Brandi Carlile, "Hold Out Your Hand"
Brandi Carlile's always been an activist for social justice, though she's generally veered away from being explicitly political in any of her songs themselves. But on the blistering "Hold Out Your Hand," from her new Dave Cobb-produced LP By the Way, I Forgive You, she creates a roots amalgam that travels through many corners of the splintered American soul: police brutality, nonstop violence, dissolutions, discouragement. Not, however, without a solution. And for Carlile, it's simple. "Hold out your hand," she sings in her unparalleled howl. It's furious, complex and a little punk rock. M.M.