2014 Albums of the Year: Chad VanGaalen – Shrink Dust


The Telescope presents: our number one album of 2014. We gathered best-of lists from staff and contributors, crunched some numbers, and this record came out on top.

This year saw another installment of Calgary-based acid meets milk, from folk rock sensation Chad VanGaalen. It’s his best effort to date—he calls it his “country album”—and it takes the listener from end to end on the musical spectrum.

Chad is more magician than musician, on this album, and he all but demands that one point their ears in several directions at once. If you can just let yourself go, you’ll find yourself deep in the corners of VanGaalen’s own little universe. A number of these tracks play out like it’s just you and him sitting in a log cabin, as he pours out his Wal-Mart philosophies—see “Weighed Sin,” “All Will Combine,” “Cut Off My Hands.” Shrink Dust walks like a horse in the desert, but finally picks up its pace on standout track “Leaning On Bells.”

VanGaalen is a busy man. He has kids, he produced a few albums, he’s working on a sci-fi film with an accompanying book, he has his Black Mold project, and he’s an accomplished animator. His latest project was the video for Shrink Dust’s sixth track, “Monster.” It’s best to let your own mind paint a Chad VanGaalen album, but if you wanna know what it looks like in his mind, check out the video, up above.



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