Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Murat: Noël à la maison

I'm continuing the festive season for the next few days with some festive French tunes.

Here's a track by Jean-Louis Murat, Noël à la maison. It was later covered by Florent Marchet on his Noël's Songs release that came out in 2011 either as a digital release or with the reissue of his Courchevel album.

The track comes from his Sentiment Nouveau Ep from 1992, and surfaced again on his Face Nord compilation, a collection that was issued by Les Inrocks magazine.

For good measure, and in the Christmas spirit of generosity, here's a live version of Florent Marchet performing the song at the Café de la Dance in 2011.Tthere's no doubt that they're both enchanting versions of a wonderful song.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Jacques Dutronc - La Fille Du Père Noël

Continuing our festive feel for the season with this vintage classic from the king of vintage gallic cool, Jacques Dutronc.

This song originally came out in 1966, and appeared on his eponymous debut album, although it's also known as Les Play-Boys and Et moi, et moi, et moi after its two best known hits. Dutronc's early albums were all eponymous.

It's a hard edged R&B track that stands the test of time well, and you can hear similarities with the likes of David Bowie's Jean Genie which came out a few years later and the kind of riff pioneered by Bo Diddley a few years before.

Dutronc delivers the lyrics with a swaggering cool that makes it all the funnier, with the 60s staging of the song adding to the vintage silliness.

There's another clip online of a later version of the song, with Dutronc performing this song more like Iggy Pop would have done. Not surprisingly, the song stands up well, probably down to the song's garage rock sound.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Magma: The last seven minutes #endoftheworld

With the end of the world due shortly, there's just time left to listen to Magma's epic The Last Seven Minutes.

The track originally appeared on the 1978 ATTAHK album, which marked a more funk informed zeuhl sound, less dark and heavy that its predecessors

This version comes from the DVD Mythes & Légendes vol.3.

Normal service will be resumed shortly if we're spared.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Wall of death: From hell with love

A video for the track From Hell with Love by the band Wall of death.

The song has the strange qualities of a Leonard Cohen song covered by an underground heavy psych band for whom English isn't their native language.

There's a feeling that there's something wonderful here that's just out of reach, and can only be fully understood by repeated listening at a terrifying volume.

The track has a spacy yet driving sound reminiscent of the likes of Hawkwind, although Wall of Death are more focused on condensing their Lemmy-era explorations into precision engineered blasts from the beyond.

Even the video reflects some of the aesthetics of the era, with everything turned up to the maximum yet the central figure remaning detatched and cool.

Wall of Death are a three piece from Paris, namecheck the likes of psych pioneers the 13th Floor elevators, the Electric Prunes to 80s underground local champions The Jesus and Mary chain.

I have a feeling I'll be listening to this band a lot, and I suspect they're an intense live proposition.

The track comes from the band's debut album Main obsession, which was released in October on Born Bad Records.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Hello Bye Bye: Let's live happy waiting for our dying day

With the end of the world expected before the weekend, a good excuse for a the track  Let's live happy waiting for our dying day by Bordeaux band Hello Bye Bye.

The track came out one a six track ep released at the beginning of this month, which includes two parts of this track and a very fine cover of the Pixies classic Where is my Mind.

Hello Bye Bye released their rebut album in 2010 and have played live extensively, developing their sound that sits somewhere in a fertile interzone between electro and rock.

They give credit to the Charlatans, Chemical Brothers and Scorpio Rising era Death in Vegas, and while they don't exactly sound like any of these acts, you can see the connection in the way they fuse sounds together, or as they put it, their inability to choose between speaking to the body and speaking to the heart.

A video for the track  Let's live happy waiting for our dying day is being filmed on Saturday and Sunday. If the world still exists, as the band note...

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Indochine: Memoria

A new video by Indochine, with the release of the track Memoria ahead of the release of their next album.

The song's been about for a few weeks, but the video clip has only just surfaced.

Indochine are something of an alternative rock institution in France, having survived and grown from the new wave scene of the early 80s to an act that not only fill arena sized venues, but continue to release interesting work.

Their debut album came out in 1982, and established a reputation on the strength of their songs and theor live performances. Their 1985 album 3 sold over 750,000 copies.

The band had something of a second wind after the turn of the millennium, with the Paradize album released in 2002. The band marked the 10th anniversary of the release with concerts at le Zénith in Paris.

