Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011: Année Gainsbourg

With 2011 being the 20th anniversary of the death of Serge Gainsbourg, it was inevitable that there would be a number of 'commemorative' releases to mark the occasion.

Perhaps I'm just a fan, but it seens that the releases have been of a remarkably high standard, from the re-issue of Melody Nelson as a 2CD/DVD extended package, to the album by Lulu Gainsbourg of his father's work to the Alain Bashung release of his version of L'Homme à Tête de Chou, there have been a succession of works that have not only marked his anniversary, but also added significantly to his legacy.

Meanwhile, a great video has surfaced of Lulu Gainsbourg and Vanessa Paradis duetting on the Gainsbourg song Sous le Soleil Exactement.

Off Tv, Universal music group web channel was there to capture this unique music moment.

The duet took place at the Casino de Paris in November, at a concert that also saw -M- and Jane Birkin on stage celebrating the work of Serge, as well as Dani and Sly Johnson.

Gainsbourg had himself played the Casino de Paris, and Lulu's mother was pregnant with him at the time. Paradis of course having collaborated with Serge in his later years.

The performance could have been a rather stilted veneration of an icon, but a figure like Gainsbourg would probably sit uncomfortably on an altar, so this was a celebration rather than a memorial.

And one that marked the continued vigour of one of France's greatest ever musical legacies.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Charlotte Gainsbourg - Stage Whisper: L'Hôtel Particulier

Although I mentioned it before it came out, and featured the track Terrible Angels when the video emerged, I thought the release of Charlotte Gainsbourg's Stage Whisper collection merited a more detailed mention.

The album is not entirely new material by any means, collecting live versions of tracks from her two most recent releases 5.55 and 2009's IRM.

The unreleased material continues the sound she developed with Beck, her collaborator on IRM, a cool and intelligent electro pop that has helped establish her as a credible artist in her own right rather than a singer in the shadow of her father's massive reputation.

The live material on disc two focuses on her two recent albums, and a cover of Dylan's Just Like a Woman, a track she recorded with Calexico for the 2007 I'm Not There biopic.

While interesting to hear the live versions, I can't help feel that with just a bit more the studio material could have stood up in its own right as a full new release. Eight tracks may have been not enough, but the quality here is superb and despite being described as 'out takes' they really are as good as anything she's ever released, as Terrible Angels, Paradisco or Memoir testify.

Instead of one double album that's an add-on to her discography, I can't help but think that there really should be two separate albums here, both of which would have their own merits.

Still, a fine release, and one that certainly keeps us waiting for a new album proper from Ms Gainsbourg.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Coeur de Pirate: Noël Blanc

Another track from the Noël! Noël!! Noël!!! album just because its the festive season, this time a French version of a well-known Christmas song interpreted by Coeur de Pirate.

It's another classy track from an album that's certainly head and shoulders above most festive collections, so no problem highlighting another track.

To those unfamiliar with Legrand, who at the age of 80 is perhaps from a different generation to most of those on the album, but as a musician he has been active from the 1950s, and over his lengthy career has worked on over 200 film soundtracks from the French nouvelle vague to musicals like Les Parapluies de Cherbourg as well as being a respected jazz musician in his own right.

He has worked with some of the biggest names on 20th century music, including Sinatra and Streisand, and some of his songs have gone on to be recognised as standards.

His film career has seen him working with some of the giants of cinema, such as Godard, Altman and Clint Eastwood.

He has also won three Oscars, including one for the best original song from a film, Windmills of Your Mind from the 1968 movie The Thomas Crown Affair.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Carla Bruni - Jolis Sapins

A chilled Xmas song by Carla Bruni, just getting into the relaxed mood for the holidays.

The song comes from the Noël ! Noël !! Noël !!! a collection arranged by Michel Legrande featuring performances by Mika, Jamie Cullum, Rufus Wainwright, Madeleine Peyroux, Iggy Pop, Imelda May, Ayo, Carla Bruni, Emilie Simon.

Also on the collection are -M- and Coeur de Pirate.

The collection was compiled to mark Lrgrande's 80th birthday and is a lush old school production with a big band and a relaxed jazzy feel.

If time permits I'll post a couple more tracks from this great collection

French Music Office top 20 for 2011

The French Music Office UK put together a playlist of their favourite tracks of 2011 in a soundcloud playlist.

I thought that given the good work done by those folks down there - and the fact that it's a very decent listen, I'd insert it here to spread it around a bit more.

Click on the link below to enjoy the playlist.

French Music Office Top 20 French Tracks of 2011

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Vive le Roq: Album and Rétro release of the year

This year's I thought I would take a look back at some of the particularly impressive releases I've heard over the past 12 months.

First up, the Vive Le Roq album of the year.

Justice: Audio Video Disco

A release that combines contemporary dance electronica with the ambitions spirit of progressive rock, and sets the standard for contemporary music releases in 2011. Outstanding.

Runner up - M83: Hurry Up We're Dreaming

Rétro release of the year:

Alain Bashung: L'Homme à tête de chou

Posthumous releases often only succeed in diminishing the reputation of an artist, whereas this pays tribute both to Bashung and Gainsbourg and is a welcome addition to the body of work by two of France's most significant artists.

Runner up - Jacno Future (various artists)

OK, so perhaps not the Victoires de la Musique, but you have to start somewhere, and Justice is as good a place as an to start.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Pony Pony Run Run: Just a Song

A new song from Pony Pony Run Run has emerged ahead of their new album which is expected to be released at the end of February 2012.

The track Just a Song was posted on the band's Facebook page as a teaser, the band asking fans to share it more than 500 times to make it available in full.

It's now been revealed in full, and it's a great slice of electro from the trio from Nantes. It's informed by some of the genre pioneers of the 80s but has a flavour of its own and

The new album is a long-awaited follow up to their 2009 debut You Need Pony Pony Run Run, which saw the song Hey You becoming a hit.

The debut album won the band a Victoire de la Musique award in the public choice best newcomer group or artist of the year category, and I'd reckon that their second album will get see them getting even more recognition

The band have confirmed some dates in February, April and May in Germany, Switzerland and France.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Rétro: Marc Almond - The town fell asleep

A look back to one of Marc Almond's wonderful interpretations of Jacques Brel.

The version of La Ville s'endormait is simply wonderful. The song was originally from Brel's final album, 1977's Les Marquises, Almond's version surfacing on his 1989 Jacques album,

The album of Brel covers by Almond also included I'm Coming and the Lockman as well as My Death, although not Jacky, possibly his best know Brel interpretation, which became a hit single for Almond.

Almond was influenced by Brel from an early age, from hearing the versions of My Death performed by Bowie and Alex Harvey, and the Scott Walker versions of Brel's work.

The Jacques collection takes a more traditional approach to song and arrangement that some of Almond's more experimental and electronic work, and it really deserves to be better known.

The album appears to be out of print now, so if you find a copy be sure to pick it up while you can.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Mylène Farmer: Du Temps

A new single from Mylene Farmer and a new 'best of' CD have just been released,

The album, entitled 2001-2011 is her second compilation, her previous Les Mots (released in 2001) having sold over 1.5 million copies.

The album includes two previously unreleased tracks, one being her new single Du Temps.

