A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Mippey5. The Fridley-bred music-video maestro behind "Minnesota Gurls," a viral Katy Perry YouTube parody, is shifting from spoofs to originals. His "Selfie Song" was on NBC's New Year's Eve show and is charting on iTunes.
Seventies Album Club. It's like a book club: Two members each choose an album for the group to play and discuss at monthly meetings at the Honey Lounge in Minneapolis. The club changed its rules recently to allow LPs from 1965-85. This month: Jonathan Richman and Cat Stevens.
"The Replacements: Waxed Up Hair & Painted Shoes" by Jim Walsh and Dennis Pernu. I gave and received this new 'Mats coffee-table book over the holidays. The glossy pages capture the group's grubby glee.
Chris Steller, Minneapolis
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Roberta Gambarini, the Dakota. The Italian-born New Yorker is the complete jazz singer. Backed by a terrific combo including pianist George Cables and saxophonist Justin Robinson, the playful, knowledgeable and intellectual vocalist handled ballads, blues, bossa nova, swing and scatting with equal authority. Her rendition of "Lush Life" was sad, sophisticated and sublime.
Rosanne Cash, "The River and the Thread." Another masterful collection of literate, midlife meditations, filled with Southern cultural touchstones. She co-wrote "When the Master Calls the Roll," a Civil War love epic, with her ex-husband, Rodney Crowell, and her current husband, John Leventhal, and got John Prine, Tony Joe White, Amy Helm and Kris Kristofferson to sing on it.
Tom Morello plays guitar on Bruce Springsteen's "High Hopes" album. His work (on eight of the tracks), especially the title track and a remake of "Ghost of Tom Joad," define the album. The Rage Against the Machine mainstay and E Street Band replacement adds a slashing, metallic edge that heightens the urgency and modernizes the Boss' sound.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune