Thursday, 16 November 2017

Orelsan: Tout va bien

A new video for the track Tout va bien by Orelsan, from his recently released La fête est finie, a
collection that looks like being one of 2017's key releases.

The track was co-produced with Stromae, the video reflecting perhaps a more thoughtful and reflective tone. Stromae, one of the biggest names in francophone rap, has been quiet recently due to health issues, but his presence is on both this track and on the track La pluie.

La fête est finie is Orelsan's third solo album. He resumed his career as a solo artist after working again as half of Casseurs Flowters. The track Basic introduced the album in some style, its video like the one for Tout va bien shot in Ukraine.

The new album has been the biggest selling release of his career so far. Basic has had over 30 million views on YouTube so far. While Tout va bien might have some work to catch up on this total, it's certainly an impressive piece of work in its own right.

Orelsan has got dates in arenas around France and bordering countries from February, and has a gig at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris on March 15


Hollydays: Léo

A very psychedelic flavoured video by the duo Hollydays for the track Léo.

Hollydays, a duo of Elise Preys and Sébastien Delage, recently signed to Polydor in France, are a duo who have been working together since 2014.

They released an EP in 2015, Les insatisfaits, a classy five track affair that followed Les Animaux the previous year.

I featured them in this blog in 2015, and it's encouraging to see their talent being recognised. They've got the potential to make a considerable commercial impact, and to hopefully continue to do some interesting things.

Hollydays release a four-track EP in January.


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Moodoïd: Reptile

With my focus being elsewhere last month I missed mentioning the new track by Moodoïd, one of
this blog's favourite acts to emerge in France over the past few years.

Moodoïd, featuring Melody's Echo Chamber guitarist Pablo Padovani, made an impact with their Je suis le montagne and De folie pure singles, their reputation cemented by their Le monde Möö album in 2014.

They're also a convincing live act, I was delighted to have the opportunity see them at the Transmusicales festival in Rennes.

Reptile continues the funk flavoured strangeness mission made explicit with their Au Pays des Merveilles de Juliet cover released earlier this year.

The new track is something that wouldn't be out of place on Prince's Around the world in a day album.

Moodoïd play in Paris at the Inrocks festival at La Gaîté Lyrique on November 25.




Nolwenn Leroy: Quelque chose de Tennessee

Ahead of the release later this week of a various artists tribute album to French rock legend Johnny Hallyday, a clip of Nolwenn Leroy performing her version of the Hallyday classic Quelque chose de Tennessee has emerged.

It's more or less the title track of the collection, named On a tous quelque chose de Johnny, which features contributions from a cross-generational collection of artists including Thomas Dutronc, Florent Pagny, Benjamin Biolay, Calogero and Patrick Bruel.

Some of Johnny's best known works feature, including Noir c'est noir, Ma gueule, Marie and Que je t'aime.

This kind of album has been a fairly constant feature of the release schedule in the run up to the Christmas season, with collections in recent years featuring work originally by Telephone, Daniel Balavoine, Jacno and - probably the most commercially successful - Jean-Jacques Goldman.

Some have been better than others, most stick to a pretty successful commercial format - get some young reality TV stars to perform a song by an act from a previous generation - and it's an item for fans of the young acts or for fans of the older act curious to hear the new versions.

Leroy's no stranger to the works by the Grand Fromage of French rock, and has performed alongside him repeatedly over the years. She appeared with Johnny during the 2002 season of Star Academy she later went on to win, and has since  featured on other TV shows alongside Johnny.

With a cast featuring some of France's big name recent pop stars and a heritage,  reputation and fan following as large as Johnny's, the only surprise is that this hasn't been released already.


Monday, 13 November 2017

MTV EMAs

London hosted this year's edition of the MTV European Music Awards at the weekend, one of the biggest budget music award ceremonies on the continent.

The focus, being MTV, was firmly on the north American and UK music world, with three awards going to Canada's Shawn Mendes - Best Artist, Best Song and Best Fans. Kendrick Lamar  took best video award for Humble, and Dua Lipa the best breakthrough act.

Coldplay, 30 Seconds to Mars and Eminen picked up the best rock act, best alternative and best rap act awards.

However, the Best Electro award went to France's David Guetta, who performed a set in London's Trafalgar Square after U2, recipients of this year's  MTV EMA Global Icon Award,  played there.


Elsewhere the Best French Act award went to Amir, who picked up the award for the second year in a row.

French-born Amir originally competed in the Israeli version of the TV show Pop Idol in 2006, before eventually signing to a French label. He competed in The Voice: la plus belle voix in 2014/15, finishing third.

He went on to represent France in Eurovision in 2016, releasing his second album Au cœur de moi, a double platinum seller in France. This year his single États d'Amour was released in September, his new album Addictions released at the end of October.


Bataclan anniversary

It's two years on since the Bataclan atrocity, and while coverage of the event moves quietly from music sites to a few paragraphs on news sites alongside a picture of the president as just another routine ceremonial political event, it's worth reflecting for a second on what happened.

Ninety people died at the Bataclan, in a night that saw a total of 130 people killed. It was the worst terrorist attack ever on French soil, and anyone who ever read a music blog, went to a gig or was moved by music could have been in that audience.

That it was the Eagles of Death Metal mattered not at all.  Those behind the atrocity did not discriminated on musical genre, style or artistic merit. Nor did they discriminate on ethnicity, race, country or ideology.

There remains a debate as to whether or not it's appropriate for bands to have played the Bataclan  following what happened. Personally, I think to have closed the venue would have seemed a victory to those who perpetrated the violence.

It's not dancing on the graves of those who died. No one could attend the Bataclan unaware of what happened there. And to go the Bataclan, to celebrate live music, art and culture, to dance, to be happy and free however briefly from the worries of everyday life remains a pretty positive act of defiance against those who would rather see us dead.


Thursday, 9 November 2017

Rone: Mirapolis

A new album by French electronic artist Rone is something worth celebrating. Mirapolis comes three
years after his Creatures album, a favourite of this blog.

Mirapolis features contributions by a wide variety of artists including Baxter Dury, John Stanier from Battles,  Kazu Makino from Blonde Redhead and Bryce Desser from The National who appeared on Creatures.  Cellist Gaspar Claus makes a repeat appearance. The cover was designed by French film director Michel Gondry.

 Creatures was, to these ears, a work that took contemporary French electronic music to another level, and Mirapolis looks set to do much the same. It's a work that reveals more depth and colour with repeated listening. Expect to see it on a few 'album of the year' lists over the next few months.

Rone played at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris, where he played at the Grande Halle de La Villette last week. His set's available to watch thanks to the good people at Culturebox.

Rone plays in London at the Steelground on Saturday.