Here’s a digest of the album released in January 2018:
Sunderland’s Field Music produce angular, prog-inflected pop music with strong melodies. Never predictable and drawing on influences from principally XTC, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads and Steely Dan their latest album Open Here should win them new fans.
The second album since his comeback (one that began in 2015 with the Big Narstie-abetted UK garage track When the Bassline Drops and peaked with his chart-topping 2016 album Following My Intuition) by no means disappoints on the cringe front.
Their third album is as eclectic as ever, a winning meld of sunny harmonies, pulsing Krautrock rhythms and psychedelia-tinged vocals, all refracted through the prism of dance music dynamics. But this time there’s a welcome economy to the songwriting and nothing outstays its welcome.
It all begins unexpectedly – with a wordless chorale “ooh”-ing prettily. For his seventh studio album, German post-classical composer Nils Frahm has expanded his previous core solo piano brief – a brief that was, admittedly, always highly individual.
Premiered live in 2015, Landfall is Laurie Anderson’s electro-acoustic song cycle on Hurricane Sandy, the October 2012 storm that devastated huge parts of North America – including Anderson’s New York apartment. As she narrates her nightmare, the arrangements of David Harrington’s Kronos Quartet tell the story sonically.
Marmozets second album is the work of a band who’ve suddenly had time to think about the world and their place in it.
There are still plenty of their trademark screams, distorted guitars and blast beats, which enthusiastically nip at pop like a pack of pesky Jack Russells. However, the rapidly maturing band are also dabbling with rave-type breakdowns, euphoric pop rushes, and even – in Me and You – a (gulp) tender ballad about dreams of a better world.
On their fourth effort, First Aid Kit sound more hurt than ever, if just as mellifluous. Johanna and Klara Söderberg wrote the album when the latter was reeling from a break-up, trying to achieve resolution through the band’s signature balm.
Tune-Yards’ drew freely from global styles across three alt-pop albums, are too curious an artist to accept a free pass, and wrestles thorny issues of race, privilege and platform on their fourth. “I use my white woman’s voice to tell stories of travels with African men,” she sings on the crunching, pulsing Colonizer, “I smell the blood in my voice.”
Born in the Essex badlands from a motley background that includes dubstep and hard rock, Stick in the Wheel conform to none of the lazy stereotypes that surround folk music. Their 2015 debut, From Here, arrived like a punk manifesto; urgent, abrasive, with no contrived antique accents, jangling guitars or prettification of the hallowed tradition. This follow-up maintains their fierceness while broadening their sonic palette and embracing a more diverse approach in its 50/50 mix of standards and originals.
Many a band has stumbled trying to take a cult following with them into the uber-mainstream. However, since re-forming in 2013, Fall Out Boy have edged further away from their emo/pop-punk roots while continuing to top the US charts.
Reworking of the fifth studio album Heartworms. The running order is reversed, and every song is in a different style to the original. By and large, the top-line melody remains intact, but everything else – instrumentation, tempo – is altered. It’s neither better nor worse than Heartworms – which itself was very much a mixed bag – but the pleasures come in different places.
Brighton’s Go! Team, a shape-shifting beast ever since 2004 debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike– a punked-up hybrid of Saint Etienne’s indie dance and the Avalanches’ hip-hop sampledelia – listed in the direction of wistful indie on 2015’s The Scene Between. But 2018, sonic architect Ian Parton decided, needed a Berocca-style boost, a psychedelic marching band to blast away global gloom.
This Americana artist of dual Mexican/US heritage is saying something quite specific on songs like the moving elegy for America, Twins, abetted throughout by an eloquent rock band and a post-War on Drugs spaciousness: that the many cultures making up the US will not be intimidated, and guys like him aren’t going anywhere.
BRMC mapped out their territory on their 2001 debut – essentially, dark and scuzzy black-clad rock – and have barely moved from it since. Their eighth album is another solid affair, from the Mary Chain menace of Spook to the slow-building guitar wig-out of standout Ninth Configuration, not to mention the unexpected Shaun Ryder vocal stylings on the queasily lurching, fairground-evoking Circus Bazooko.
