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OPINION: Kill Your Idols
Over the weekend Donald Glover stopped by Saturday Night Live to host one of its most critically acclaimed episodes this season. Lean in the years SNL has been mostly hit and miss with its comedy but the Glover episode was consistently good to great. The skits that ranged from the socially aware (He tackled the lack of minority representation in Star Wars) to a playful homage to cheesy 80’s R&B were all genuinely funny. In addition to his hosting Glover was doing double duty as the musical guest and performed two songs from his upcoming album, the sequel to his Grammy award winning “Awaken, My Love”. It was a victory lap for Glover: in his opening monologue he joked at how he auditioned for the show twice and didn’t get it. Earlier in the week another famous polymath was undergoing an entirely different experience. Enfant terrible Kanye West re-emerged after an online and music sabbatical in late April with several new projects in tow and a brand new attitude: a shift from socially progressive politics and calling out presidential malfeasance (“George Bush Doesn’t Care about Black People”) to proclaiming his love for the bigot overlord, President Donald Trump. So outrageous […]

LIVE: Matt and Kim at the 9:30 Club
Matt and Kim, the super hype, dance-pop, rock duo just released Almost Everyday, their sixth studio album on the FADER label.  The Brooklyn indie sweethearts are currently on tour.  When we heard that they were heading to Washington DC with Tokyo Police Club for a two night engagement at the 9:30 Club. We sent Sneakshot Photography–one of our favorite photographers and avid Matt & Kim fan to capture some of the show.

EVENT: The Fire Emoji is Strong With New York Hot Sauce Festival 2018
There used to be this show on Food Network called Heat Seekers. It followed, regular Chopped judge, Aarón Sanchez and Cooking Channel’s Roger Mooking on a journey to the spiciest sauces and foods in the United States. I loved this show because I love hot sauce so much and I loved watching Aarón punk out and turn bright red and listening to Roger talk so much shit as he struggled through his meal, hailing his Trinidadian roots as his reason for being oh-so-superior at consuming spicy foods. So I was more than pleased to cover The Sixth Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo in Brooklyn this year and try to re-create my own Heat Seekers. I dreamed of dousing tortilla chips in red, orange, and green concoctions. I yearned to talk shop with the creators of these blessed mixtures and find out the secret to a terrific sauce. Give me all the capsaicin-y goodness and let me bathe in it. Heat Seekers: Rebooted … here I come! Only problem was, my partner on this journey (and in life), was none other than self-proclaimed hot sauce hater, Winston “Stone” Aubrey Ford. Stone does not understand the “I put that shit on everything” […]

SXSW 2018 – A Week of Musical Newcomers & Legends
The Couch Sessions team hit Austin, Texas for one of our favorite work/play conferences, SXSW 2018. Each year, we touch down with the goals of networking and catching performances by our favorite artists while discovering more amazing talent along the way. With so many great panels and music showcase lineups, deciding which to attend can be stress inducing. This year was no different! Below are highlights from our favorite events and performances. REVOLT TV Presents REVOLTHouse REVOLT TV returned to Austin with REVOLTHouse at a new venue on 6th Street. Newcomers like Topaz Jones and Duckwrth set the stage on fire early in the afternoon with their performances. Another newcomer, Arin Ray, a singer-songwriter that opened for  H.E.R. on the Lights On tour, also hit the stage to serenade the crowd with songs from his recently released debut album, Platinum Fire. REVOLTHouse ended the night with arguably the dopest performance of SXSW – when Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, and Inspectah Deck hit the stage to perform classics in celebration of the 25th year anniversary of 36 Chambers. Twelve Rivers Presents: Open House While REVOLTHouse excelled with a heavy lineup of singers and rappers, Twelve Rivers Presents: Open House held hip-hop down on the deejaying end with amazing sets from Z-Trip, Jazzy Jeff, Just Blaze, and […]

LIVE: SXSW 2018 – FADER FORT Returns with Rae Sremmurd, Bbymutha, & King Combs
Seemingly, the team at the FADER has been crazy busy lately. Just weeks after releasing FADER FORT Setting the Stage – a hardcover book commemorating the first 15 years of the music event – they returned to Austin to produce the latest iteration of FADER FORT during SXSW 2018 in a new, smaller location. Staying true to their ethos, the FADER FORT lineup was filled with 3 days of scheduled performances by rising stars, fan favorites, and legends like Bbymutha, Cherrie, Valee, G Perico, Mozzy, and H-Town’s Bun B. Highlights from the show include: BlocBoy JB and his crew doing their signature “Shoot” dance on stage and performing the Drake-collab “Look Alive” acapella; surprise performances from Raekwon and King Combs; Rico Nasty getting the crowd to start a mosh pit while Bbymutha danced alongside her onstage; and Rae Sremmurd amping the crowd up as the surprise headliners.

MUSIC: Is Live Music Dying?
A few days ago Ed Groste of Grizzly Bear put up an instagram post explaining why they don’t tour places like Singapore or Perth with this ”… I’m trying to explain there is no value put on live music anymore. We feel it’s important to bring with us the fullest show we can with all the live instruments and a good light show. But now, when you cut out record sales and we haven’t had a car commercial in ages, we literally lose money.” (In reference to touring places away from the states) With the death of record sales as we know it and streaming solely being corporate record label welfare live music was supposed to be the savior of the musician. Since the beginning of musical arts there was always the idea that an artist could go bring his or her works directly to the people to make their living. Even in a corporate commoditized world it’s not hard to find examples of this even today (It’s why seeing an actual physical Phish record in the flesh is a rare but finding a ticket for a Phish show even rarer). Even though it feels like that era is coming […]

MUSIC: Anderson Paak. – Til It’s Over
Anderson Paak’s found a way to get a nice check while letting us know what he’s been working on. A new Apple commercial for their Homepod speaker doubles as a full length video for his track “Til’ Its Over”. The track is a slight stylistic switch for Paak’ instead of the funk and hip-hop infused R&B jams he’s known for instead he dabbles into more dance beat focused R&B (SBTRKT, Kelela). The clip itself was directed by video music director god Spike Jonez (Beastie Boys -Sabotage, Pharcyde – Drop, Daft Punk – The Drop, act like you know) and features someone else who loves her club infused R&B tracks, FKA Twigs. Twigs cut her teeth for years as a professional dancer before finally breaking through with her music and it shows; it’s a playful clip that’s a mix of trippy special effects and musical theater. Check it out above.

