RIP: Neal Hefti, Jazz Trumpeter and Soundtrack Composer

From the Los Angeles Times:

Neal Hefti, a former big band trumpeter, arranger and composer who worked with Count Basie and Woody Herman and later composed the memorable themes for the movie "The Odd Couple" and the campy hit TV series "Batman," has died. He was 85.

Hefti died Saturday at his home in Toluca Lake, said his son, Paul. He did not know the cause of death, but said his father had been in good health.

- Neal Hefti Wikipedia entry
- Neal Hefti IMDB entry
- Los Angeles Times article: "Neal Hefti dies at 85; former big band trumpeter, arranger and composer"

Been Dazed and Confused for So Long It’s Not True. So Long, In Fact, That All My Zeppelin Albums Have Shrunk Into CD-Sized Replicas!

Sit down, kidlings. When I was very young, right around your age now, I was invited to a birthday party hosted by a classmate from school. Given that the invitation came at the last minute and take into account my laziness/self-centredness at the time, I didn't bother to get the wee girl a gift. A quick burst of desperation had me grabbing a pile of prized Chu-Bops (miniature bubblegum records in 3'x3' replica album sleeves that were around in the 1980s) and throwing them in a bag to bring as a prezzie. The birthday party ended prematurely with me getting upset at our hostess for making fun of one of my friends. After sulking off home, my dad scolded me for giving away those little sugar albums and told me I would regret it someday. Turns out he was right; I REALLY wish I had those tiny sleeves now. The gum, not so much.

Anyway, why the palliative stroll down memory lane, you ask? Well, this childhood recollection remained deeply buried in my subconscious until I saw this cute lil' trigger. On November 4, Rhino will release a Japanese import Led Zeppelin Definite Collection Mini LP Replica CD box set to further celebrate the band's 40th anniversary. Yes, they are only exact CD versions of the original albums, but it sparked a recollection within me of a time dominated by smaller, weirder, chewable albums. You got a problem with that?

For all the tales of excess and monster sales numbers, there is always a nagging disparaging of Led Zep's work, which is fucking ludicrous if you think about it. The band's catalogue screams class, even when not ripping off forgotten blues standards. Everyone needs [Led Zeppelin-] in their lives at some point, and if you have the means, this (rather pricey) box might be a good option of getting the band's complete collection in one shot. It doesn't hurt that the set looks immaculate with details at a premium. All of Zeppellin's sleeve art is replicated for this collection, including: the original and second pressing artwork for their debut album (basically different colors for band and label logos), III's gatefold, rotational laminated card disc, Physical Graffiti's interchangable window illustrations (four covers of two inners, a middle insert and an outer cover), In Through the Out Door's six cover variations, and Coda's ultra-boring sleeve art.

The tracklistings remain the same to those released on these original albums: Led Zeppelin (1969), Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), Led Zeppelin IV (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973), Physical Graffiti (1975), Presence (1976), The Song Remains the Same (1976), In Through the Out Door (1979), and Coda (1980).

Holy Gefilte Fish! Yo La Tengo Schedule Another Series of Hanukkah Shows This December

It’s that time of year again, my fellow Jews and Yo La Tengo fans! The trio has decided to schedule another round of Hanukkah shows, taking place December 21-28 at Maxwell’s in New Jersey. Tickets are $30 each and on sale now. Each show will begin at 9 PM on Friday and Saturday and at 8:30 PM every other night.

Yo La Tengo say there will be opening bands for each show, but just like last year, they’re implementing a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy because: “We won't know until the last minute, but -- we cannot tell a lie -- also because we're ornery that way.” Fortunately, Yo La Tengo are providing some exciting details:

There is one thing we can tell you. The Feelies will not be playing with us during Hanukkah, scout's honor. But we will be doing a gala New Year's Eve show with the Feelies and Vivian Girls at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair NJ, home of Stephen Colbert and Don Fleming. Tickets will be $35, or a mere $115 less than it costs to see Steely Dan. (To be fair, if you're paying per chord, Steely Dan is priced competitively.).

