Waking Life: A Music Mix For November 2016

<p>(Photo: courtesy of the artist)</p>
<p>Hiss Golden Messenger</p>
Photo: Hiss Golden Messenger press photo
Hiss Golden Messenger

For my money, though, nothing delivers comfort like music, this or any other time of year.

But comfort doesn’t always come in the message we’d expect. Take, for example, Dawes’ “We’re All Gonna Die.” There’s no real lyrical twist on that title’s sentiment, and Taylor Goldsmith’s soulful falsetto delivers it straight:

“So try not to get upset

Everything is fine.

Hey, it's not that big a deal

We’re all gonna die.”

Find the bleakness in that if you want, but I spent October feeling strangely comforted by it.

That one isn’t alone here. If you want songs that wrap around you like a warm blanket, look no further than “Diction” from recent CPR's OpenAir in-studio guests Hoots & Hellmouth. It comes from the Philadelphia band’s first release in over four years, "In the Trees Where I Can See the Forest," and I joked then that the song is as Philly as a cheesesteak.

Elsewhere, Hiss Golden Messenger brings the warmth on the title track from my most current album obsession, "Heart Like A Levee." It’s a reminder that not everything needs a cynical edge or ironic twist to delight, least of all good songwriting.

Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis covers Elliott Smith, while Katy Goodman & Greta Morgan take on a classic from The Jam. Mascis’ bandmate Lou Barlow, meanwhile, serves up a plaintive song from a new EP that could not be more different from his regular gig. We recently featured him on our Inside Track podcast.

Also of note here: the returns of The Shins, Austra and The Mary Onettes; and the debuts of Swedish supergroup LIV and Long Island upstarts The Lemon Twigs, the band founded by teenage brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario.

Is that all? Not even close, but the month is long. Dig in and let me know what you think in the comments below or tweet @openairjeremy.