A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
The shoegaze revival. With Ride reunited and Swervedriver announcing a new album, those whose necks have been permanently angled downward have been given reason, however painfully, to turn their heads and accept the invitation to bliss out all over again.
Outrun/synthwave music. It's hard not to love a genre wholly dedicated to making you feel like you're driving a 1982 Ferrari GTO, sunglasses on and foot to the floor, racing through the night to foil a nefarious plot and save the world. With music by Kavinsky, Miami Nights 1984 and others, never has the past sounded so futuristic.
Jens Lekman releasing a song a week in 2015. As he works on his new album, he has chosen to keep a sort of audio diary. For Jens-starved fans all too familiar with long delays between new discs, it's a welcome gesture.
Jon Westmark, Minneapolis
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Don Was interview, DownBeat magazine. He discusses life as a producer and as head of Blue Note Records. Q: As a producer, how do you get the artist to trust you? A: "Neurosurgeons don't get another take. That's the worst thing that can happen — you do it again."
Ramsey Lewis and Philip Bailey, the Dakota. Take a jazz giant and the Earth, Wind & Fire frontman and you get a jazzy, intimate EWF mini-show along with a mini-Lewis show. The two stars were simpatico as Bailey essayed jazz standards and the Lewis group got funky on "Shining Star" and other hits.
Lola and the Red Family Band, the Cabooze. Tina Schlieske's annual holiday romp was short on Elvis Presley tunes but long on good times, great vocals and ho-ho-hos.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune