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Left to right/top to bottom: Kaiser Chiefs, Bruce Springsteen, Andrew Bird, Bowerbirds, Snarky Puppy, Good Old War, Veloso y Byrne, John Mayer

Greetings and welcome to another edition of DJ JD’s playlist of the week, brought to you by Spotify!

This week, since I’m so late in delivering, we have a whopping eight (8!) tracks to help you through the weekend, featuring solely new tunes from new releases. Check it out here!

At #1 we have a fresh track by the Kaiser Chiefs titles “On the Run.” The Kaiser Chiefs are a post-punk outfit from Leeds and rose to fame with the rowdy “I Predict a Riot” on their first album Employment. Their newest album Start the Revolution Without Me was original released last year as The Future is Medieval, which was an experimental release in that fans got to choose from a number of tracks online to decide the albums tracklist. Along with that, fans also go to customize the album art. Pretty innovative use of your fan base, reminds me of when Beck included stickers with his fairly plain album cover for 2006’s The Information.

In at #2 is Bruce Springsteen’s title track “Wrecking Ball” off his newest release. The lyrics invite you, “if you’ve got the guts, mister, if you’ve got the balls,” to “bring on your wrecking ball.” The track starts at a slow burn and builds up to a wondrous carnival of sound and lyrics reflecting on the boomerang nature of hard times not unlike other classic Springsteen tunes.

#3 brings us to Andrew Bird’s “Near Dear Experience Experience” off his newest record Break It Yourself. Bird provides his signature layered sound of strings and whistles along with some touching and understated lyrics about dancing “like cancer survivors.” Light and poppy with some instrumental depth is exactly where I like Bird and this track delivers.

#4 is a new track by the Bowerbirds off their latest, full, third LPThe Clearing. Bowerbirds is a trio features the voices of guitarist Philip Moore, accordionist Beth Tacular (great name!), and violinist Mark Paulson. The Bowerbirds have that light folky sound that reminds me of bands like The Decemberists and newer groups like The Civil Wars.

At #5 is a cut from jazz fusion ensemble Snarky Puppy off their latest release groundUP called “Thing of Gold.” What I love about this track is that it has the instrumental complexity and pop styling of a Steely Dan tune mixed with a lulling synth sensibility that wouldn’t be out of place in a Kanye West track. Many of the band  members are former University of North Texas students and the band has seen almost thirty musicians come and go since their first release in 2005.

#6 brings us to “Over and Over” a track off the newest Good Old War album titled Come Back As Rain. This opening track from former members of prog rock outfit Days Away includes some of the brightest guitar I’ve heard outside of Matt Kearney’s pop hits, and some hopeless lyrics about a doomed couple.In a moment of enlightenment the singer finally declares, “You’re better off alone.”

In at #7 is a track off Caetano Veloso and David Byrne’s collaboration Live at Carnegie Hall called “God’s Child.” The track features Byrne’s signature vocals, remember he was the lead singer of New Wave champions Talking Heads, some righteous acoustic guitar, and some heart-pounding drums. The final moment where Byrne holds an ungodly cry for what seems like forever gives me chills every time. The whole album, featuring Veloso and Byrne trading off and dueting on eighteen songs, is definitely worth your time.

Finally at #8 is the newest single from singer/guitarist/adult contemporary idol John Mayer called “Shadow Days.” This release, his first since 2009’s Battle Studies, is a confessional about his letting go of his “rough start” and that his titular “shadow days are over.” About as country as I’ve ever heard Mayer, featuring some accenting slide guitar, this track is further proof that even though Mayer’s live sets tend to be bluesy as he wants (Battle Studies featured his cover of “Crossroads,” mind you) most of his album tracks tend toward the adult contemporary, mellow voiced Mayer. Not that I’m complaining.

That’s it for this week! Once again you can check out the new playlist here!

JD

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