Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Danny Sigelman of Minneapolis:
1 Monica LaPlante, “Quarantine.” Northeast Minneapolis was treated to live sets from this mod-goth punk rocker atop a moving van. Also broadcasting live online, LaPlante and her band delivered tunes from her new EP for socially distanced dancing on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
2 Khruangbin, “Mordechai.” If your own isolation, anxieties and uncertainty regarding the current state of affairs need soothing, follow the blissful psychedelic spirits, positive energy and rhythm from this Houston trio. This June release offers more of their trademark soulful, surfy, Eastern flavor and groove. “Time” and “Pelota” are easily the jams of summer 2020.
3 Master P. The recent transplant brought Minnesota Nice to a whole new level in a visit to Minnehaha Academy, allowing the boys basketball team (featuring his two sons) to open up about prejudice and racial inequality. Talking to WCCO-TV, the philanthropist rapper said: “My message to Minnesota is don’t be fooled by this one incident. The love is real here. We have to appreciate the good people in the community.”
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Toots Hibbert. The incredibly soulful Jamaican singer who coined the term “reggae” is the subject of a complex profile in Rolling Stone, timed to his fiery new politicized album, “Got to Be Tough.” Hibbert needs to heed his own advice as he was hospitalized this week, possibly with COVID-19, and was in a medically induced coma.
2 “Stand Up” by Tom Morello, Shea Diamond, Dan Reynolds and the Bloody Beetroots. This riveting single is an unstoppable primal blast of punk-rap with an apocalyptic soundtrack, questioning what will happen when you call the police.
3 Phil Heywood and Tim Sparks, Tiny Porch Concerts, St. Paul. Heywood’s voice was warm and engaging on blues and folk tunes, but it was the guitar duo’s fancy and sometimes frenetic fretwork that impressed. Sparks is a marvelously eclectic master.