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

Jerard Fagerberg, Minneapolis freelance writer:

1 26 Bats!, 7th St. Entry. On Dec. 30, Bailey Cogan and Karl Remus end their psychedelic tenure in the Twin Cities. They join Blood $moke Body and Ness Nite for a sendoff show before they relocate to New Orleans.

2 Bo Burnham, "Inside (The Songs)" on vinyl. There is a delightful dissonance to getting the comedian's pandemic-defining panic attack on analog media. Imagine the staticky crackle before Burnham begins singing about the vagaries of Facetiming with his mother.

3 Sales, "Pope Is a Rockstar." After being misinterpreted and turned into a meme by TikTok, this downtempo 2016 dream pop song has gone from obscurity to ubiquity. Go, little rockstar, indeed.


Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:

1 Holiday Soul channel, Sirius XM. Instead of the usual mix of vintage Motown and Stax artists 24/7, Channel 49 has an inspired blend of seasonal tunes from classic stars like Aretha Franklin and Al Green plus the next generations, including Babyface, Faith Evans, Whitney Houston, Shaggy, Alicia Keys, Ledisi and H.E.R. It's a joyful listen at home or driving to Grandma's house.

2 Mariah Carey featuring Khalid and Kirk Franklin, "Fall in Love at Christmas." This isn't another yule classic from Mimi, but two remixes of the new jam — "Cutmore" (with a Bee Gees disco-era vibe) and "Moto Blanco" (an extended version with a rollicking beat and a little Mariah whistle vocalizing) — will keep you dancing around the Christmas tree.

3 Elvis Presley, "Merry Christmas, Baby." On the new boxed set "Elvis Back in Nashville," there is a nearly-9-minute, stripped-down treatment from 1971 of this bluesy holiday nugget made famous by Charles Brown. Charlie McCoy's harmonica, David Briggs' piano and James Burton's guitar set the mood and once the King finds his groove, he's at his bluesy best, feeling like his baby sure did treat him nice.

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