Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Missing Season - Mall Rats

Always a pleasure to be introduced to something new thanks to this blog, so a follow on Twitter led to me stumbling across The Missing Season.

I'm guessing from their new video they were sprawled across some seats in a shopping mall fast food joint at the time.

The Rennes-based five piece's track really should have been a massive hit in the 90s for some long-forgotten American act, but in the light of the 21st century it sounds like a memory of more innocent and carefree times. Like a message in a bottle that could have been at sea since yesterday, last night, or 20 years ago.

They sound soaked through with decades worth of melodic indie rock, whether 60s west coast or 90s Teenage Fanclub, but don't take their influences too seriously.

I known I'm digressing, but I love the bit in the video where the guitar solo is covered by shots of the band eating burgers. They properly captured the similarities between vintage guitar hero facial gurning and lunchtime snacking.

The Missing Season release their sixth album, entitled Frequency, on April 27 on Howlin' Banana Records in collaboration with Les Disques Normal, a Rennes based label who have been friends of this blog for quite a few years.

They've got live dates ahead in May, with a show in Rennes on May 3, at the Olympic Café in Paris on May 4 and in Nantes on May 5.


Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Charlotte Gainsbourg: BBC Radio 6 Music live session

Charlotte Gainsbourg was in London at the end of March for a live show at the Village Underground, a rare UK show in support of last year's Rest album, an outstanding release that was a highlight of 2017 and rightly saw her pick up a Victoires de la Musique award for best female artist.

Her show in London saw a five star review on the Independent website and for the Guardian newspaper, praise indeed from the UK media.

While she was in London she made her debut for radio station BBC 6 Music's Live Room for a session.

She spoke to Lauren Laverne and performed a couple of tracks.

Charlotte is still touring, with a series of dates in Japan, followed by some festival shows including Les Printemps de Bourges on April 26 and Primavera in Barcelona at the beginning of June.


Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Melody's Echo Chamber: Breathe In/Breathe Out

Is there any more welcome news than the return of Melody's Echo Chamber?

Melody Prochet was one of the leading lights in France's contemporary psychedelic pop scene, but since the release of her 2012 debut album and its subsequent commercial and critical praise, she's had serious health issues that prevented her from pursuing her career with the same energy that's seen some of her contemporaries go on to widespread recognition.

So it's lovely to see that her new album finally scheduled for release in June.

It's entitled Bon Voyage, and a video for the track Breathe In/Breathe Out has been released ahead of the album.

She's described the video as "a little animated fable that resonates greatly with the record" and it's a lovely retro flavoured animation.

The track Cross My Heart came our last year, shortly before an accident derailed plans for live dates and the release of the album last year. Prior to that Shirim emerged in 2014 as a one-off single.

Hopefully we'll see more of Melody in coming months, and while the album's been longer than it should have been, I'm pretty sure it will be worth the wait.



Oui Love La Féline live in London

If you're in London, it's well worth getting to the attest Oui Love event taking place tomorrow night that sees three French acts perform in the UK capital at Birthdays in Dalston.

Top of the bill is La Féline, one of France's most significant emerging female artists whose 2017 album Triomphe has recently been released in the UK, and been met with the same critical acclaim that it deserved on its release in France.

The likes of Mojo and Clash have praised her, Mojo noting that "some of the most innovative and progressive pop is being made away from the English-speaking world." Something we've been noting here for years!

She's no stranger to the UK, having played at the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni in London in December, which saw her making an unexpected performance on BBC Radio in recognition of Johnny Hallyday who died that day.

Her gig that night saw her perform with an iconic French musician of a very different sort, Laetitia Sadier, formerly of Stereolab.

We'll be hearing more from La Féline in 2018 I suspect. Hopefully more UK dates are being considered. In the meantime, a great opportunity to see one of France's finest up close in London.

Also on the bill are Juniore and Keep Dancing Inc, two other acts well deserving of your attention and the priceless opportunity to tell folks in France that you saw one of the biggest stars of 2020 when she played a show in a small venue in London.


Moodoïd: Miss Smith video

A new video by Moodoïd is always a cause for celebration here.

Pablo Padovani and his team have never ceased to surprise us, from their debut release onwards. Whether explicitly psychedelic rock or exotically flavoured disco, there's always something interesting going on here.

So to the new track Miss Smith, another surprise turn, which remains infused with the weirdness we love but with a polished edge that makes it an possible commercial proposition while losing none of the charm that makes Moodoid interesting.

I don't reckon Moodoïd will remain a cult French act much longer. It can only be a matter of time until they're being mentioned as 2018's serious breakthough artist

Incidentally, I can't help but admire the video. Shot in California it's absolutely first class.

Moodoïd recently confirmed their new album will be called Cité Champagne, and is due to be released in June. To say a follow up to 2014's Le Monde Moo is awaited impatiently is an understatement. We're already counting the days.

Before then, Moodoïd have a number of free live dates across France from the middle of April, under the Societé Ricard Live Music banner with Isaac Delusion and Mnnqns. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the brand's involvement in live music sponsorship in France.

They play at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris with Catherine Ringer and Mnnqns on April 12.

Editorial: April 2018

Just a quick editorial this month, with an appreciation for all the people that have visited the blog over the past month. We managed to hit record figures last month, with over 55,000 pageviews. So thank you. 

This of course gives us a bit of a challenge to match this in forthcoming months, but we're certainly up for the challenge. If nothing else it shows the demand for information about French acts is certainly there. French music, to the Anglophone audience, is no longer something to be filed as exotic or strange, but actually vibrant and vital.

Maybe with this higher profile thanks to acts like Christine and the Queens, Charlotte Gainsbourg or some of the emerging acts that urgently deserve to be heard, there's more need for information, informed criticism and shared enthusiasm. Hope we're able to provide some of that.

As always, you can contact us at johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, with the appropriate punctuation where you'd expect it to be.

I'm always pleased to hear from record companies, PR companies and promoters, so do drop me an email. I'm always keen to hear new things, and relay information about acts I already know and love.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq, although that's pretty much just an autofeed when we update with a new article. You can usually find me on my personal Twitter account quicker, @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

Thanks as always to the good folks at Oui Love Music From France.

John K

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Rock en Seine 2018: First acts confirmed

Initial details of this summer's Rock en Seine festival have emerged, with a bill that includes some of France's most popular home grown acts.

PNL and Justice are two of the headliners, alongside Macklemore, are among the acts confirmed so far. Both Justice and PNK are among the biggest selling French acts in recent years, and Justice in particular have made a significant impact internationally.

Also revealed are 30 Seconds to Mars, Anna Calvi, Cigarettes After Sex and The Black Angels. First Aid Kit, Stefflon Don, Parcels and King Gizzard & The Lizzard Wizard are among the others.

It's a strong bill, indie flavoured and international, but not ignoring some of France's finest contemporary artists.

More names are to be added to the bill in April.

As it's held close to Paris, Rock en Seine is an event that's particularly easy for a UK audience to access, with all the advantages of a French music festival. Better weather, cheaper prices being among these.

The 16th edition of Rock en Seine, held at the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, runs from August 24 to 26. Tickets are on sale now.