RIP: Norman Whitfield, Songwriter and Motown Producer

From the Detroit Free Press:

Norman Whitfield, a producer and songwriter whose work propelled Motown Records into more ambitious musical territory, died Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 67.

Whitfield had struggled for months with complications from diabetes, and his prognosis had been day-to-day for several weeks. He had recently emerged from a coma.

“It’s a very sad day,” said Janie Bradford, who with Whitfield cowrote the Temptations hit “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.”

- Norman Whitfield Wikipedia entry
- YouTube video: Marvin Gaye I Heard It Through The Grapevine (1968)
- YouTube video: The Temptations - Papa Was A Rolling Stone (1972)
- YouTube video: The Undisputed Truth - Boogie Bump Boogie (1976)

According to Buddhists, Nirvana is attained through the Noble Eightfold Path. Consisting of the right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration, it is a strict disciplinary approach and end-goal to living that most of us eff-ups may consider initiating at some point during a happy blender-drinks party but wouldn't get three seconds into practicing the next hungover afternoon. Given the dedication required to lead a life contingent on strict philosophical beliefs and practices, it is not all that astonishing that some choose a different road.

Fortunately, some are able to invoke levels of transcendence few can appreciate or explain by playing music. Talibam!, for example, project blissful states simply by attacking and embracing the ridiculous that surrounds them and then running with it. For that, they are our enlightened artists of the day!

Matt Mottel and Kevin Shea have been harmoniacal busybodies since coming together in 2003, so to appease and infuriate religious completists, 2008 has already seen or will see releases on Holidays Records (split 7-inch with But God Created Women), stop scratching (cassette), No=Fi Recordings (live cassette), Thor’s Rubber Hammer (Ecstatic Jazz Duos series, split 12-inch with Wasteland Jazz Unit), Wallace Records (PhonoMetak series, split 10-inch with Jealousy Party), and Roaratorio (12-inch collaboration with Daniel Carter).

Phew... devoting yourself wholly to anything, be it a guiding philosophy or music collecting, is a religion unto itself.

Talibam! starts its six-week, twelve-country tour in grand style tonight in Paris with a special performance alongside Rhys Chatham -- who will join our heroes Mottel and Shea on fuzz trumpet and guitars -- and which features opening slots by Peeesseye, Religious Knives, Gala Drop, and Corridors.

European Movements:
09.17.08 - Paris, France - La Maroquinerie #
09.20.08 - Tilburg, Netherlands - ZXZW Fest!
09.21.08 - Tilburg, Netherlands - ZXZW Fest!
09.22.08 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - DNK %
09.23.08 - Utrecht, Netherlands - DBS Studio $
09.25.08 - Oslo, Norway - Café Monno
09.26.08 - Frederikstad, Norway - Blaagrotte
09.30.08 - Helsinki, Finland - Black Box
10.01.08 - Tampere, Finland - Vastavirta
10.02.08 - Saarbrucken, Germany - Saarländisches Staatstheater
10.03.08 - Augsburg, Germany - Junges Theater
10.04.08 - Munich, Germany - Laab
10.05.08 - Stuttgart, Germany - Interventionsraum
10.06.08 - Zagreb, Croatia - TBD
10.07.08 - Belgrade, Serbia - Rex Center
10.08.08 - Sofia, Bulgaria - TBD
10.09.08 - Skopje, Macedonia - TBD
10.12.08 - Athens, Greece - Kinky Kong
10.16.08 - Caserta, Italy - Jarmusch Club
10.17.08 - Rome, Italy - Sinister Noise
10.18.08 - Bari, Italy - Taverna Vecchia del Maltese
10.22.08 - Cesena, Italy - Officina 49
10.23.08 - Bologna, Italy - Lazaretto
10.24.08 - Milan, Italy - Dauntown
10.25.08 - Verbania, Italy - Perchè No?
10.26.08 - Bristol, England - The Croft
10.27.08 - London, England - The Sazerac
10.31.08 - Brooklyn, NY - New Sonic HQ
11.15.08 - Brooklyn, NY - Dead Herring

% Peeesseye

$ Thinguma*jigsaw

# featuring Rhys Chatham, with Peeesseye, Religious Knives, Gala Drop & Corridors

Top 5 Reasons Why Kemialliset Ystävät Should be More Popular Than The Hold Steady:
5. Kemialliset Ystävät (Jan Anderzén) released an untitled album last year, and to quote reviewer Keith Kawaii: "As future generations grow even more accustomed to completely ‘songless’ records, Kemialliset Ystävät will feel more like the rule instead of the exception." (TMT Review) The Hold Steady albums are full of song songs.
4. "Kemialliset Ystävät" is Finnish for "Chemical Friends," and since you don't have any friends, chemical or otherwise, you might as well have a Finnish one. Besides, The Hold Steady have so many friends already they wouldn't be able to fit you into their bar-hopping, I-don't-like-their-music-very-much schedule.
3. Kemialliset Ystävät RULES!
2. Kemialliset Ystävät has sampled Sun Ra, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Vibracathedral Orchestra. The Hold Steady's guitarist said he likes Oasis (and dissed Radiohead).

