Breaking & Entering: A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: The Zutons.

Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering Billboard's charts.

Though its eruption onto the U.S. Billboard charts was some months in the making, the Zutons' debut effort has been anything but dormant.

The April international release overseas of "Who Killed... The Zutons?" (Deltasonic/Epic) spurred the Liverpool band into the spotlight with a nomination for the 2004 Nationwide Mercury Music Prize. While Scottish act Franz Ferdinand took home the honor in September, the Zutons will get another chance to win in the British breakthrough act category during the Feb. 9 Brit Awards in London.

The apocalyptic cover of meteorites and screaming onlookers suggests a musical shake-up and the album, recorded in 2003 at London's RAK Studios, delivers. In a Billboard magazine review, Michael Paoletta wrote "the album is a mish-mash of sounds; its kictchy musical landscape ranges from funk, jazz and blues to ska, rock and soul. Singer Dave McCabe knows how to tell a tale, and his bandmates -- guitarist Boyan Chowdhury, bassist Russell Pritchard, drummer Sean Payne and saxophonist Abi Harding -- deftly back him up."

In the United States, the album lands at No. 34 this week as the Hot Shot Debut on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. Since its Oct. 19 release, the group has kept busy, including making a November stop on NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." The album's first single, "Pressure Point," is the featured song in TV commercials for Levi's 505 jeans. With the recent exposure, "Who Killed... The Zutons?" saw sales spikes in four of the last five weeks.

With a stateside run kicking off Jan. 24 in Dallas, the group will add Keane to a list of touring buddies that already includes the Thrills and Gomez. In February, the Zutons will headline four dates on the West Coast in the midst of the run with Keane. A headlining March U.K. swing is also on the books.

Nine live tracks by the Zutons can be found exclusively on iTunes with "KCRW.com Presents the Zutons Live" and look for the group in February on CBS's "Late Late Show."

Links:
Artist: www.thezutonsusa.com
Labels: www.deltasonic.co.uk and www.epicrecords.com