A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
The 20th annual toy and pet food drive and holiday bazaar, Muddy Paws Cheesecake. Featured were the groovy blues and country folk of Nikki and the RueMates, the soothing soft side of Courtney Yasmineh and the mellow croon of Brian Peterson. Good time, great cause.
Milo Greene, "Tonight Show With Jay Leno." The band's performance of "1957" captivated with four lead singers and six on backup. A vocal symphony, true to its refrain -- takes me away.
One Direction, "Little Things." The coolest thing about this simple acoustic love song is the swooning joy it brings to my little things, ages 11 and 17. And after hundreds of listens, their mom still likes it, too.
LISA DAHLSEID, ROBBINSDALE
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Cold Specks, the Cedar. The Canadian-relocated-to-London singer/guitarist goes by Al Spx. Her molasses moan was perfectly suited for her slow, mesmerizing Southern gospel-soul. Her six musicians/singers added the right touch of minimalist accompaniment for her spacey spiritual sound, and Spx exhibited a warm and playful personality. A most memorable debut.
Pete Townshend, Target Center. While the buff Roger Daltrey struggled with his stamina, control and upper vocal register, the very visual guitarist seemed to be enjoying himself thoroughly. His joyous faces during "Pinball Wizard" and his dancing, jumps and mugging during "Baba O'Riley" spoke louder than his great guitar.
Jimmy Page interview, Rolling Stone. Although he was evasive on too many controversial questions (drugs, the occult, Steven Tyler's audition), the founder of Led Zeppelin talked plenty about his relationship with Robert Plant, John Bonham's drinking, the 2007 O2 reunion concert and the magic of guitar riffs. Best quote about Zeppelin: "It does feel like the band still exists."
JON BREAM, STAR TRIBUNE