Gossard says "Your Flames," the atmospheric and heartfelt ballad streaming today, is "a story about this moment in a dream where you shock yourself by doing something that you wouldn't expect that you would do which in this case was smacking my nephew in the face. And going, 'oh my God, how did I just do that?' But then the irony is that he… he's sort unfazed by it."
The track -- which changes course to a positive message where, "I'm telling him he doesn't' need to light matches in his room because he has his own matches inside him," -- also appears on Gossard's "Apollo" EP which is out today via iTunes and which collects the first four songs of "Moonlander." A second four-song EP, "Luna," comes out June 4 ahead of the album.
"I was listening to a lot of Hank Williams at that time," he says about writing "Your Flames" about five years ago. "The chord changes are very traditional, so the music has a real simplicity to it."
Elsewhere on "Moonlander," Gossard tackles themes that range from love, to addiction to spirituality. "Battle Cry," which features Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron, is centered on the idea that "part of being human is that you got to be ready to be in a conflict and know how to move through it. There's no escaping conflict if you're in love." Gossard describes "Beyond Measure" as "a gospel song about not being able to fully understand God." The dark, building "King of the Junkies," meanwhile, was inspired by a documentary on Hitler that "claimed that during [his] last 4 or 5 years that he was using methamphetamine" and "the idea that he suddenly realized that he had everything backwards."
"Moonlander," which follows 12 years after Gossard's first solo effort "Bayleaf," benefited from having "more material to choose from," he says. "I was able to choose songs that I really felt comfortable singing."
There are no specific plans so far for any "Moonlander" shows however, Gossard shares, because he's hard at work on Pearl Jam's anticipated next album.
"We're almost done," he says. "It's sounding great. I think people are going to be excited about it. It's still crossing our Ts and dotting our I's right now and trying to get it finished, so that's the plan."