CHART OF DARKNESS: Gnarls Barkley's still going strong, unperturbed by that groove-killing version they did on Top Of The Pops which perhaps goes to show why according to today's Pitchfork interview Cee-Lo and DM say they haven't got any ideas yet as to how to present the album live. Rihanna up to two, Infernal (and yes, maybe we were harsh on them last week but, y'know, Murray) are up to four and Kooks are stealthily climbing. When were they allowed to get so big? Congratulations to Soundbwoy Ent (18) for having the silliest name of all. Chico, having climbed 13 last week, falls 13 this - maybe it's a special kind of record company chart hyping. Snow Patrol's stab at AOR is the week's highest download entry at 30, which allows us to mention the excellent observation we heard last week that they are now the embodiment of the Half Man Half Biscuit lyric "I could have been like Lou Barlow/but I'm more like Ken Barlow". Juanes, who we were confused mildly by while going through some foreign chart the other week, inevitably stiffs at 32, while right at the bottom of the 40 Kelly Clarkson is replaced by Kelly Clarkson. It's just getting silly now, and most of the fun of next week's chart is already expunged as four download entries appear between 42 and 47. Are they going to be classed as new entries or not, then? Interesting to see Damien Jr Gong Marley's big crossover potential single hit 55. Russell Watson covering Can't Help Falling in Love at 69? Shouldn't there be public warnings ahead of that kind of release?
Over in the album list charisma no fly zone Shayne Ward was busy putting the Arctic Monkeys figures into perspective by clearing 200,000 sales. The Zutons are at 2, having somehow picked up a load of fans from somewhere. Any correlation between this and Abi being pushed to the front of all the promo pictures is we're sure purely coincidence. The perfect commercial sense punt on Peter Grant, an 18 year old northerner who sings supper club swing but girls, just look at him!, gets him to number eight. He cites Fiona Apple and Nick Drake as musical heroes. Someone have a quiet word. The Charlatans have a sudden upswing as Simpatico crawls into the top ten, the rest being pretty much driven by advertising (Richard Ashcroft) and yet another excuse for a round of sales, of which more shortly.
FREE MUSIC: What is it with American indie buzz bands and piss-poor names? Oh No! Oh My! are a Nashville collective who sound like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's Alec Ounsworth fronting The Boy Least Likely To's older brothers, particularly so on The Party Punch.
HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: We've got a feeling that with time us and Proton Proton are going to get on just fine. Of course the singer is at times hailing from the modern American school of bare comprehensibility (and more than a tiny bit like McLusky's Andy Falkous), but musically they hit with that same kind of hard angularity that marked Bloc Party out when they arrived on the scene, akin to Steve Albini's Shellac and cult heroes Les Savy Fav. What this actually translates as: hard-edged guitars you can dance to. If you're a contortionist.
VISUAL REPRESENTATION: Johnny Cash is so revered now as the authentic country rebel that it's easy to overlook how much extraneous activity he was involved in to keep his name in public. Being on Sesame Street singing a reworked version of Don't Take Your Guns To Town with Big Bird, for instance.
FALLING OFF A BLOG: Real Cool Time does the real amount of work around the YouTube nation that we can only scratch the surface of. At the moment: the Cocteau Twins, the Sugarcubes, MC5, the Seeds, Patti Smith and plenty of goodness besides.
EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: The Boy Least Likely To's single is out this week and as previously advertised we'll be reviewing them over at Myspace this week. Ample opportunity, then, to mention the appropriately kids' party games on their website, Furball Pong and Little Donkey, interactive tail-pinning for all the family.
IN OTHER NEWS: Christ, have you seen the Virgin clearance sale? We don't think it's got long left but the bigger stores have stuck a load of unsold or unsellable stock aside and priced it all at £3.99. As well as some very odd stuff - did you know Frankee, of Eamon response fame, had an album out? - we saw Blur's eponymous album, REM's actually not all that bad Monster, two Spearmint albums, terrific Murry The Hump splinter group The Keys (ooh, they're still going) and plenty of good stuff we've forgotten. Go and see for yourselves.