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

2013 Vans Warped Tour. Action Item and Allstar Weekend have been added to this year's lineup, which means I'll definitely be headed to Canterbury Park on July 21. And I can't wait to see the return of Australia's pop-punk Tonight Alive.

"The Lying Game." Not only is the mystery intriguing on Season 2 of this ABC Family's teen drama, but I'm loving the alternative folk music added to the soundtrack by the Good Mad (featuring the show's co-star Allie Gonino). The producers have done a brilliant job incorporating her real-life musical talents into the highly addictive series.

"Disney's Aladdin -- The Musical." Reports just surfaced of Disney finally bringing this Oscar-winning score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman to Broadway in 2014. The memorable songs are bound to make this a sure hit.


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Dwight Yoakam, Treasure Island. Offering several 1960s-tinged tunes from his new "3 Pears" album, the honky-tonk master was playful, passionate and outstanding. Props to new guitarist Gene Edwards.

Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps, the Cedar. A batch of new material found this Twin Cities folk-rock thrush heading in a striking new soulful direction. Hints of Dusty Springfield and Alicia Keys could be heard in the fresh and confident Smith. She also threw in convincing covers of Lauryn Hill and the Beatles. Can't wait for the album with these new songs.

"Dr. Feelgood" by Prince, the Dakota. Never has an instrumental of a 1960s R&B classic sounded so funky. Terrific horn work and a remarkable blues guitar solo by Prince.