CHART OF DARKNESS: Maybe we're getting old and pissed off, but Nelly Furtado's Maneater reminds us of one of those singles Missy Elliott throws out and hopes nobody notices. Gossip Folks, much like that. Furtado says her stylistic about turn was inspired by MIA's Galang, which peaked at number 76. What must Maya do? Old fashioned new entries are also at 3 for Embrace, which was inevitable, and The Automatic at 4. Now, where has this come from? The Automatic were a month ago a run of the mill modern-interpretation-of-indie confection that knew a couple of post-punk riffs, had a way with a cheap keyboard effect and seemed doomed to headline Frog every three months with reviews that suggest that, no, really, they're not just a bargain basement Kaiser Chiefs. Now, top five. Assorted depressingly bad football songs abound, notably Three Lions at 10. Morrissey and Depeche Mode had singles out this week, it says here - well, obviously they did, they're at 14 and 18 respectively, pushing the New Dry Your Eyes that is Never Went To Church down to 20. Lordi discover how far we're willing to take them at 25 - and they appear to have made Fearne Cotton a Europewide heroine into the bargain - Mariah sneaks it at 27 and it's this week we really see the effect of the pop TV drought as the Sugababes get to 32, Duncan James 35 and Fightstar 47. None of these, unless of course you know differently, are on download. Sugababes 32! Hope Of The States aren't doing all that well either, Sing It Out at 39. Weren't they Mogwai With Vocals once? The Fratellis make a surprise and unwelcome top 75 download entry while the Dixie Chicks' attempt at sexing up (higher hemlines, less fiddles) gets them to 70. They should apologise for Tony Blair at a gig in Texas.
Five new entries in the album top five - Sandi Thom (!), The Feeling (what is that hand on a chain on the cover meant to represent?), Ronan (again, did you know this was coming so soon?), Paul Simon and Primal Scream. Leann Rimes' attempt at sexing up (babydoll dress and big boots on the cover like a Christina Aguilera who had a late change of heart, 'Wanna' in title, more bombast) gets her to 15. Manfred Mann's much advertised compilation - who needs the Manfreds in their lives in 2006? - is at 24. Mind you, that harmonica on 5-4-3-2-1... It certainly outranks Paul Oakenfold, who's at 57. The Jam's All Mod Cons makes a deluxe edition reappearance at 62, two ahead of a pleasing Sonic Youth position and seven up on Gomez. That big comeback into the national conscious is taking its time.
FREE MUSIC: The Delgados remain one of our great underrated bands, and in the week their Complete BBC Sessions compilation is released we've been alerted to the first fruits of Emma Pollock's solo work set for release next year on 4AD. Fortune is a cracked piano ballad produced by Victor Van Vugt and bodes very well.
HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: Track one on Shimura Curves starts in pretty much the same way as Just Like Honey. Our critical faculties were not set high by this. Eventually their sound reveals itself a knowing girly (four of 'em) harmonic laptop low-key electro-pop like the Shortwave Set impersonating one of those legion of Europop duos. They've got a blog too. Just like that Lily Allen.
VISUAL REPRESENTATION: Because we're indie, we love early REM, and thus we love early REM TV appearances. Here's a couple from 1983, Carnival Of Sorts on Nickelodeon's Livewire TV - note Stipe previewing the way Mike Mills looks now - and Radio Free Europe on Letterman.
FALLING OFF A BLOG: After we speculated about that French compilation the other week that was brought to our attention by the same source, the ever excellent Indie mp3 is actually compiling C06. Design the cover and you could win a June Brides 7".
EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: Almost inevitably (and thanks to Parallax View for pointing this up - at least, we think it's thanks), we turn here to Help Me Get Random With Lady Sovereign, wherein a San Franciscan gentleman who, fortunately, has probably never heard of Chantelle, hoodies or the word 'chav', and thus has the best deal, attempted to raise $10,000 for the reward of taking said S-O-V out for the night after her local gig.
IN OTHER NEWS: Weird Al Yankovic 'does' You're Beautiful. Much as expected.