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.

Jean Michel Jarre - AeroDream One

An extraordinary new release from Jean Michel Jarre, with the announcement from Jarre technologies of the lauch of what it describes as 'The ultimate tower station' iPod dock.

The new AeroDream One is a staggering 3.4 metres high, weighs just under a monumental 400kg and has a total power output of 10,000 watts. Helpfully, theres' a ladder included to allow the user to climb to the top and attach their iPod, iPhone or iPad. Its even compatible with the iPod Nano.

In teasers on facebook, the company had suggested "Let your dreams reach inaccessible heights" and "Think big. Dream HUGE." The hype certainly matches the reality!

Jarre Technologies is a company set up by Jean Michel Jarre in 2005 to explore the possibilities of taking his work in sound and vision technology and applying it to the development of cutting edge consumer home entertainment devices.

They were launched at the the IFA consumer electronics fair last year, and this year took the opportunity to reveal the latest (and largest) item in their range.

They unveiled the AeroSystem One dock system last year with the concept of restoring the quality to sound that had been compromised in the rush to make music more portable.

The AeroSystem One was developed with the purpose of retrieving and restoring the lost sound, bridging the gap between the meticulous recording process and the consumption of the music at home.

At the time of its release, Jarre said: "With the progress of technology, the conditions of recording music in the studio have advanced considerably, whereas the means of listening in general have not ceased to regress: the vinyl has been replaced by the CD, largely inferior in quality, which has now given way to even more low-grade MP3 files. We have progressively lost our emotional rapport with sound."

The AeroSytem One is a tower system that delivers stereo sound from a single point with its multidirectional speakers. It is an incredibly elegant device, as much sculpture as it is state of the art music system, able to handle sound from iPod or MP3 player or CD or even vinyl turntable sources.

While its price, just under 800 Euros puts it in the top end of the market, its certainly not prohibitive given of the prices of many other home entertainment devices, never mind those of high end entertainment systems command. Many homes having TVs alone that cost far more. Just a question of priorities for those wanting either top quality music playback or wanting to watch cable TV on a 48 inch plasma TV I suppose.

Of course, they are luxury items, as the endeavour to attain the highest possible standard of sound playback is not cheap, but not so elitist that they are unattainable.

While my pockets are certainly not deep enough at the moment to snap up the new devices, if anyone wants to give me one to try out I'd certainly give it a good workout!

The range has been increased with the AeroPad One and the Aeropad Two devices, both promising a similar sound experience but without the tower style. These are expected to be available from February 2012.

Of course, the AeroDream One takes things to a new level, and I suspect there are few whose budget would stretch to the 400,000 euro price tag, but it would certainly be an interesting item in the living room, although it might need a larger than average living room to make it feel at home. And deaf neighbours.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

New: Lulu Gainsbourg - L'eau à la bouche

A song by Serge Gainsboug reinterpreted by his son Lulu today, coming a few days after 15,000 people attended a Gainsbourg Tribute concert at the Hollywood Bowl opened by Lulu Gainsbourg, and with the likes of Beck, Sean Lennon and Faith no More's Mike Patton on the bill.

There seems to have been in the last week a few children of French artists being featured here, and it is remarkable how they have done.

Lulu Gainsbourg, 25, has studied music at the Berkelee College of Music in Boston and currently lives in New York.

I've always thought that one of the strengths of Gainsboug pere's work is how well the songs stand up to re-interpretation, whether Serge's own reggae versions or covers by the likes of Birkin or her own arabesque versions of his work.

The track comes from his forthcoming debut album From Lulu to Gainsbourg, which comes out in November.

The album features including a version of Bonnie and Clyde as a duet with Scarlett Johannson as well as contributions by Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp, Iggy Pop, Marianne Faithfull, Rufus Wainwright, and Matthieu Chedid.

Lulu is playing some dates in France and Belgium in November, where we'll get the chance to hear the versions live.

Editorial: September 2011

A welcome to September and la rentrée for those lucky enough to be away for August.

It's been another busy few weeks on the blog, with again a record number of visitors over the last month, building on the visitors that came the previous month.

While a few posts were put up while I was away, it was great to see that a huge number of visitors were continuing to come to the site while I wasn't able to keep as close a watch over it as usual.

Still, there was plenty of material well worth featuring, both new and old, from the world of French music.

There are a few big releases in the pipeline for September, and I'll be keeping an eye on these.

I'll also be looking at a very interesting collection of vintage vinyl that has come my way, thanks to the family of a close friend who passed away some months ago. There are some absolute gems there from the more experimental and progressive areas of French music.

In the meantime, the amount of great French music that has been getting released has been amazing, and I've had the chance to hear some wonderful things.

As always I can be contacted by email on johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom.

Merci et à bientôt