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

Dawn Novak of Electric Fetus:

1 Placebo, "Never Let Me Go." I've been a fan of Placebo ever since their 1996 self-titled album. Their eighth studio album is a banger that shows these British rockers are still going strong.

2 Record Store Day. This international event celebrates what independent record stores contribute to their communities. At the Electric Fetus, we featured live music, DJs sets and special releases to mark the 15th annual event on April 23. It was exciting to return to the pre-COVID vibe we've come to expect on this day.

3 VocalEssence presents Stewart Copeland's "Satan's Fall." I'm thrilled to hear my favorite drummer of all time speak before VocalEssence presents his reimagining of Milton's epic poem, "Paradise Lost." Central Lutheran Church hosts this event on Sunday, with stage direction by the always impressive Peter Rothstein.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:

1 Dee Dee Bridgewater and Bill Charlap, Hopkins Center for the Arts. Seemingly oblivious to the audience, the singer faced the pianist for a series of intimate conversations. Some of the words came from tunes like "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Mood Indigo," some were improvised as the singer, whose voice was at turns velvety, silky and satiny, sang or scatted, and Charlap responded with equally passionate passages. It was a rare treat to eavesdrop on this extraordinary musical tete-a-tete.

2 Joy Oladokun, "I See America"/ "Smells Like Teen Spirit." While the Nashville singer-songwriter had a goofy giggle between songs at the Fine Line, she was laser focused on this mashup. A powerful juxtaposition.

3 "My Friend Naomi Judd Dealt With Crippling Depression — The Same Kind That Took My Brother's Life," Rolling Stone. In a gut-wrenchingly personal story, radio host/journalist Hunter Kelly writes about how his conversations with Judd helped him deal with his brother's death and how he interviewed her recently to pen a biography for the Judds induction into the Country Hall of Fame. It's salvation and tragedy worthy of a country song.

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