A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:


Amanda Palmer, “A Poem for Dzhokhar.” The Boston-raised rocker posted a long poem (www.amandapalmer.net) addressed to the surviving Boston Marathon bomber. It’s a series of comments that all begin with “you don’t know...” Some lines work better than others, but it’s potent, provocative stuff.

Boz Scaggs, the State. He mixed Southern soul from his new “Memphis” CD, blue-eyed soul from “Silk Degrees” and the tension-filled, 15-minute blues “Loan Me a Dime” into a quite satisfying evening.

Ricky Skaggs, the Dakota. The pickin’ was pretty fancy, the harmonies sweet and the sound a little thicker than usual for bluegrass. And the mandolin master gave illuminating histories behind many vintage tunes.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune

contribute:  popmusic@startribune.com

Jeff Bridges and the Abiders, Mesa, Ariz. It was a thrill to see my favorite actor — “The Dude” — live with his band, offering songs and stories about his movies. He did tunes from “Crazy Heart,” his solo record and a few covers. He was engaging as he answered questions from the audience (including mine), though he was a bit introverted at times. A once -in-a-lifetime experience.

Phoenix, “Bankrupt.” One of my favorite bands for many years. The highly anticipated follow-up to 2009’s “Wolfgang Amadeus” lived up to my expectations. The French synth-pop band delivers again, with such standouts as the title track, “Trying to Be Cool,” and “Oblique City.”

Jim James, First Avenue. Seeing the lead singer of My Morning Jacket solo did not disappoint. I enjoyed the colorful set and the 1970s vibe of songs from his solo CD, “Regions of Light and Sound.”

Deb Skolos, Minneapolis