Soft Airplane Ride: Chad VanGaalen at the Hi-Fi

Indie Rocker Chad VanGaalen plays the Hi-Fi on December the 2nd.

Fanboying ahead, you have been warned. Also, Chad VanGaalen is good and you should go see him.

Every so often, you encounter That Artist. You know the one. That Artist who, when you discovered their work, made you feel like you tapped into a new vein of reality. That artist who introduced you to concepts you’d never even thought about. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. For me, Chad VanGaalen was That Artist. And he’s coming to play the Hi-Fi on Saturday December 2nd.

A Short History Lesson

Hailing from out neighbor to the north, VanGaalen is a lifelong resident of Calgary, Alberta. VanGaalen began his career with various self-released singles, but found little success. That all changed in 2004 when VanGaalen signed with Canadian indie label Flemish Eye. With them, he released his first proper album, Infiniheart. While consisting exclusively of material culled from VanGaalen’s home recording sessions, it received fairly positive reviews. The same with his second album. In fact, It was not until his third LP, 2008’s Soft Airplane, that VanGaalen went through the traditional process of creating an album. Since then, VanGaalen has put out several more LPs, as well as collaborations with numerous other artists.

His Sound

Chad VanGaalen is a hard one to pigeonhole. His sound incorporates elements of indie rock, electronica, folk, and even a little punk. But it’s far more than the sum of its parts. Rather than genre, probably most important element in VanGaalen’s music is its home-recorded nature. Like an early Daniel Johnston, VanGaalen does the majority of his recording and production at home. In fact, he seldom sets foot in a professional studio. This tends to give his music a distinct lo-fi character, with a tinny, distant timbre. Almost like a fading dream.

Musically, VanGaalen likes to keep things simple. He builds most songs around repetitive guitar riffs, with his tremulous falsetto carrying the melody. Generally, he then bolsters each song with one of his homemade instruments and any number of different production effects. The result is quite unusual, like a cross between Sebadoh and Neil Young on a heavy acid binge.

So, as always. The venue is the Hi-Fi, door’s at 8:00. See you there!


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