128 Northeast Russell Street
Portland, OR, 97212
Doors 8:00PM / Show 9:00PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
"The cosmic post-rock band Mogwai were formed in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1996 by guitarist/vocalist Stuart Braithwaite, guitarist Dominic Aitchison, and drummer Martin Bulloch, longtime friends with the goal of creating "serious guitar music." Toward that end they added another guitarist, John Cummings, before debuting in March 1996 with the single "Tuner," a rarity in the Mogwai discography for its prominent vocals; the follow-up, a split single with Dweeb titled "Angels vs. Aliens," landed in the Top Ten on the British indie charts. Following appearances on a series of compilations, Mogwai returned later in the year with the 7" "Summer"; after another early-1997 single, "New Paths to Helicon," they issued Ten Rapid, a collection of their earliest material.
Around the time that Mogwai recorded the superb 1997 EP 4 Satin, former Teenage Fanclub and Telstar Ponies member Brendan O'Hare joined the lineup in time for the recording of Mogwai's debut studio LP, Mogwai Young Team, exiting a short time later to return to his primary projects, Macrocosmica and Fiend. Again a quartet, Mogwai next issued 1998's Kicking a Dead Pig, a two-disc remix collection; the No Education = No Future (Fuck the Curfew) EP appeared a few months later. In 1999, they released Come on Die Young. Rock Action arrived in early 2001. Late that year, Mogwai released the My Father, My King EP; two years later, they issued the ironically titled Happy Songs for Happy People. Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2004 arrived early in 2005.
Mr. Beast, which was released in 2006, found the band going in a softer, more reflective direction. Late that year, the band's collaboration with Clint Mansell on the soundtrack to The Fountain arrived; Mogwai also crafted the score for Douglas Gordon's Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, which was released in the U.K. in 2006 and in the U.S. the following spring. The Batcat EP, which featured a collaboration with garage-psych legend Roky Erickson, arrived in late summer 2008, heralding the release of The Hawk Is Howling -- which reunited the band with producer Andy Miller for the first time in a decade -- that fall. In 2010, Mogwai released their first live album, Special Moves, as a package with the Vincent Moon-directed concert film Burning." -Jason Ankeny, AllMusicGuide
Chad VanGaalen's musical roots date back to the first part of the decade, when he made a living busking on the streets of Calgary. He is also an accomplished animator and illustrator whose music is very much informed by his appreciation of visual arts. He has produced a voluminous wealth of material, by himself, at a rate that might best be described as alarming. And whatever his motivation for doing what he does, or creating what he creates, the result is that it is always both genuine and good.
The proof is in the songs themselves. They have heart. They have pain. They have hope. They have humor. And most importantly, they have fun.
Chad's first two LPs, Infiniheart (2005) and Skelliconnection (2006), were wildly eclectic and ethereal, texturally imaginative, sometimes ambitious and sometimes restrained. Recorded on a Tascam 4-track and other analog devices, using synthesizers, guitars and a collection of his own handmade instruments, Chad created a unique style of pop songcraft, fundamentally experimental, both delicate and soaring, simple and elaborate.
Chad is more confident now, and unlike his previous albums, the songs on Soft Airplane were written and recorded more or less within the same time period, rather than collected from disparate moments and sessions spanning many, many years. As such, it feels more focused, deliberate, thoughtful and centered, both thematically and musically. It's the sound of someone taking his time and sharpening his focus while opening his mind. At its core, it's a pop record, one that feels free.
Songs roam from stripped-down, spirited acoustic ballads ('Willow Tree,' 'Rabid Bits of Time') to driving, more dire rockers ('Bones of Man,' 'Molten Light'); spirited ebbs of accordions, xylophones and vocal harmonies ('Cries of the Dead') to gripping guitar hooks, intricate melodies and lush, soaring choruses ('Inside the Molecules,' 'Bare Feet on Wet Griptape'). Elsewhere Chad toys with literate, quasi dance-pop songs, invoking the damaged Casio moments of The Flaming Lips ('Phantom Anthills,' 'TMNT Mask') and sparse, acoustic guitar-driven ballads recalling the swagger of Destroyer's Dan Bejar.
Recorded primarily on an old tape machine and a JVC ghetto blaster in Chad's Calgary basement, Soft Airplane retains the handmade charm and singular character of his previous records, while incorporating new layers of sophistication and weight. Recalling Neil Young at his most fragile and plaintive, and Thurston Moore at his most resolved and vital, Chad's emotive vocals anchor these songs while tackling the pervasive themes of death and dreams with an unexpected air of certainty and hope that is far from ominousinstead it's luminous. Through a complex interplay of guitar, drum beats, loops, samples, found sounds, unorthodox percussion, xylophones, distortion, synthesizers, accordions and more, Chad has made an album that sounds bigger than one man.
It sounds like a lifetime.
Fri, May 24
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