The most significant musical anniversaries of 2018 are all centenaries – of the births of Leonard Bernstein and Bernd Alois Zimmermann, and of the death of Claude Debussy, and it’s the last of those, which falls in March, that is attracting the attention of record companies. Warner Classics has got in early with its 33-disc set that aims to include everything Debussy wrote, from his earliest songs of 1879-80 to the three sonatas composed during the first world war, as well as his own transcriptions, and arrangements of his music made by others during his lifetime.
The British multi-instrumentalist Tony Woods has made only four albums in 20 years with his folk jazz Project band, but they all fuse the communality of song with an upbeat, jazzy urgency. Woods’s folk roots are immediately declared in the skipping, pitch-sliding soprano sax melody of Queen Takes Knight, but the jazz connections are also plain in Rob Millett’s glowing, Gary Burton-esque vibraphone sound, and in Outram’s restrained, sporadically wailing chord work.by
News has reached of The Inkwell in York is moving out of its premises but will continue to trade online in order to specialise further:
After the best part of 7 years, at the end of January we will be closing the doors of 10 Gillygate.
Inkwell Records will continue online, and – as a physical entity – we look forward to being a more flexible, moving feast, doing stalls, events, and anything else we feel like under the Inkwell banner. The decision to leave 10 Gillygate has not been easy, and the factors determining the decision are a mixture of personal and business, as is the way of all things with a small independent shop. Regulars will know that over the past couple of years our vinyl stock has become increasingly specialised. We’re better at what we do than ever, but what we do is narrower than it once was – and, truthfully, we would like to specialise further still. Words cannot express what 10 Gillygate means to us, but the natural development of the shop has got us to a point where an online based model makes more sense. Additionally, it is simply time for me and my family – my wife Rebecca and our two children – to move on to the next chapter in our lives. Opening 10 Gillygate was a decision Rebecca and I took together. Her support for the shop has never wavered. We are genuinely excited about what comes next.
More details here: http://inkwellyork.tumblr.com/post/169475465597/one-for-the-road
In a shock announcement, staff at the much loved Head Records in Leamington Spa announced that on its Facebook page that it was closing down for good – https://www.facebook.com/HEADLeamingtonSpa/
Welcome to the saddest selfie we have ever posted. I am very, very sorry to tell you that today we closed the shutters for good.
Thank you all for your loyalty and friendship. It was a genuine honour and our daily pleasure to provide you with the experience we did. We all loved every minute of it. Of course it’s overwhelmingly sad that this has happened, that we have lost our sanctuary, our little family and our jobs. But we fought mightily to the end and we did it with pride and, as always, a smile on our faces.
There’s no easy way to say goodbye. It’s a huge shock for all of us. Please, please continue to support independent shops and help to limit the number of people who have to go through what we just did.
Thank you, we love you. Rock on Tommy.
Over and out.
Most customers were very surprised by the announcement. The store always appeared to be a vibrant standard bearer for independent music retailers with a great range of products. The store celebrated 10 years in business only last year and things had looked rosy with wonderful in-store performances by Lucy Rose and Joe Dolman, plus new racks of vinyl records and record players. Leamington Spa is a wealthy town in Warwickshire with a busy shopping centre.
Let’s hope this is an exception and doesn’t indicate a slow down in the recent growth of physical record shop.by
It’s the time of year that retail workers dread. The pressure is on to make people feel ‘Christmassy’ (suggestable?) and that means shops, restaurants and bars are piping in a continuous loop of the most familiar and famous festive tunes.
Film director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver, Scott Pilgim etc) recently asked the question of his Twitter followers:
Question to people working in retail at this time of year: What Christmas song do you not mind hearing 100 times and which Christmas song sends you plunging into a psychotic abyss?
Question to people working in retail at this time of year: What Christmas song do you not mind hearing 100 times and which Christmas song sends you plunging into a psychotic abyss?
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) November 26, 2017
There was a pretty brutal reaction:
Christmas Wrapping is hands down the worst Christmas song I’ve ever heard. It is ear rippingly irritating and I wish it didn’t exist.
The one I hate the most is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas”, but put on anything by Burle Ives and I’m one happy camper
Santa Baby makes me want to hit things.
Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, i could listen to all day. Wonderful Christmas Time by McCartney is the worst, though I’m also sick of hearing War Is Over by Lennon too. And I love the Beatles!
Place I was working started playing White Winter Hymnal by the Fleet Foxes which I adore, so that was fantastic. Wonderful Christmastime by McCartney feels like it’s been on my entire life whenever it plays, the absolute abyss.
