Honestly, I haven’t thought about Chad VanGaalen in several years – but when I checked my calendar, there was already a reminder in there that his forthcoming album, Light Information, would be out on September 8th. So, I don’t know. Maybe I’ve been subconsciously thinking about him all this time.
The song I most associate with Chad VanGaalen is Molten Light, an appropriately dark and captivating track about a vengeful, murderous woman, which stood out considerably as it was released against the backdrop of the indie scene with artists like Andrew Bird at its forefront (who has also made a reappearance, by the way). But I don’t believe that Chad VanGaalen ever really got his fair go at dominating the music industry – which is why it’s intriguing to see him release new music and share his inspiration for Light Information – which he said has largely been the culmination of “not feeling comfortable with really anything” and the “new kind of wisdom and anxiety” that comes from being a parent. The significant shift in focus in this album is both figurative and literal, as VanGaalen’s daughters lend their vocals on Static Shape – reinforcing the thought that Light Information will be much more intimate and personal, and an expectedly courageous venture as it will be his seventh album.
Having speedily caught back up on VanGaalen’s discography, it quickly became evident that his newest releases are comparably more positive and externally focused than his earlier work. VanGaalen’s distinctive artistic and creative style has similarly made him an outlier in the music industry, and he is perfectly suited to Flemish Eye (an independent Canadian label) and SubPop, with whom he has shared a close relationship over the course of his career.
Pine and Clover, the newly-released single off the upcoming album, is guitar-heavy, romantic and earnest, as VanGaalen’s characteristically wavering voice rises and falls and is accompanied by the (not entirely unwelcome) moments of discord. The music video for Pine and Clover is quintessentially eerie, eclectic and bizarre, illustrated entirely by VanGaalen – as his videos always have been – and features snippets of his inspirational and distracting vegetable garden. It also features varying forms of hand-drawn animation and Claymation, evidence of how much work goes into making each one of his ventures as thoughtful and individualistic as possible.
Check out Pine and Clover right here: