U.K. pop duo Ting Tings building buzz in America

Sun Jun 8, 2008 5:50pm EDT

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LONDON (Billboard) - U.K. indie-rock duo the Ting Tings topped the U.K. charts in May with both the supremely catchy single "That's Not My Name" and their debut album -- and are now taking on America.

Singer/guitarist Katie White and drummer Jules de Martino performed on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Friday, and promptly launched a 10-date mini tour. Their June 13 stop at Los Angeles' Troubadour quickly sold out.

Their album, "We Started Nothing," was released June 3 in the United States via Columbia, which initially shipped 65,000 units. A May 20 digital release -- alongside a vinyl version through indie retailers -- has shifted 9,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The buzz has been helped by an iPod commercial featuring the song "Shut Up and Let Me Go," and an energetic performance at the South By Southwest music festival in Texas last March.

The video for "Shut Up and Let Me Go" will have its world premiere June 13 on MTV. The song climbed to No. 55 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart last month.

De Martino says the Ting Tings emerged "accidentally" from failed band Dear Eskimo, which was dropped from Mercury U.K. before it released an album.

That experience left them "distraught," he says, but the duo's response was to throw live music parties at the artists' community where it is based in Manchester.

"We're just very lucky we met each other and got through that really awful period in our last band," de Martino says.

After European festivals including Glastonbury, the Ting Tings return stateside for Lollapalooza in July and then another tour in the fall.

The U.K. chart-topper "That's Not My Name" will be the next single stateside. Both "Shut Up and Let Me Go" and "That's Not My Name" have been placed on the hit CW drama "Gossip Girl."

Reuters/Billboard

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