Rock Picks: Erykah Badu, Peaches, The Church, Camera Obscura | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Rock Picks: Erykah Badu, Peaches, The Church, Camera Obscura 

Also, Au Revoir Simone, Patrick Wolf, The Field, Fortress of Amplitude and others

Wednesday, Jun 3 2009
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FRIDAY, JUNE 5

Erykah Badu at Club Nokia
Since Erykah Badu’s nu-soul juggernaut Baduizm hit in ’97, the now-37-year-old has established herself as a monument in the dry desert of R&B’s elite talent in recent years — crafting herself as an instantly recognizable, complex and multidimensional force. It’s a role she’s finally comfortable with, almost flaunting it on two new concept albums, New AmErykah Pt. 1 & 2, and on other projects she has in the wings — like a lifestyle magazine, The Freaq, and a line of skin-care products and clothing. Seems Badu is coolly and contentiously busting through her own creative ceiling and zooming toward the stratosphere. Whether it’s because of her unrelenting confidence or the gutsy heads at Motown who’ll still put out a concept album by a black female artist whose work sometimes veers into the uncomfortable and avant-garde, Badu’s newest is heavy on the social commentary and personal honesty. As is to be expected with Badu, New AmErykah is consistently surprising: rambling, scenic layers of strange, slippery, stony riffs are here complementing the steady verses of her candid expressionism. (Wendy Gilmartin)

 

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The Field at Avalon
Lacking lyrics to identify voice, lacking a cocksure lead singer to become a symbol/logo, electronic musicians like Swedish producer Alex Willner, who records under the moniker the Field (among others), languish — and thrive — in the insular world of the techno community while remaining essentially unknown outside it. Which is a shame: Because woven through the steady four-on-the-floor thump of the Field’s collected oeuvre are some striking melodies, sophisticated compositional ideas and gorgeous sounds that many nonheadz can’t hear due to the thump. Take the eight-minute freak-out known as “The More That I Do,” from the Field’s new album, Yesterday & Today. Aesthetically built on ideas set forth in the Cologne, Germany, school of techno minimalism, the track is so dense with activity it’s hard to hear the whole due to the chaos of the parts; it moves through your head like a meteor shower, or, depending on your mind-state, that 6 a.m. moment after a long night’s dance when you’re lying in your bed trying to figure out what just happened during those four hours on the dance floor. Your brain is racing with a hundred different micro-thoughts. They mix with the melatonin pouring into your tired-ass head to create this foggy, surrealistic-image stew. Your head space winds up in that freaky place, where you don’t know which sounds are real and which are fake; if the moaning that you hear is your roommate or that one Basement Jaxx song, or the siren is the mental echo of the set-capping Villalobos breakdown or an emergency on the highway. The track runs, sprints, swirls until the very end, when, seemingly out of nowhere, arrive Caribbean-sounding steel drums to fuck the whole thing up even further. What? Where did that come from? Was it real? (With the Juan Maclean.) (Randall Roberts)

 

Ink-n-Iron at the Queen Mary
This three-day celebration of the fine art of stitching and sinking pulsating gobs of ink into blank flesh features more surprises than your average tattoo festival. Sure, there’ll be the usual hordes of retro rockabilly, roots and garage-rock bands, as well as such fiery punks as Long Beach hellions Civet and hard rockers the Bronx. But you also get the smarmy charms of Palm Desert kingpins the Eagles of Death Metal, who, despite their name, are much more than just a joke band; “WannaBe in L.A.” and “I Want You So Hard (Boys Bad News)” are inescapably catchy tunes that are too smart and coolly grooving to be lumped in with typical heavy metal. Genitorturers’ theatrical, vaguely S&M-themed shock-metal isn’t nearly as witty, but what the group lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in visceral, sensually grinding impact. But the real shock comes from an extremely rare local appearance by mid-’60s garage-rock legends the Sonics. While most of the British Invasion groups were still dabbling in timidly formal covers of American blues and R&B songs, the Tacoma band were tearing up such standards and their own certifiable classics (“Strychnine,” “The Witch,” “Psycho”) with massive amounts of fuzz and leering attitude. They’re quite possibly the greatest garage band ever, and they set the template for practically every punk band that followed them a decade later. Also Sat.-Sun. (Falling James)

 

Also playing Friday:

A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION at the Greek Theatre; LITTLE JOY at the Troubadour; JOE COCKER, THE EDGAR WINTER BAND at Nokia Theatre; KING’S X, CONSPIRACY OF THOUGHT, YEAR OF THE DRAGON, CIRCUS ROYALE, A RACE CALLED MAN at the Key Club; NEW BOYZ, ROSCOE UMALI, SMALL CHANGE & THE BANGZ at the Knitting Factory; TIM EASTON, JOHN EDDIE, TOM FREUND, ERIK JANSON at the Mint; THE FUXEDOS, KILLSONIC, QUAZAR & THE BAMBOOZLED, MOXY PHINX at Spaceland; RESTAURANT, TELEGRAPH CANYON, SLANG CHICKENS, LAST OF THE BLACKSMITHS at Pehrspace; TEMPLE OF DAGON, MANDOLA, HOLOKAUST, SUBSISTENCE, LIFE IN EXILE, GALLERY at Relax Bar.

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