tan Looks Supernatural will be exclusively available on Bandcamp as a response to the crisis in Japan and 100% of all proceeds from the EP will be forwarded to the Red Cross Aid Effort.
Click HERE to check it out.
Every so often, Chad VanGaalen emerges from his bunker in Calgary with a batch of songs, giving us a window into the private world of this reclusive and enigmatic songwriter. 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.
While VanGaalen’s three previous records were made in a cramped basement studio, a move to a larger recording room offered space to develop and refine his sound. Fresh from producing Women’s critically lauded Public Strain, VanGaalen decided to avoid the comfort of working on previous ground, and apply some of the recording techniques and sonic ideas that emerged from those sessions. For the first time, multi-tracked and often overdriven guitar is the instrument at the centre of the songs, which are often spartan and free of the melodic details that embellished previous albums. With this focus on guitar, combined with a beloved vintage tape machine determining the sound, VanGaalen moved towards a leaner, no-frills approach—one that more closely resembles the music that influenced him as a teenager, while continuing the arc laid out in his previous work.
The paradox of trying to assert control in a climate of helplessness winds through the album, whether in the existential pondering on life and death that often pervades VanGaalen’s songs (“Do Not Fear,” “Replace Me”), or in the conflict between control and creativity (“Freedom for a Policeman,” “No Panic, No Heat”). At the album’s heart is “Sara,” a simple and celebratory paean that gorgeously praises the ability of VanGaalen’s partner and muse to nurture his creativity in the face of this uncertainty, and captures the songwriter at his most sincere and powerful.
At this point Chad VanGaalen may perhaps be better known for his illustrative rather than his musical output. As was the case with all of his previous albums, VanGaalen has illustrated all of the art for Diaper Island himself. He’s also in the midst of animating a music video as well. His past videos have been collectively viewed well over a million times on youtube. He’s also animated music videos for folks like J Mascis, Guster, and Holy Fuck.
VanGaalen has been quietly building a catalogue of songs, illustrations, and animations 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.
2008 Soft Airplane
2011 Diaper Island
Click here for all things Chad VanGaalen. Get stoked people.
Please help us in welcoming our friend, Mat Brooke, lead singer from Seattle’s own Grand Archives, who has graciously agreed to guest edit our 7th installment of “For the Record”! “For the Record”, as you may recall, is our semi-regular web feature wherein we (or the kind people who we can convince to do so) reflect on a favorite record from the Sub Pop catalog and in turn we then drastically discount said record for the following 48 hours.
So now that you know how this all works, let’s get into it and see what Mat has to say about Chad VanGaalen’s Infiniheart!
Even though I’ve never lived in Canada, Chad VanGaalen’s Infiniheart has the comfort of home to me. The urgency of the jangly guitar intro in the opening track, “Clinically Dead”, starts the whole album with an immediate hook. From that point on the songs continue to ebb and flow with a perfect cinematic-like cohesion. The tales, narrated in a flawless wavering falsetto, create Infiniheart’s timeless sound. When Sub Pop re-released this album in 2005, the CD stayed in my player on repeat for days. So much, that now when re-visited, it’s almost like catching up on old times. “1000 Pound Eyelids” is the song that really sticks. The lyrics vaguely depict the terror of a car accident, with an innocent, almost calming charm. That is where Chad really prevails. His humble charm, blended with his style of hauntingly honest music. It just sounds like “home”. But don’t take my word for it, what the hell do I know? I’m not a record reviewer. Try buying it.
yours truly -mat
For the next 48 hours, you can get Infiniheart at our FTR sale price of $6 CD/$4 Mp3 here!
Mat’s band, Grand Archives, just released their second record, Keep in Mind Frankenstein this week. We think you should check that record out too. Here, we’ll help you: go HERE for more on Grand Archives.
Chad VanGaalen, our favorite very-tall Canadian, releases his third Sub Pop record on September 9th and it’s called Soft Airplane_. Chad was once a guest on David Letterman. He and his small (not freakishly small, but smaller than Chad) friend performed a stupid human trick that involves said small friend climbing all over tall Chad. There’s a pretty hilarious story on Paper Thin Walls about it along with a clip of the trick. Go see it! Wait! Don’t go see it—stay here and pre-order Soft Airplaneairplane so that you’ll be sure to receive the limited edition CD with one unreleased track and two live Soft Airplane tracks. Chad’s as great as ever on this record and he’s made some incredible videos—think lots of tits and a kid skateboarding over Jesus’ swollen penis—for a few tracks already that should be floating around soon. Dude’s a genius.
Also this month, we have Furr by Blitzen Trapper, out September 23rd. Furr is available on CD and LP and it includes lots and lots of good timey jams. This is Blitzen Trapper’s fourth album, but their first for Sub Pop, and I must say it’s quite good. This record reminds me of when I was living in Austin doing a ton of drugs and listening to T Rex/Bowie/The Sweet all the time, but in a fond way, instead of the shameful self-loathing way I usually remember that period of my life. Anyhow, we’re making some iron-on embroidered Blitzen Trapper logo patches to give away to celebrate the release of the record. You can get this sure-to-be-a-collector’s-item with your online purchase here at subpop.com and maybe at select indie retailers. You subpop.com shoppers will also receive an exclusive downloadable bonus jam. Dudes are on tour for the rest of the year, practically, so go see ’em!
Hardly Art is going full steam ahead these days, releasing their third album in three months. This time around we have Beating Back the Claws of the Cold by Seattle’s Pica Beats. It’s weird and pleasant and I recommend it highly. Singles Club Three, Part Two will be delivered to your mailbox some time this month as well. We’re just getting our carrier pigeons back into top form and we should be on time from here on out. Ha.
Mark your calendars folks! On September 9th you could (read: should) be listening to the new Chad VanGaalen record, Soft Airplane on your CD-player or new-fangled mp3 machine! And, if you pre-order Soft Airplane from us by September 9th, we’ll boost the stoke-a-matic several levels by giving you a free bonus CDR, featuring three CvG songs currently unavailable elsewhere! But wait! We also enjoy giving you free stickers and buttons, for free, so you can show the world your love of Chad VanGaalen via your car, locker, math book, mom’s car, fixed-gear cycling machine, or whatever. So order the CD from us, get a bonus CD and save a trip to the store, and totally score a couple of free stickers and a free button for free!
Buy Soft Airplane already!
Listen to Chad VanGaalen here.