If that’s not a good reason to buy a ticket to see Yo La Tengo, then I don’t know what is.

SanDisk Reveals More Details of Outlandishly Doomed slotMusic Plan, That Rich Texas Oil Tycoon Guy from The Simpsons Could Be Behind it All (Or Maybe T. Boone Pickens)

The plot thickens: Just like the luridly slanting storyline of our current GOP candidates’ journey, uh, “southward,” SanDisk’s seemingly off-the-rails plan just keeps getting more and more tragically ludicrous with each passing day. Let’s resume the tangled tale, shall we?

When last we left our euphemistically-picaresque heroes at SanDisk (TMT News), they were preparing the release of their new slotMusic initiative, which, as you no doubt recall from subsequent water-cooler conversations, aims to “put the 20th century hassle back in 21st century consumerism” by distributing digital albums on ultra-tiny, ultra-losable microSD memory cards in lieu of CDs or, you know, umm, those digital download things.

Among the myriad of preparations at SanDisk, which presumably included the cleaning, polishing, loading, and aiming of pistols at freshly bullseyed feet, were the announcements that albums in the new forwardly-backwards-looking format will be available beginning this week at a price of $15 a pop (i.e. MORE EXPENSIVE THAN DOWNLOADS) and that, yes, SanDisk will indeed be going ahead and offending both our planet’s stammering economy AND your consummate materialistic sensibilities with the release of a new, hopelessly uni-taking music player that is, you guessed it, designed specifically for the bass-ackwards format and nothing else. The Sansa slotMusic Player (dimensions = 2.75” x 1.4375” x 1.4375”) will retail $20, has no internal memory, and will not have the ability to synch with a computer to download songs. Nope. It simply lets users plug in their slotMusic card or other microSD memory card (if they haven’t lost it, that is) and play whatever Jimmy Buffet nonsense is on it.

To make matters even more ridiculous, this needy little device will also beg you to pay attention to a number of boldly presumptuous accessories, not the least of which is the “artist-branded” model, in which artists are apparently supposed to feel compelled to create their own signature slotMusic Player that comes pre-loaded with their latest album contained on an included 1 GB slotMusic card. Though they will be able to play any ol’ miniSD card that your infant, toddler, dog, cat, parakeet, ferret, couch cushion, car seat, lawnmower, washing machine, or vacuum cleaner hasn’t yet consumed, the artist-branded models have the added bonus of retailing for $35 instead of $20 and come custom designed with the artist's teeny name and tiny image. Oh, and because X-mas is just around the corner, there’s also a “Sansa Card Wallet” for carrying the many, many slotMusic cards that you’re going to buy and an armband for holding the player so that your hands are free to, like, blog about how much you like this new physical format or whatever.

No word yet as to exactly how much longer SanDisk and their marketers are going to keep on playing this game of chicken with the world, but for now, damned if they don’t seem to be heading straight for us with full poker face as they further announce that all four majors are on board with this debacle, and slotMusic titles will be sold in both Wal-Mart and Best Buy stores. And they aren’t messing around with their initial batch of SD-ified artists, either, which boasts nothing but chart-toppers, including: ABBA, Chris Brown, Coldplay, Daughtry, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy buffet, Katy Perry, Keane, Kelly Clarkson, Kiss, Leona Lewis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, MIA, Nelly, New Kids On The Block, Ne-Yo, Nickelback, Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Rise Against, Robin Thicke, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Usher and Weezer. So there you have it, I guess! This is either a serious economic venture to someone somewhere, folks! Either that or a clever distraction from the Grand Old Party. Speaking of which, did you hear that 9/11 was an inside job?!?

Paw Tracks Sign Dent May & his Magnificent Ukulele. Joins Ukulele Ranks with Sir Paul McCartney and Umm… Tiny Tim

Paw Tracks, home of some of indie favorites such as Panda Bear (TMT Review) and Excepter (TMT Review), have added a new member to their loveable oddball family: Dent May. May with his undeniably strong vocal presence, ukulele in tow, and quirky songwriting to boot will come out swinging February 3, 2009 with the release of his debut album, The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele. Working with producer Rusty Santos (who recently released World I See as The Present - TMT Review), May recorded this album in his home, a double-wide trailer in Taylor, Mississippi.

