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Playlist: Indie band Bad Books’ favorites include songs from Bon Iver and Kanye West


Bad Books, a mini-supergroup of singer/songwriter Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull and Robert McDowell, are currently on a lull in between the two legs of their June-August tour, celebrating the recent release of their third studio album “III.

Before heading back on tour, Devine, Hull and McDowell shared a playlist of their own recent favorites with USA TODAY.

“Mythological Beauty” – Big Thief

I know Big Thief just put out an equally incredible and indelibly unique new record, but I’m still swimming around in this song from their last one. Adrianne Lenker’s voice is a warm riddle, surfing her band’s patient painkiller undulations, crackling and hypnotic, holding everything but revealing little, tap-dancing magic through that liminal space between dream and memory. — Devine

“I Didn’t Understand” – Elliott Smith

I may be stepping on Andy’s toes here, as I know this is a favorite of his, but the last track on “XO” has been given new life in my house lately as a lullaby (edited for language) my daughter asks me to sing her multiple times before bed.  “What a silly joke” and “My feelings never change a bit/I always feel like this” stand in for the original lyrics.  It’s one of Elliott’s many cracked, perfect songs, and a swooning, towering achievement by a generational talent, whether performed solo with piano, or on record as a kaleidoscopic swirl of a capella harmony. — Devine

“17th Street Treatment Centre” – John K. Samson

Wherein John — one of the very few songwriters whose lyrics actually, certifiably qualify as legitimate poetry — digests and repurposes and kinda sorta outpaces 1,000+ pages of Infinite Jest in two minutes (which is an Olympic-level feat). Economical, detail-rich, poignant, vividly funny (and sad); relatable, in a rare, specific, deep, clear window-into-the-soul sort

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