The song is very much an electro-pop work, and sees her working with long-time collaborator Laurent Boutonnat. Farmer's last release, her eighth album Bleu Noir was her first without Boutinnat's input, and saw her working with Moby RedOne and Darius Keeler.

I'm not sure whether the song is more recent that Bleu Noir. It may be the song was recorded before Bleu Noir and is only now being released, or possibly that they are again working together. Boutonnat certainly directed the video, so it may well mark a return to working with her long-running collaborator.

While I'm sure fans will be awaiting new material with impatience, and greatest hits albums can be seen as a quick cash-grab from an artist, there are plenty of people I'm sure who first became aware of Farmer on the back of the success of Bleu Noir and who will welcome the opportunity to catch up on her previous work, and with ten years between this one and her previous collection, it's certainly not been hurried.

With three tracks from Bleu Noir reaching number one in France, farmer holds the record for number ones in the country. Will Du Temps make it 13?

Monday, 12 December 2011

The X Factor: Matthew Raymond-Barker

With the dust settling on Little Mix becoming the first group to win the X Factor in the UK, I thought it worth a mention of the programme in France.

The UK programme is a major cultural event, with serious newspaper debate and TV news coverage, and arguably the biggest television 'event' of the year. The fact that it establishes (for better or worse) the careers of a generation of pop stars is almost secondary.

Meanwhile, there is a French version of the show. There have been two series so far, the first on W9 in 2009, the most recent on more widely know channel M6 running up to June 2011. It replaced Novelle Star, the French variant of Pop Idol on M6, and while the first series was a much smaller scale show than in the UK, the second series aimed to emulate some of the success of the UK programme.

Similar to the UK programme, there were public auditions in theatres around the country, a bootcamp in Paris and work at the judge's houses in London, Marrakesh, Canada and France.

There were four categories of artist,under 25 male, under 25 female, groups and over 25s.

The judges for the second series were Nouvelle star winner singer/songwriter Christophe Willam, veteran musician and composer Olivier Schultheir, singer Véronic DiCaire and musician and manager Henry Padovani.

Sandrine Corman played the Dermon O'Leary presenter role.

Interestingly the winner was Matthew Raymond-Barker, an English student, who took the cash prize and recording deal with Sony. There were only just over 1,000 votes between him and the runner up. The Londoner had appeared briefly in the UK programme the year before, getting rejected at the bootcamp stage.

He auditioned for the french programme while he was living in France to improve his French language at the University of Toulouse for his course at the University of Bath.

In the rounds his song choice was fairly safe, with songs by Robbie Williams, Jessie J, U2 and Michael Jackson featuring. There were a few French numbers including Ma Philosophie and Ne Retiens Pas Tes Larmes by Amel bent, Ca Fait Mal by Christophe Maé amd A la Favour de l'automne by Tété

The final was watched by 2.4 million viewers, a 10.8% audience share, the number of viewers peaking with the early audition programmes which reached up to 3.3million with an audience share of just over 13%.

In comparison, the UK version had 13.1 million viewers, with a peak of 15.5 million. Although down slightly on the previous year's 17.2 million viewers for the final, the series had an average of 11 million viewer throughout the series.

Matthew Raymond-Barker released his winner's song, a cover of Daniel Balavoine's Vivre ou Survivre.

In the UK, every winner's sing has reached number one, most over the Christmas week. Joe McElderry made the top spot the following week despite Rage Against The Machine getting to number one over the Christmas week.

Raymond-Barker's release reached number 94 in the French charts.

Matthew Raymond Barker - Vivre ou Survivre (Winner Single) @ X Factor France 2011 from Rich Lorenzo on Vimeo.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Mr President: It's Christmas

A great festive tune by Mr President, released following his debut album Number One that came out earluer in 2011.

I already featured the great track The Best Is Yet To Come which was released as a single.

Mr President is a project from Patchworks, also known as Bruno Hovart, who has also worked under the names Uptown Funk Empire, The Dynamics and Metropolitan Jazz Affair.

It's Christmas, but with a great solid heavy funk flavour.

The song's been released in a limited edition by Favourite Recordingd in a suitably retro coloured vinyl seven inch.

The single is released on December 12.

Click on the link below to give it a listen on Soundcloud.

Mr President - It's Christmas Time

Friday, 2 December 2011

M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming

M83 are getting quite a lot of attention in the UK at the moment, on account of a gig in London and a session on BBC 6 music, bringing their classy electro pop sound to a far wider audience than normally gets the chance to hear one of France's finest acts.

M83 have been active since 2001, when their eponymous debut album came out. Nicolas Fromageau left the band after their 2003 second album Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts, Anthony Gonzalez continuing under the M83 name.

Fromageau would go on to form the rather wonderful Team Ghost, who I featured earlier this year with their Record Store Day release split 7' with Anoraak.

M83's first post-Fromageau release was the album Before The Dawn Heals Us, which came out in 2005. Gonzalez became established as a remixer, working with Bloc Party, Placebo, Goldfrapp and Depeche Mode.

Other albums that followed included Digital Shades Volume 1, an ambient work that came out in 2007 and Saturdays=Youth, released the following year.

In 2008 M83 supported the Kings of Leon in their UK tour, and the Killers in the US. Spring 2010 saw the release of the soundtrack album for the film Black Heaven

M83's most recent album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming - a double album - was released in October 2011 with the track Midnight City being released as the first track.

The album got to number 15 in the US Billboard charts and Number 1 in the US Dance/Electronic album chart.

An appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show in November in the US gave them a huge profile boost, and they're due back in the US in early January.

The next single from the album will be the track Reunion, due to be released in Feb 2012.

M83 are touring in the UK in January, and have dates in Australia the following month, followed by more shows across mainland Europe.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Rétro: Dusty Springfield - If You Go Away

A retro look at a version of Brel's classic If You Go Away by Dusty Springfield that made an unexpected appearance on prome time UK TV in an edition of the coutry's most-watched soap opera Coronation Street.

Springfield's version is based on the English-language translation by Rod McKuen but also includes some of the original lyrics from Brel's 1959 Ne Me Quitte Pas.

She was not the first to cover the song, with versions already being recorded by Barbara, Marlene Dietrich, Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey and Brenda Lee, so it was well on its way to being a standard, but her cover would have certainly have introduced it to a British pop audience.

Dusty Springfield's version was included in her 1967 The Look of Love album, her third, which was released under the title Where Am I Going in the UK.

At the time she was one of the most popular female singers in the UK, and the album did much to establish her credentials as a serious artist.

She would become one of the biggest-selling female artists in the UK of the 1960s.

It would again be associated with her as it would decades later feature in a musical about her life that was staged in 2000.

Editorial: December 2011

Another great month for Vive Le Roq, and while not a record month, it was not far off.

There were slightly fewer posts in November than normal perhaps, but that's down to workload and family commitments, not any less enthusiasm for the music.

If anything there has been more great releases recently than ever (Justice, Bashung, various Gainsbourgs..) so there's no shortage of material to feature, just a shortage of time to get it all on.

Hopefully in December I'll get a few reviews on, as well as regular looks at other new releases and looks back at older material.

I'll also have a few festive goodies over the next few weeks as well.

It's always good to get some feedback, so feel free to get in touch either by comment ov via email. I can be contacted on johnkilbride AT hotmail DOT com, without the space and with the correct symbols.