While this may be his first major release, May is no newcomer to music. From singing in church choirs to writing synthy power-pop in high school, music has always been with Dent May. Also a founding member of the Cats Purring arts collective, May plays in country-rock band Cowboy Maloney's Electric City. Since 2007, May has been playing under Dent May & his Magnificent Ukulele, which he credits inspiration from the likes of Serge Gainsbourg and Lee Hazlewood, and has even started recording dance music under the moniker Dent Sweat.

Dent May will play several shows to help promote this new release, including a Paw Tracks/Carpark CMJ Showcase. For those of you who won’t be able to see these shows, check out this video from Dent May performing the track “Oh, Paris!” from the new album.

Dent May & his Magnificent Ukulele tourdates:
10.18.08 - Athens, GA - Farm255
10.20.08 - Greenville, NC - Spider Skull
10.22.08 - New York, NY - Le Poisson Rouge / Carpark & Paw Tracks CMJ Showcase

The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele tracklist:

Johnny Cash Remixed, Featuring Snoop Dogg (Of Course), Gets CD Release and DVD Expansion; Another Cash Comp Coming Soon, Too

Not to be outdone by Elvis remixes and the internet mash-up culture, Compadre Records has given the album Johnny Cash Remixed a January 27 in-store and online release date. (A small number of independent records stores have already stocked the vinyl deluxe edition of the album last month.)

Produced by the Man in Black's son John Carter Cash, Snoop Dogg, and Mathew Knowles (father/manager of Beyoncé Knowles), the album features remixes of classics from the original Sun Records-licensed master recordings. On par with the dance and hip-hop that dominates the album, Snoop Dogg does his own interpretation of Cash's classic "I Walk the Line," with help from his new production crew QDT (featuring Teddy Riley and DJ Quik). Elsewhere, Mocean Worker, made famous by the remix of Elvis Presley's "Burnin' Love," takes on "Hey Porter," while Dirty Pop king Kennedy does "Sugartime." Other remixes by Pete Rock ("Folsom Prison Blues") and "Sopranos" theme song creators Alabama 3 also grace the album.

Enclosed with the disc is a short DVD documentary chronicling the making of the remixes in numerous home studios and Cash's own Cash Recording Cabin in Tennessee.

If one was so inclined, they could listen to this album with the forthcoming tribute album All Aboard: A Tribute to Johnny Cash, expected October 21 via Anchorless Records. This tribute, in stark contrast to the former, features covers courtesy of The Bouncing Souls, MxPx, The Flatliners, and The Dresden Dolls. It's up to you to listen and decide which compilation will honor the legend's legacy and which will cause more metaphorical grave rollovers.

Johnny Cash Remixed Tracklisting (deluxe vinyl edition):

Rock The Bells 2008 Goes Across Seas with Nas, Mos Def, De La Soul

Starting off as a California hip-hop festival in 2004, Rock The Bells has since grown into one of the most widely respected concert series. With acts like Wu-Tang Clan and Mos Def, it has easily become one of the best hip-hop shows to date.

The tour just wrapped up U.S. dates this past summer, but fans who missed it can travel across the Atlantic to hit up the dates in Europe, which kicks off on Halloween in the Czech Republic. Although there are no big reunions this year (like 2004's A Tribe Called Quest reunion), you can still catch Nas, Mos Def, De la Soul, The Pharcyde, EPMD, Supernatural, Scratch, and others, as they keep the Rock the Bells torch a flamin'.

RIP: Frankie Venom, Lead Singer of Teenage Head

From the Winnipeg Sun (via Matador):

The Glasgow, Scotland-born Kerr, 51, was the lead singer of the Hamilton-based band which formed at Westdale High School back in 1975.

