If Chad VanGaalen is any indicator, then Canadians have excellent taste in music. VanGaalen who is signed to Sub Pop in the United States and Flemish Eye in his native Canada writes simple, articulate songs about other people and how those people make him feel. Not the world's most complicated musical formula: Some brutal honesty combined with easy guitar equals a confessional singer-songwriter. Here in the U.S., there are plenty of these musicians nowadays, but it's poppy, fresh-faced songwriters like Chris Carraba or Taylor Swift that earn national recognition. In Canada, however, VanGaalen went from recording songs in his bedroom in 2004 to being nominated for Canada's Polaris Music Prize in 2007. Maybe it's because his lyrics are a little off: On "After the Afterlife" from 2005's Infiniheart, VanGaalen asks the girl he loves if her mother's hairdo resembles seaweed. Most likely, it's because the songs off 2006's Skelliconnection tell the story of what it feels like to be lonely and not know how to change it. And that's something almost anyone anywhere can understand.
Fri., April 3, 9 p.m., 2009