- Long time tenor saxophonist and one-time fixture of Ray Charles‘ band David “Fathead” Newman, passed away earlier this week at the age of 75. Newman was a 1950 Grammy nominee and worked with a who’s who of musical giants, including Dr. John, Aaron Neville, and the talk of the Inauguration Aretha Franklin.
- Dave Berman has decided that the time has come to disassemble Silver Jews. A post on Drag City’s message board became the Dear John for many fans, heartbroken that Berman is taking his talents to other media (“screenwriting or muckracking”). In the post Berman also reveals a deep dark secret: his father is right-winged politico Richard Berman. The horror!
- Could the Grammy’s really be worth watching this year? Perhaps at least for a little while. An inside source tells Pitchfork that Radiohead might be one of the performing acts, joining the usual fare of Coldplay, Carrie Underwood, the Jonas Brothers, and the like. This year, Thom and the boys are up for five awards, possibly to add to their two previous wins.
- Seattle-based Barsuk announced the signing of The Wooden Birds, the newest project from American Analog Set member Andrew Kenny. Barsuk’s front page announces the band’s impending release, Magnolia, will be ready by spring.
- Each year, Iggy Pop continues to look more and more like a marionette. This year, he’s gone full puppet. Check him out in the new video from The Brighton Port Authority (aka The BPA aka Fatboy Slim) for “‘He’s Frank”:
- Oya Festival, Oslo’s summer music fest, have announced this year’s August 11-15 happening will be headlined by The Arctic Monkeys and Royksopp. Also crashing the Norwegian-heavy line-up will be Bon Iver, Monotonix, and Antlers.
- Sony and Columbia began lay-offs this week as both entities realize that music sales are not recession-proof. Sony has cut at least 30 jobs in from its distribution company, while Columbia reportedly brought the guillotine down on the President of Urban Music, Kyambo Joshua as well as Urban Marketing Executive Al Branch.
- A surprise to no one, Arthur Magazine has ceased its print edition. The on-again-off-again magazine is off again — at least in its physical form — due to lack of funds and lack of rest. Honcho Jay Babcock promises to keep the magazine alive online, with more content and a renewed focus, until someone is brought on board to put more capital behind the venture (despite a landslide of reader donations last summer, which wasn’t the first time Arthur needed saving) and to supervise publishing.
- Making the late night talk show rounds this week: Andrew Bird, The Walkmen, Franz Ferdinand, Sharon Jones, and The Gaslight Anthem. Check out the highlights:
Monday, January 26
Jay Leno: The Bird & the Bee
Conan O’Brien: The Walkmen
Last Call: The Ting Tings (repeat)
Tuesday, January 27
David Letterman: Andrew Bird
Late Late Show: RZA
Conan O’Brien: M83
Last Call: Little Joy (repeat)
Wednesday, January 28
Jay Leno: The Neville Brothers
Conan O’Brien: Cold War Kids
Thursday, January 29
Jay Leno: Franz Ferdinand
Jimmy Kimmel: Kraak and Smaak
Friday, January 30
David Letterman: The Gaslight Anthem
Late Late Show: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Conan O’Brien: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (repeat)
Tavis Smiley: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), M.I.A.