I always have time for Stop The Cavalry, but I want Mariah Carey dead
Don’t mind – Greg Lake l Believe in Fathe Christmas Into the abyss – Jona Lewie Stop the Cavalry
When I worked in retail, I could have listened to Bing & Bowie’s Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth on a continuous loop. Lonely This Christmas by Mud got harder to take after the first few plays.
There is some great Christmas music out there. Individual tracks such as “The Fairy Tale of New York” by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, “I believe in Father Christmas” by Greg Lake and “2000 Miles” by The Pretenders still bear up after all this time. The Phil Spector Christmas Album – “A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector” – is a stone cold classic of musical production, instantly recognisable and ambitious in scope. I must also admit to a bit of soft spot for Nobel Prize for literature winning Bob Dylan’s “Must be Santa”.
There are definitely some lesser known artists, or famous artists with lesser known festive music that are worth tracking down. Here is list of some albums and EPs that you might not have heard yet but could grow to love:
Cara Dillon – Upon a winter’s Night – beautifully sung by Cara and beautifully produced by husband Sam Lakeman this combines magical folky versions traditional Christmas songs and lovely original songs – buy here: Cara Dillon official website
Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker – Midwinter – more traditional folky acoustic loveliness here https://josienneandben.bandcamp.com/album/midwinter
Sufjan Stevens – Songs for Christmas – Songs for Christmas is a box set of five separate EPs of Christmas-related songs and carols recorded by independent musician Sufjan Stevens between 2001 and 2006, includes traditional and original songs like “Get Behind Me, Santa!”, “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!” and “Did I Make You Cry on Christmas? (Well, You Deserved It!)”.
Weezer – Christmas with Weezer – A Christmas EP by American rock band Weezer giving traditional carols the full on geek guitar treatment.
Tracey Thorn – Tinsel and Lights – a Christmas album by British singer Tracey Thorn. The album was released on 29 October 2012.
Various – Gift Wrapped – 20 Songs That Keep on Giving! – compilation featuring the likes of Michael Buble, My Chemical Romance, REM.
Barenaked Ladies – Barenaked for the Holidays – A holiday-themed studio album released by Canadian band Barenaked Ladies on October 5, 2004. The album includes Christmas and Hanukkah songs as well as “Auld Lang Syne”.
The Killers – (Red) Christmas EP – The EP features the band’s yearly Christmas singles from 2006 to 2011.
She & Him – A Very She & Him Christmas – Actress and musician Zooey Deschanel and musician M. Ward get festive features several covers of classic holiday songs such as ‘Blue Christmas’ and ‘Sleigh Bells’.
Christmas on Death Row – compilation of rap and hip-hop artists on Death Row and Interscope records featuring Snoop Dogg, Danny Boy and 6 Feet Deep.
Kate Rusby – The Frost Is All Over – third Christmas album by English folk musician Kate Rusby featuring South Yorkshire-based material.
The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album – This contains five original songs and seven standards on a Christmas theme.
Jethro Tull – The Jethro Tull Christmas Album – A mix of new material, re-recordings of Tull’s own suitably themed material and arrangements of traditional Christmas music.
Saint Etienne – A Glimpse of Stocking – tongue firmly in cheek and featuring Euro-pop tunes with titles like ‘No Cure for the Common Christmas’ and ‘Unwrap Me’.
There are many individual songs you could track down like Tim Minchin’s ‘White wine in the sun’, Headless Heroes’, ‘The North wind blew south’.
and Laura Marling’s ‘Goodbye England (covered in the snow)’.
Also on my playlist is The Darkness’ Christmas Time (Don’t let the bells end) because it puts a smile on my face and pleased they got away with a near single entendre.
Have a great Christmas, Midwinter, Saturnalia, Solstice etc etc.by
Liam Gallagher’s new album As You Were has become the highest-selling vinyl record in 20 years.
The former Oasis frontman’s debut solo album sold 16,000 vinyl copies in its first week, which helped send it to number one.
As You Were sold a combined total of 103,000 records and was reportedly outselling the entirety of the top 20 album chart put together.
Older brother Noel has also made a return to the spotlight, announcing his third album with his High Flying Birds. Who Built The Moon? is due for release on 24 November, and will feature the single ‘Holy Mountain’.
