Musicologist: May 5–11

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Musicologist: May 5–11

2008_05_05_erykah_badu.jpgIt’s been a while since the Okay Player collective have celebrated a release for anyone other than The Roots (yes, they just released their 10th full-length Rising Down last week, yes that is worthy of celebration). But this year, the collective is also celebrating Erykah Badu. After a 5 year hiatus following the release of a very underwhelming Worldwide Undergroud, the release of New Amerykah (part one of two EPs—the other scheduled to be released in July) has introduced a breath of fresh air for the gracious musician.
Most would agree that Erykah is most respected for her albums Baduism and Mama’s Gun. The strength of both full-lengths was how they focused on Badu’s lyrics; it was the warmth and sincerity of Badu’s voice that created the atmosphere that made the albums far bigger than their minimalist sounds. February’s release New Amerikah, however, runs in the same vein as 2003’s Worldwide Undergroud which tends to divert from the low-fi production and nu-jazz arrangements to a heavier emphasis on beat production and a larger focus on the collective album as a concept. New Amerykah does a much better job than Worldwide Underground, feeling much more focused and far less tried. With that being said, the production is rock solid, gathering many-a-Okay Player family member such as Madlib and members of Sa-Ra who contribute greatly to the creation of the album.
Badu has also shifted the subject matter that her music deals with. For years she was known to discuss aspects of her womanhood and her experiences as a mother, but the most recent album seems to divert from personal experiences and speaks more about social issues and the realm of hip hop itself. The album freely experiments with 70’s disco and soul while still maintaining a hip hop sensibility—the most notable tracks on the album are “Soldier” where production and arrangements resemble Talib Kweli’s solo work and “Master Teacher” which samples Curtis Mayfield’s ”Freddie’s Dead”. The overall experience of the album is quite overwhelming, and while at times it feels as if gunshots on an Erykah Badu album seem oxymoronic, the determination to experiment with (and perfect) a new sound and different types of production definitely deserves applause.
Erykah Badu will be playing alongside local love Zaki Ibrahim at Massey Hall tonight.
Full listings after the jump.

This Week

Monday, May 5
Erykah Badu and Zaki Ibrahim @ Massey Hall, $46-$61
Story of the Year @ Mod Club, $22.50
Robyn @ Phoenix, $16.50
Tuesday, May 6
The Kills @ Opera House, $15.50
Faith of a Martyr, Elissa Mielke, and Jay Spectre @ Sneaky Dee’s
The Yage Letters and Thee 9am Social @ The Boat, $5
Live Acts of Lunacy @ Trane Studio, $10
Wednesday, May 7
Gordon Lightfoot @ Massey Hall, $45-$75
Tafelmusik @ Trinity st. Paul’s Centre, $37-$78
Snailhouse @ Czehoski, FREE
James McMurtry @ Horseshoe, $17.50
Crowded House and Don McGlashan @ Music Hall,
Juliana Sparks @ Rivoli, $10
Christine Lavin @ Hugh’s Room, $24.50
Thursday, May 8
TWMFest Feat. Key Witness, 5 Blank Pages, The Eatons, and Numbers and Figures @ Rancho Relaxo, $7
See Spot Run and Three Star Seed @ Horseshoe, $4
Melanie C @ Phoenix, $35
Sweet Thing, The Arkells, and The Dress Whites @ Mod Club, $12
Crowded House and Don McGlashan @ Music Hall,
Jay Spectre, and Autobodies @ Silver Dollar
Pony Da Look @ Sneaky Dee’s
Picturesound @ Tiger Bar, $5
This Note feat. Ken Reaume and Nordic Nomanic @ Tranzac, $5
Friday, May 9
Cut Copy and Black Kids @ Phoenix, SOLD OUT
TWMFest feat. Beth in Battle Mode, Amos the Transparent, Coast Guard, and Fox Jaws @ Rancho Relaxo, $7
Lisa Bozikovic, Sandro Perri, and Cry Rumble @ Tranzac
A Primitive Evolution, Purr, Bernadette and The North @ Horseshoe, $6
Hamilton Trading Company @ Lee’s Palace, $5
Gonzales @ St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, $25
Aimee Mann @ Sonic Boom (6:30 p.m.), FREE
The Peter Elkas Band and Zeus @ Rivoli, $8
Hot Monogamy, Dance Electric, and Secret Public @ Silver Dollar
Coliseum @ Sneaky Dee’s, $10
Fado Blues, The Aline Morales Band and Maracatu Nunca Antes @ Lula Lounge, $10
Saturday, May 10
The D’Urbervilles, The Details, and Sleepless Nights @ Drake, $5
Tin Bangs, The Cheap Speakers, Schomberg Fair, and Mark Berube & The Patriotic Few @ Rancho Relaxo, $7
Elastocitizens and The Heavy @ Lee’s Palace, $10
Chinese Food, Everything All The Time, and Cancel Winter @ El Mocambo, $8
Killswitch Engage @ Sound Academy, $29.50
DOA @ Horseshoe, $10.50
Jah Cutta @ Rivoli, $15
Nina Nielsen and Kat Burns @ Tranzac (9 p.m.)
The Weather Station @ Tranzac (10 p.m.)
Les Kilt @ Tranzac
The Priddle Concern @ Soundscapes (5 p.m.), FREE

Sunday, May 11

El Perro Del Mar and Lykke Li @ Mod Club, $15
Clinic and Shearwater @ Lee’s Palace, $15
Jim White @ Horseshoe, $12.50
Idle Tigers and Hamilton Trading Company @ The Boat, PWYC
The Guest Bedroom and We Versus the Shark @ Sneaky Dee’s, PWYC

Just Announced

May 24: Nas @ Kool Haus, $44.50
June 25: RJD2 @ Mod Club, $23
June 30: Mogwai @ Phoenix, $25.50
July 3: Johnny Winter @ Phoenix, $32.50
July 14: Boris @ Lee’s Palace, $15
July 16: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks @ Phoenix, $20
August 5: The Go! Team and Cansei De Ser Sexy @ Kool Haus, $25.50
August 9: Wolf Parade @ Kool Haus, $24
Photo of Erykah Badu from her MySpace.

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