Music Picks: Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg and Crazy Squeeze 

Thursday, Jun 27 2013

fri 6/28

Chicano Batman


click to enlarge PHOTO BY TJ TESH - John Daversa
  • John Daversa

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This event is the triumphant release party for AM and Shawn Lee's La Musique Numerique, touted in this very space by this very guy not very long ago. Let's take some time now, though, for Chicano Batman, a group destined for triumph of its own sometime soon. Born (in part) in a bedroom with a giant Chicano Batman logo practically glowing on the wall, this is psyche-soul-edelic maximalism pulling from deep traditions on at least three continents — a band equal parts expert hands, thrift-store shirts and heartfelt songs that can open up and start breathing all by themselves if the time and place is right. The group's most recent EP, Joven Nave­gante, is a little piece of electric poetry, hopefully presaging a brilliant sophomore album coming soon. —Chris Ziegler

Erykah Badu


The BET Experience at L.A. Live is a glitzy affair, taking place over three days this weekend as the Black Entertainment Television cable network presents a series of star-studded concerts, comedy performances, film screenings and seminars, culminating in Sunday's BET Awards. Such events tend to be flashy and insubstantial, but the weekend gets off to a momentous start with a late-night set from R&B/hip-hop empress Erykah Badu. The contemplative Texas singer is no stranger to controversy, infusing her soulfully lulling tunes with provocative lyrics. In the video for the song "Window Seat," from her most recent album, New Amerykah, Part Two (Return of the Ankh), Badu returns to the streets of her Dallas hometown and literally strips nude for symbolic impact at the site of John F. Kennedy's assassination. What might seem tacky in other hands becomes strangely moving when filtered through Badu's vision. —Falling James



Like her fellow Texan Erykah Badu, Houston-raised Beyoncé is part of the opening-night festivities at the BET Experience. But Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter's worldview is markedly different from Badu's. While Badu questions authority and slips subversive lyrics into her mesmerizing anthems, Beyoncé seems far more at peace with her place in the cosmos. Where Badu likes to dig deep, Beyoncé prefers to celebrate her fame and fortune without apparent irony or regret. It might be tempting to dismiss her as a shallow pop diva, but Beyoncé nonetheless pumps up tracks like "Run the World (Girls)" with an ebulliently defiant feminism that vaguely evokes the Spice Girls' earnestly populist "Girl Power." Unlike the prefabricated Spice Girls, though, Beyoncé infuses her exhortations with febrile production and pleasingly trippy and modern mechanized arrangements. Also Mon., July 1. —Falling James

sat 6/29

Snoop Dogg featuring Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, School Boy Q


The formerly Crip-affiliated Snoop Dog perplexed the entertainment world in 2012 after a public proclamation of conversion to Rastafarianism and alleged "connection with Bob Marley's spirit" during a monthlong Jamaican vacation. The rap icon has since spoken out publicly against gun violence and adopted the pseudonym Snoop Lion. In April, RCA released Snoop's long-awaited 12th studio album, Reincarnated, which features collaborations with Busta Rhymes, Drake and Chris Brown and includes production by electronic DJ/producer Diplo. Tonight's show features West Coast hot shots Kendrick Lamar, School Boy Q and Miguel, the R&B crooner panned most notably by "black" Twitter for his audience-endangering performance at the 2013 Billboard Awards. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

The Roots


The BET Experience continues tonight in high style with the ever-amazing Roots. It might seem contradictory that the Philly band, who just a few years ago were releasing cerebral and confrontational albums like Phrenology, spend much of their time these days whipping up quick novelty ditties for Jimmy Fallon's talk show. But the truth is that The Roots can play anything — and there's something insanely catchy about seemingly ephemeral Fallon songlets like "Pros & Cons." Such song fragments are far more interesting than most musicians' entire oeuvres, and one wishes that somebody would gather these miniature tunes and put them on an album. But, obviously, The Roots are at their most impressive and powerful when they stretch out beyond the confines of late-night TV on coolly groovy, dreamtime chansons like "Make My," from their 2011 full-length, Undun. Not only are they a brilliant creative entity unto themselves but The Roots remain among hip-hop's greatest collaborators. Expect some surprises tonight when they appear with pals including Nelly, Too $hort and MC Lyte. —Falling James

sun 6/30

Dave Kikoski, Bob Sheppard, Ed Howard & Gary Novak


East meets West as pianist Dave Kikoski and bassist Ed Howard travel from NYC to join saxophonist Bob Sheppard and drummer Gary Novak for two nights at Vitello's in Studio City. The heavyweight quartet will be playing music originally recorded with bassist Dave Carpenter in 2006 and now scheduled for release as an album called From the Hip for L.A.-based label BFM Jazz. Sheppard and Novak both spent years in New York before heading to Los Angeles, while Kikoski and Howard's West Coast appearances are rare. An exhibition of Carpenter's art and writings is scheduled before the shows, which coincide with the fifth anniversary of Carpenter's untimely passing in 2008 at age 48. Also Sat., June 29. —Tom Meek


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