Merci et à bientôt


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Lulu Gainsbourg and Scarlett Johansson: Bonnie and Clyde

Given that with the filming of Scarlett Johansson's new film in this part of the world makes her practically Scottish, I thought that was as good a reason as any to feature another track from the "From Gainsbourg to Lulu" album.

While filming Under the Skin she's been spotted in Nice n Sleazy, a key Glasgow music scene bar and been filmed buying petrol in Lanarkshire while she also celebrated her 27th birthday in a Port Glasgow housing scheme.

Who says life as a Hollywood A-lister isn't all glamour?

Anyway, she's always had a music side, and it's been one that's been surprisingly tasteful. She performed with the Jesus and Mary Chain at Coachella in 2007 and released an album in 2008 Anywhere I Lay My Head, featuring principally covers of Tom Waits songs, and has recorded a Jeff Buckley song.

She also worked with Peter Yorn on the 2009 album Break Up, which was inspired by Gainsbourg's duets with Brigitte Bardot.

Debate will no doubt rage among Gainsbourg fans about the merits of the cover in contrast with the original, but I reckon it's pretty good and I'm sure if Gainsbourg was around he'd only be too happy to collaborate with Scarlett.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Rétro: The Clash in France

With the word that French actress Julie Delpy is planning to make a biopic of Joe Strummer from the Clash, I thought it as good an excuse as any to run some historic footage of the Clash playing in France.

As original pioneers of the punk movement, the Clash were there at the very beginning, and that included events like the 100 Club punk festival in '76, when they played the day before France's Stinky Toys made their historic show.

The band played the Mont-de-Marsan European Punk festival in '77, an event organised by Marc Zermati, a hugely influential figure in the development of punk in France and its subsequent influence over bands from the UK and beyond.

It was the second time the event had been held, the previous year it had featured Bijou, Il Biarits, Shakin' Street and the Damned, whose appearance at the event was only their fifth gig.

The event was held the following year in the town's bullring in August 1977, this time the line up features the Damned and the Clash, as well as Eddie and the Hot Rods and - much further down the bill - The Police.

There's footage of the Damned from the show, but I've not been able to track down any video from the Clash, although audio recordings circulate and there was a bootleg LP of their set issued.

This clip is from French TV in 1977, with a very young Clash showing their style.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Rétro: Alain Bashung - Gaby oh Gaby

I featured the posthumous Alaim Baschung release earlier, so I though it worth a mention of the song that made him a star.

The song Gaby oh! Gaby was a massive hit for Alain Bashung in 1980, establishing him as a major figure in the French music scene. He had released other songs before, but nothing had enjoyed the level of success that this song would achive

Its quite a different style for those more familiar with his later, darker work.

There's a sound that's almost like what an 80s new wave band would sound like if they were fronted by a Dylan obsessive, which probably isn't far from the reality if the song C'est la faute à Dylan from his 1979 album Roulette Russe was anything to go by.

It reminds me of bands like The Cars, very much of its era but a great song nonetheless.

The song Gaby oh Gaby was a product of Bashung's working with Boris Bergman, which would prove to be a hugely commercially successful period for Bashung, Gaby oh Gaby reaching number two in the French charts with Vertige de l'amour a number one hit the following year, as was the album Pizza.

Following the success of Gaby oh Gaby his Roulette Russe album was reissued with the song on it

You have to love the 80s stylings in the video.

Cascadeur: Walker

one of this things I love about this blog is that it gives me the opportunity to hear amazing music that I normally would not stumble across.

The track Walker by Cascadeur being the perfect example.

The track comes from the album The Human Octopus, which came out in March 2011.

Cascadeur, with a mask or a helmet shielding his face, first came to widespread attantion after winning the CQFD (Ceux qu'il faut découvrir) prize organised by Les Inrockuptibles magazine in 2008.

He signed to Casablanca records for his major label debut, which saw him shortlisted for the Prix Constantin which was eventually won by Selah Sue in October.

It's as haunting as some of the work of Anthony and the Johnsons and Yann Tiersen, with the sophistication of Radiohead.

Cascadeur is playing some dates in France in early December.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

New: Emilie Simon - Mon Chevalier

French singer Emilie Simon releases her new album Franky Knight next month, ahead of which the video for the traeck Mon Chevalier has been released.

Several of the songs are to be featured on the new Audrey Tautou film La Délicatesse, due out at the end of December. The film stars Tautou and Francois Damiens and is basedon the book by David Foenkinos.

Its a great single, and while its cutting-edge production values locate it somewhere in the area inhabited by artists like Bjork, it's also classic song.

She's no stranger to film soundtracks, having recorded the (French) soundtrack for March of the Penguins in 2005, which won her a second Victoire de la Musique award for Best Film Soundtrack. It was also nominated for a César award.

Emilie Simon's self-titled debut album was released in 2003, winning her a Victoires de la Musique award the following year for Best Electronic Album. Her March of the Penguins soundtrack was released in 2005.

She followed this with Végétal in 2006, the same year as The Flower Book, a compilation of her first three releases intended for an English language audience. Végétal would also win another Victoire de la Musique award, for Best Electronic album.

Her forth album The Big Machine was largely an English language album, released in 2009.

More recently, on November 14 she was presented with the 2011 Sacem Grand Prix des musiques électroniques.

The Franky Knight album is due to be release in December and she is playing a few selected dates in France at Aix-en-Provence, Paris and Orléans

Friday, 11 November 2011

Rétro: Black Sabbath in Paris, 1970

With news that Black Sabbath have reformed and are to record a new album with their original line up, I though it worth reflecting on a great piece of archive video of the band in France from 1970 which makes it clear just why the band are so special.

The announcement was made at 11.11, local time in LA on Friday 11/11/11, this clip goes further back - to 1970.

Bearing in mind this was, of course, recorded at a time when most of the rock counterculture was still in a hippy daze following the late 60s.

The clip Was recorded at L'Olympia in December 1970 long before Ozzy was best known as a reality TV star and the band were fresh from the success of Paranoid as a hit single.

It's astonishing to realise that their debut album Black Sabbath was released less than a year before (On Friday the 13th of Feb), and the follow-up Paranoid coming out in October.

The Paranoid album was a number one in the UK and number 12 in the US, Paranoid reaching number four as a single in the UK. Not bad for a song that was essentially written and recorded at the last minute in a period of 25 minutes to make up the running time of the album.

Both albums have been recognised in the decades since as bona fide classics of rock music, inspiring generations of musicians and fans, and establishing the artistic merit of the heavy rock genre.

With Black Sabbath being feted so frequently the sheer quality of their early work is often overlooked

So we have probably the most influential heavy rock band of all time at probably their most creative point of their career, recorded live in Paris.

Enjoy it!

November 11: Armistice Day

A clip from Manau's L'avenir est un long passé, marking November 11, Armistice Day.

The tragedy of war is marked in France as everywhere else in Europe, with the sacrifices made by soldiers, civilians and resistance fighters remembered with pride and sadness.

With the hectares of mass graves and the 'Mort Pour La France' plaques that adorn walls throughout the country the toll of war is impossible to forget in France.

