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Sunday, September 24, 2017

New week, new music by Bob Seger, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr & more

Three rock veterans are among our New Music picks this week:

Bob Seger, currently in the middle of a tour, just released a taste of his upcoming album I Knew You When, and it's a hard-driving cover of Lou Reed's "Busload of Faith." The lyrics of late-80s disillusionment unfortunately still feel relevant, and Seger gives them just a slight update, replacing "churches" with "the president" in one line: "You can’t depend on the president, unless there’s real estate that you want to buy." But Seger and his band give the song an upbeat delivery that gives it a hopeful vibe.

Ringo Starr, who's also in mid-tour with his All Star Band, also dips into social commentary with one track on his new Give More Love album. Co-written with Peter Frampton, it's called "Laugable," as in "it would be laughable if it wasn't sad." The always-affable Ringo provides an optimistic message (and a Beatles reference): "Let's all be honest, it's going to hell / But not for ever / Don't be afraid, don't lose your faith / We need to come together."

And what do you know, Van Morrison is also in the middle of a tour, bouncing back and forth across the Atlantic. His zillionth album, Roll With The Punches, is a bluesy collection of originals and covers. We've been playing one of the originals, the single "Transformation," and now we're featuring the title track - another new song, this one with a classic blues structure.

We go off in completely different directions (as we like to do) for our other picks this week:

In The Valley Below is a married-couple duo perhaps best known for the song "Peaches," which reached the charts in 2015. Jeffrey Jacob and Angela Gail started their project in Los Angeles but moved to Gail's native Michigan, built a studio in their house and recorded their new EP, Elephant. We're spinning "Pink Chateau," a slow-down-and-relax tune in which they name-check themselves: "Down in the valley below / We can drink champagne in the Pink Chateau."

And we transport to Switzerland to bring you a sample of a band called Braggarts. This indie-rock trio been touring in its native country and in Germany for a few years and is starting to get noticed in the UK and beyond. Their new album Exploring New Stars just arrived and we're exploring their sound by adding a track they've released as a single, "Speed of Sound."

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