Friday, 13 July 2018

La Femme: Live in the UK

There's a great opportunity this weekend to see one of France's best recent bands playing in the UK, with La Femme playing sets at both the Latitude festival in Suffolk today and at the Citadel festival in London on Sunday.

They've been playing festivals in mainland Europe over the past few days, in the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia. After their visit here they play France, Hungary, Ireland and the Basque country.

Their Mystère album was one of the French music highlights of 2016, reaching the top ten in France.

A video for the track Elle ne t'aime pas was released in May.

Since their album release they've been playing live extensively, reinforcing their reputation as one of France's finest live acts.

It's a great opportunity to experience some of this in the UK this weekend.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Baloji – L’Hiver Indien (Bruxelles Ma Belle session)

A great session in the Bruxelles Ma Belle series that takes an act and places them in an interesting and filmic location somewhere in Brussels.

This session sees him perform at the city's Royal army and military history museum.

The track originally features on his 137 Avenue Kaniama album, which was released in March on Bella Union records.

It's his fourth solo album, his career as an MC and rapper starting in the 90s when he was a teenager as part of the hip hop band Starfam. After four albums with band, he briefly quit music before returning as a solo artist.

Dominique A: TV5Monde Acoustic session

I've been catching up on a few things I'd missed over the past few weeks, and thought the live session by Dominique A from TV5Monde was a great performance that really deserved a mention here, even if it was originally broadcast a few weeks ago.

Dominique A was on the show to perform tracks from his new album Tout Latitude, his 11th collection, the first of two albums he's got planned for 2018.

Following the tour for his Eléor album he spoke about how he found himself inspired by contradictory ideas.

His electric tour inspired him to write more acoustic songs that were strong on melody, but he also found himself simultaneously drawn towards more rhythmic and repetitive work.

He took these two strands, separated them and came up with the content for two differently flavoured releases.

His performance on Acoustic gave him the opportunity to showcase some of his new work, and to discuss it with the show's host.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Main Square and Beauregard Festivals 2018

It's another summer weekend in France, so there are no shortage of live music events across the country and this weekend sees two of the biggest - Main Square and Beauregard festivals.

 Main Square festival takes place in Arras today, Saturday and Sunday. This year's acts include Depeche Mode, Queens of the Stone Age and Liam Gallagher. Other international acts to take the stage include The Breeders, Jamiroquai and Damian Marley.

The festival has a strong line-up, with a particularly fine selection of French acts, most of which are no strangers to this blog.

The acts representing the local country include Orelsan, IAM, Nekfeu and Justice. Gojira, Girls in Hawaii, Roméo Elvis and BB Brunes are also on the bill. It's a pretty wide selection, from rap to metal to indie and dance, but if there's one thing linking them it's the fact that they're all at the top of  their game right now.

Elsewhere in France, Beauregard is also a pretty big event, held in Hérouville-Saint-Clair in Normandy.  It's certainly got its share of interesting acts and while there is some crossovevr with Main Square, there are a few differences too.

Among the French acts are Charlotte Gainsbourg, Orelsan and Petit Biscuit as well as Hollysiz, Nekfeu, Carpenter Brut and Ibeyi.

If the international acts are more how you measure it, you'll find Jack White, Simple Minds, The Offspring, MGMT along with At the Drive In and Macklemore.

Beauregard has an extra day at the end, aptly called The Day After, which features Depeche Mode and Girls in Hawaii along with Concrete Knives. Interesting to see two of France's top indie bands supporting the Mode. That will be quite a show.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Juliette Armanet: A la folie (rework)

A new single by Juliette Armanet is always something to celebrate, and while A la folie has already appeared on her Petite Amie album, a new version of it gives the song an entirely new context.

A new version of her debut album was released recently, with an extra four tracks.

Petite Amie has certainly established Armanet as an artist, the album having sold over 100,000 copies and won the breakthrough album award in the Victoires de la Musique awards in February.

Her work has seen her compared to some of France's classic singer songwriters and in the space of a couple of years she's gone from developing artist to an act who sells out shows in Paris and plays in front of massive festival crowds such as this month's Les Francofolies de La Rochelle.

The crown she's wearing on the album sleeve is certainly well deserved.

There are, as I've mentioned repeatedly, a huge number of significant female artists emerging in France in recent years, from Christine to Fishbach, and there's little doubt that Juliette Armanet deserves her place at the forefront.

Fnac Live Paris 2018 festival

Today sees this year's Fnac Live Paris festival get under way, with a strong bill of acts performing live at the Hôtel de Ville  in the centre of the French capital.

From 5pm until midnight on July 5, 6 and 7 there are acts playing in the square outside the historic seat of local government, as well as some acts performing their sets inside.

Today sees L'Impératrice, Jeanne Added, Voyou, Petit Biscuit and Vitalic, while Dominique A performs indoors.

Tomorrow has Angele, Synapson and Feder among others while Sting and Shaggy play indoors. Saturday includes L'ordre du périph, Gaelle Faye and Ibeyi. 

Each day also has a playlist from a leading French indie label, Enterprise, Believe and STRN.

While there's no denying it's a great bill, it's also worth noting that it's free. You could hardly imagine a similar event being staged in London without a hefty ticket price.

 I know there are strong arguments against music being involved with commercial organisations, but when the end result is an event that is not only artistically robust but also accessible to all, there's no denying the merit of it. 

Fnac is of course one of France's biggest consumer brands for buying music, so it's a really positive thing to see them stage an event like this. It encourages interest in music, gets the acts to potential fans and benefits the brand. Everyone wins!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Alain Chamfort :Tout est pop

A lovely little video by veteran French artist Alain Chamfort, who clearly knows who actually are the real stars of the internet.

The clip for Tout est pop claims to be the first music video made by cats.

It's certainly not the worst camera work I've seen, although I'm not sure how they'd cope with the post production, but I'm pretty sure they'd use a mouse rather than a keyboard for the editing.

I'm just grateful they let Chamfort take care of the singing.

It's nice to see an artist like Chamfort come up with a clever clip like this. Like all my favourite music videos, it's a simple idea done well.

The track Tout est pop comes from Chamfort's recent Le désordre des choses album, which was released in April.

Chamfort's got live dates in France towards the end of the year, with a show at the Trianon in Paris on November 15. There are no details as to whether his new entourage will be with him or not.