The brothers still appear to be openly hostile to each other with frequent digs on social media. The most recent is Liam criticising Noel for singing the Oasis song Champagne Supernova at a High Flying Birds gig (Liam takes another swipe at Noel for singing Champagne Supernova).
“Just heard Dolly’s version of Champagne Supernova in Brazil. Somebody needs to have a word. It’s really upsetting,” Liam tweeted.
“My point is just because you wrote it doesn’t mean you should always sing it,” he went on to say, adding: “It’s really upsetting” and “I’m upset”.
As You Were sees Liam take on songwriting duties, with the help of Greg Kurstin, Andrew Wyatt and others. Back in the days of Oasis Noel Gallagher was the chief songwriter, with Liam not chipping in until their fourth studio album Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.
Noel wrote many classics like ‘Live Forever’, ‘Rock n Roll Star’, ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, ‘Champagne Supernova’, ‘Morning Glory’. But despite not having written those songs, Liam says that he’ll continue to sing Oasis favourites as he feels they’re as much his as they are Noel’s.
Noel, known as The Chief, made his comeback with ‘Holy Mountain’, a song totally different to anything he’s done in the past.
The Hyundai Mercury Prize 2017 is a strange beast. It turns the writing, recording and production of albums into a competition. Where it’s obvious when Mo Farah crosses a finish line ahead of his opponents, it’s almost impossible to say, in absolute terms, that one record is better than another.
The artists and music are often a mix of wildly different genres and levels of fame so this year sees obscure British Jazz quartet Dinosaur pitted against mega-selling, Glastonbury headlining singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
For those on the shortlist it’s great exposure, even for someone like Ed Sheeran. For record shops and the music industry it’s an opportunity to sell more product and get the public and the media talking about music in what is traditionally a quiet time of the year for the industry.
While there have been some strange decisions on winners in the past (M-People anyone?), the eventual winner gets a major boost and will be the topic of heated debate.
alt-j – Relaxer
alt-j are an English indie rock band formed in 2007 in Leeds, by Gwil Sainsbury, Joe Newman, Thom Sonny Green and Gus Unger-Hamilton. They have been described as Folktronica.
Blossoms – Blossoms
Blossoms are an English indie pop band from Stockport, Greater Manchester. Formed in 2013, the band consists of Tom Ogden, Charlie Salt, Josh Dewhurst, Joe Donovan and Myles Kellock.
Dinosaur – Together, As One
Dinosaur is one of the most vital and creative new ensembles in the UK today. Led by trumpeter & composer Laura Jurd, Dinosaur features keyboardist/inventor Elliot Galvin, the effortlessly rooted Conor Chaplin on electric bass and the forever creative Corrie Dick on drums.
Ed Sheeran – ÷
Ed Sheeran, MBE is an English singer-songwriter, guitarist and record producer. He was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and raised in Framlingham, Suffolk.
Glass Animals – How to Be a Human Being
Glass Animals are an English indie rock band from Oxford who are bigger in the US than the UK currently.
J Hus – Common Sense
A Hip Hop / Rap / Grime artist from London, real name Momodou Jallow.
Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
Kate Tempest is an English poet, spoken-word artist and playwright.
Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
Loyle Carner, is an English hip hop musician and actor. His sound has been described by NME as ‘sensitive and eloquent’ and by The Guardian as ‘confessional hip-hop’.
Sampha – Process
Sampha Sisay, who performs under the mononym Sampha, is a British singer, songwriter and record producer.
Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
Stormzy, is an English grime and hip hop artist.
The Big Moon – Love in the 4th Dimension
The Big Moon is a London four-piece indie-rock band formed in 2014 by Juliette Jackson.
The xx – ‘I See You’
The xx are an English indie band formed in 2005 in Wandsworth, London.
The 2017 Awards Show will take place on Thursday 14 September at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.
See the official website here: https://www.mercuryprize.comby
While recent deaths of other music legends have been more of a surprise, the death of Glen Campbell on 8th August 2017 and has deeply affected the whole music world. He had been struggling with Alzheimer’s disease for several years but kept touring and even producing one last studio album Adiós released in June.
He will always be most famous for hits such as Rhinestone Cowboy and Wichita Lineman with over 50 million in record sales, however he was also a gifted guitarist who played sessions with the Wrecking Crew, a collection of LA session musicians who played on hundreds of recordings for the era’s biggest names – Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector, Sam Cooke, Dean Martin, Simon and Garfunkel, Jan and Dean, the Beach Boys, the Monkees, and many others.