We should always remember and continue to hope for the possibility of peace.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Alain Bashung: Variations sur Marilou

I love Gainsboug as much as any French music fanatic, but the cover of Variations sur Marilou by Alain Bashung that has been released posthumously on his L'Homme a Tete de Chou album is really exceptional.

The album is a cover version of the Gainsbourg concept album from '76 and it stands as a powerful tribute to two of France's finest musical talents.

The album, which came out on November 7 has finally been released two years after it was used for a contemporary ballet production staged by choreographer Jean-Claude Gallotta staged at Grenoble's MC2 in November 2009. Bashung died of lung cancer in March that year.

The album is a cover of the Serge Gainsbourg album of the same name, released originally by Serge in 76, his final 'rock' album before his reggae phase. I'm probably guilty like many are of not giving this album the credit it deserved on first listen, coming as it did after the notorious Rock Around The Bunker album and his reggae work, but Gainsbourg was at the top of his game when he created it, his instinctive musical sensibilities and his use of poetry combining with his earthy sense of humour.

It was Gainsbourg's second concept album, following his earlier Histoire de Melody Nelson five years earlier.

Bashung had a long career, his first release in 1966 but his major success coming in the 1980s. Albums like Roman Photo in 1977, Roulette Russe in 1979, Pizza in 1981 and Passé le Rio Grande in 1986 confirmed him as one of the most significant voices in French music

His song Gaby, oh Gaby was in the charts for over a year, the follow up Vertige de l'amour also being a huge hit.

Bashung died in March 2009 aged 61, his last public appearance was at the Victoires de la Musique awards that year, where he won three awards following the release of his Bleu Petrole album - best album, best male artist and best live act.

Bashung had been as the most awarded artist in the history of the award, with a total of 11 wins during his lifetime.

His album Fantaisie Militaire was awarded the title of best album of the last 20 years at the ceremony's 20th anniversary and a posthumous 12th award for his 2008 live at L'Olympia DVD.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Acid Mothers temple - La Nòvia

Off to see a band tonight, Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso UFO, which although very much Japanese and of the psychedelic rock persuasion, have a surprisingly strong link to French traditional music.

The band have reguarly referred to themselves as Troubadours, from the ancient Occitan musical tradition, one of their albums actually titled Troubadours from Another Heavenly World, but by far their strongest link is in the use of the traditional Occitan song La Nòvia as one of the centrepieces of their live set, as well as one of their (in my view anyway) best albums.

Their La Nòvia album, with its fake trad occitan original sleeve, came out originally on vinyl in 2000 on the Eclipse records label. It was their fith proper album, and despite their massive back catalogue - they must have about 50 albums over the last ten years including all their spin-off projects and live releases - one of their best works.

Acid Mothers guitarist Kawabata Makoto has also been strong advocates of Occitan traditional singer Rosina de Peira, selling copies of her album Gospel d'Oc at Acid Mothers gigs, and it was from Rosina de Peira that the band first heard the song.

The song is performed by the band in the Occitan language, it's lyrics

La nòvia a nau brilhants suu cap
La nòvia a nau brilhants suu cap
Nau brilhants suu cap
L'anèth au dit
Nau brilhants suu cap
L'anèth au dit...

simply translating as "The bride has nine jewels around her head / a ring on her finger" The song traditionally continues with the (occitan) Nine (nau) changed to Eight (uèit) and down to one (un).

AMT of course don't follow the rules too rigorously in the lyrics, despite its lengthy running time, using the melody as a launch pad for a lengthy psychedelic expoloration which still remains true to its ethmomusical roots.

I've seen the band perform the number several times, and its a real highlight of their shows.

Its an extraordinary piece of rock improvisation that combines the dynamics of heavy psychedelic rock with a delicate folk song, often using overtone singing for the vocal sections.

It's not the only long improvisation-based number that they perform, but while numbers like Pink Lady Lemonade are equally impressive workouts, they don't have the jaw-dropping moments when the band come together in delicate vocals that could have come straight from the Middle Ages.

The band released a version of the song that features them performing with Rosina de Peira on their Never Ending Space Ritual - History Of Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. DVD that came out in 2008.

A language teacher once told me that a language cannot really be considered endangered while there's still a pop group performing in that language. While the speakers of Occitan may very well be declining, but if a Japanese band making it the centrepiece of their live performace is any measure it's in fine health indeed.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Chart: Moussier Tombola

A number one this week by Moussier Tombola, following the song Logobitombo and associated dance being a huge hit already on YouTube.

While there's not a whole lot to the song other than a feel-good call to the dance floor, it's certainly good to see a song like this at the top of the charts. France is no stranger to rows over racism, and I reckon that songs like this, while not pushing an overtly anti-racist agenda do their bit to help further ethnic harmony more than any well-meaning and well-funded awareness campaign.

While it's obvious that the odd hit single does not necessarily reflect a more racially tolerant society, its certainly a step in the right direction and you can't help but get the impression that the UK is lagging behind when it comes to its popular music reflecting the ethnic diversity of the country.

There's a huge ethnic population in the UK, with the Indian and Pakistani community a huge one as well as communities that have evolved following the country's historical links to Africa and the Caribbean.

But this doesn't seem to be reflected in the popular music of the UK, and while there have been one or two exceptions, popular music remains on the whole an anglo-saxon dominated field, with British and American artists dominating.

There's little sign of any Bhangra in the charts or African music getting widespread commercial exposure and I don't expect that will change anytime soon.

Music can make a difference. Witness how the Two Tone scene in the late 80s evolved to counter the rise of the extreme right in the UK as effectively as any protest group.

So personally, while it might not be my cup of tea, Moussier Tombola is a welcome addition to the French charts.

Top five:

1) Moussier Tombola - Logobitombo
2) Pitbull feat Marc Anthony - Rain over me
3) Mika - Elle me Dit
4) Lucenzo - Danza Kuduro
5) Inna Modja - French cancan

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rétro- Serge Gainsbourg: L'eau à la Bouche

I thought that following a link to the video of Lulu Gainsbourg's version of L'eau à la Bouche I really had to link to his father's original.

The original a latin influenced jazz number came out in 1960, the title song for a romantic comedy film originally released on a soundtrack EP.

It comes very much from the time in his career when Gainsbourg was more influenced by jazz than by pop, a field he was very soon to dominate for the rest of the decade.

The song is probably better remembered than the film, Serge himself continuing to perform it even in the later days of his career.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Editorial: November 2011

Another month for Vive le Roq, with October continuing our good run of visitors to the blog.

I thought it might be worth sharing some of the visitor figues to the site, with the last month showing the majority of visitors coming from the USA, followed by the UK (just under half the number for the US) followed closely by France.

Following this, it halves again to Russia and Germany, Mexico, Italy Canada, Belgium and Brazil also coming in with reasonable amounts of visits.

Hello, and I hope you find something that you like!

I'm pleased that the majority of visitors are from the English speaking world, not through any favouritism, but with the intention of the blog being to raise the profile of France in its rightful place in the music world, I guess it means introducing things to the English-speaking audience. I hope I'm doing something right.

Again another busy month ahead, and time permitting many more blog entries and great new things to listen to along the way.

Thanks once again to all who have supported the blog over the last while, and as always I can be contacted on john kilbride AT hotmail DOT Com, without the spaces and with the approproate dot and @

Merci et à bientôt


Monday, 31 October 2011

Zombie-Zombie: Halloween

I've featured this band before when they played in Glasgow performing a live soundtrack to Battleship Potemkim, and a mention of their re-interpretation of John Carpenter's theme for Halloween, but I thought it was appropriate to feature it today.

Carpenter's synth music was startlingly effective in creating a sinister atmosphere in his movies, and performed by Zombie-Zombie they sound great in a modern context.

For all Carpenter gets a great deal of well-deserved credit for his film work, his status as an innovator in electronic music has never really been celebrated, so credit to Zombie-Zombie for dusting down this spooky corner of popular culture and shining a light on it.


Friday, 28 October 2011

News: Johnny Halliday at the Royal Albert Hall

With Johnny Hallyday confirming his first ever UK gig next year, I thought a track by the former M. Smet en anglais might be a good way to mark the occasion.

Johnny is playing the Royal Albert Hall on October 15 2012.

It'll I reckon almost certainly be a sell-out, I'm reminded of the time when he played Las Vegas in '96 , with 6,000 fans flying over in chartered planes and probably one of the most interesting dates in his tour.

Still, it was certainly a surprise to see Johnny appearing in page three of the Sun newspaper this morning!

He has already confirmed a number of arena dates around France through the summer of 2012 including three dates at the Stade de France in Paris in June.

Johnny is also expected to release a new album next year, a follow up to Jamais Seul.

Not bad for guy who announced his retirement in 2007. And also in 2009...

Despite his health scare in recent years, Johnny seems in fine form again, and is currently appearing on stage in Paris in an adaptation of Tennessee Williams play.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Lulu Gainsbourg - L'eau à la bouche

A new video by Lulu Gainsbourg for the song L'eau à la bouche, the first single from his forthcoming From Lulu to Gainsbourg album, to be released on November 14.

I featured the song at the beginning of September, but now that there's finally a proper video available I thought it merited another mention.

The video combines a modern hipster styling with a 60s retro feel, referencing the era of his father's original without simply trying to recreate past glories.

It's a great version of the song as well, and in the tradition of the best cover versions it stands up well by itself and shines a new light on the original.

I'm sure it would be easy enough for Lulu to do a straight "tribute" copy of the song, but credit to him for doing something different with it, and it really suits the tropicalia feel. For all his father's version was suitably jazzy, this take of the song sounds somehow more sophisticated and colourful.

Can't wait to hear the full album.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Yann Tiersen - Skyline

Another mention of the great Yann Tiersen, on account of his current tour to promote his recently-released Skyline album.

It's his seventh album, and was very much anticipated following last year's Dust Lane.

He's currently towards the end of his dates in the UK and playing in mainland Europe immediately after, with shows in France, Germany, Greece,Italy, Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark as well as Austria and the Netherlands.

He plays in the UK again at All Tomorrow's Parties at Minehead in December.

Skyline was released on October 17 in Europe, and will be released soon in the USA. the single Monuments preceded its release, and was the subject of a very nice video that I featured earlier.

Although best known for his soundtrack work, there's little doubt that with releases as fine as this Tiersen will be recognised as more than just the guy who did the soundtrack for Amélie.

The video is from a performance on the BBC's Review Show in September.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Commercial Break: Pink Floyd and Gini

I thought that with the current interest in Pink Floyd - with the release of the band's back catalogue in different editions ranging from remastered re-issues to massive box sets - a mention was deserved of a French advert that the band did in 1974 for Gini, the popular French soft drink.

The deal was that the band would appear in an advertising campaign, get some money and the company would also put some money towards the band's next French tour, keeping ticket prices down for the fans.

The campaign features a number of magazine adverts featuring the band, in a Dark Side style, obviously looking thirsty because of the desert they've been dubiously superimposed beside in those pre-Photoshop days.

It was about a decade before such commerial involvement between bands and brands became commonplace, and it apparently left a bad taste in the mouth of many of the band's fans. Perhaps more the taste of sour grapes rather than bitter lemon.

The band played a French tour - supporting their Dark Side Of The Moon release and previewing some of the material that would appear in their Animals album- in June 1974 ahead of their British Winter Tour 74, their first live airing of the Dark Side album with the circular screen that would be a trademark of the band's live shows from then on.

However, the Gini sponsorship mean that the drink was promoted in the halls the gigs were held in.

The sponsorship - and the bad feeling that it generated - inspired a song by the band, the so-far unreleased Bitter Love, also know as How do You Feel.

The band were so sullied by the experience of involvememt in the world of commerialism that they never repeated the move. Except for an advert for Nurofen (for headache relief!) and a tie-in with Volkswagen cars that saw a special Pink Floyd edition of the VW Golf released.

Here's a great vintage Pink Floyd clip from French TV show Bouton Rouge with Let There Be More Light. Got to love the presenter Pierre Lattes grooving away like a fifth member of the band. Lattes would later produce the seminal Camambert Electrique album by French-based prog psych band Gong a few years later.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Carla Bruni - You've Got The Silver

In light of the birth of France's First Baby, I thought it worth putting on a video of Carla Bruni doing what she used to be known best for in her pre-Sarko days.

I'll leave the politics and the celebrity stuff to other blogs. There's plenty that can be said there and little point in me adding to the debate.

Bruni has been working in music since 1997, her debut album Quelqu'un m'a dit coming out in 2002, having already worked with Julien Leclerc's 200 album Si j'étais elle.

Her second album came out in 2007, featuting the work of leading poets set to music, and her third Comme si de Rien N'était the following year, after she was married to Sarkozy.

Given her track record with classic rock artists a cover version of a Rolling Stones song seemed appropriate and its an interesting take on one of their many great songs hidden in their back catalogue.

Carla's sound is a sophisticated and jazzy one, along the lines of american artists like Norah Jones. It's a smooth and easy listening experience to sooth troubled ears.

I'm sure given the current difficult times, it's exactly the kind of thing that Monsieur le Président needs to chill out to after a hard day at the office.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Martin Solveig - Big in Japan

A new video from Martin Solveig, Big in Japan, the latest to come from this Smash album.

Like his earlier song Hello it features the vocals of Canadian electro-pop act Dragonette.

The video continues the "story" begun with the Hello video, which came out last year and continued with the Initials S.H.E. video, previewing tracks from the Smash album, and the Ready 2 Go video, released earlier this year.

Both were massive international hits, hello reaching the top ten in ten countries, and number one in several charts, Ready 2 go although not reaching such peaks still reaching the US Billboard top 50 and the top 20 in France and the UK Dance charts.

Solveig has been named as one of the producers of Madonna's next studio album. It's a big break for Solveig to be working with such a massive selling artist.

I've always thought that Madonna's career has been as much about her choosing her collaborators well than about her own talent, so I'm sure he'll have a big influence on her sound.

It also comes at a time when she'll be keen to retain her Queen of Pop title, with Lady Gaga seemingly taking on the role of biggest female figure in the music world without too much opposition.

Whether this is the last chapter of Smash I don't know, but one thing that is certain is that Solveig is a bigger star now than his 'manager' Lafaille would ever have hoped for in the videos.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Prix Constantin: Selah Sue

This year's Prix Constantin winner has been announced, and Belgian singer Selah Sue came out as this year's prizewinner with her debut album.

