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Last Thursday in a cavernous hangar near 63rd and Lexington, Anohni debuted material from Hopelessness, her first album since publicly transitioning from her former identity as Antony Hegarty. She performed as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival in New York at the Park Avenue Armory, a venue that serves as a monument to wealth, violence and imperialism in one fell swoop. The lights went dim right on schedule in the cave-like hangar,...
If European folk songs, with their narrative storytelling and neat rhyme schemes, form the bones and structure of the romantic ballad, then the gospel hymn is its blood and marrow, infusing all the desperation of worship and the vulnerability of testimony to produce a hot, living thing. The love song as we know it is the illegitimate progeny of the gospel tune and it is impossible not to draw similarities between the divine and...

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