Monday, November 27, 2006

Weekender : save us from mad bears

CHART OF DARKNESS: To nobody's great surprise Take That are number one - only their ninth from 18 singles, a number Westlife (we'll come back to them) would openly scoff at. 61K, it did, which is actually a slight disappointment given it had done 30K by close of play Tuesday. Speaking of sales, Emma Bunton ended up 57 behind Akon for third place. The frontloading of the pack means Girls Aloud and Razorlight re-enter the top ten while the Chili Peppers and The Feeling are willing more to urge on album sales with their lower top 20 entries, below Nelly Furtado's downloads and in the latter's case only one above the download entry of Booty Luv (it's a dance thing - and you thought that dance single sales had collapsed. Oh, no, we did, sorry) Lemar's at 21, Faithless even less inspired than usual (this features Harry Collier from Kubb, but even the album track featuring Cat Power is duff) at 26, Pink's power ballad at 27 and Chamillionaire sneaks in under the wire at 35. As we've mentioned before Weird Al Yankovic's White And Nerdy looks like getting a full release, because of course the kids will know exactly who he is. The horribly titled Lo-Rider Feat. Cumberbatch is at 44, the even sillier monickered Fish Go Deep Feat. Tracey K is a place below but on downloads, which has caught us by surprise. The Fratellis' download entry at 52 is only notable as it's three places below a top 100 re-entry for Chelsea Dagger. We call it Wake Up Boo Syndrome. Oh, and Katherine Jenkins has covered The Green Green Grass Of Home for a top 75 debut at 62. That'll be worthwhile.
Anyone who follows musical trends will know exactly why Westlife beat the field in the album chart battle, of course - they've not been a boy band for years now, selling covers to the James Blunt middle-aged mum market. This is even called The Love Album just to make sure, although surely they could all have been called that. Pitch them against two greatest hits compilations, one with no new material and one which has one new song but from a well anthologised band, and the Beatles' Love which is just a set of new mixes which is surely nobody's idea of a place to start their Beatles collections and it's not hard to deduce the reason. It seems to have been sold as the return to the studio of George Martin rather than a Cirque Du Soleil tie-in, which must be causing some anguish somewhere. 5.1 remastered albums cannot be far away. The top three sold an impressive total of more than 600,000 between them. Curiously, the Fron Male Voice Choir enter at 13. Usually pop-classical acts get no end of vibrant marketing but this is the first we've heard of them. Research tells us that there's going to be a film about them next year, which doesn't help this make any more sense. Track 1 is Sailing! Akon 22, Foo Fighters acoustic live 35, Jools Holland and his horn section 45, Tom Waits' three CD box of oddities (including a cover of Heigh Ho from Snow White And The Seven Dwarves) at 49, the Carpenters' Ultimate Collection at 54 which you'd hope it is as this is their ninth hits compilation and, just to prove that not all publicity is positive publicity, Matt Willis at 66.

FREE MUSIC: While Jenny Lewis scratches her country itch her Rilo Kiley foil Blake Sennett is fronting his own band The Elected. There's an air of 60s California and maybe a twinge of 70s AOR about Not Going Home, from this year's Sun Sun Sun, but the crucial factors that make it still stand out are a) nobody in the band has ever heard of Sean Rowley and b) it's just gloriously melodically dark undercurrent-sunny.

HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: More Swedish gentle goodness in the shape of the DIY home recording approach of Jonkoping's Emil Svanängen, AKA Loney, Dear. Some have compared him to Jose Gonzalez but there's far more going on here, more akin to a warmer Bright Eyes or a stripped down Sondre Lerche, with whom he shares a fragile poetry couched in broken English. The City The Airport, the first track here, even sounds promisingly reminiscent of Broken Social Scene. There's a buzz afoot and his next album has been licensed to Sub Pop in the States, which could just be the hipster breakthrough this sort of thing sounds tailor made for.

VISUAL REPRESENTATION: Thirty years ago this month the Sex Pistols set off on the abortive Anarchy tour. But let's not do them, as support act Buzzcocks are far more interesting and it's nearly the thirtieth anniversary of Spiral Scratch, which was led not by Boredom as everyone thinks but Breakdown. Howard Devoto promptly sensed punk's co-option and left to form the ace Magazine, who got onto Top Of The Pops with Shot By Both Sides - nice casual stance there, Kid Jensen - and onto film through The Light Pours Out Of Me. Nothing left for Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, then, other to make screeds of classic, energetic punk-pop for many an American to get wrong in future years. Bow before your gods, and your low video production costs: What Do I Get, Promises, a live Ever Fallen In Love, Love You More on Peter Cook-helmed ATV sore thumb Revolver and a TOTP Harmony In My Head. Then they split, partly so Pete Shelley could go all early electro on the likes of Homosapien, and reformed on a very regular basis to play Orgasm Addict at festivals and show off Pete's latest unwise hair decision.

FALLING OFF A BLOG: We've linked on the Weekly Sweep to mp3s on Bows + Arrows a couple of times but we do recommend this just turned one year old blog in general. Pavement, M Ward covering Joanna Newsom, Damien Jurado, a competition asking what the Walkmen should cover next, judgement on whether you can sing Monster Mash over the melody of Pull Shapes... there's no real shape to it, but that's something we've always believed makes a good music blog.
Given we've been listening to it regularly we should also get round to tipping the hat to Cross The Pond podcast. They've just made it to show 18, the first seventeen including genuinely interesting chats and often exclusive musical content by and with the Pipettes, Jeremy Warmsley, Emmy The Great, Victorian English Gentlemens Club and the promise in show 19 of Fyfe Dangerfield. Amazingly they've also talked to people we haven't Friendly Chatted with, including Goodbooks (we did put a request in for them, but that's another story), Toby L of Transgressive (and him), Darren Hayman, Absentee, Battle, the Noisettes, Fear Of Flying and the Mules.

EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: Is this all a NME Cool List top placing earns you these days?

IN OTHER NEWS: To counteract the idea that Afroman is releasing a festive LP in the States, a couple more indie labels releasing Christmas albums of new material to add to the roster: Cherryade Records release A Very Cherry Christmas Volume 2 this week, featuring Dawn Of The Replicants' cover of Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time plus The Bobby McGees, ex-Hefnerite Jack Hayter, Beatnik Filmstars, Steveless, Applicants and 16 others. Meanwhile The Best KIDS Christmas Album in the World Ever Ever Ever!!!, released on 11th December, isn't actually a kids' album, although proceeds do go to NSPCC, but a compilation from the Kids label (Wombats, Paul Hartnoll, early iLiKETRAiNS) including said Wombats plus Popular Workshop, Oppenheimer, the Young Playthings, It Hugs Back and sundry unsigned talent.

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