PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Our Songs You Need To Hear, or whatever we're calling it, feature for November is about half full now, but that's still half a month short. Read up on it, invite yourself along.
CHART OF DARKNESS: Run for your lives, Daily Mail, the emos are taking over! My Chemical Romance finally land it properly in the midst of the populist arm of youth culture as Welcome To The Black Parade, behind Razorlight in the midweeks, end up 5K ahead. This is probably supposed to be the Queen-indebted end of your eyeliner-doused, asymmetrically haircutted, wallet chain sporting, nasally vocalled genre. Rites Of Spring wouldn't have approved. Beatfreakz, whose video has been on B4 24-7 over the last couple of weeks - do you see? It's a bit like Thriller! Nobody's ever done that before! - is at 7 and James Morrison scares us all with a late change of single not hindering a number 20 on downloads. Hot Chip do what they couldn't do without about the same amount of airplay and reach 27 with Over And Over, Corinne Bailey Rae reaps MOBO rewards at, um, 32, two above where it charted the first time around, while Badly Drawn Boy seems done for in terms of widespread popularity despite what he admits is a calculatedly more pop sound at 38, outdone by old stagers Placebo and The Ordinary Boys on downloads. Preston, incidentally, is now claiming his Big Brother appearance was an act of satire. Chris Morris rests easy. Apart from pointing at Blazin' Squad at 54, we can only worry about next week's charts judging on this week's download contenders, as Meat Loaf is at 43 and the Goo Goo Dolls are a place above due to their label cleverly affixing a forgettable new single onto a double A side with Iris, a song that was everywhere in 1999 and indeed ever since on commercial radio despite never topping number 26. The race is on!
As expected Sam's Town is still number one despite a Scissorlight pincer movement, but again on populism's blindside we find not-nu-metal Trivium at 7. Bailey Rae is back in the top ten, Luther Vandross' fifth hits collection is at 12 and Connie Fisher off How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? can be satisfied at 14 even if it's erected a pedestal for her right next to a handy collection of boulders. At 24 we find Songs From The Labyrinth, otherwise known as Sting's Lute Album. That's a lot of novelty birthday presents for one week. In fact, on further investigation, Gordon is also being credited for his work on the 'archlute'. The vilest of all the lutes! Milburn, who must have fans somewhere but we've never met one, are at 32, Chris De Burgh can't heal the chart ills at 38, Lloyd Banks (see Milburn) enters at 40 and supposedly popular bearded semi-crooner Ray Lamontagne is at 73, one ahead of the Albert Hammond Jr Non-Bootleg.
FREE MUSIC: Tokyo Police Club are from Ontario but have just signed up to the reliably eclectic Memphis Industries roster (they've also just signed ex-Myspace pick Bricolage), where Nature Of The Experiment will be released on 7" on November 20th. We do keep stumbling across cut-and-thrust North American bands who touch base with Sonic Youth, the Strokes and Built To Spill, darkly melodic with an Interpol rhythm section over tightly wound hooks. Also, David Monks sounds like not unlike a calmer Canadian Andy Falkous. Oh, hang on, does he namecheck Up The Bracket at 0:56? Ah well.
HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: The Hellset Orchestra, from Nottingham, fulfil that cliched bass/drums/vocals-organ/violin/violin/cello/sax line-up. They also like a long title. Inevitably, god knows where you'd start trying to surmise them properly without just listing bands and hoping someone's paying attention, although their top 8 includes Eels, Mars Volta and Electric Eel Shock, which seems a decent enough place to start. There's a definite Sparksesque spread out vitality and theatricality about it, somewhere akin to the Misty's Big Adventure ballpark but more gothic and showbizzy. Only showbizzy in their own cracked minds, obviously.
VISUAL REPRESENTATION: Don't know how many other readers saw BBC4's tremendous documentary last week about the Yorkshire Jacques Brel that was Jake Thackray, but it did give us a theme for this week - British, if not exactly eccentrics, then certainly singular figures who add to the gaiety of the nation in various ways. So here's Thackray doing On Again!, sporting what Danny Baker accurately pinpoints as one of the great opening lines, on Neil Innes' still-no-sign-of-a-DVD series Innes Book Of Records. Neil Innes was of course the previously featured Vivian Stanshall's second in Bonzo command, which we mention because we've just discovered superb prime live footage from German TV, and went on to invent the Rutles, but somewhere in between he was a regular on Eric Idle's post-Python project Rutland Weekend Television, from which we take Slaves Of Freedom. In other news, an astonishingly rare clip of Ian Dury reading his poetry to Anthony H Wilson, a clip you can safely turn off about 23 seconds in as John Peel introduces himself to Top Of The Pops viewers before introducing Theatre Of Hate, Terry Wogan (he's got dual nationality, sit down) manfully copes with a live TOTP vocal on The Floral Dance and Billy Bragg teams up with Bill Bailey at Glastonbury to perform the latter's Unisex Chipshop.
FALLING OFF A BLOG: After a short period of dryness blogs are coming to our attention at a decent rate now. The musically inclined bits of The 15-Minute Hipster reminds us of, well, us, if we actually put some thought into talking up the new and live music we love rather than two-sentence dismissals on Sunday afternoons.
EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: Never turn down the opportunity to plug an online cultural magazine, that's our motto. Floatation Suite's been there for a while, but even if some may be put off by the idea of a fiction section it's worth a look as they've built up a decent interview and live review archive.
IN OTHER NEWS: Didn't Domino release a Josef K anthology a couple of years ago? Maybe they thought people had forgotten. Anyway, there's a new one out next month, and in what must be a rare opportunity even for when the band were together Paul Haig talked to the Scotsman.