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Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Let It Sway isn't just the title of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin's third full-length -- it's a philosophy that ultimately helped save the band. After enduring numerous tension-filled sessions while self-recording 2008's Pershing, the band members decided it would be best to relinquish control over production and pursue new options when it came time to record their next album. "With Pershing we tried to micromanage our sound and it wasn't a fun process," recalls drummer/vocalist Phil Dickey. "So for the new record it seemed like a good idea to try something we've never tried before." Plus, as guitarist/vocalist John Cardwell adds, "It just seems lazy to not want to make the best-sounding record possible." Not knowing which producer to contact, they began their search by reaching out to Death Cab For Cutie guitarist and respected engineer Chris Walla -- a fan and friend of SSLYBY since the release of 2005's Broom -- to see if he had any recommendations. Unexpectedly, Walla quickly replied he had the perfect person in mind -- himself. And so, at his suggestion, SSLYBY made the trek from their hometown of Springfield, MO to Madison, WI -- home of the famed Smart Studios (Nirvana's Nevermind, Smashing Pumpkins' Gish). Working with Walla (Tegan and Sara, The Decemberists) and resident producer Beau Sorenson (Death Cab For Cutie, Sparklehorse), the band members crafted the final list of 12 songs that appear on Let It Sway. "When we got to the studio the songs were about 75 percent completed, which ended up being perfect," says guitarist Will Knauer. "It allowed them to grow naturally -- with Chris and Beau guiding the songs with sounds we wouldn't have had access to and ideas we wouldn't have thought up ourselves." The influence the producers had on shaping the finished album is especially evident on "Sink/Let it Sway," a song that Walla and Sorenson helped sculpt from ideas, fragments, and four different demo versions into a complete whole, as well as "In Pairs," a short, infectious track the band had never played together until Walla heard the opening riff while setting up mics and exclaimed "We have to record it!" "For the first time, the goal was to write good songs and not worry about how they were going to be produced," says Dickey. "We trusted Chris and Beau 100 percent." That faith was certainly not misplaced, as Let It Sway takes cues from the band's quiet Broom-era bedroom recordings and couples them with the polished sound of Pershing to create a whole new aesthetic most evident on songs like album opener "Back in the Saddle" and the slow burner "Stuart Gets Lost Dans Le Metro." Ironically, despite its high-profile studio origin, the record has a more authentic and "live-sounding" feel than if the group had recorded at home. "We generally tracked one song a day and just used the best performances -- even if there were little flubs," reveals Dickey. "Chris and Beau decided to do it that way, which is good because we're perfectionists and would probably still be recording the album today." In the end, the circumstances surrounding the making of the record -- in which the band rode bikes to the studio each morning and slept on the floor of Sorenson's home (while Walla inhabited a tent in the backyard) -- was exactly the kind of environment SSLYBY needed to recapture the essence of what it is to be a band. "Recording the album reminded me of how everything was when we first started playing together," says Dickey. "Everything about making music with your friends seemed fun and perfect all over again." As Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin learned firsthand, when pressure is mounting, sometimes you just gotta Let It Sway.

My Artists Sessions

Sunday, March 20

12:00am CDT