Latest Blog Posts

by Sachyn Mital

2 Jun 2017


Rhiannon Giddens began her Freedom Highway tour at a surprising place. Sing Sing prison in New York. There, she addressed the inmates (and the NY Times reporter) and performed songs from the new album, describing the prison as “perfect for what this album is about and the sort of social consciousness and activism that surrounds this record.” The album highlights Giddens’ earthy-roots music and her original, often political lyrics (her previous solo album post-Carolina Chocolate Drops was a covers record). She doesn’t shy away from issues political, historical or contemporary, racial or social.

As Giddens tour continued, she arrived at somewhere a bit more glamorous, Lincoln Center, for the final show of the 2017 American Songbook series. She had performed in the series twice in the past few years, and this was her biggest show at Lincoln Center yet, in front of a sold-out crowd at Alice Tully Hall. Her backing band included multi-instrumentalists Dirk Powell and Hubby Jenkins, Jason Sypher on bass and Jamie Dick on drums, as well as her sister Lalenja Harrington providing back-up vocals and her nephew Justin Harrington rapping a song near the end of the powerful show. As Billboard noted, “Giddens’ vocals—which reveal her extensive operatic training—were front-and-center on such show highlights as Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman” and Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You,” which gave the originals a run for their money; and the Mack Gordon-written “Underneath the Harlem Moon,” which Ethel Waters recorded in the 1930s. “There’s a lot of good stuff to be found,” Giddens said of the last song. “It makes all the digging worthwhile.” Photos from Giddens performance, as well as upcoming tour dates, are below.

by Sachyn Mital

25 May 2017


For me, the time between falling in love with an album (and possibly hearing the band for the first time, to be honest) and seeing that band perform live, has probably never been shorter than it was for Slowdive. Their 2017 come-back, self-titled release is one of my favorites of the year and one of PopMatters’ Picks. Right from the get-go, with the first track “Slomo”, Slowdive had me hooked on a band over two decades old.

Fortunately, the band had scheduled shows to support the album including two nights at Brooklyn Steel. When the group finally took the stage after 9 pm, the audience collectively stood poised at attention. And Slowdive kicked off the show with “Slomo” but sadly, a couple of minutes in, one of the sound guys came on and pulled the band off-stage—there was an issue with a monitor or something. So I didn’t get the full cathartic experience of “Slomo” at the beginning, but I did hear a lot of powerful songs from their back catalog and the new gems, like “Sugar for the Pill”. And I wondered if the band would have made something as great if they had remained together for most of the past two decades.

by Sachyn Mital

29 Mar 2017


The new (to me) Infinity Music Hall in Hartford played host to Brooklyn dhol and brass band Red Baraat on a post-show Saturday during March Madness. Those two factors likely had a measurable impact on the attendance, but those faithful fans who made it out were seriously into the music. Some were even families with kids—and all were dancing unabashedly to the bhangra fusion.

by Sachyn Mital

22 Mar 2017


Photo credits: Getty Images for Tibet House US

The 30th anniversary benefit concert for the Tibet House US organization was the gemstone in a slew of events celebrating the 80th birthday of Philip Glass. Glass is the artistic director for the annual benefit shows and this year’s slate featured many familiar faces from recent years including Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Scorchio Quartet, Lavinia Meijer and Laurie Anderson. It also included the Alabama Shakes and New Order.

The latter’s Bernard Sumner joined Pop for “Stray Dog” and Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control”. Sufjan Stevens was introduced by the Executive Director of the ACLU Anthony Romero before he spoke briefly about love then performed “The Star Spangled Banner” with the aid of the Scorchio Quartet. Patti Smith wrapped up the evening with a cover of Dylan’s “Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall” and led nearly all the musicians in a rousing “People have the Power” set. Smith’s final words to the audience were rousing—she implored, “Use your voice, be vigilant, be strong, be happy.”

by Sachyn Mital

28 Feb 2017


Drive-By Truckers wrapped up their 17 date winter tour with a three night run in their hometown of Athens, Georgia. Just before that however, the band played a two hour set to a capacity crowd at New York’s Webster Hall. Kyle Craft kicked off the night around 7:30 before Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, Brad Morgan, Jay Gonzalez, Matt Patton wasted no time once they began around 8:30 quickly filling the venue with their scuzzy guitars and generously liberal political message.

Drive-By Truckers most recent album American Band (ATO Records) is their most political yet and has drawn a slew of critical adoration. The band led the show with two of the new tracks, “Surrender Under Protest” and “Darkened Flags on the Cusp of Dawn”, making it transparent they had a message to share. Introducing the racial-discussion of “What It Means”, Hood spoke on how he wrote the song a couple of years back using the murder of Michael Brown as some sort of guidance. But Hood admitted he finds the song is more relevant now given the remarkable rise in incidents of police shooting and killing black people. The lines “I mean Barack Obama won / And you can choose where to eat / But you don’t see too many white kids lying / Bleeding on the street” was even more tragic in the light of a Trump victory and the presumption he will reduce or destabilize gun control efforts.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Doctor Who': Casting a Woman as the Doctor Offers Fresh Perspectives and a New Kind of Role Model

// Channel Surfing

"The BBC's announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor has sections of fandom up in arms. Why all the fuss?

READ the article