RIP: Nick Ashford of Motown duo Ashford & Simpson

RIP: Nick Ashford of Motown duo Ashford & Simpson

From Billboard:

Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary Motown songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson that penned elegant, soulful classics for the likes of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and funk hits for Chaka Khan and others, died Monday at age 70, his former publicist said.

Ashford, who along with wife Valerie Simpson wrote some of Motown’s biggest hits, died in a New York City hospital, said publicist Liz Rosenberg, who was Ashford’s longtime friend. He had been suffering from throat cancer and had undergone radiation treatment, she told The Associated Press.

Though they had some of their greatest success at Motown with classics like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand” by Ross and “You’re All I Need To Get By” by Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Ashford & Simpson also created anthems for others, like “I’m Every Woman” by Khan (and later remade by Whitney Houston). Ashford & Simpson also had success writing for themselves: Perhaps the best-known song they sang was the 1980s hit “Solid As A Rock.”

• Ashford & Simpson:

Study finds larger ISPs profiting from BitTorrent traffic; could Comcast be any more likable?

The legality of BitTorrent use and the moral dilemma that comes hand in hand with media pirating is as pertinent an issue as gay rights or abortion laws (well, at least on the internet it is), and being the radical audiophile anarchists we at Tiny Mix Tapes are, we can’t help but root for the little guys who are doing their part to deliver the coup de grâce to the rapidly diminishing music industry. Never before has such a revolution been spearheaded by millions of frugal basement dwellers sitting on their asses and collectively deciding to stick it to the man. However, a recent study conducted by Northwestern University and Telefónica Research has revealed information suggesting that, with the growing amount of data being downloaded by BitTorrent users, ISPs such as Comcast (who are well known for capping their bandwidth in order to stagnate BitTorrent traffic) are actually profiting from the increased use of bandwidth (and here you were sitting in your Cheeto-dust-stained Che Guevara t-shirt, thinking you were taking chunks out of capitalistic society).

According to Torrent Freak, over a test period of two years, researchers monitored a sample of 500,000 people in 169 different countries and found some interesting conclusions. For example, between November 2009 and November 2010, the average download volume per user per hour had increased by 25% (a change of 110 MB/hour to 139 MB/hour), while the number of unique users dropped 10%. In total, the absolute increase in BitTorrent traffic increased by more than 12% between 2009 and 2010. Another facet of these findings is that a large percentage of BitTorrent traffic never leaves the country, and instead stays local (32%) while another 41% travels to just one other country.

So what does this all mean? Simply put, large ISPs who own the infrastructure (i.e., wires), such as Comcast, Virgin Media, and France Telecom, are attracting heavy downloaders who wish to spend more on their internet services for an increase in bandwidth. And since a large percent of BitTorrent traffic is local (or shared on these ISPs’ networks) it doesn’t cost them anything. Don’t fret though, there’s still a downside for smaller ISPs (such as Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint) who rent bandwidth and infrastructure from larger ISPs. Since they pay rent to the larger ISPs, any increased moving in data costs them, even if it’s local. And so, while the garroting of corporate profits marches on, we all must remember that corporations are people too (people with megalomaniac complexes, a disproportionate amount of control over political, economic, and social developments, and the power to suck you dry and make you love every second of it).

Foot Village announce remix contest and dip their sweaty toes into the East Coast, leaving grease trails in all the potable water

Percussion-based “drum ‘n’ shout” band Foot Village (a group composed of four drummers, two of which occasionally yell at you through megaphones) are embarking on an East Coast tour this October. Still coasting off the adrenaline of their third European tour (which included an appearance at the Portishead-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties at London’s Alexandra Palace) and a new release on FatCat, the trip will include another chant-inducing performance at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey along with several DIY shows along the East Coast.

To commemorate the tour, Foot Village are also holding a remix competition of one of their tracks, the 16-minute “Let Bebongs Be Bebongs, Idiot.” The best of the remixes will be included on a special tour release; you can grab the stems of the track here (I suggest adding some goddamn guitars to the mix, Auto-Tuning that shit, and phoning in a Nicki Minaj verse).

Tourdates are listed below, and if the band isn’t coming to your city, don’t worry. You should be able to hear their set from miles away.

October tourdates:

10.01.11 - Asbury Park, NJ - All Tomorrows Parties / I’ll Be Your Mirror
10.03.11 - Baltimore, MD - Floristree
10.04.11 - Greensboro, NC - CFBJ with Ear Pwr
10.05.11 - Cleveland, OH - Now That’s Class with Cloud Nothing
10.06.11 - Columbus, OH - Skylab
10.07.11 - Philadelphia, PA - Pi Lam with Dustin Wong
10.08.11 - Providence, RI - AS220
10.09.11 - Brooklyn, NY - Death By Audio

• Foot Village:

Cass McCombs is still feeling burdened by how witty he is, decides to release another new album about it

Attention all under-appreciated folk(ish) rockers who are currently struggling to get the fuck out of the shadow of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes. Here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice from criminally underrated singer/songwriter/coffeeshop savant Cass “Who?” McCombs: put out more shit with your name on it.