His guitar touched the landmark recordings of his time. He played on Sinatra’s Stranger in the Night, the famous ringing lead riff on I’m a Believer by the Monkees; Viva Las Vegas by Presley and on the Beach Boys’ landmark album Pet Sounds, Campbell’s guitar and vocals are heard throughout.Campbell even joined the Beach Boys for a five-month tour in 1964-65 where he replaced Wilson, playing his bass and singing his falsetto leads, after Wilson suffered a breakdown and refused to go on the road.
Glen Campbell collaboration with Jimmy Webb
While Campbell is seen as a country artist, it was his collaboration with songwriter Jimmy Webb that took his fame beyond the world of country music. Songs like Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Galveston, and Where’s the Playground Susie have a special place in people’s affections, with lush string arrangements and strong narratives that were more ambitious than the normal three minute pop song.
Campbell credited the fact that he and Webb grew up within 150 miles of each another as one of the reasons why they had similar sensibilities.
“That’s what we grew up with – the good songs, the good lyrics, the good big-band stuff. I miss that era.” In 2005 he said Webb’s “melodies and chord progressions were as good as anything I’d ever heard”.
Campbell racked up 48 country hits and 34 pop hits between 1967 and 1980. Like Johnny Cash, Campbell hosted a popular television show that defined genres in the artists it showcased.
When disco dominated the pop charts, he showed an uncanny ability to adapt by releasing Southern Nights, the Allen Toussaint song redone with a stomping dance beat, and Rhinestone Cowboy, which became ubiquitous at dance clubs and roller rinks across middle America.
Once the hits dried up, Campbell struggled with alcoholism and turbulent marriage battles. He also became a born-again Christian and recorded religious albums while never cutting back on touring.
By the late 1990s, he discovered a new generation of younger artists were citing him as an influence – partly due to a massive reissue campaign by EMI/Capital, but also to a new wave of interest in Americana music spurred on by artists such as Dwight Yoakam, Freedy Johnston, Michelle Shocked, and REM, who all happened to cover Wichita Lineman.
He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2010, but kept releasing albums and touring until the end, even though he struggled with remembering lyrics at times.by
The vinyl revival continues with Sony making vinyl records again. The company has now announced that, in response to rocketing vinyl sales in the past few years, it will again be producing records, with the first batch scheduled to be made in a factory in Tokyo.
It’s not been disclosed which artists will be first selected production will be start in March 2018.
Sony’s original decision to cease making vinyl probably made sense back in 1989. Many customers were moving away from bulky records, and towards smaller, more easy to transport formats such as the CD and cassettes in Walkmans.
As the technology developed with the advent of MP3 players and, shortly after, streaming, vinyl sales plummeted as the format was seen as
Not many predicted vinyl’s enduring retro appeal and resurgence, especially among Millennial “hipsters” and music fans.
Trend mirrored in Europe
The trend has been mirrored In Europe, where most vinyl for major and independent labels is pressed by just two plants, GZ media based in the Czech Republic, and Record Industry in the Netherlands. However, their combined capacity of more than 100,000 records per day is not enough to keep up with global demand.
Mark Mulligan, a music industry analyst, is not surprised by Sony’s move. “There’s no doubt vinyl is a market that will keep growing – even now globally there’s not enough capacity for making vinyl to meet the demand,” he said. “As a result the pressing plants can charge the labels a really high premium. So there may well be a profit incentive for more labels to reopen their own plants.”
However, Mulligan said the move would “require a lot of investment, not just in materials but also in expertise, training people up”.
“At the moment, consumers are willing to pay a high premium for vinyl – people will happily pay £40 for a limited edition record – and so labels are still making a wide profit margin. But if demand continues to rise, I can see labels wanting to take control of their own destiny when it comes to producing vinyl, so this may be repeated by others in the future. It’s all tied in to supply and demand.”
“A lot of young people buy songs that they hear and love on streaming services,” said Michinori Mizuno, chief executive of Sony Music Japan.
Sony vinyl plant limited to Japan
The decision by Sony to invest in its own vinyl-pressing plant is currently limited to Japan. The records released will primarily be older Japanese reissues, and some new albums, and the records will mainly be sold in that country.
