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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Fresh tracks from Dawes + My Morning Jacket + Joan Osborne + Sarah Harmer + Blindlove

Dawes: Who Do You Think You're Talking To?

The seventh studio album from Taylor Goldsmith and his band, Good Luck with Whatever, is due in October. In a statement about the project, Goldsmith indicated he gave his bandmates more say in shaping the tunes: "The other guys all have chops that I don’t have and never will." This single fits naturally into the Dawes oeuvre of 80s-California-style rock, influenced by the likes of Jackson Browne and the Eagles. Lyrically, it's another Goldsmith snapshot of a relationship shadowed by past relationships: "Who, who do you think you're talkin' to? / Is it the man that was here before me? / The one that wrecked you hard and walked ... It's clear, that's somethin' you're still workin' through." 

My Morning Jacket: Climbing The Ladder

This "new" music actually dates to 2014, when Jim James and his group spent time writing and recording at a mountaintop studio near California's Muir Woods. They recorded enough songs for a double or triple album, but decided to release a 10-track LP, 2015's The Waterfall. Five years later, they have rolled out The Waterfall II. Consequence of Sound calls it "a moody record, one whose bruised and dreamy soul-searching serves as the duskier bookend to its predecessor’s sun-dappled roaming." Our featured track is one of the most energetic in the collection. 

Joan Osborne: Take It Any Way I Can Get It

"We need songs that can energize us and lift us up in this current moment," the singer-songwriter says of this first single from her upcoming LP, Trouble and Strife. "If we can’t stay connected to that inner joy, we can’t help those who need us or even help ourselves.” Osborne self-produced this, her 10th album, recording with a large live band. She says the rest of the songs follow a similar theme of holding onto optimism, in order to survive “the crazy, chaotic times we’re living in.” (Fun fact: Osborne and Jim James were both born in Kentucky.)

Sarah Harmer: Take Me Out

We featured the single "New Low" last November, ahead of the release of this Ontario singer-songwriter's fifth album. The LP came out in February, so we're late getting back to it, but we're now featuring this upbeat song that Play MPE calls "a resilient, irrepressible burst of light and melody." The album is the first from Harmer in ten years. CBC writes that Harmer's "sense of story and melody [are] a set of timeless threads that allow her 2000 debut album, You Were Here, to pour seamlessly into her first album in a decade, Are You Gone. As for this song, Harmer told CBC she "had the arrangement and the melody and a few of those lines for 15 years probably."

Blindlove: I Wanna Be Okay

The debut single by this alternative-rock band from Salt Lake City is one of those songs that seems perfectly timed for this moment of fear and uncertainty. Taken as a whole, the lyric seems to be the lament of a brokenhearted person brooding in his room - as in the Simon & Garfunkel classic "I Am A Rock," but with more desperation than stoicism. We're guessing it was written before the pandemic, but its opening lines have taken on new resonance: "I'm scared to go out today / I'm anchored in doubt / Been pacing a line from the sink to the couch." The repeated, title line, "I Wanna Be Okay," sums up how many of us feel right now.

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