Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.


Erik Thompson of City Pages:

1 “Song Exploder” on Netflix. Hrishikesh Hirway’s celebrated podcast features musicians breaking down the inspiration behind their songs. Revealing half-hour episodes include R.E.M., Alicia Keys, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ty Dolla $ign sharing their candid insights.


2 Save Our Stages Fest. Independent U.S. music venues are in serious financial trouble. To help raise money for them, YouTube is hosting #SOSFEST Oct. 16-18 featuring live performances from legendary venues (including First Avenue) from Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews, Brittany Howard, the Roots, Miley Cyrus and others.


3 Baby Queen. This whipsmart 23-year-old Londoner has crafted three of the catchiest singles of 2020 with “Buzzkill,” “Medicine” and “Internet Religion.” Mixing the acerbic social commentary of “Loser”-era Beck with the youthful creative confidence of Lorde, Baby Queen will drop her debut EP in November.

Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:

1 45 Lies 2020, Instagram. Organized by poet/playwright/activist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, 45 artists including MC Black Thought of the Roots, “Hamilton” star Daveed Diggs and rapper Talib Kweli offer 45-second spoken-word videos detailing alleged lies by our 45th president, Donald Trump.


2 Annie Mack, “Shadows of a Kingdom.” This liberating bluesy anthem is a timely song of determination by the Rochester vocalist. She sings: “It ain’t easy being Queen in the shadows of a kingdom, trying to turn water to wine. Hoping and praying that it’s not all in vain. It’s just a matter of time.”


3 Charlie Parr, yard concert in St. Paul. Sounding like the son of John Koerner and Dave Ray, the pride of Duluth sang with side-of-the-mouth folk-blues authenticity and displayed equally expressive guitar, augmented by Mikkel Beckmen’s washboard rhythms. As a bonus, violinist Armaiti Prosch offered a moving rendition “Kol Nidre” for Yom Kippur.