(2006, Sub Pop)
Skelliconnection is Calgary native Chad VanGaalen's follow-up album to the impressive Infiniheart. Infiniheart was an instant classic for me, but the album felt like it had a few holes of disinterest. Chad has filled the holes and released one of my favorite albums that I own. Last year Forest Gospel created a Top 50 Album of 06' list and this album was #4. So why did I give it a 9, probably because I've played it out like crazy since it's release last August (almost a retrospective, but not quite!). Chad VanGaalen sings his curious lyrics in a humble broken tone over ever changing instrumentations. The names of most the tracks are two-word morphs, like the album title, which seem fitting for one of the most contrasting yet congruent albums of late. The songs vary in a wide range from drum-machine dance flavored trance songs like "Flower Gardens," all the way to strummy blue's folk ballads like "Wing Finger." The album is organic and ever changing, soothing and discoordinate. The songs were all written and performed by him, except an occaisional guest drummer (he even created a few new instruments just to records this album.) Seeing Chad VanGaalen live is also an amazing experience. When he opened for Band of Horses last fall at Club Sound he played solo on stage with a guitar in his hands, a harmonica around his neck, and three drums on the floor which he played with his feet using bass pendels. His talent doesn't stop at the audible only, he is also a very skilled illustrator and animator, and makes his own music videos. Chad VanGaalen seems like an unstoppable indie force right now and I am hungerly waiting to hear more from this super-musician.