Christmas number one week, of course, and as good as most of the recipients of such attention are there's a certain uncomfortableness round here with all the campaigns going on. If it's not the received wisdom that X Factor winners are never seen again after a couple of weeks on top of the chart - this two weeks after Leona Lewis and Shayne Ward were numbers 1 and 2 respectively on the album chart - it's the belief that the only way to overcome a one-off event is a one-off novelty campaign-driven viral event creating their own one hit wonder manque. That's not to denigrate anyone involved, especially not Malcolm Middleton, who appears amusingly pissed off that We're All Going To Die has been taken up as this year's big post-ironic dark horse (Malcolm Middleton, subject of an amusing Radio 1 daytime campaign - who'd have thought?) Probably not as wryly annoyed as Aidan Moffatt is with it, in truth. And especially not the mighty Lucky Soul, although nobody appears to have run with last.fm's 40p download Christmas Chart Attack campaign for Lips Are Unhappy, which you should know well enough about given how long we've been banging on about it and them. Somewhere in the background are much loved by certain factions Aldershot post-grunge trio Reuben, who've pitched their tent in with download-only Christmas Is Awesome. There's a Nativity-themed B-side to the new single by Kat Flint, who we covered on STN more than a year ago and then neglected for quite a while through every fault of our own. Our bad - Go Faster Stripes effortlessly laps much of the folk-pop female singer-songwriter brigade, a warm-voiced, intelligently thought out lament like KT Tunstall had she been more in tune with the Fence Collective. And better.
Special editions and cash-in compilations are by and large the order of the day this close to Christmas, but The Manhattan Love Suicides, who are neither, are sneaking in there with their self titled debut's first proper UK release. Like the Jesus & Mary Chain meets the Shop Assistants, some will call a trashier, more drone-C86 Raveonettes without Sune's vocals, or draw parallels with early Lush, but this is no bad thing at all, especially when it's this self-assured. Elsewhere, the Pop Art label is putting out a charity download-only covers album, Covered At Christmas. Download? See the Radiohead model for pricing details. Those involved include Fruitbat out of Carter USM, MJ Hibbett & the Validators, Monica Queen, Paul Hawkins & Thee Awkward Silences, Pocketbooks, Mr Solo (The Vessel from David Devant & His Spirit Wife) and Subliminal Girls, and just to set the scope out those covered include Lucky Soul (Queen is doing Lips Are Unhappy), the Indelicates and Fanfarlo.
Who'd be mad enough to release something on Christmas Eve? Plangent folkie Mechanical Bride, apparently, who puts, of all things, a cover of Umbrella out on 500 7"s then. New Year's Eve ekes out long after the album event singles from the White Stripes, Conquest on three 7"s, and Bjork, Declare Independence on two 12"s. One album of note out on the same date, but you've got it already. And that's it from this section - from January the wedon'twanttothinkaboutitjustyetth it gets shortened subsumed into the rejigged Weekender. Even we can only put a finite amount of effort in.