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

The Suburbs are back. They have a new album, "Si Sauvage," and played the State Fair grandstand. The single "Turn the Radio On" is fun and edgy and will get radio airplay. Yeah!

Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Kings. Great way to kick off free music at the fair — with funky, swampy zydeco dance beats.

MTV's Video Music Awards. Between Justin Timberlake's tearing up the stage and bringing us a 90-second 'N Sync reunion and Miley Cyrus' twerking and endless tongue dancing, we haven't had this much VMA talk since Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift in '09.

Lori Barghini, "Lori & Julia," My Talk 107.1, Twin Cities

To contribute: popmusic@startribune.com

George Strait interview, Billboard magazine. In a rare Q&A, the country superstar talks about his early pre-stardom days, what he looks for in a song and his current farewell tour. It's modest, mild stuff. Favorite quote: "It's hard to say why I've had the longevity that I've had. Maybe it's not doing all of the interviews."

Eric Gales sits in with fDeluxe, the Dakota. With two members out of town at gigs with their main bands, the group formerly known as the Family wasn't as tight as last time around. But the revelation was guest guitarist Gales, who soared when given opportunities. And his exchanges with fD guitarist Oliver Leiber were a highlight, as was co-lead-singer Susannah Melvoin dubbing co-lead-singer Paul Peterson "the plaid Tom Petty."

Chuck Negron, State Fair. The former Three Dog Night vocalist was the surprise of the Turtles' annual Happy Together 1960s package. Despite his tentative presence, he still has powerful pipes and an innate soulfulness, as evidenced on "Eli's Coming."

Jon Bream, Star Tribune