Selah Sue works in a soul/funk fusion style, an urban sound that is as accessible outside France as it is to a French audience.

Her self-titled debut album was released in March 2011, reaching number one across Belgium and the top ten in France.

The announcement the album was the winner was made at the Olympia in Paris on Tuesday October 17.

The award is similar to the UK's Mercury Music Prize, going to an album by an artist who has come to prominence but who has not had major media coverage.

Its the tenth anniversary of the prize, and ten acts had been shortlisted.

Alex Baupain, Brigitte, Cyril Mokaiesh, Lisa Portelli, Sly Johnson, Bertrand Belin, cascadeur, L, and The Shoes were all selected for the finals along with Selah Sue by a jury of 19 music professionals, including journalists and TV and radio producers.

The ten artists performed live and the winner was announced at the end of the show.

Last year's winner was Hindi Zahra with her album Handmade. Previous winners include Mickey 3D, Camille and Emily Loizeau.

Others nominated in previous years inclued Justice, Stromae, Julien Doré, Thomas Dutronc, Grand Corps Malade, Phoenix and even Carla Bruni, all of which have gone on to take their place among the best-know contemporary artists in French music.

There's always some debate about competitions with regard musical artists, and whether in an artistic matter one act can actually ever be said to be 'better' than another, but in terms of introducing artists to a public who might not be aware of them, it's a process that succeeds for both the artists and the audience.

While winning a prize might not necessarily be a guarantee of an immediate A-List music career - remember that with many of the Mercury Award Winners like Roni Size, Gomez and Speech Debelle have not gone on to be household names - the process certainly succeeds in raising awareness about an artist.

The shortlisted acts receive a huge amount of press and media attention and no doubt win over a few more listeners, and while there might only be one overall winner, all ten certainly win in terms of the benefits of the publicity.

Hopefully some of the names shortlisted this year, as well as the winner, will become the big names in years to come. We'll certainly keep a listen.

Radio station France Inter will be broadcasting a special programme on October 24 and there will be TV coverage of the event on France 2 on October 28 and France 4 on November 9.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Elisa Tovati & Tom Dice - Il Nous Faut

I've not been updating with the latest from the Franch charts for the last few weeks on account of them being pretty static, with David Guetta's gradual world domination taking over the Franch charts as much as elsewhere, and the likes on LMFAO sitting in the top areas of the French charts.

However, one exception was the song Il Nous Faut by Elisa Tovati & Tom Dice.

Tovati is an actress who has also been active as a singer since 2002, when she released her debut Ange Étrange.

This song is a duet with Belgian singer Tom Dice, who competed for Belgium in 2010, coming sixth in the competition.

Dice had previously won the country's X Factor in 2008, and released his debut album Teardrops in 2010, a number one album in the Belgian Flemish charts. His song Me and My Guitar was number one across the country the same year.

The song is on Tovati's most recent album, which was released in June 2011, Le Syndrome de Peter Pan. The album, her third, has been ber most successful so far, and the single her biggest hit, with a top five placing in France and reaching the number one position in Belgium.

This week's top five:

1) Mika: Elle me dit
2) Moussier: Tombola Logobitombo
3) Pitbull feat Marc Anthony: Rain Over Me
4) Inna Modja: French cancan
5) Elisa Tovati & Tom Dice Il Nous Faut

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Herman Düne - Tell Me Something I Don't Know

A heads-up for French duo Herman Düne who are touring at the moment, with dates in the UK at the moment and shows in mainland Europe in November.

The band is essentially a duo of David-Ivar Herman Dune, vocals guitar and songwriting and Néman Herman Dune, drums and backing vocals. For their tour their line up is augmented by bass player Ben Pleng.

Herman Düne has been active since 1999, releasing their debut Turn off the Light in 2000. The band have been getting a higher profile since the release of their 2006 album Giant and its follow up Next Year in Zion.

Their most recent album Strange Moosic came out in May 2011, featuring the track Tell Me Something I Don't Know.

It's a great video, featuring an apeparance by the actor who plays Mad Men's Don Draper, Jon Hamm. Hopefully the presence of a genuine Hollywood A-list celeb will get the band a bit more well-deserved exposure.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Adam Cohen - What Other Guy

While his new release is in English, Adam Cohen merits a mention here on account of his previous francophone work.

I've features Thomas Dutronc, as well as Lulu and Charlotte Gainsbourg recently, artists who have carved out their own musical identities while coming from famous musical families.

Of course, while a famous surname can open doors, the weight of expectation can be a burden. How does an artist live up to the high water mark of the last generation?

For Adam Cohen it must be more difficult than most, as the son of Leonard Cohen - to these ears at least the greatest songwriter ever - the standard that he is expected to reach could hardly be higher.

But with his new album, his third, he carries the weigh lightly, both confident in his own ability and at ease with his family legacy.

Cohen, although born in Montreal, spent much of his childhood in France after his parents separated. He was signed as a solo artist in 1997 after he moved to LA, having spent some time in bands in New York.

His self-titled debut album was released in 1998 and in 2004 a French language collection entitled Mélancolista was released. Between then and now Cohen was involved in the band Low Millions.

Cohen now accepts the legacy of his father, performing his work, and has said that his songs on this collection are reminiscent of his father's earlier work, a sound that Cohen senior has long moved away from as he embraced changes in style over the decades.

While his previous projects have met with critical approval, they've never achieved a commercial breakthrough. Cohen, older and wiser, looks set to finally get some of the credit he deserves in his own right for Like a Man.

Adam Cohen is touring extensively in Europe until the end of the year.

Yuksek - Always On The Run

Another single by Yuksek, Always on the Run, the second to come from his second studio album, Living On The Edge Of Time.

The video is by Skinny (Partizan) - David Hache and Marc-Edouard Leon - who were the team behind Kesha's take it off as well as work by Marina and the Diamonds and Cee-Lo.

Living On The Edge Of Time was released earlier this year, this track being a nice blend of indie and electro that showcases his vocals.

Previously he's featured guest vocalists, this album displaying a change in direction towards a more personal and reflective style, more thoughtful and less nightclub, although still obviously influences by a dance music DNA.

It's quite a commercial number, but more of a song than a simple dance product. It's another step in his continuing evolution as an artist who seems to be moving more towards the area of the songwriter having already mastered the art of the producer.

Yuksek - Pierre-Alexandre Busson as he's known to his mum and dad - is touring France in October and has some dates in New York and a couple of UK shows in November.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Editorial: October 2011

Another month along for the Vive le Roq blog, and we're well into prime release time for new music.

There's been some great music released recently and it's been a real pleasure to hear some amazing new material.

Last month has seen releases by Louise Attaque, Justice, Lulu Gansbourg and Thomas Dutronc that strongly make the case for why I started up the blog in the first place.

There's a huge amount of music coming out of France that deserves a listen, and hopefully I'm doing my bit to get a few new ears to some of it.

I've also been working my way through a mountain of vintage vinyl, so I'll be featuring some older francophonish material as well.

Again we've had a good month for visitors, and hopefully October will see another increase. I certainly intend to get as much as I can on the blog over the next few weeks.

Thanks again to some of the artists, record companies and pr people who have been in touch, it is hugely encouraging to get the positive feedback. Special mention has to be made to teh god people at Francophonie Diffusion.

