A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Jungles, South By Southwest. While in Austin, Texas, I saw a four-piece all-girl Japanese punk band called Jungles. There was a chalkboard behind the drum set, and before they played they drew a turd on the board and wrote the word poop next to it.
Kashmere Stage Band, SXSW. There is an amazing documentary, "Thunder Soul," on Netflix about this reunited high school R&B show band. They've still got it live — and then some.
Bo Ningen, SXSW. Although I missed the set myself, a pal of mine saw this Japanese noise/punk quartet and strongly recommended I check it out. He was right — I can't stop listening to them.
eric foss, Secret Stash Records VP, Mpls.
Sena Ehrhardt, Famous Dave's. She doesn't have much stage presence, but the Rochester blueswoman has a tremendous voice. Replacing her dad on guitar with young, talented Cole Allen was a mighty smart move.
LP Music, Icehouse. Making its debut, this Twin Cities instrumental quintet — led by saxist/flutist/keyboardist Eric Leeds and bassist Paul Peterson — impressed with its chemistry and improvisational instincts. LP may be the initials of the leaders' surnames, but it also refers to "long player," as in the 25-minute opening selection. Their secret weapon is outstanding jazz keyboardist Peter Schimke.
Various artists, "Bob Dylan in the '80s: Volume One." Not the bard's best decade, but hearing several indie singers including Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, Glen Hansard, Hannah Cohen and especially the soulful Reggie Watts ("Brownsville Girl") interpret these songs makes you re-evaluate their quality.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune