CHART OF DARKNESS: An odd singles chart this week as Shakira hangs on in the face of large scale indifference outside the pop and chart message boards, odd because there's a lot of upward motion (Paolo Nutini's back in the top ten), not many new entries and the curious decision by Universal to delete Nelly Furtado's still huge playing Maneater four weeks ahead of her next single. As if it were 1998 again the highest new entry is by an English-speaking diva collaborating with a German trance producer. Cascada by name, a former Billboard Hot 100 top ten hit that makes you wonder if dance music ever intended to get anywhere. Paris, as she now appears to be called - come out, we know who you are - is at 5, but then she'd barely be able to come over and promote it. The Similou seem to have come from nowhere to 20 having reached the top 50 last week on downloads, the Raconteurs run out of energy already at 29, Captain continue to fail to live up to expectations at 30 and the Holloways leap above the post-Pete ragamuffin bandwagon at 33. And now, a memo to Polydor/Universal, Initial Productions/Endemol, Malcolm Gerrie, Channel 4, Xenomania and all other interested parties. It reads thus: What the hell happened there, then? After two heavily trailed and repeated series on T4, essentially adding up to nearly ten months of promotion, I'm Not Shy by Frank debuts at number 40. Admittedly "did you see Totally Frank last night?" was hardly the major topic of conversation across the nation, but this sort of result even beats the 21st Century Girls for advance hubris crashing down around a major label's 'sure thing' ears. While we're on the hubris scale, note Boy Kill Boy's re-release of Civil Sin cashing in on their newfound glory at, um, 44.
James Morrison makes a rather quicker top spot entry than James Blunt did in the album chart. He's opening Summer Sundae on Friday. We'll get there a bit later, if it's all the same to you. In a slow week DMX and Stone Sour sell to their people alone and still get top 30 entries but let's look instead at 17 and the Puppini Sisters, only one of whom is using the surname Puppini. These are the 1940s wartime jazz club doo-wop harmony revivalists who've had acres of coverage, none of which mentions that the whole album is cover versions, and not all post-ironic pop hits reworked which might actually have worked in their favour. What audience is this for, wanting to hear Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy in a slightly inferior version? Oh, we know really, that pesky MOR/pop classical crowd who'll take anything on if it's sold to them correctly. The one on the left on the cover seems to be wearing false lips.
FREE MUSIC: We've talked up the Playwrights before on here, but the Bristolians' art-pop locating of a point between Bloc Party and C86 is always worth your while and we've only just noticed the wordy, irked 21st Century Kaspar Hauser is downloadable from their label site.
HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: One of the great joys of that post-punk scene is there's just so much of it to mine, and Parisians 10lec6 (pronounced dislecsix, apparently - yes, we see) have spotted another gap in the revivalist but good market, that of the sheer rhythmic punk-funk-dub-X Ray Spex female fronted attack of the Slits or Raincoats. You can picture the shifting rhythm section attempting to stare each other out throughout.
VISUAL REPRESENTATION: With one solo Manics project out already and the other, not that anyone's looking forward to it particularly, on the way it's a good time to remind ourselves of the way that the young MSP foisted their high arching views on the pop kids in the early 90s. Or, in this case, as much of it as Philippa Forrester would let them have.
FALLING OFF A BLOG: Obscure Sound is clearly aiming high for an mp3 blog and seems to be aiming for a collaborative approach, which is all to the good if it means as eclectic an approach as the one that has recently brought its readers the Jam, Bonnie Prince Billy, Max Richter, the Smiths and the very much having to be investigated further Vitaminsforyou.
IN OTHER NEWS: None of this next week, we're off festivalling again for Sweeping The Nation's Second Annual Summer Sundae Mass Observation, and now we've observed the stages and tents going up in De Montfort Gardens today the excitement is palpable. Gomez are still headlining the Saturday, yes.