1. The Hold Steady aren't very good. Really, though, why are they so either loved or hated? You think I like being negative like this about a band that gives so many people joy? You know how many angry emails from Hold Steady fans I'm going to get? Hell, I got enough for my Jack White/Coca-Cola story. GOD. Sometimes I wonder if any of this is worth it. Sometimes I wonder if life is worth it...

Fucked Up Announce Tourdates; Annapocalypse Recalls Two Unrelated Fucked Up Non-Sequiturs

Confession: I don’t listen to the band Fucked Up. All I know about them is that they’re on Matador Records, they’re from Toronto, and their music is a bit too hardcore for my tastes. That said, this week I had two separate conversations with people I know in which they mentioned Fucked Up, so I felt it fitting that I contribute a news story this week about them. Here are my Fucked Up tales:

- Fucked Up Tale #1 (with my brother on Instant Messenger):

Him: the title track is one of the best songs i've ever heard, period

Him: it's about the plight of sex workers in Canada

Him: it's 18 minutes long

- Fucked Up Tale #2 (with my friend via e-mail):

Me: Did you just mention Jay Reatard and Fucked Up?  Those are new bands; I thought you didn't listen to anything post-1995, hahah.

Him: Dude, Jay Reatard's been around since the 90s -- he started when he was 16. I met the lead singer of Fucked Up when I was in Toronto a few years ago... he wanted a button I was wearing. Yeah, right! What would you do if this man approached you and said he wanted your button?

Whatever you do, don’t let Fucked Up's lead singer talk you into giving away your buttons:

% Vivian Girls

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves the RIAA-Backed Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, Now Steps Away From Becoming Law; Senator Patrick Leahy Makes Damn Sure that He Gets Every Penny from That Dark Knight Cameo

On September 11, 2008, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported a piece of legislation called the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, which passed through the committee by a 14-4 margin. If turned into law, the act would expand the federal government’s jurisdiction over copyright and counterfeiting cases. The RIAA-backed act grants federal prosecutors with the authority to slap P2P file-sharers in violation of copyright laws with civil lawsuits, while also establishing an intimidating-sounding position within the executive branch to oversee these more stringent IP laws — the IP Enforcement Coordinator.

I know this intellectual property rights business gets a little complicated, so why don’t I just let one of the original proponents of the bill, Democratic Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, explain the significance of these potential copyright laws:

I know first hand how important it is for criminal investigators, and the lawyers who prosecute those cases, to have a full arsenal of legal tools to ensure that justice is done. I also know how important the intellectual property industries are to our economy, and to our position as a global leader… The Vermont Teddy Bear Company relies heavily on its patented products.

See, the Justice Department isn’t using your tax money to pursue harmless file-sharers on behalf of billion-dollar industries such as the RIAA -- they’re leveling a crusade against evil counterfeiters bent on wiping out the wholesome mom and pop teddy bear industries that this country is built upon.

And combining what seems to be one of those MasterCard “priceless” advertisements with severe head trauma, Leahy further elaborates the importance of intellectual property rights to our national economy -- and the his own personal importance as a rising motion picture star:

I was once a prosecutor. I am now a Senator. But I have always been a fan of movies. My cameo in the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight, was priceless to me but we can put real numbers on the value of that production to the economy.

Mitch Bainwol, CEO/Chairman of the RIAA, cheered the Senate panel’s decision, stating in a RIAA press release, “This legislation is a welcome verse in a great song.” So, in honor of the RIAA’s victory over individual privacy and decent metaphors, I’m announcing the kickoff of the completely imaginary “The RIAA is Conspiring with the Federal Government to Eradicate All Traces of Internet Privacy in a Desperate Ploy to Recoup Diminishing Revenue / Name that Tune Contest!” Because I think that there is a pretty good joke somewhere in there, especially if I pretend that the prize is an original teddy bear from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

An Exploratory Tour With High Places of Steep Cliffs and Large Mountains Around the Continental United States

High Places, the beloved electro-pop duo of tragically flat Brooklyn, NY, would like to invite you on an expedition sure to raise the altitude and perhaps your blood pressure. They’re embarking soon (today, in fact) on a tour around the country to support their upcoming self-titled album (due September 22 on Thrill Jockey). But, brave explorers, this is not the main focus of their journey! Those among you who enjoy both glorious music and glorious views are encouraged to attend pre-show hiking trips at high places (See how it’s not capitalized this time? Comedy, people!) “near” each city’s venue. You are encouraged to bring:

- hiking boots (for rough terrain)
- light luncheon (for sustenance)
- parasol (apparently the sun gets way intense up there)
- baseball bat (to ward off bears)
- buttons (no clue)

Be advised that this band is pretty high-energy, so you could get left behind. That’s where the baseball bat comes in handy.

