Tag: Chad VanGaalen

New Video: Corridor’s Surreal and Psychedelic, Chad VanGaalen-Animated Visuals for “Grand cheval”

Over the better part of the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the rapidly rising Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor. And as you may recall, the French Canadian act, which currently features longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar), Julien Bakvis (drums) and the band’s newest member Samuel Gougoux first received attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere with 2017’s sophomore album Supermercado, which glowing received praise from NPR and Vice, who referred to the album as “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 .  . . ”

Corridor spent the following year touring across Europe with stops at London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival, and the States with appearances at SXSW and Northside Festival. They followed that up by touring with Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour.

Building upon a growing profile, the band signed to Sub Pop Records, who released their third album, last year’s Junior, making the band the first Francophone act ever on the world renowned label. While continuing their ongoing and highly successful collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Ethier, the album found the band jettisoning the languorous creative process of its predecessors — out of inspired necessity.  Although the members of the band had only just signed to their new label home at the time, they had firmly committed themselves to releasing a new album worth of material every two years. And the band fully intended on fulfilling their long-held commitment. Naturally, when the folks at Sub Pop were informed of this, they gently warned the band that if they wanted to release new material that fall, they needed to send the label a completed album by early May.

With the ink barely dried on the finalized record contract, the band rushed into the studio and recorded Junior in an inspired and breakneck blitz, finishing the album in mid-April: Six of the album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend — with the album closer “Bang” being written the night before they were to start recording sessions. Reportedly, Corridor’s Jonathan Robert wrote that song’s lyrics while panicking over the possibility of not being able to properly finished what they started.

Because of the quickened nature of the Junior sessions, the material features fewer expansive jams and less reliance on overdubs. Even the album’s artwork managed to come about in the nick of time. In spite of other more meticulous and gorgeous artwork they received as potential album art, Robert’s “shitty last minute” collage of an egg saying hello was the one his bandmates wound up approving.  “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” the band’s Berthiaume says of the Junior recording sessions.

Album tracks like Topographe,” “Pow,” album title track “Junior” “Goldie” and Domino” manage to reveal a wide range of influences: a bit of post-punk here, a little bit of XTC over there, a little bit of The Beatles, a dash of The Beach Boys here and so on. And with some deft craftsmanship and musicianship, they manage to whimsically and mischievously create something novel out of the familiar.

Last year, I caught was luckily to catch the band live twice — a Union Pool set shortly after the release of Junior and a headlining M for Montreal set at Montreal’s Le National that was in my opinion one of the best live sets I caught that year. The band is creating up for a headlining, Stateside tour that begins with a show at Rough Trade tomorrow night, as well as appearances at this year’s SXSW and their first ever shows in Florida.  The band recently extended its international tour to support their critically applauded third album, with an extensive series of UK and French dates. (You can check out the tour dates below.)  

In the meantime, Junior’s latest single is the slow-burning “Grand cheval.” Centered around shimmering guitars, a propulsive and steady bass line and drumbeat, the band’s gorgeous harmonizing and atmospheric synths, “Grand cheval.” may arguably be the prettiest song on the album — and the most bittersweet. “The song is inspired by a grumpy old man, who came to bother us in a park once,” Corridor’s Jonathan Robert says in press notes. “He talked about mediocre poetry and philosophies of life, while asking us for cigarettes and beers.  When we asked him to leave us alone, he became angry, climbed on his high horse (grand cheval) and became this  old demagogue belittling the youth.” 

Directed by and featuring animation by Chad VanGaalen, the recently released video is a surrealistic and hallucinogenic fever dream set on a brightly colored alien world with rising snow, where we follow a lonely alien gatherer.  “I sewed a jacket, pants, and hat to rotoscope myself as this alien gatherer,” Chad VanGaalen explains in press notes. “Everything was drawn onto a malfunctioning 15-year old Cintiq. You can buy them for $20 on eBay, although I wouldn’t recommend it. The music made the snow fall up and not down. No matter what I did on Final Cut, it would always fall up. I filled my body and mind with many ingredients in order to go from monocular to trinocular, now my vision is blurry but my tailored clothing feels amazing. I can’t believe it is finished.”

