Bill Pekarna of Lakeville:

1 Steve Perry, “Traces.” After a long self-imposed exile, the reclusive ex-Journey singer returned with an emotional tribute dedicated to his late girlfriend Kellie Nash. Twenty-four years since his last solo album, Perry’s voice is as captivating as ever.

 

2 Dead Sara, 7th St. Entry. Led by one of the most compelling new female voices in rock, Emily Armstrong, L.A.’s Dead Sara mesmerized with a compact hard-rock flair.

 

3 Reignwolf, Turf Club. Originally a one-man band but now officially a three-piece led by the immensely talented and spirited Jordan Cook, this Canadian outfit has released a smattering of singles. They played half their buzz-guitar bluesy set onstage before finishing the performance among their fans.

Contribute: popmusic@startribune.com.

Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:

1 Whole Music Club celebrates 50th anniversary. At a reception at this University of Minnesota basement institution, former student staffers reminisced about presenting Bonnie Raitt, Dave Van Ronk, Dexter Gordon, the Dead Kennedys and the Replacements. Great stories about great music.

 

2 Florence + the Machine, Target Center. What a potent, physical, fan-friendly performance on a stylish stage with lots of steps.

 

3 “Cosmic Trip” by Christian A. Peterson and Juryj Ostroushko. Subtitled “Rock Concerts at the Minneapolis Labor Temple 1969-1970,” this new book covers a thin but fascinating slice of Twin Cities music history. It was our Fillmore, and Ostroushko’s posters and reports on concerts by the Grateful Dead, the Byrds, Jeff Beck, Jethro Tull, Muddy Waters, Small Faces and others prove it.