Monday, October 23, 2006

Weekender : it's sad that you think we're all just scenesters

HOUSEKEEPING: Last call for volunteers to write about the song they love - we're nearly there but have a few gaps at the end of the month to fill. Also, if you haven't already downloaded it may we plug our Be My Babies Covermount. Leave us your thoughts because we think it's all ace and if there's demand there may well be another one (not on the same subject, obviously) before this month is out.

CHART OF DARKNESS: My Chemical Romance - now a punk band, according to the BBC - remain at one, sales only 4,000 down which suggests something more than the fanbase only sales you might have expected. Girls Aloud were a reported downloads 34 in the midweeks but enter at 5, the first British act to have a download only top ten entry. Nothing fishy there, certainly. Meat Loaf, as he apparently now insists on, enters at 6 proving he can only sell records when they're called Bat Out Of Hell, the Ordinary Boys employ ultra-irony at 10 and Jamie T grows into 13, ahead of Beyonce and Amy Winehouse's download entries. As if to prove getting Diane Warren to write a song for them was a bad idea Numb becomes the second worst charting record of the Pet Shop Boys' post-West End Girls history at 23. Rogue Traders' idea of badly recreating old riffs and hoping people recognise Izzy stalls already at 33. The Goo Goo Dolls hardly prove the worth of early download promotion, or indeed sticking an old commercial radio hit on a double A side, as they climb from 42 to 39. Coolio is back at 67. Has he died?
Last week's album top three is the same as this week's, the highest entry being, curiously, P Diddy and everyone you've ever heard of in R&B at 11. Badly Drawn Boy is at 17, his lowest entry position and one ahead of Deacon Blue's hits album. Are they fondly remembered? What did the girl actually do? Roy Orbison compilations lapped original albums some time ago, number eleven at 20, while even Roxette make it to three at 22. Lest we forget, the first was called Don't Bore Us, Get To The Chorus!, a title we still employ for private jokes. Cradle Of Filth, a private joke of their own, are at 46, while the American immigrant market remains high, which is surely the only explanation for John Mayer at 58.

FREE MUSIC: New Jersey's Danielson are part of something we'll artlessly label the Indie Christianity movement, or at least when a movement actually arises, which it won't. But there's a lot of this sort of thing about nowadays, from Daniel Smith's mate and occasional collaborator Sufjan Stevens' faith references to Page France's more covert references. Did I Step On Your Trumpet is many things but spiritual is not one of them. From an album, Ships, that features contributions from personnel of Sufjan, Sereena Maneesh, Deerhoof, Why? and Steve Albini, it features a whistleable melody, a singalong chorus and as far as connection to straightforward indiepop goes that's about the size of it. Yes, the voice does take some working towards, but stick with it.

HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: There's something definitely happening in Sweden at the moment. They've always sent over quality janglers and sunkissed indiepoppers in dribs and drabs before but the last few months have seen a slew of them, and up among the most prominent names are Suburban Kids With Biblical Names (a Silver Jews lyric, if you're keeping score). Johan Hedberg and Peter Gunnarson by name, they enjoy a good time, reminiscent of a less introspective Kings Of Convenience meets a stripped-back Stephin Merritt fiddling with electronic instruments and odd rhythms - listen to Funeral Face's attempt at inventing twee Afrobeat. Bonus track: Rent A Wreck.

VISUAL REPRESENTATION: With this CD86 compilation out today and twenty year anniversary gigs at the ICA next weekend, one of which is curiously being headlined by the Magic Numbers, we thought we'd devote this and next week's YouTube experiences to what we like to call Trad Indie - that is to say, scratchy guitars, bowl cuts, Oxfam clothes as a statement and DIY videos. Isn't there a certain something about all of this sorely missing today? This was the sort of scene that calls among its progenitors Orange Juice's Falling And Laughing, the Jesus & Mary Chain's Never Understand and of course Talulah Gosh, those last two coming courtesy of someone we may marry one day who uploaded the whole of a period Shelter-supporting video to the site, without which a slightly disturbing number of people would have been denied memories of Stump by Buffalo. The Television Personalities had come from the back end of punk to delve deeper and darker with the likes of The Painted Word, while the unashamedly literate Monochrome Set's Jacob's Ladder found space in Peel's record box next to the enthusiastic Shop Assistants' I Don't Want To Be Friends With You and the briefly feted June Brides' In The Rain, apparently uploaded here by Phil Wilson himself. And then there's the ever individual Lawrence Hayward, who went from Felt's Stained Glass Windows In The Sky to Denim's Middle Of The Road, but that era is another story...

FALLING OFF A BLOG: As we were saying last week a great gobbet of music blogs new to us have emerged in the last couple of weeks, but just this weekend we found out that TJ Worthington, one of our very favourite music and popular culture scribes, is dabbling in the black art. Just the three posts on The Memorex Years so far, but given they're about the Cardigans, Nancy Sinatra and Pete'n'Dud and contain far more detail then you ever thought you wanted, it's pretty much picking up where Is This Music? left off.

FALLING OFF A BLOG EXTRA: We've plugged The Art Of Noise on here before, but it's worth a revisit as this week sees the start of a continuing series called In The Dock, in which contributors put cases for and against mainstays of musical culture and invite readers - that's you, hopefully - to cast the deciding vote. To start with, inevitably, the Beatles. Less inevitably, we understand the next few weeks will deal with the Levellers and songs with associated dance moves.

EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: They email us enough, so we might as well plug Daytrotter, a magazine whose USP is specially recorded session tracks, recently inviting in Bonnie Prince Billy, Two Gallants, Cold War Kids and Page France with Tilly And The Wall and Beirut promised shortly.

IN OTHER NEWS: Downloader and provider of many a free mp3 for this section Insound recently launched a full album service, marked by Save The Album, in which Bloc Party, the Walkmen, Colin Meloy, Devendra Banhart, Mountain Goat John Darnielle and Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington pontificate on the significance and greatness of the long player. Smart positioning.


Ben said...

Cheers for the pluggage Simon. The Beatles - inevitable, yes, but at least it's generated a hell of a lot of comments. Let's just hope people feel as strongly about the Eurovision Song Contest...

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