Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Matt Quinn of St. Paul:
1 Gully Boys on 89.3 the Current's "Sounds Like Home." Keeping up with my favorite local band with this basement session featuring smart and catchy new songs, including the aptly titled "New Song #2." Good-time punk energy, hypnotic harmonies and grunge grit all rolled up in one. I could watch Nadirah McGill play drums all day.
2 Gupi & Fraxiom, "Thos Moser." My older daughter has introduced me to hyper-pop, and I am lost in this world but absolutely fascinated. This song and video feature the genre hallmarks of maniacally auto-tuned vocals, inside jokes, subversion of corporate logos and layers of electronic noise.
3 Blackpink, "How You Like That." My younger daughter stayed up until 4 a.m. last week to take part in this video's record-setting premiere. Beyond the elaborate and innumerable costumes and choreography, this song has serious hooks and lyrics out of fantasy fiction.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 BET Awards. This was a rare awards program with a pointed message threaded throughout: from the reimagining of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" to DaBaby doing an updated "Rockstar" on the ground with a cop's knee on his throat to Beyoncé imploring everyone to "vote." Message received: Fight injustice.
2 The Chicks, "March March" video. Not one to shy away from controversy, the trio formerly known as the Dixie Chicks declare "march, march to my own drum. I'm an army of one." In this eerie and arresting protest piece framed by haunting fiddle, banjo and slide guitar, they celebrate the importance of letting your voice — and vote — be heard. March on!
3 The Avett Brothers, "We Americans." Part prayer and part Appalachian chamber folk, this new single talks about the lingering hurt in our country from the Civil War, Jim Crow and stolen lands. The vocals are rather soft-spoken but the message cuts deep as the final refrain is repeated over and over, "Love in our hearts with the pain and the memory."