Their last album La République des Meteors came out in 2009, their subsequent tour saw them playing at the Stade de France in 2010

Indochine release their new album - their 12th - Black City Parade in February 2013. They have also confirmed an extensive series of tour dates in 2013, with shows in February, March and April, and others in October, November and December.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Kavinsky: Protovision

A new track from Kavinsky, with the song Protovision coming out ahead of an album to be released next year.

It's another slice of electro noir, brooding and atmospheric.

Kavinsky's best known for the track Nightcall from the film Drive, and while this doesn't stray a million miles from that track, that's no bad thing by any measure.

Kavinsky's work is reminiscent of the soundtrack work by the likes of Tangerine Dream in the early 80s. Similarly you could imagine the track on an 80s TV show like Miami Vice, a show that was originally to feature Tangerine Dream's music in the titles.

There's a nod to Night Rider and Terminator in the video, and the music has a similar retro futurist feel.

Kavinsk's album Outrun is expected to be released next year.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Grammy Awards - M83: Wait

With the details of the shortlist for this year's Grammy Awards released, it's encouraging to see some French artists in the running.

True, there are 80 categories so statistically it would be more of a surprise if there weren't any, but yet again its good to see some French acts getting recognition in the US.

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming by M83 gets a nomination in the Best Alternative Music Album, up against the likes of Bjork and Tom Waites, not to mention Fiona Apple and Gotye.

Amadou & Mariam get a nomination in the Best World music category for the Folila album. Woodkid get a nomination for best short form video for Run Boy Run.

There are also nominations in the best solo classical vocal category for Nathalie Dessay and in the Best original film soundtrack for Ludovic Bource for The Artist.

Meanwhile, another track by M83 gets an official music video. This time its the track Wait that gets the bog screen attention.

It's a suitably cosmic affair for a band that is, after all, named after an astronomical object listed by 18th century French astronomer Charles Messier, the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy. The music is as epic as it always was, and the 2001: A Space Odyssey style of the video are certainly appropriate.

It's another track from their sixth album Hurry up We're Dreaming, an album that even so long after its original release continues to win over critics and new fans alike.

The winners of the Grammy Awards will be announced at the award ceremony on February 10.

Friday, 7 December 2012

M: Mojo in the Metro

A great clip of M playing at the Jaurès Metro station in Paris.

He spoke about playing at the Metro station, about how it was great to become part of people's everyday lives, and how the metro was symbollic because it was a place where people were going from one place to another, where it's not stylish but where you're really face to face with people without any filter.

It must have been quite an experience to see one of France's biggest stars - and most celebrated live performers - playing in an environment like that.

The performance in the street echoes the official video for the song,featuring as it did Matthieu Chedid and his musicians performing in the streets of Paris with passers by and dancers.

His album ÎL, which featured the track Mojo, was released last month.

Alizée: A cause de l'automne

The video for Alizée's new song A cause de l'automne has emerged, just in time for the golden leaves of autumn to be replaced by the harsh ice and snow of winter.

Not sure why there was such a delay in the video coming out. The video and the song have a strong 60s retro feel, so maybe it just took as long to put these things together as it did back then.

Also strange that the official YouTube posting of the video is restricted to France only, considering she's got a pretty wide international following.

I suppose the issue is that perhaps the record company are keen to ensure she's established as a credible artist, which can't be easy for a singer whose initial celebrity was established on her youth.

A cause de l'automne was originally a song in English titled Never Again,  written by Pete Russell.

Alizée is of course best known as the former protégée of Mylène Farmer. She worked with Farmer and her musical parter Laurent Boutonnat after she won TV talent show Graines de Star in 1999.

Her song Moi...Lolita from was one of the biggest selling singles in France, and unusually for a French language song it reached the top ten in the UK.

Alizée collaborated with Laurent Boutonnat and Mylène Farmer on her first two albums Gourmandises in 2001 and Mes Courants Électriques in 2003.

Alizée's last album, her fourth, entitled Une Enfant Du Siècle, came out in 2010. The album was a more electro-styled collection, it seems that her fifth sees a return to a more song-based style.

Her new album, which sees her working with Jean-Jacques Goldman, BB Brunes and Thomas Boulard had been expected to come out in October, but it now seems that an early 2013 release date is more likely.