Ready, set, exhaustion!

* Dan Deacon

# Yo La Tengo

! Ponytail

^ Wet Hair

@ Peaking Lights

Huffington Post Has Nothing on Noise for

Quick! Between McCain and Obama, which one is more likely to show up at a Nautical Almanac gig? Give up? Well, Brian Chippendale from Lightning Bolt and Brian Miller from Foot Village already know the answer to that one and recently raised the Noise for Obama barn. Noise for Obama takes on a multi-pronged attack, featuring artist statements from the hottest hearthrobs in noise waxin' on why they're voting for Obama in November, a place for fans to have their say, and info on registering to vote.

The Noise for Obama idea originated after both gentlemen changed their MySpace pages to an Obama ’08 theme. Afterwards, Chippendale, Miller, and friends noticed a lot of political apathy in the noise scene. It was high time to give everyone a little push toward civic responsibility. Miller wrote in the site's press release:

We were both concerned that a lot of people, both audiences and artists, in the noise/underground music community don't vote and may not have considered what an important election year this is. So I started writing to other noise rockers and found that there are others that feel as strongly about Obama as we do.

Check Noise for Obama for statements from No Age, Friends Forever, and Deerhoof. You can bet Obama has been pumpin' his fist to Friendship Nation (TMT Review) and Hypermagic Mountain (TMT Review) all week. Meanwhile, both Lightning Bolt (TMT News) and Foot Village (TMT News) are set to tour this fall.

SHRIMP SCAMPI: Fleet Foxes and Blitzen Trapper Interview Each Other


Read the full coverage of MusicfestNW here, where you can also find more videos.

Thee Oh Sees Tour, Hopefully Honor My Request To Not Change Name to The Oh Say Can You Sees

Talk about great track record. Just take a look at Jon Dwyer's basic list: Pink & Brown, Coachwhips, and OCS/The Ohsees/Thee Oh Sees -- all pretty damn great. His current project, Thee Oh Sees, has not only experienced a few name changes (more like tweaks), but it has also gone through just as many modifications in sound. From its early sparse acoustic songs to the haunted, slow-psyche molasses rock sound of 2008 LP The Masters Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In (TMT Review), the band has maintained a high level of quality.

If you are a regular reader of TMT, you already learned how to be a fan, so it is time to take that knowledge and put it to good use. The band is going on a month-long tour of the USA, and unless you live in some out-of-the-way place (like Denver or Detroit), then the tour will likely hit near your town. You could also buy some new stuff, like the band's recently released live CD+DVD, Thee Hounds Of Foggy Notion (Tomlab). This live recording is a collaboration between the band and director Brian Lee Hughes, filmed around the time of last year's Sucks Blood LP.

Thee Hounds Of Foggy Notion tracklist:

Best Buy Snags Napster for $121 Million, Lehman Bros. Upset It Didn’t Switch Industries Overnight

Monday, September 15 was a bit of a free-for-all in the land of the big boy businesses, but the weirdest bit of news is this: someone actually paid for Napster, and even weirder, Napster came with 700,000 subscribers. 700,000 people still actually use Napster, though I would be curious to find out how many of those people still think 56k is cutting edge. I suppose there's gotta be a population somewhere that's stuck in the Dark Ages of the internet. Anyway, the lucky bidder -- at $121 million -- was Best Buy, which has ruffled industry feathers as of late with its venture into the world of musical instruments (TMT News), vinyl (TMT News), and local music (TMT News).

$121 million is roughly double Napster's estimated stock market value, so Best Buy must have a pretty good master plan as to how it'll make a nearly-dead digital music service work. However, it's keeping on current CEO Chris Gorog along with most of the other HUs, the same folks whose investors threatened to take over the company if Napster didn't stop hemorrhaging. Best Buy hopes to use Napster's current resources and staff to expand its digital presence in all forms of media, but it has a unique set of variables to deal with first. Napster currently sells DRM-free individual MP3s, but users who want to access a $13/month subscription catalog get DRMed. Also, Napster currently offers free and on-demand MP3s through, which probably won't make the cut. Hmm. Out of those 700,000 subscribers, I'm 100% positive that 99.9% of them will be cheesed off unless Best Buy can find a good solution for it all. The plot thickens... I know I'll be keeping an eye on this one.



  • Recent
  • Popular