As always I can be contacted by email on johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom. just change the words for the symbol or the dot.

Merci et à bientôt


Friday, 30 September 2011

New: Grand Corps Malade - Inch'allah

A new single by Grand Corps Malade, Inch'allah, coinciding with some extensive live dates across France in October and November.

It's another great track by the artist formerly known as Fabien Marsaud, a duet with Algerian rai artist Reda Taliani.

Taliani has been releasing material since 2000, and has collaborated with other French rappers in the past. He now lives in France, near Marseille, and has become an established figure on the French rap/R'n'B scene.

GCM's usual style isn't one that you would think would blend well with a North African vibe, but the Arab dance rhythms and his lyrical flow fit together well. It's maybe a lesson in integration that the song, with its message of people coming together, friendship and rejection of extremism, carries off well.

I featured another track by Grand Corps Malade earlier this year, Romeo Kiffe Juliette, a great song albeit in a more sober and dry style than Inch'alla

GCM's most recent album 3eme temps came out in 2010, and it has been re-issued to coincide with the tour.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

New: Julien Doré - L'été Summer

A second track from Julien Doré's Bichon album has been released as a single.

L'été Summer, very much a song for the season, is accompanied by a video that, typically for Doré, is not only a massive production but also gives a completely different meaning to the song.

I wouldn't have associated a tune about the end of the summer with the wild west and deserts, but I guess Doré's mind works differently from other people.

For a singer who came to fame after winning the TV show Nouvelle Star, he's gone on to forge a unique career, with more wit and style than other stars who graduated from TV music shows. he seems to have more in common with the likes of Jarvis Cocker than most regular pop stars.

Bichon, Julien Doré's third album, was released in March 2011.

Monday, 26 September 2011

New: IMG - Interdit De Cracher Gallo

I mantioned IMG some months ago on the blog, giving their version of Dans Les Prisons de Nantes a thumbs up.

I'm pleased to hear that the ska punk band's new full length album Interdit De Cracher Gallo has now come out on the Rennes-based label Mass Prod.

The band have a colourful and energetic style, with a rock base to their ska/reggae bounce. Whether its punk, ska or rock doesn't matter one bit, it's fun and hugely accessible and with

While the band sing in Gallo, a historic language of eastern Brittany and parts of Normandy, there's more than just an act giving tradition a modern voice, they're also a great band in their own right.

The band have some live dates in Brittany marking the album release at the end of September and more dates in October. I'm sure their live shows will be as much fun as the album.

Sharp-eyed visitors to the blog will notice that I've already featureed this track as a video link, One thing that we could do with is some more decent video by this band on the likes of youtube!

REM in France: Losing My religion on Taratata

With the announcement that they were finally calling it a day after 30 year career, I thought that it was worth putting up a video from one of REM's final French appearances.

I remember Michael Stipe telling the audience at an early show in the UK how he was met with puzzled looks in France once as he wandered a town in search of the station, asking locals "Ou est la guerre?"

They played their final French show on Augst 28 2008 at the Rock en Seine festival in Paris in 2008, during their tour to promote their Accelerate album.

They also earlier played in Lyon (July 8) and Nice (July 9) and a TV special in March on the Taratata programme.

There's a lot of terrible quality video of the final Paris show available on youtube, as well as a TV clip that could well be from the show, but as it says on screen that its from another festival altogether I can't be sure.

What's certain is that their performance on Tatratata - broadcast on April 2008 - was absolutely tremendous and filmed with the highest production values that anyone could ask for.

They were an extraordinary live band and I followed their releases fanatically until the release of the Monster album. I enjoyed some of their subsequent work, but I don't think they ever reached the same peaks as they did before then.

It could be argued that they should have called it a day after New Adventures in Hi Fi, but in their later years they were still capable of greatness, and they'll certainly be missed.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

New: Coeur de Pirate - Adieu

A new track by Coeur de Pirate, ahead of the release of her second album later this year.

Béatrice Martin, as she's probably more known to her family, is a Canadian singer. She's released one album so far, 2008's self-titled album. It was nominated for a Juno award in Canada for Best Francophone album of the year in 2009.

Her album came out in Europe in 2009, the song Comme des Enfants received the award for best original song in 2010.

The album differed from the Quebec/Canada release, with the song Comme un Infidele sung as a duet with Juliene Doré, the video paying tribute to the French 60s pop scene.

You could imagine Gainsbourg and Birkin or Dutronc and Hardy at the centre of the kind of French Beatlemania celebrated in the video.

Her new song suggests the album is going to be an assured follow up to her debut, with a flavour of classic pop but with a modern outlook.

Her new album Blonde is out on November 14, and she plays dates in France in November and December.

Monday, 19 September 2011

David Guetta: Nothing But The Beat

I've not got round to a mention of the new David Guetta album Nothing But The Beat so far, time to put that right. Not that he exactly need my help in promoting an album that already seems like a greatest hits collection on account of several of the tracks already having had such a massive success as singles.

I expect that there will be more singles from the album, and I'm sure they'll be huge as well.

Meanwhile, in the latest chapter in the Guetta story, on Saturday the Grand Rex theatre in Paris hosted the premier of the film Nothing But the Beat, a documentary covering his career from underground DJ to international superstar.

The film is a collaboration between David Guetta and burn - an energy drink from Coca Cola - and it tells his story through interviews with him and with friends, family and collaborators.

Those involved include, Kelly Rowland, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Taio Cruz and Usher, as well as dance music legends Norman Cook, Laurent Garnier, David Morales and Pete Tong.

It tracks the role Guetta played in the creation of the cross-over genre of house blended with pop, hip-hop and R&B, taking his music and the work of others to new audiences and new generations.

"Nothing But the Beat" the movie, is a burn production in association with What A Music, filmmakers Partizan (Be Kind Rewind, Part of the Weekend Never Dies) and innovation house Deviant Ventures.

David Guetta, who was at the screening with his wife Cathy, said: "Working with burn on Nothing But the Beat has given me the opportunity to share this journey and I hope it will inspire anyone who has talent or dreams to follow them. I have been chasing mine since I was a teenager, and it still feels like it's only the beginning for me."

Dan White, global group director for burn at the Coca-Cola Company said: "The burn brand believes in inspiring action with those who want to leave their creative mark on the world.

"David Guetta personifies this spirit in everything that he does and the more we got to know him and what he stands for, the more compelled we felt to share his story with fans across the globe."

Guetta has gone from the DJ booth at clubs to massive arenas and outdoor festivals. Since he produced I Gotta Feeling for the Black Eyed Peas and released his fourth studio album 'One Love' in August 2009, Guetta has sold over three million albums and 20 million singles,

Guetta's fifth album Nothing But The Beat came out last month, featuring tracks like Sweat (with Snoop Dogg), Where Them Girls At (With Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj) and Little Bad Girl (Featuring Taoi Cruz and Ludacris) has seen

Other tracks feature Usher, Akon, Chris Brown and Jessie J.

Needless to say though, the track that stands our for this listener is the track Glasgow, very much a Daft Punk flavoured electro work from disc two of the collection which has overall a less commercial flavour than the first disc which features the celebrity collaborations.

