Jeff Taube of Bloomington:

1 Van Morrison, “Keep Me Singing.” His first album of new material in eight years shows the 71-year-old to be in fine form. Great songs, beautiful arrangements and the classic gritty, soulful vocals that can only be Van the Man.

 

2 “On Bowie” by Rob Sheffield. The Rolling Stone contributing editor writes a “love letter” to one of the greatest music icons of the past five decades. This little gem of a book by a passionate, lifelong fan adds insight to the ever evolving musical and visual periods of David Bowie’s career.

 

3 Drive-By Truckers, “American Band.” These Southern rockers put down the beer can for this album and take on some of the most important issues of the day. They’re still playing killer swampy blues rock with a twang, but they also examine the complexities of what it’s like to be a liberal from the South in 2016.

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Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:

1 Sigur Ros, Orpheum Theatre. With its mesmerizing music and artful visuals, this Icelandic trio was trippier than Pink Floyd.

 

2 Eric Burdon, the Dakota. His voice was a little ragged. But at 75, the former Animals frontman was still feisty and full of rock ’n’ roll swagger.

 

3 James Corden sings with Backstreet Boys. The boy-band-loving late-night TV host fulfilled a fantasy by singing and dancing in stage fog with the biggest boy band ever. When it was over, Corden was clearly verklempt.