So you say that you’ve already released a pretty damn fine album in 2011 and toured behind it significantly? Well, Cass McCombs says “fuck you.” It’s time to quit slacking off already and put out ANOTHER new LP to chum up the press waters and get your name mentioned. In McCombs’ case, that new album is coming out November 8 on Domino. It’s titled Humor Risk, and it was recorded piecemeal at various locations around the US (maybe even… Wisconsin???) with producer Ariel Rechtshaid, who also worked on WIT’S END and Catacombs. And now look at him: on top of our venerable news feed YET AGAIN. And where are you? Holed up in some wifi-enabled cabin somewhere (also known as Caribou Coffee) reading Tiny Mix Tapes and titling songs after various Suicide Girls you’ve never met.

Oh, and just in case you’re questioning the quality exhibited on a second LP in the same year, you can listen to a new track from Domino’s SoundCloud. See, it’s great. Not that it even matters.

Humor Risk tracklisting:

01. Love Thine Enemy
02. The Living Word
03. The Same Thing
04. To Every Man His Chimera
05. Robin Egg Blue
06. Mystery Mail
07. Meet Me at the Mannequin Gallery
08. Mariah (Sketch)

• Cass McCombs:
• Domino:

Tom Waits gloats that you’ll never be as badass as him on upcoming LP Bad As Me (you have no other option but to agree)

Still nursing the phlegm ball that was the key to his success (on a healthy diet of whiskey, of course), Tom Waits will be continuing his streak of producing demented Americana on his (just announced) upcoming LP Bad As Me. The album is due out October 25 on Anti- Records in both regular and deluxe editions, and the title track off the album has been made available for download on iTunes (along with the option to pre-order the album).

So far, the regular edition of the LP will contain 13 tracks, with the deluxe edition featuring an extra three songs, a set of 10 rusted tuning forks (adjusted to the tone of Wait’s voice, covering a complete octave of guttural rumblings), the Bad As Me, manual featuring a set of essays by Kathleen Brennan scribbled on bar napkins, and all this will be packaged lavishly in the hood of a rusted-out 1940s Ford Lincoln and sold for the price of a scant $2,000 USD.

Oh, no wait. The deluxe edition will just feature the three extra songs.

Bad As Me tracklisting:

01. Chicago
02. Raised Right Men
03. Talking at the Same Time
04. Get Lost
05. Face to the Highway
06. Pay Me
07. Back in the Crowd
08. Bad as Me
09. Kiss Me
10. Satisfied
11. Last Leaf
12. Hell Broke Luce
13. New Year’s Eve
14. She Stole the Blush *
15. Tell Me *
16. After You Die *

* deluxe edition

• Tom Waits:
• Anti-:

Brooklyn Philharmonic launches Beethoven remix project, performs with Mos Def, distributes mix tape

Dust off your samplers and stop footworkin’ for one minute, aspiring DJs! The Brooklyn Philharmonic is seeking Brooklyn-based “DJs, producers, or anyone else who works with musical samples” to apply for its Beethoven Remix Project. All you have to do is send them an application by September 15 and cross your fingers that you’ll be one of the lucky five chosen (or two of the five, if you’re a conjoined twin) to remix the finale of Beethoven’s romantically classical/classically romantic Third Symphony, the “Eroica.” Not only will you get $200 for your services, but you will also be featured on a tiny mix tape that will be passed out to an audience consisting of… Mos Def fans?

Yes, believe it or not, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, not particularly known for the down beat, is collaborating with Mos Def for a special performance in which he’ll rap over the orchestra’s reinterpretations of his songs. Not since Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” has the classical world (specifically, the opening moments of J.S. Bach’s Prelude No. 2 in C minor) blended so seamlessly with the hip-hop world! And even better: one winning finalist will not only have their remix arranged for orchestra by composer Andrew Norman, but also have it performed live alongside Mos Def on June 9 at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza.

This cultural juxtaposition isn’t completely unprecedented. The Brooklyn Philharmonic, which was in such a poor financial state a couple years back that it canceled its entire 2009-2010 season, is now led by artistic director Alan Pierson, and shit’s changing quickly. If there are any vestigial distinctions leftover between “high” and “low,” the orchestra is making valiant attempts to crush them. Aside from the Mos Def performance, which will be preceded by a couple other Mos Def/chamber-orchestra shows in October, Pierson has put together a season that will feature performances of music by the usual suspects (Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Dvořák) alongside those by Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Duke Ellington, and even a little white artist named Sufjan T. Stevens.

Pierson is certainly no stranger to juxtaposition: he’s the conductor/director of new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, who collaborated with Dirty Projectors last year to transform the sample-heavy The Getty Address into a live performance. The group also released an album called Acoustica, which consisted of acoustic arrangements of Aphex Twin songs.

Anyway, read more about the application and remix schedule here, then get your classiest digs ready for June 9: you and your conjoined twin have a date with juxtaposition!

• Brooklyn Philharmonic: