PHOTO CREDIT : Marc Rimmer // DOWNLOAD HIGH-RES
On September 8, Chad VanGaalen will release Light Information, the creative polymath’s sixth album, in Canada via Flemish Eye and the rest of the world through Sub Pop.
Part of the fun of a new VanGaalen record is watching his effortless melodic sensibilities refracted through an array of stylistic filters — but a major connecting thread on Light Information is just how downright catchy the thing is. Already known for spinning an ear-worm with considerable ease, here VanGaalen is more generous than ever with his hooks, exemplified by the album’s chiming, ebullient first single, “Old Heads”.
“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. The song is a web of interlocking guitar parts and tumbling, layered percussion arrangements, atop which sits a classic VanGaalen vocal, equal parts fragile and effusive, and winding around itself in its inimitable way.
For an album that’s about “not feeling comfortable with really anything,” as Van Gaalen 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.”
Throughout the dark-wave reverb of Light Information are stories of paranoia, disembodiment, and isolation but also playfulness, empathy, and intimacy. As always, VanGaalen wrote, played, and produced all of the music on the album – 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.
Light Information emerged from the wild and weird array of vintage and exotic 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.”
Light Information is available for preorder now from Flemish Eye. The first round of LPs will be pressed on a limited crystal clear vinyl, and will also be available to pre-orders and in select independent retailers while supplies last. There are some sweet new t-shirt designs there too, so get moving.
Chad VanGaalen has also scheduled international tour dates for fall 2017 in support of Light Information. The dates currently span October 15 in Netherlands through December 9 in Canada. This 30-city trek will include stops in London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, and Brooklyn. Not bad for a guy who genuinely never wants to leave his house. Support for the North American shows will come from NE-HI and Montreal’s own Un Blonde. Complete list of dates below.
CHAD VANGAALEN TOUR DATES
Oct. 15 - Utrecht, NL - EKKO
Oct. 16 - Rotterdam, NL - Rotown
Oct. 17 - London, UK - Oslo
Oct. 18 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
Oct. 20 - Hamburg, DE - Molotow (Sky Bar)
Oct. 21 - Copenhagen, DK - Stengade
Oct. 22 - Berlin, DE - Kantine am Berghain
Oct. 24 - Düdingen, CH - Bad Bonn
Oct. 25 - Lyon, FR - Le Sonic
Oct. 26 - Amiens, FR - La Lune des Pirates
Oct. 27 - Paris, FR - Point Ephemere
Oct. 28 - Nantes, FR - SOY Festival
Oct. 29 - Tourcoing, FR - Le Grand Mix
Oct. 30 - Luxemburg, LU - Rotondes
Oct. 31 - Gent, BE - BIB
Nov. 09 - Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore Cabaret
Nov. 10 - Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern *
Nov. 12 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir *
Nov. 14 - San Francisco, CA - The Chapel *
Nov. 15 - Los Angeles, CA - Satellite Club *
Nov. 16 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar *
Nov. 17 - Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar *
Nov. 19 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive *
Nov. 20 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
Nov. 30 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace
Dec. 01 - Detroit, MI - El Club **
Dec. 02 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle **
Dec. 03 - Indianapolis, IN - The Hi Fi **
Dec. 05 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe **
Dec. 06 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade NYC **
Dec. 07 - Allston, MA - Great Scott **
Dec. 08 - Montreal QC - Fairmont**
**w/ Un Blonde
LIGHT INFORMATION TRACKLIST
1. Mind Hijacker’s Curse
2. Locked in the Phase
3. Prep Piano and 770
4. Host Body
5. Mystery Elementals
6. Old Heads
7. Golden Oceans
8. Faces Lit
9. Pine and Clover
10. You Fool
11. Broken Bell
12. Static Shape