French Music Podcast UK: new series

A new series of French Music Podcast UK begins tonight on French Radio London.

Listen online from 8pm GMT or get the podcast here 

The show's been an essential listen, presenter Parris bringing some of the best tunes that are coming from France. There's always a wide mix of styles, from the unsigned to the classics, presented in plain English

Earlier editions of the podcast - going back to 2010 = are also available to listen to at the link above, and if you've not listened in before, be sure to check them out,

Don't forget that the French Music Podcast UK has been nominated for a European Podcast Award 2012 in the 'non-profit' category. You can vote for them until January 2013, so be sure to help give the show the recognition that it deserves.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Mylène Farmer: À l'ombre video

It's taken a few weeks for the video for the new Mylène Farmer single to emerge, but it's been worth the wait.

For an artist like Mylène Farmer, the video is always a big deal. Much of her reputation came from her pioneering work in the medium in her early years, and this video, like those, was directed by long-term collaborator Laurent Boutonnat.

The song emerged at the end of October, and its already crept into the top five in France, and I'm sure that with the video raising its profile along with the release of her long awaited album finally out, there's more than a chance that it will add to her score of 12 number one singles in France.

Her new album Monkey me is released this week, more on that later on the blog this week.

Her Timeless tour dates next year sees her playing to over 300,000 fans, with shows in Moscow and Saint Petersburg setting a record for ticket sales in Russia. Some more dates, the final ones to be added, have been confirmed for September, October and December 2013.

Live: Sébastien Tellier - Blue Tour

The UK gets a taste of Sébastien Tellier's blue wave as he begins a series of dates around the country.

Tellier's been in a messianic mode recently, with his talk of the L’Alliance Bleue movement. It apparently involves the world being transformed into something better, and although he's been vague about what exactly the movement entails, he's refused to compare it to a cult, instead saying that it's a movement based on imagination and tenderness.

His cryptic Blue Messages have continued throughout his extensive tour. Recent pronouncements have included: "Our domain shelters vast spaces of liberty. They are one of the societal forces of L'Alliance Bleue" and "Do not underestimate the power of euphoria."

Meanwhile, his music has taken on an unashamedly epic and grand feel, which will no doubt translate well into the live setting.

Tellier released his My God is Blue album in April, and three singles have been released since then, Pépito Bleu, Cochon Ville and Russian Attractions. Both the Pépito Bleu and the Cochon Ville videos have caused controversy, the first being interpreted as being drug-related, the second for its adult content.

A series of remixes of Russian Attractions and the track Sedulous from the album have been released this week. It features three new versions of Sedulous, by Mickey, Drop The Lime amd Equateur, and the versions of Russian Attractions are by Scratch Massive and the three winners of The Alliance Bleue Remix Contest, La Belle Epoque, Marlin, and Axel Le Baron.

Tellier's live dates in the UK are:

05/12 : O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London
06/12 : Coalition, Brighton
07/12 : The Cockpit Leeds
09/12 : The Arches, Glasgow

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Scott Walker: Pola X

With the release of the new album Bish Bosch by Scott Walker this week, another excuse to reflect on his involvement with French culture.

Walker was involved in the soundtrack for the 1999 Leos Carax movie Pola X, later releasing a CD of his work, along with additional tracks by other artists featured, including Sonic Youth and Smog.

The film starred Guillaume Depardieu, Yekaterina Golubeva and Catherine Deneuve. It was based on a novel by Herman Melville entitled Pierre: or, The Ambiguities, the acronym of which gives the film its title.

It explores the relationship between a man played by Depardieu and his mother, his fiancée and a woman he finds out is his sister.

A longer version of the film, made into three parts and entitled Pierre ou les ambiguïtés was shown on Arte in 2001.

Carax had already established his reputation as one of France's most significant directors with his 1991 film Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. He had already made the films Boy Meets Girl in '84 and bad Blood in '86. His most recent film was 2012's Holy Motors.

Editorial: December 2012

Another month that saw a steady number of visitors to the site again, thousands visiting the site over the last four weeks.

While there might not have been as many posts as I'd have liked, there have been some exceptional releases over the past few weeks, with some of the biggest names in French music getting new material released just ahead of the crucial Christmas market.