The surge in demand for vinyl in the UK and Europe, propelled by events such as Record Store Day, has put enormous pressure on few remaining pressing plants. If sales continue to climb – 3.2m vinyl records were sold in the UK in 2016, up 53% on the year before – Sony may not be the only label wanting its own manufacturing plants, as was common practice in the 1970s and 1980s.
Excitement is building as Record Store Day is now only a few days away on Saturday 22 April 2017.
Record Store Day is the one day of the year when over 200 independent record shops all across the UK come together to celebrate their unique culture.
Special vinyl releases are made exclusively for the day and many shops and cities host artist performances and events to mark the occasion. Thousands more shops celebrate the day around the globe in what’s become one of the biggest annual events on the music calendar.
While it is one day of the year, it celebrates a sector of the music industry that is showing signs of thriving in the climate of competition from streaming and people ripping and digitising music illegally for download. At All Good Record Shops we have seen the number of independent record shops grow in the last two years and we have nearly 400 featured record shops in the UK.
As an example of what is available, music legend Elton John is making a live album from 1970 available exclusively for Record Store Day 2017. In November 1970, Elton John performed an intimate concert at A&R Studios in New York, recorded for WABC FM. In front of 125 people, Elton played in his then three- piece line up of himself, Dee Murray on bass and Nigel Olsson on drums. Intended for broadcast only, its pristine quality – engineered by the legendary Phil Ramone (the ‘R’ in A&R Studios) – meant that the recording of the performance became a fast- selling bootleg. Sales were so great that it had to be rush-released as 17.11.70 on DJM Records in April 1971, capturing six of the concert’s tracks on a single album. Elton John is a lover of record stores and a big supporter of record store day.
‘Happy 10th birthday to Record Store Day. I love record stores, I can go to the record store in Vegas and spend 3 hours in there. Just the smell of it, the looking at it, the wonder of it, the memories. I love vinyl so much; the tactile nature, the ritual of it, looking at the sleeve…especially with the old albums and the liner notes – who played on them, the process of putting it on, the needle going on and the sound coming out. And it DOES sound better, I know it does! It’s just the wonder of having vinyl’. Elton John
Find participating stores here: http://recordstoreday.co.uk/participating-stores/
Get the latest news on Record Store Day 2017 on the official website: http://recordstoreday.co.uk/by
Ed Sheeran’s new album, ‘Divide’, is dominating the UK album and singles charts with massive physical sales but also big numbers for streaming.
All of Divide’s 16 tracks are featured in the Official Top 20 of the singles chart. The entire top 10 (except, randomly, number 7) are from the album.
All three of Sheeran’s albums feature in the Top 5 of the album chart.
“Wow, what a phenomenal week,” Ed told Official Charts when confronted with the news.
“To every person who’s bought the album – thank you,” he added.
The album, ‘Divide’ shifted a staggering 672,000copies in its first week to bow at the summit of the survey, has clocked up another 158,000 sales across all formats at the midweek stage, according to the Official Charts Company.
Fastest selling vinyl album for 20 years
It’s not just steaming and CDs where Ed Sheeran dominates. The Vinyl Factory reported that Divide is the fastest selling vinyl album for 20 years. According to data shared by the Official Charts Company, Sheeran shifted 672,000 physical copies in the first week, 13,500 of which were vinyl.
In doing so, the record overtook first week sales figures from the likes of David Bowie (who sold more than any other artist in the 12 months to April 2016) and vinyl chart regulars Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys and Noel Gallagher.
This is despite a fairly mixed critical reception:
“Ed Sheeran sells trite innocence by the pound. He uses bland wisdom and unimaginative music to ponder the basic good and bad in people around him, without once looking inward.” Laura Snapes – Pitchfork
“Ed Sheeran: ÷ review – every bloke charm fails to mask Divide’s calculating soul “ Harriet Gibsone – The Guardian
However his fans are ignoring the inevitable backlash and are loyally buying the record and booking tickets to see him on tour.
How streaming has changed the chart
In 2014, the Official Charts Company (OCC) finally acknowledged the importance of streaming, including it in its rankings for the first time.
Back then, it had a conversion rate of 100 streams equalling one sale or download.
This, they thought, would fairly represent the success of a track, balancing consumption (number of times a song is streamed) with purchase (number of times a song is sold).
But it still valued repetition, leaving many wondering if this could become a barrier to new artist trying to break in.by