Blackalicious celebrates the 20th anniversary of Nia at the Southern on Thursday. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: Blackalicious

Back on the beats: When Blackalicious’ first album, Nia, was released in 1999, critics praised the duo for their rap skills, production style, and ability to push hip-hop in a new direction. Following up with the equally compelling Blazing Arrow (2002) and The Craft (2005), Chief Xcel and Gift of Gab took 10 years to […]

Author Roxane Gay comes to Charlottesville as the keynote speaker for the 2020 Community MLK Celebration.  Image: Jay Grabiec

ARTS Pick: Roxane Gay

Rox our world: Roxane Gay can write with both authenticity and wit about Italian restaurants, feminism, body image, racism, rape culture, gun control, and other cultural hot buttons. She’s become internationally recognized for her to-the-point social criticism, and in 2019 Playboy called her one of the most important and accessible cultural commentators of our time. […]

Son Little arrives with songs from his soon-to-be-released album aloha. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: Son Little

Son salutation: R&B soul musician Son Little has an eclectic body of work that includes contributions to recordings by The Roots, RJD2, and Portugal. The Man. He cites Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, American indie act Grizzly Bear, and Swedish electronic band Little Dragon as early influences, and earned his biggest props to date for his […]

Album reviews: Reissue roundup part 1

Album reviews: Reissue roundup part 1

Throughout the year, I reviewed some reissues (notably Gene Clark’s magisterial No Other and Prince’s colossal 1999). Here’s a few I missed along the way—more to come next time. James Brown Live at Home With His Bad Self (UMG) James Brown returned to play his hometown of Augusta, GA, in 1969, planning to release the […]

The Joe Policastro Trio brings its cinematic style to WTJU and Fellini's on Friday night. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: Joe Policastro Trio

Screen team: Based on its latest material, you could call the Joe Policastro Trio dramatic. The alt-jazz outfit’s recent recordings include the West Side Story suite, as well as Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” “Nadia’s Theme (From ‘The Young and the Restless’),” “Twin Peaks’” theme, Blade Runner’s love theme, and many other well-known TV and screen epics. […]