The Thrifty Ear wants to thank all you Little Stevie Hawkings out there who dutifully reminded him he hasn't been deducting sales tax on all of the items he purchased last month, leaving him with a deficit this week of about, oh, 10 dollars. Bah! After serving you with a silent but rude Italian hand and eye curse, El Cheapo will just hang out on MySpace.com and slake his curiosity for new music there, with all the free downloads available. And here are this week's findings, in descending order of MySpace popularity.
Fiona Apple has 23,983 friends.
Her "friends" went on a letter-writing rampage to the president of Sony/Epic until the label, which sat on the album she delivered more than two years ago, set an October release date. Judging by the low-Fiona track previewed here, maybe Epic thought, "What do we need with another pale white chick? We've got Michael Jackson."
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The Click Five has 10,199 friends.
The band's first album entered Billboard's Top 200 at No. 15, the highest debut by any new band this year. If you've orbited the sun a whole buncha times, you won't find anything too new in this "new school power pop," but I heart these guys 'cause they're the opening act on the Backstreet Boys' (please stifle the laughter) "comeback" tour. Poor Backstreets, only 42 friends on their MySpace page (41 if you don't count that Tom guy). And their new album has an unfortunate title, Never Gone, copies of which are never gone at a record store near you. Har! The Thrifty Ear laughed himself moist that time.
Sleater-Kinney has 5,168 friends.
When your band name gets dropped as a "hip" reference on Six Feet Under, it's not exactly a "jump the shark" moment, but Magnet subscribers have dropped bands for lesser indie infractions. Since you can download "Entertain," the group's most commercially viable single yet, for free off their official Web site, they retain a significant chunk of cred for me. Unless they blow it and appear on E!.
The Spores have 2,806 friends . . .
. . . and a notable downloadable song, "Don't Kill Yourself," that actually tells you to do it! Know who might really kill themselves after reading this next one . . .
The B-52's have 34 friends.
Fewer than the Backstreets, fewer than A Flock of Seagulls, even fewer than the Spores, who are one of B-52's 34 pals! For the love of TRL, these guys put Athens, Georgia, on the map a quarter of a century ago. Uhh, guess I answered my own question there, kids!