New Video: Watch Up-and-Coming Canadian Act Mauno Go Through a Bizarre Endurance Test in Visuals for “Vampire”

The Halifax, Nova Scotia-based band Mauno’s forthcoming album Really Well is slated for an August 2, 2019 release through Tin Angel Records, and the album, which was recorded at Chad VanGaalen’s Calgary, Alberta9-based studio reportedly finds the band — Eliza Niemi (vocals, bass), Nick Everett (vocals, guitar), Scott Boudreau (guitar) and Adam White (drums) — exploring the creases in intimacy, authenticity and labor and their preoccupations with the nature of creative labor, relationships and the self under capitalism. But while rooted in serious, daily concerns, the band notes that their critiques are filtered through a lens of the absurd, which gives them a playful, ridiculous air. “There’s something about humour and laughter that is very subversive and deeper than I think a lot of people realize,” the band’s Eliza Niemi says in press notes. “With these songs, I was trying to sort of dance on the one.” Adds the band’s Nick Everett, “There’s a double meaning to everything. You have to leave space for people to think. Where is the place for the listener if they’re not going to contribute their own thoughts or their own interpretations?” 

Really Well’s latest single “Vampire” is a slow-burning track centered around shimmering guitars, shuffling drums, plaintive vocals and a soaring hook that recalls 120 Minutes-era like alt rock while being a playful and uplifting song that focuses on the pride and utter ridiculousness of being in creative labor in a capitalist world. 

Directed by Max Taeuschel, the recently released video stars the band’s songwriting duo Eliza Niemi and Nick Everett in a bizarre endurance test, in which they’re challenged to continue performing the song while exhausting themselves on stationary bikes. Shooting the duo over an uninterrupted hour or so in an empty gym, the video’s surreal and absurd quality is a bit of an unsettling contrasts the song’s uplifting tone, Interestingly, the video also serves a deeper metaphor for being a musician and promoting your creative work — in other words, you work hard and never seem to feel as though you’re going anywhere. 

Last month, I wrote about the Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based psych rock quartet Possum, and as you may recall the band, which is comprised of Brandon Bak (guitar, vocals), Tobin Hopwood (guitar), Patrick Lefler (bass) and Bradley Thibodeau (drums) met within their hometown’s psych rock and garage rock scenes. The members of the band bonded over their mutual love and appreciation of acts like of CAN, Grateful Dead, Fela Kuti and Ty Segall — but the end result is a sound that can be loosely described as a fusion of garage rock, krautrock, psych rock and ethno jazz, complete with rapid tempo and time signature change, hypnotic riffs and chugging, motorik grooves.

Live, their shows are an immersive experience in which the band pairs high energy performances and trippy sounds with lysergic visual projections by The Oscillitarium. And as a result of their live show, the members of Possum have shared stages with the likes of the aforementioned Ty Segall, All Them Witches, Shannon and The Clams, Bombino, L.A. Witch and Chad VanGaalen.

Interestingly, the Canadian psych rockers have maintained a steadfast and ardent DIY ethos in which they’ve independently recorded, mixed and produced their material using old analog tape machines — and they’ve packaged their music themselves. In fact, Possum’s full-length debut, Space Grade Assembly, which is slated for release later this month continues the band’s DIY ethos with the material recorded almost entirely live and mixed by the band’s Brandon Bak and Tobin Hopwood. Album single “The Hills” was an expansive and heady mix of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chord-fueled riffing, thunderous drumming, Afrobeat and Latin-tinged percussion that found the band’s production nodding at shoegaze, classic psych rock and krautrock simultaneously.

Clocking in at a little over eight minutes, “Worms Hollow,” Space Grade Assembly‘s latest single is a mind-altering and expansive track that’s one part 60s inspired garage psych, one part motorik groove-driven krautrock and one part space rock centered around a focused and urgent performance.

Possum is currently on a lengthy North American tour. Check out the remaining tour dates below.

Tour Dates
June 7 – Chicago, IL (Emporium)
June 8 – Kansas City, MI (TBA)
June 9 – Denver, CO (Second City Music Collective)
June 11 – San Francisco, CA (Knockout Lounge)
June 13 – Portland, OR (Post 134)
June 14 – Seattle, WA (Clock Out Lounge)
June 16 – Vancouver, BC (Static Jupiter)
June 17 – Victoria, BC (Copper House)
June 18 – Nanaimo, BC (Nanaimo Bar)
June 19 – Kelowna. BC (Fernando’s)
June 20 – Kamloops, BC (Blue Grotto)
June 21/22/23 – Calgary, AB (Sled Island Muisc Festival)
June 24 – Regina, SK (TA Vinyl and Fashion)
June 25 – Winnepeg, MB (Handsome Daughter)
June 26 – Minneapolis, MN (Terminal Bar)
June 27 – Milwaukee, WI (Cactus Club)
June 28 – Detroit, MI (Kelly’s Bar)

New Video: The Feverish and Lysergic Visuals for Possum’s “The Hills”

Comprised of Brandon Bak (guitar, vocals), Tobin Hopwood (guitar), Patrick Lefler (bass) and Bradley Thibodeau (drums), the Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based psych rock quartet Possum met within their hometown’s psych and garage scenes. And as as the story goes, the members of the up-and-coming Canadian psych rock act bonded over a mutual love and appreciation of CAN, Grateful Dead, Fela Kuti and Ty Segall — with the end result being a sound that’s a fusion of garage rock, kraut rock, psych rock, ethno jazz, complete with rapidly tempo and time signature changes, hypnotic riffs and chugging bass. Their live shows are an immersive experience which finds the band pairing pairing high energy performances and trippy sounds with lysergic visual projections by The Oscillitarium.  As a result of their high energy shows, Possum has shared stages with the likes of Ty Segall, All Them Witches, Shannon and The Clams, Bombino, L.A. Witch and Chad VanGaalen. 

Using old tape machines, the Canadian psych rock act has managed to independently record, mix, produce and package all of their music; in fact, their full-length debut, Space Grade Assembly, which is slated for a June 21, 2019 release through Garment District Records finds the band further establishing their DIY ethos with the material being recorded almost entirely live and mixed by the band’s Brandon Bak and Tobin Hopwood. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “The Hills” is an expansive and heady mix of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chord-fueled riffing, thunderous drumming, Afrobeat and Latin-tinged percussion, jowering shoegazer meets 60s psych rock production and kraut rock with a cosmic glow and a muscular forcefulness. As the band explains, “‘The Hills’ came about after our experience at the Frontier Ghost Town – an authentic wild west camp where they once filmed a Charles Manson movie. Sonically, we wanted to travel between the feel of Mylar & Haight-Ashbury era mysticism.”  

Unsurprisingly, the recently released video for “The Hills” is an appropriately feverish and lysergic affair. 

Comprised of founding members Erin Jenkins and Mathieu Blanchard and recent recruits Chris Dadge (bass), who has had stints in Lab Coast, Alvvays and Chad VanGaalen‘s backing band; and renowned singer/songwriter and guitarist Samantha Savage Smith joining a guitarist, Canadian band Crystal Eyes can trace their origins to the melancholic dream pop the duo wrote while nomadically bouncing back and forth between Tofino, British Columbia and Halifax, Nova Scotia — dream pop that the band’s founding duo has claimed has drawn from Francoise Hardy, Guided by Voices.  As a relatively constituted quartet, the band has continued to tour across their native Canada, including consecutive appearances at Pop Montreal.

The band’s latest effort The Female Imagination was written while the band spent time on a lake island in rural Ontario and was recorded on a Tascam 388. And according to the band, the album thematically focuses on and explores the other side of ourselves that we can never quite seem tor reach. The album’s latest single “Already Gone” consists dreamy and ethereal harmonies with layers of shimmering guitars played through copious amounts of reverb and delay pedal and a persistent, driving rhythm and in some way, the song sounds as though it were equally influenced by 60s garage psych — i.e., much like contemporary acts like Raccoon Fighter, The Black Angels, early Dum Dum Girls, Death Valley Girls and countless others but with a moody and sensual feel.