Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Lynn Avery, producer/composer behind the Twin Cities ambient sonic collagist Iceblink:
1 Otro, "Untitled (Live From Nowhere)." Some beautiful electroacoustic tracks from a personal fave Spanish producer, with some ambient gems scattered in there. I particularly love the sound of the live room with electronics; it gives it this incredibly organic feel.
2 Omni Gardens, "Moss King." A new tape from Steve Rosborough, ex-Minneapolitan and founder of Moon Glyph Records. Beautiful music to play while watering your houseplants in the morning. Real British educational television feel. Just let it play, you'll forget your troubles until the tape clicks and you have to flip to Side B.
3 Dig Nitty, "Reverse of Mastery." Friends in New York I've played with. I've been hearing these tracks for a long time (as live bootlegs), and I'm glad to see them out there finally. Just pleasant, aching songwriting, with a garage tinge.
Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune critic:
1 City Pages' 2020 "Picked to Click" poll. Without live gigs as its driving force this year, the 30th annual roundup of new Twin Cities buzzmakers is an especially eclectic and unpredictable bunch led by Iceblink and including whirry rock bands Muun Bato and Bugsy, jazz-rock experimenter Taylor Seaberg and the already clicking Turn Turn Turn. Can't wait to see them all live post-pandemic.
2 Run the Jewels, "RTJ4" livestream. No surprise one of the year's most bombastic and important albums delivered by one of the 21st century's liveliest live acts made for one of the most thrilling virtual concerts of quarantine. It's archived on YouTube to benefit the ACLU and to spur voting.
3 Sturgill Simpson, "Cuttin' Grass, Vol. 1." Where his forceful 2019 synth-rock album felt a little too forced, this less heady all-bluegrass excursion by the Kentucky countryman through his older tunes sounds charmingly effortless and natural.