Guetta played at Glasgow's Braehead Arena in April 2011, and has played in the city several times in his career. Strange to think that the tune will now make more people around the world aware of the city than any marketing campaign ever could.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Rétro: AC/DC in Paris, 1979

Another gratuitous AC/DC mention, with some footage from the band's December 1979 Pavillon de Paris gig.

The gig was filmed, eventually coming out as Let There Be Rock, The Movie.

The film initially came out in 1980 and was released on video, eventually being released on DVD and Blu Ray in 2011. The soundtrack, with the additional track TNT came out as two discs of the band's Bonfire box set in 1997.

The band were filmed during their Highway to Hell tour, which followed the release of their sixth album. It was to be their final tour with Bon Scott, who died in February the following year.

The band, although by then big enough to play arena sized venues such as the 10,000 capacity Pavillon de Paris, were still some way off becoming the iconic act that they are today. Although one of the top rock acts, the success of Back in Black that established them with an audience far beyond the die-hard rock fan was still some way off.

The band's French connection would in later years be continued, with the For Those About to Rock album being recorded in Paris.

So here is one of the world's best rock bands at their peak, rocking a French audience. What other reason does it need to be included in this blog.

Rétro: Trust and AC/DC

If there is one band who I can point to as setting off my interest in French music, it has to be Trust.

During an early trip to France as a teenage metal fan, I heard a band that made me realise that not only was there a world of music outside the English speaking enclave, but some of those acts there were amazing.

Of course, for a teenage metal head, Trust were an obvious starting point, influenced as they were heavily by English speaking acts, AC/DC in particular.

I'll write more about Trust at some point. In the meantime, I'm thinking a lot about AC/DC with the opening of an exhibition about the band opening in Glasgow this weekend.

AC/DC were friends of Trust, and AC/DC's legendary vocalist Bon Scott duetted with Trust, on a version of Ride On recorded in 1980 in London just days before his death.

Its worth remembering that at the time AC/DC were not the massive multinational that they are today, and although very much in the premier league of rock bands, they were not so widely known outside a rock audience as they are today.

Trust recorded covers of Ride On on their 1979 debut album, as well as live versions of Problem Child and Live Wire recorded during their 1980 tour and released on their 1992 live album documenting that tour.

However, the Trust song Ton Dernier Acte stands as a powerful tribute to Scott, a close friend of Trust vocalist Bernie Bonvoisin. The song came out on the band's 1981 Marche ou Crève album. There was also an English language version, Your Last Gig, on the English language version of the album, re-named Savage.

The band are so infused by the spirit of AC/DC that it sounds exactly like something Bon Scott would have sung. It's not a question of imitation or impersonation, instead a genuine mark of respect forged by friendship and loss.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

DJ Mehdi

Some terrible news with the sudden death of DJ Mehdi.

Mehdi was a key member of the Ed Banger collective and had worked with Justice, Cassius, Uffie and Chromeo.

He is reported to have died in an accident in his home that left another two people in hospital. It is thought that part of the floor of a level of his flat collapsed. He was 34.

Mehdi, whose full name is Mehdi Favéris-Essadi, established his reputation on the Paris underground hip hop scene, and moved on to work with more electro-orientated and cross-genre artists as well as have a successful solo career.

While his track I Am Somebody became well known in the US after its use in a commercial, his work with Uffie on a cover of Tom Tom Club's Wordyrappinghood became widely recognised in the UK after it was used in a commercial for Evian mineral water.

Mehdi is survived by his wife, model and graffiti artist Fafi.

A statement is expected later from Ed Banger Records.

New: Justice - Audio, Video, Disco

A second single has been released by Justice, ahead of their album which is expected in October 24,

The song is the title track of the album, Audio, Video Disco.

It follows the release of Civilisation in March this year.

The album, on Because records, is certainly much anticipated, and if the two tracks that have been released so far are anything to go by it will certainly exceed expectations.

Consider how their 2007 debut has become one of the most influential French albums in recent years, it's surprising to think that this is only actually their second proper full album.

The band have been involved in producing and remixing other acts - collecting a Grammy for their remix of MGMT - and have released a live album and film and have toured extensively.

The new song marks a more rock orientated sound to the band, the band saying in an interview it was like "a progressive rock record, played by guys that don't know how to play."

When I wrote about Justice in March, I said: "Justice go far beyond any conventional understanding of what constitutes 'dance music', 'techno', 'house music' or 'club music', and inhabit an area that is both avant-garde and experimental but immediately understandable." I stand by it, and this new track confirms my opinion I reckon.

The video sets them in a more conventional rock setting, albeit in a highly stylised one. It's a far more complicated piece of video than it first appears.

The next chapter in the Justice story is being written, and yet again it looks like essential reading.

Monday, 5 September 2011

New: Louise Attaque - Du Monde Tout Autour

An unreleased track has surfaced by the band Louise Attaque, coming out as a single ahead of their forthcoming 'best of' compilation.

The Parisian band's 15-year career saw the release of three albums, their 1997 self-titled debut featuring songs like Léa, La Brune and Ton Invitation, as well as J't'Emmène Au Vent, all work that established them as one of the most significant names in French music in the 1990s.

They were inspired by left-field US rock band The Violent Femmes, which led not only to the band's name and Violent Femmes member Gordon Gano producing both their debut and second album Comme On A Dit.

The band split for a few years before their third, 2005's A Plus Crocodile, the band calling a halt to things a couple of years later.

Along the way they picked up a Victoire de la musique award in 1999 as band of the year, Rock Album of the Year for Comme on a dit in 2000 and Pop/rock Album of the Year in 2006 for A Plus Crocodile.

So while a career that only spanned three albums might not seem much for a 'best of' compilation, their three albums were so outstanding that there's no shortage of first-rate material to fit on one disc.

A new track by the band is certainly welcome, and while its unlikely that the band will reconvene on a more permanent basis, it shows that there's certainly a demand for them to do so should they ever want to.

The track Du Monde Tout Autour was recorded in the studio after singer/songwriter Gaëtan Roussel, now a solo artist who released his debut Ginger in 2010 got back together with his former bandmates to record the track.

The Best of compilation is released in October.

Friday, 2 September 2011

New: Arnaud Rebotini

A new previously unreleased track by electronic artist Arnaud Rebotini.

Rebotini has been active as a member of Black Strobe, an act formed in the late 90s that were very much influenced by industrial electronica bands like Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb, releasing their first album proper Burn Your Own Church in 2007. They have also worked on remix and production projects with a huge variety of artists including Depeche Mode, Bloc party, David Guetta and Rammstein.

Rebotini has remixed Noir Desir for their 1998 One Trip/One Noise album under the name Zend Avesta.

His solo debut Music Components was released in 2009, making full use of analogue synth equipment to produce and experimental electronics, recorded at his own studio over a period of three days.

His most recent album Someone Gave Me Religion came out in May this year,and two EPs were also released, Personal Dictator and All You Need is Techno, each of these releases featuring a variety of mixes of these tracks.

It's a brilliant album, modern but with the innovative spirit of earlier electronic music innovators.

Worth listening to on the strength of the track The First Thirteen Minutes of Love, a piece very much in keeping with work by synth pioneers of the 1970s like Tangerine Dream, although closer to their darker work on albums like Logos than their more upbeat soundtrack material they later became better known for.

Rebotini is performing live in Moscow on September 9 and in Hamburg on September 17.