I don't know how I lucked out on finding out in a timely manner, but one of my favorite singer-songwriters (he's from Canada, too!), Chad VanGaalen, just released six-track EP, Your Tan Looks Supernatural, earlier this week. The coolest part is that 100% of the EP's proceeds go to the Red Cross' relief work in Japan. VanGaalen definitely grabbed a few of his more experimental songs (all the tracks are cuts that didn't quite make his newest full-length album, due out in May), but one in particular makes the $5 price absolutely worth it. Beehives is like a trip back to the Canadian crooner's Skelliconnection, his 2006 album full of minimalistic songs with just a pinch of something that forces them to play on repeat in your brain.
The Neil Young-like vocals are back, and are as haunting as ever. VanGaalen’s voice has never worked so well with the music, adding a reverberating swell to strings, harpsichords and the like. Even with all the layers, Beehives never feels too overwhelming or claustrophobic. The Canadian has been known to run the gamut in genres, his albums sometimes tend to feel disconnected at times – a little indie folk here, harder rocking tracks there, and finally a few minute-long segues of electronic beats. I think what sets Beehives apart from most of VanGaalen’s other songs is that it’s a perfect compromise between the different styles he does so well. There's also something present that's completely different from his previous work. Especially toward the beginning, the track is almost reminiscent of The Notwist or something you'd find on Anticon Records. I also won't deny the striking similarity to Animal Collective's Bees, but you know, maybe that's just how bees are supposed to sound in songs. Personally, I think Chad's song has a lot more going for it. Read: Animal Collective is boring.
Listen to Beehives here via his Bandcamp player. Then make sure to buy it, or the whole album, Your Tan Looks Supernatural to help out.