- British jazz composer, band leader, and saxophonist Sir John Dankworth died this weekend at 82. Inspired by past jazz greats Benny Goodman (on clarinet) and then Charlie Parker (on sax), Dankworth went on to start a performing ensemble; record film and television scores including the theme to The Avengers; direct such heavy hitters as Oscar Peterson, Nat “King” Cole, and Ella Fitzgerald; and even start a theater of his own, The Stables, with his wife and collaborator Dame Cleo Laine. KEXP listeners will immediately recognize the sample to Dankworth’s theme to Modesty Blaise, which was sampled heavily on the Gorillaz track “Rock the House“:
- The Seattle Improvised Music Festival kicks off this week -- February 11th to be exact. The 7 day events is spread over two weeks and will feature some of the best avant talent in town and beyond, including scene stalwarts C. Spencer Yeh, Chris Corsano, Wally Shoup, and Bill Horist taking over The Sunset Tavern on Feb. 18th for a set.
- NonStopErotik will be the latest album from the hearts and minds of Charles Thompson’s many identities -- this time under the Black Francis nom de plume. The album hits the streets March 30th via Cooking Vinyl.
- Pitchfork has the exclusive video for Spoon‘s first single, “Written in Reverse,” from their new album Transference:
- Warp has just announced the May 4th release date for Cosmogramma, the latest from versatile phenom Flying Lotus. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke is said to be among the lyrical guests.
- New Vice signees, Growing, are putting some video muscle behind their upcoming April release, Pumps. The trio has produced two grainy throwbacks to the days of avant music cinema for the tracks “Hormone” and “Drone Burger,” which you can watch below:
- Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer has always engaged in bizarre theatrical projects, and her latest is no exception: Evelyn Evelyn is the name of her new duo, formed with sometime Seattle resident Jason Webley, and features the fictional pair of conjoined twin performers Lyn and Eva Neville, who according to the story, pursue a musical career and are discovered via MySpace by... Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, who happen to “produce” the project. All very meta, to be sure. Rounding out the cast of characters in this project are, among others, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Andrew W.K., Tegan and Sara, Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance), and Frances Bean Cobain! Read more here.
- If you like your rock and roll with a heavy dose of still photography, perhaps you should hit up “Taking Aim,” the latest exhibit to creep into EMP|SFM. The exhibit, which runs through May 23rd, centers on the photography work and personal selections of legendary singer/songwriter Graham Nash.
- The highlights of this week’s late night talk show appearances start slow but end the week with a punch: The Editors and Yeasayer on Wednesday on Kimmel and Fallon respectively, and then The Soft Pack on Letterman on Friday. There’s enough to keep you up for a few nights at least:
Monday, February 8
time to sleep off the Super Bowl haze
Tuesday, February 9
Jimmy Fallon: Regina Spektor
Wednesday, February 10
Jimmy Kimmel: The Editors
Jimmy Fallon: Yeasayer
Thursday, February 11
Jimmy Fallon: Kings of Convenience
Friday, February 12
David Letterman: The Soft Pack