(Originally posted to Tympanogram on March 8, 2012)
Chad VanGaalen’s Diaper Island instantly earned a place on my list of favorite releases of 2011. Prior to that I was a fan of his work as producer/engineer of Flemish Eye labelmates Women. His brand of rambling, echoed, jangly folk/rock is unique and infectious and perhaps somewhat of an acquired taste. His voice trembles and his guitar playing has all the sloppiness of punk rock, but, for me at least, it’s that fiercely unique sound-representative, no doubt, of his equally fierce independence – that draws me in closer.
Apparently Mr. VanGaalen doesn’t stop creating. Ever. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I more or less accidentally happened upon this 10-track split EP with the über-arty Xiu Xiu, but I definitely was. Coming across this was a welcome surprise. I’m not exactly sure how to get a physical copy of it, though the Altin Village website is a good place to start.
The 9 VanGaalen tracks are plenty to keep any fan satisfied for some time. From the straight ahead stomp of “I Want You Back” the strangely poppy scratch and jangle of “Kiss Kiss Kiss” the buzzsaw thrash of “Nothing is Impossible” and the lazy country drawl of “Weighed Sin” this isn’t a set of 9 throw away tracks haphazardly tossed off for some strange release, this is a collection of songs that showcases VanGaalen’s dynamic, unique and wide ranging sound. Release of the split EP is set for March 17, and grab “Weighed Sin”.
The video below is taken from a live session VanGaalen did in Quebec for Stereo-Sequence, recorded on October 24, 2011. How one man can command such presence with his voice and simple, quiet guitar, is a sight to behold. Truly captivating.[audio:http://quartertonality.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/07-Weighed-Sin.mp3|titles=Weighed Sin]