Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Justin Levy of Minneapolis:
1 SG Lewis, Robyn & Channel Tres, "Impact." Robyn provides her stunning and distinctive voice to a really rad single that's showing how the disc renaissance is growing with Channel Tres bringing the song into a cool R&B and house avenue.
2 Flownn, "Illuminate." This song by a new U.K. artist has a vibe throughout that just keeps you bopping with some cool vocoder effects that enhance and don't distract.
3 NAO, "Saturn." This album is rooted in your life during your Saturn return. The 2018 record is familiar enough to bring comfort but will always create some reflection in unexpected ways.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Amanda Shires featuring Jason Isbell, "The Problem." In this poignant single, the Americana star and her husband have a frank and challenging discussion about abortion. She asks: "Is a chrysalis a butterfly?" He sings, "I'm on your side."
2 Rhiannon Giddens, "Cry No More" video. Backed by opera singers and string players of color, she recasts this 2015 plea for justice as a powerful call-and-response spiritual with orchestral heft and a ballerina solo as an exclamation point.
3 "This Thing Called Life: Prince's Odyssey, On and Off the Record" by Neal Karlen. Like a neurotic jazz man who got a gig he didn't apply for, the flamboyantly engaging Minneapolis storyteller became an unlikely friend to Prince, the loneliest person he's ever met. Like heyday Prince, the one-time Rolling Stone cover writer's book is partly truth, partly fiction, with lots of intentional contradictions. Whether they're about visiting boxer Sonny Liston's grave, having late-night phone calls or sharing painkillers, the stories, like Prince, are irresistibly fascinating and as elusive as float-like-a-butterfly Muhammad Ali, the rock star's idol. Though not comprehensive and sometimes sloppy with facts, this memoir is easily the most telling book about the late Prince thus far.