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Everybody loves Fridays. But for music fans, Fridays are extra special because it’s new album release day. Just about every Friday, there’s at least one new album I’m excited to hear. And even though I keep a list of upcoming releases I’m personally interested in picking up, I’m always open to surprises.
Sometimes, those surprises are artists I was unfamiliar with but I’m compelled to check out from the buzz their music is generating. But on rare occasions, surprises come from artists I love that decide to release new music with no advance notice.
That’s exactly what happened today when singer songwriter Margaret Glaspy surprise released a new digital EP called “Born Yesterday.” [iTunes] Glaspy’s debut album “Emotions and Math” came out in 2016, and I included it in my top ten for that year. [Amazon | iTunes]
This new EP is described as being a bookend to that album, and I think that’s a fair description. “Born Yesterday” includes just three new songs, but they definitely feel like a continuation of the music from her full length. It’s got more of that same simmering, gritty, bluesy swagger that made “Emotions and Math” such a great record.
Margaret Glaspy says she wrote these new songs while on the road, so it makes perfect sense that they‘re recorded in the same basic trio format that she plays in on tour and with the same musicians as well. The material is road tested and well-rehearsed, resulting in three tight, polished performances. To hear the songs were recorded in a single day is little surprise, and I mean that as a compliment.
The first track and single from the EP is “Before We Were Together,” and it’s an infectiously bouncy piece of indie rock that kind of recalls the early 80s for me. One of the things I love about a trio is how essential each musician becomes in the mix, and that’s perfectly illustrated on this song. There’s a great driving bass line by Daniel Ryan paired with evolving percussion from drummer Tim Cool. On top of all that we get Glaspy’s crunchy guitar and the confident occasional growl in her vocals.
On “One Heart and Two Arms,” the song starts out sounding like a slowed down version of the title track from her full album, but it quickly develops into something much more seductive. I love the dirty sound of her guitar on this track, and the way she hits her chords and just lets them ring, not just rushing to the next notes.
The EP closes all too soon with “I Live You, Goodnight.” Here, it seems Ryan has swapped his bass guitar for some kind of keyboard. I’m not sure what it is… an organ or melotron, perhaps… but I love the nice full sound it creates, filling in the low end of the sonic spectrum. Lyrically, this is a classic ode to life on the road and the strain of separation for the touring musician. Rather than building the track around sorrowful minor chords, though, the melody leans closer to melancholy, suggesting the love of the road may have as strong a pull as the love of home.
I mentioned how Margaret Glaspy describes this EP as a bookend to her album. I could have easily imagined her releasing a deluxe edition of “Emotions and Math” and simply adding these songs as bonus tracks. As an EP all on their own, they’re still great songs, but I’m definitely left wanting more. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for Glaspy’s full length follow-up, which she says she’s working on and experimenting with new sounds as well. I’ll look forward to that, for sure.
Meanwhile, if you’re new to her music, I highly recommend you consider pairing this EP with her excellent debut album for the ultimate Margaret Glaspy experience.
Note: This review is also available on video on the Track X Track YouTube channel.