A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Nancy Harms, the Dakota. Back in Minneapolis from New York to promote her new CD, "Dreams in Apartments," she was in great form, with unusual arrangements and phrasing that showcased her unique style.
Internet radio. I recently got a tabletop Internet radio (a CCWiFi) I can hook up to my stereo or listen to through a built-in speaker. It's such an adventure to be able to listen to thousands of stations around the world.
KDKK-FM, Park Rapids. We always listen to this station when vacationing in northern Minnesota. It plays a quirky blend of '40s and '50s music mixed with local announcements of lost dogs, chicken dinners and obituaries.
Steve Adams, Minnetonka
Janelle Monáe, "Late Show With David Letterman." What an exciting entertainer! Her James Brown-inspired performance, including dancing on Dave's desk, was more convincing than her song, "Dance Apocalyptic."
Trampled by Turtles, State Fair. The Duluth bluegrass-folk ensemble is the first local act to truly make it work on the mammoth grandstand stage. They smartly framed the stage with artful lighting and adjusted the sound to the right volume.
Little Diamonds, "New Orleans Bound." Minneapolis high school senior Luke LeBlanc may have chosen an unnecessary moniker and inappropriate photos for his CD package, but he sure has gone to school on Dylanesque folk music. With a voice evoking early John Prine, he has crafted some commendable if derivative tunes, most notably "Too Early Gone."
Jon Bream, Star Tribune