Release Date: Aug 11, 2009
Record label: Flemish Eye
Fans of Chad VanGaalen will find much to love in Black Mold, the Calgarian's electronic instrumental side project that reveals just how fertile his imagination is (in case we needed further proof). The 19 songs are short (two minutes, mostly), playful and energetic, the disparate sounds and ideas bubbling over like a pot of gumbo on the stove. [rssbreak] Even without VanGaalen's trembling voice and vivid lyrics, many of the pieces - beat-freaky Tetra Pack Heads, jazzy Barn Swallow Vs SK-1, melancholic Left Behind By The Digital Ships - are as evocative as, say, Graveyard from Skelliconnection.
Full disclosure, right off the bat. I’ve never heard any of Chad VanGaalen’s music in his day job as a singer/songwriter. But I really enjoyed Snow Blindness is Crystal Antz, the first album released under his electronic music alter ego, Black Mold. The press materials for the album tout its marriage of electronic sounds and acoustic instruments, and also makes a big deal about how it uses a lot of “glitches and noise.” Both of those elements are present, but neither dominates the album.
Chad VanGaalen is one of those Renaissance people you find scattered through indie rock. He makes records largely on his own, playing a huge array of instruments, and then he does the artwork and the impressive animated videos himself. He made his name with three increasingly excellent albums of glow-in-the-dark, ramshackle indie pop that showcase his odd falsetto and even odder inner world.