It was this past January that a friend of mine told me to watch a music video by a band that he really enjoyed.  The simple scribbly lines and odd characters initially put me off, making me reminisce of old episodes of Bevis and Butthead (I used to have this horrible fear and hatred for that TV show, but that’s a long story all on its’ own!).  As I sat there, I soon realized the power of the lyrics as they started to pour over my head, making this animation’s metaphors clear.   The voice of this woman (Catherine McCandless) sounded so deep and intense, as if all the words she said, were part of my current struggle.  Part of me felt connected, as I sat in my new unfurnished Berlin flat, staring out the window at the over cast skies and watched the frigid people walk by.  I thought about my past, my time in Berlin and the struggles that I had adapting to a new culture here.  At that moment, I knew this album and me were as one.

Needless to say, Young Galaxy instantly captivated my heart and thoughts, rapidly filling my bedroom, headphones, and every moment that I spent surviving this cold winter over seas.  This Canadian band originates from Vancouver, initially starting as a duo and eventually expanded in size as their sound became more complex and orchestrated.   Their most recent album, “Shapeshifting”, completely takes on a new sound, utilizing more of McCandless’ vocals and using more of an electronic and experimental sound to create a darker and more surreal experience for the audience.  I’d like to say that her voice has a howling or suffering that resonates in your brain when you hear her sing, conjuring up these intense feelings that one may see as emotional or even intense.

After listening to “Shapeshifting” for months on repeat, I made an effort and found all their earlier EPs and albums and decided to give it a full comparison to see where they started from.  I can honestly say that their newest album shows a great improvement both lyrically and artistically.  As a whole, the album flows together through the ups and downs of emotions as each song begins and ends.  The beats take you on a mental journey of struggle and triumph.  Overall this album has made it to one of the top fav bands of this year and I have recommended it to all my friends, plaguing their Facebook walls with the video that initially made me hesitant.

Their first single “We Have Everything” is by far one of the best on the album, but don’t hesitate to listen to “Blown Minded”, “Cover Your Tracks” and “B.S.E”.  Paper Bag Records recently put up free downloads of remixes of “We Have Everything” and “Cover Your Tracks”.  Young Galaxy also produced a cover of the Madonna classic “Open Your Heart” on the 25th anniversary of her “True Blue” album that Paper Bag Records put out.  All of these songs are for free, and check them out.  “Shapeshifting” by far has proven to be one of the strongest albums this year that once I start listening to it, I needed to hear more, listen to the story, and will always hold a spot in my mind for my time in Berlin.  To learn more about Young Galaxy, please visit their website or go to Paper Bag Records.

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