A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
David Aquilina of Richfield:
1 Flamin' Oh's, Mears Park. The Oh's annual summer show as part of the Lowertown Sounds series affirmed the faith of their longtime fans. Robert Wilkinson's rock classics got the big crowd dancing like it was 1979. On a new song, "What's Done Is Done," Bob Burns blasted a percussive piano solo that displayed the band's enduring power.
2 Cindy Lawson, "New Tricks." After a long break from the music scene, Lawson is back with a new CD. She pulls off some nifty tricks — sounding like a sweet and smooth 1960s pop singer on one song, transforming into a hard-edge rocker on the next.
3 Annie and the Bang Bang, Icehouse. This Twin Cities group boldly breaks boundaries between musical genres, weaving elements of psychedelic rock, classic rock, folk rock, art rock and grunge into mesmerizing musical adventures. Annie Enneking's poetic lyrics sparkle with images that illuminate the experience of "being a person in a world full of complicated people."
Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:
1 Jack White, the Armory. Manic, creative, spontaneous, electrifying even when playing acoustic songs. His guitar work was a bracing combination of precision and chaos, percussive rhythms and emotional solos. He is rock's most exciting live performer of the moment.
2 Megan Thee Stallion Will Not Back Down, Rolling Stone. In this mega-long interview, Mankaprr Conteh goes deep with Meg, who opens up about the Tory Lanez incident, her hardscrabble childhood, emotional ups and downs, new album and boyfriend. Quotable quote: "It's a gift that I'm so strong, but I feel like it's also a curse because it makes things get kind of lonely sometimes."
3 "Why You Shouldn't Room with James Taylor," the New Yorker. Humorist Jenn Knott gets readers smiling with her 17 reasons why Mr. Fire and Rain wouldn't be a good roommate. Best: He "is always saying he's your handyman, but when you ask if he'll unclog the toilet he says he can only fix broken hearts."
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