JUST OPENED! Abbotsford Road Coffee Specialists: Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood just gained a new specialty coffee café and a roaster… at the same time! Abbotsford Road Coffee Specialists is now open for business, serving their very own Aussie inspired blends and single origin coffees. The coffee is roasted on premises, making it some of the freshest coffee NYC has to offer! Beyond their café, they hope to use the new roasting space for education, events, and a local wholesale experience for other cafés around NYC and beyond. Couch Sessions was invited to celebrate Abbotsford Road Coffee Specialists’ Ribbon cutting with founder Phillip Di Bella. Back in 2002, Phillip founded Di Bella Coffee outside Brisbane, Australia, and has since developed a wide network of coffee farmers, innovators, and his own roasters. Attendees were greeted with other Gowanas favorites such as Crustinis and Crab Cakes from Freeks Mill. Abbotsford Road Coffee Specialists baristas were on hand to explain their new menu and make plenty of evening pour-overs. Included in their arsenal was an exclusive Geisha varietal, so we were sure to try it! Be sure to come by Abbotsford Road Coffee Specialists at 573 Sackett Street, Gowanus, NY, and follow them on Instagram!  

FOOD + DRINK: The Quickest 36-ish Hour Guide To Burlington, VT
Before presenting to you the culmination of an impromptu “just because” trip up to Burlington, Vermont, I need to preface this list by saying that literally every single person we encountered in Burlington was just the nicest, friendliest person ever, so I’ll refrain from mentioning this for every single establishment. From first impressions, Burlington is a pretty, sweet, cozy, liberal (hi Bernie!) city, easy to navigate and packed with food and drink gems dotted all over the place. You can totally hit up all of these spots in one weekend (we did!) especially if you don’t mind stuffing yourself so much that you have to walk around town with your pants unbuttoned (I did!). If you’re a beer fanatic, a cider fanatic, or even if you just like eating food, you’ll be good to go here. Here’s our picks, but you can trust that we’ll be back for more. Citizen Cider – I always feel left out of the brewery circuit because of the whole no gluten thing, but I just want to enjoy all the drinks too. This is a thing that can happen here! Cider flights consist of five samples each, so with ten total offerings, we were […]

Fight Music: Documentary Style Mix Encapsulates The Times contributor, Dominic Painter aka DJ d.painter, has released a new “docu-mix-tape”, Fight Music 2: White Man’s Burden, with accompanying literature that diagnoses a segment of the American population and how their situations, beliefs and prejudices influenced the 2016 election.  With local races becoming Nationally focused battle grounds between Red and Blue (Alabama for instance), this mix is timely as we enter into 2018 and the pending campaigns ahead. Below is a synopsis of the project written by d.painter.  Stream the mix here or download. Check out the full “liner notes” (lyrics, context of each song and soundbite, etc.) here. Also, Fight Music: Pedagogy Of The Oppressed is a 2016 hip-hop mix you can stream here.         It’s been a full year since the election, since “The Resistance” began, since wokeness spread like a virus. In the wake of an upset, democrats struggle to find a message while many of Trump’s fringe supporters are having buyer’s remorse. 2018 is up for grabs and it’s important to reflect on the feelings, ideologies and motivations of the citizens that got us where we ended up in 2017. Focused on the voices most representative of the people, speeches and interviews […]

LIVE: Can A Old Soul Find Joy at the Meadows Festival in 2017?
Photos: Victoria Ford/Sneakshot Photography Note: This is a review of Days 2 and 3 of the Festival.  So here is something that most people don’t know about me…I don’t go to music festivals. Okay, there are a few exceptions: I’m cool with the ones that are mostly inside (A3C, SXSW), or push a social conscience (Afropunk), or take place at an amphitheater (Summer Spirit). But for the most part, you will not catch me at a Coachella, a Bonnaroo, a Lollapalooza, or a Panorama. In general, I find myself more at home at a Mercury Lounge than a Outside Lands. The festival landscape–with it’s Bud Light drinking molly festival bros–is simply not made for me. So how did I find myself out at a music festival this past weekend? Well, free passes and alcohol motivate a lot of people. But honestly, it was the lineup that sold me. It was the opportunity to mark a few names off my bucket list (LL Cool J, Big Boi, Ghostface, Weezer), while revisiting some old musical flames (Nas, RHCP, and Erykah Badu). The number of classic artists on the weekend lineup was quite surprising, given the progression of music in 2017. Weezer’s Buddy Holly video came with […]

In Pictures: Stretch And Bobbito’s “What’s Good?” Podcast Celebration
Photos by: Kreative71 By now, we hope that you’ve listened to Stretch and Bobbito’s new NPR podcast, “What’s Good?”, if not you can listen here. To celebrate, the dynamic duo held court at Blind Whino in Washington DC. Stretch and Bobbito’s set spanned across Soul, House, Salsa, Merengue and of course Hip-Hop. If you were there then reminisce on the dope time you had and if you missed it, well take in the spirit of the event through the lens of photographer Kreative71.