Guitarist Gord Lewis announced the death in a press release yesterday afternoon which was later posted on the band's official website

Teenage Head released its first independent single in 1978 and released its legendary self-titled debut the following year. The group, who performed in Hamilton in early August and were slated to play at this year's Grey Cup festivities in Montreal, is perhaps best known for the song Let's Shake which appeared on its Frantic City release.

- Teenage Head official website
- Teenage Head MySpace
- Teenage Head Wikipedia entry
- Teenage Head videos

Corgan and Company Release Documentary, But I’d Rather Have Another Book of Poetry

Okay, I got a joke. What does Billy Corgan and Charlie from Flowers for Algernon have in common? They both went from brilliant to phenomenally stupid in a short period of time.

Tracing the trajectory of Billy Corgan would be like trying to find Bin Laden -- all over the place. Here you have a man who went from sporting groovy polyester shirts, rockin' out balls to the wall, and writing masterpieces like Siamese Dream, to coming back from outer space with a shiny head, ghoulish veneer, black tunic, and moon boots; his ability to write music unfortunately decimated upon entering the chrono-synclastic infundibulum. Then, dude breaks up his band, buddies up with Dave Pajo, decides he hates Dave Pajo, sues whoever comes into the cross hairs, blogs his entire life with with Jim Jones-worthy quotes ("I am happy to be a warrior of light and universal logic if I am fighting for the good in us"), and more recently toured with a band called Smashing Pumpkins that is not actually Smashing Pumpkins, which included residency shows that took place very far from their home base of Chicago, despite Billy's full page "omg I love you Chicago" letter he purchased in the Sun Times. Someone should seriously shoot a documentary about Corgan and title it "Lolocaust."

Alas, that's not in the works. However, you can catch a new documentary called If All Goes Wrong. Go on and insert your own punch line on the name. If All Goes Wrong chronicles the aforementioned San Francisco and Asheville residency shows that took place in the summer of 2007, as well as fun-for-the-whole-family backstage antics with Pete Townsend, who is evidently one of three people actually stoked on Zeitgeist. The 105-minute limited release doc arrives on the big screen for one day, November 6, in 40 cities across the U.S. You can locate the closest screening to you at the film's official site. All show times are 8 PM local time.

Can't make it on that date? No worries, as the 2-disc DVD subsequently drops the following week on November 11. In the meantime, instead of seeing what Iha and D'arcy are up to and how much money they want, like he should be doing, Billy and the boys will be celebrating the group's 20th anniversary with this fall's extensive tour (TMT News). For your consideration, I've taken the time to include the black hole sun white thunder horse voodoo glow skulls shoop-da-woop set lists of each concert

10.26.08 - Mountain View, CA - Shoreline Amphitheatre (Bridge School Benefit)
11.01.08 - Cleveland, OH - Palace Theatre
11.03.08 - Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall ("Black Sunshine")
11.04.08 - Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall ("White Crosses")
11.06.08 - New York, NY - United Palace Theatre ("Black Sunshine")
11.07.08 - New York, NY - United Palace Theatre ("White Crosses")
11.08.08 - Atlantic City, NJ - Borgata
11.11.08 - Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall ("Black Sunshine")
11.12.08 - Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall ("White Crosses")
11.14.08 - Boston, MA - Wang Center ("Black Sunshine")
11.15.08 - Boston, MA - Wang Center ("White Crosses")
11.16.08 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
11.18.08 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre ("Black Sunshine")
11.19.08 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre ("White Crosses")
11.21.08 - Chicago, IL - Auditorium Theatre ("Black Sunshine")
11.22.08 - Chicago, IL - Auditorium Theatre ("White Crosses")
11.26.08 - St. Louis, MO - Fox Theatre
11.30.08 - San Diego, CA - RIMAC Arena
12.02.08 - Los Angeles, CA - Gibson Amphitheatre ("Black Sunshine")
12.03.08 - Los Angeles, CA - Gibson Amphitheatre ("White Crosses")