Dan Lissvik and Young Galaxy are finally in Gothenburg together. It took a little while. In 2010 the Swedish producer and the Canadian band spent nearly a year collaborating every day, over Skype. "We became quite good friends," Stephen Ramsay, one of Young Galaxy's founders, says. "It took him nine months. He didn't want us to hear anything. He'd play things to us through Skype, and I'd be like, that sounds incredible — and then three weeks later he'd play it to me again and it'd have been completely changed."
It was worth it. Last year's Shapeshifting was the best album of Young Galaxy's career, searching and expansive but always anchored in Lissvik's clean, rolling groove. (I wrote a little bit about "We Have Everything" last year.) Even so, Ramsay is happy to be working on their new album together in person. It's "waaaay less convoluted than working through Skype," he wrote in an email over the weekend. "[Lissvik] is very good at getting us to focus on the intention behind every song — he knows us pretty well now and understands what we're after [...] I'd say we also have chemistry as people — which is a very nice, unexpected facet of the process too."
Before we get a chance to hear tracks from those sessions, though, here's "Shoreless Kid," from a new 7", which you can listen to below (another, "Youth Is Wasted on the Young," is up here on Stereogum). It shares Shapeshifting's sentimentality, and its appreciation for the emotive power of a soaring refrain. ("It's a sulk record. Put it on when you're feeling dark and self-absorbed," Ramsay says). "Nothing's so simple/as knowing you're safe in your home/at the end of the night," Catherine McCandless sings repeatedly toward the song's end, as though she's trying to convince herself.
"Refrain" is probably the wrong word. Like most of the songs on Shapeshifting, "Shoreless Kid" follows its own, internal logic; Ramsay has spoken about abandoning traditional structures — both in his songs and his life. "We kind of did in with the idea of being a proper rock band a while ago," he says. "Now we feel more like an art project. The making of albums used to have to define my life in some ways, which in retrospect can only set one up for disappointment. Now three albums into the band's existence, I feel that I've gotten the balance right finally."
Correction: A previous version of this post implied that Lissvik produced the track — he didn't!
You can pre-order "Shoreless Kid" here. Young Galaxy is playing the River and Sky Festival in Kearney, Ontario on July 21, and the Osheaga Festival in Montreal on August 3.
Trax Read is a new and evolving semi-regular feature in which I write about and recommend new music and talk to cool musicians. I'm going to try not to overthink it.