Monday, August 28, 2006

Weekender : if there's one thing that we could never confess, it's that we can't dance a single step

CHART OF DARKNESS: Captain Sensible rests easy in his bed, but Beyonce's 20 place climb to number one is the biggest of the download era. It's a duff effort by her standards, as can be seen by the way Jay-Z's been roped back in, given a promotional filip when a group of fans started an online campaign to get the video changed as it was apparently too risque. Presumably these fans had somehow never seen any of her other videos. A quiet week allows for climbers, most notably Snow Patrol up five to 7. What is going on with this? We don't recall a lot of promotion, yet it keeps building its part up. Matt Willis, who is rock and don't forget it, is at 11, outpointing Justin Timberlake's freezedried robot electro curio in on downloads at 13. Three years since his last proper single. Kasabian also climb again at 15, Morrissey hits 17 with a song we've not heard publicised as a single at all, Keane find publicity outweighed by completely unmemorability at 20 and Stacie Orrico continues her quest to become the biggest pop star you can't bring to mind at 22, one ahead of Thom Yorke in an odd juxtaposition. Scarily, The Feeling are at 24 on downloads, with Pink's latest dredging up from the pits doing similarly at 28. Victoria Newton's "surefire number one" Lazy-B is at 30, surely because even if they'd enjoyed it on the radio nobody would be able to make the connection when they saw that title emblazoned on the CD sleeve. Pharrell only makes 31 even with Kanye's help, which shows how much people are going for his solo material, while Missy Elliott seems to have been forgotten about by record buyers with her latest single in at 38. Double scarily, the Fratellis at at 35 on downloads. Duncan James' decline continues with an entry at 59. There's a new series of I'm A Celebrity coming up, isn't there?
Snow Patrol's Eyes Open returns to number one after a hell of a gestation period, the first album to return there this year. It's also slowly emerging for them in America, which is presumably where they are nowadays. Keep those copies of When It's All Over We Still Have To Clear Up close to your hearts, kids. A slightly odd top 20, with Pink making unexpected headway again, 40 Licks back in the twenty for obvious reasons and Outkast only at 16 as the film's still some way off, but an actually remarkable result for all concerned sees the Young Knives' Voices Of Animals And Men at 21, a position you couldn't have seen coming from their single sales and fairly outsider profile. Incidentally, do snap up the DVD special edition of this if there's still some about, as the visual extras are actually worth it for once. Chamillionaire's up to 22, one ahead of - ahoy! - Christ Illusion by Slayer, which itself is one up on yet another Prince retrospective. Paris Hilton by, um, Paris can't fool all of the people all of the time and so enters at 29. Seth Lakeman does well from his new paymasters at 32, Cerys Matthews impressively makes 43, Obie Trice sneaks in at 46 and Thea Gilmore finally makes a breakthrough at 69. Thom Yorke's back in the top 50. Is it on sale?

FREE MUSIC: We covered new-to-us discovery +/- (doesn't look any better) a few weeks ago, but now they've readied a new album for release and have stuck the first single online, Steal The Blueprints sounding like a Death Cab For Cutie less weighed down by genre and investing in fuzzy electronics.

HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: We seem to have been featuring a lot of bands recently who the cynical might suggest are riding on the post-punk revival coattails but we maintain have far more to them than mere genre catchup. Case in point. Popular Workshop, recent tour partners of STN-quoting-on-their-own-Myspace Love Ends Disaster. So while there's jitteriness and economic drumming, there's also hints of Fugazi during their brief melodic moments, The Fall's bugeyed intensity and Sonic Youth's way with shredded dynamics. Apparently they've been heard in Oxford Street Top Shop. We dread to think what sales figures were achieved during those three minutes.

VISUAL REPRESENTATION: Let's dig into the Beach Boys back catalogue with the reformatted Pet Sounds out this week and pull out a, shall we say, game go at Wouldn't It Be Nice from 1971, the original matching shirted lineup doing Hawaii live in 1964, Brian rehearsing Surf's Up alone at the piano in 1966, a video for Good Vibrations, God Only Knows live at Knebworth in 1980 and just to remind us why certain things have to happen, nearly the full quota singing backup on Status Quo's version of Fun Fun Fun, the very record the prevention of which from Radio 1's playlist led to the latter's fabled court action.

FALLING OFF A BLOG: A couple of posts that have attracted our attention this week rather than full blogs - musicisart compiles Radiohead covers and ryspace archives the final Sleater-Kinney show. We've been meaning to do An Illustrated Guide To Sleater-Kinney - any takers?

EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: As one of those invenerate types who needs to dig deeper into a band's personal psyches, we're enjoying Found In The Margins, a magazine which talks to musicians about their favourite reading. So far they've had words about words with representatives of Camera Obscura, the Constantines, Ron Sexsmith Psapp, Tegan & Sara and Arctic associates Reverend And The Makers.

IN OTHER NEWS: Not big or clever but always worth the debate - the 50 worst bandnames ever. Hoist that Union Jack high, there's Brits at number one!

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