M, Johnny Hallyday, Nolwenn Leroy and Françoise Hardy, not to mention Mylène Farmer have all been filling the racks of the local music store and flooding the download pipes of iTunes. Or something like that.

There are more releases due in the next few weeks, before things go a bit quiet for the final week of the year.I'll also be getting my thoughts together to determine which release gets the much coveted Vive le roq album of the year award.

Anyway, thanks again to those who have been in touch, I can be contacted on johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, and you can follow vive le roq on twitter at @viveleroq

Until next time,

Merci et à bientôt


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Sexion d'Assaut: J'reste debout

A new video from Sexion d'Assaut, the giants of French hip hop, another track from their album L'Apogée.

L'Apogée was released earlier this year, and has gone on to be probably the biggest French rap album ever. It has already sold triple platinum and with the continued release of songs as singles it certainly seems to have plenty of commercial life left in it.

A new edition of the CD sees it released with a bonus disc of six out-takes.

The video for the single was shot at Bercy in Paris and previews a Live à Bercy CD and DVD that was released earlier this month.

They have some live dates before the end of the year, and tour extensively in France, Switzerland in March, April and May next year.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Lescop: Marlène

A new video from Lescop, for the song Marlène. It's another track from the artist whose eponymous debut release that came out last month.

Lescop's work is often compared to Joy Division, and on the surface you can see a link, with its post-punk propelled poetry.

I wrote about Lescop last month with the release of the album, and if anything I think its grown on me hugely.

Repeated listening to the collection reveals its full cinematic qualities, caverous and haunted but with a driving urgent quality.

Lescop's previous musical outing with Asyl saw him explore the more art-informed end of the punk spectrum, simultaneously earthy and literate, in the interzone where Iggy Pop meets Dostoyevsky.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Françoise Hardy: L'amour fou

A live performance of the track Pourquoi vous, from the new album L'amour fou by Françoise Hardy.

Hardy has been one of France's best known female performers since her career began in the early 1960s. Her song Tous les garçons et les filles was one of the biggest hits of the yé-yé era.

Her style saw her achieve an iconic status that hasn't diminished over the years

Hardy's career saw her move to a more thoughtful music, performing in a number of languages including English, interpreting songs by the likes of Gainsbourg and Leonard Cohen, and performing with the likes of Blur and Iggy Pop.

She also pursued her interest in astrology and published her autobiography in 2008.

Her music's always had a timeless quality, to the point that I thought for some time her early 70s album "If you listen" was one of her recent releases after she re-emerged with her 1996 album Le Danger.

Since then she's recorded several albums, including Clair Obscur that featured duets with other snigers including her husband Jacques Dutronc, a  Victoires de la musique award on the back of the success of 2004's Tand de belles choses collection, a Grande Médaille de la chanson française award in 2006 followed by another collection of duets, the platinum selling (Parenthèses…) album, featuring amongst others Alain Delon, Alain Bashung and Julio Iglesias.

Her last release was 2010's La pluie sans parapluie album.

The album L'amour fou was released earlier this month, coinciding with a novel of the same title.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Nolwenn Leroy: Juste pour me Souvenir

A look ahead to a new release by Nolwenn Leroy later this month, the track Juste pour me Souvenir from the forthcoming album Ô Filles de l'Eau.

Her last album Bretonne, released in 2010, saw the former Star Academy winner establish herself as a major star in France. The album took traditional Breton and celtic songs along with modern works of a similar style, going to number one in France's album chart for eight weeks and one of the biggest selling albums of 2011.

Nolwenn won the second series of Star academy, releasing her debut album in 2003. That album was a platinum seller, and she also scored a number one single with Cassé, the success of Star Academy no doubt helping establish her career. But the longevity of her career is more down to her own talent rather than the work of TF1.

It's hard to imaging a singer from a reality show in the UK having the same success with an album of songs in gaelic.

The song suggests Nolwenn will be continuing the modern folk pop sound of Bretonne, the songs on a theme of the sea.

The album Ô Filles de l'Eau is release on November 26, and Nolwenn also gives her voice to the character of the Tooth Fairy (La Fée des dents) in the French version of the new Dreamworks animated film Rise of the Guardians, a role played by Isla Fisher in the English version of the film.

Nolwenn Leroy plays some dates in France in December, including three nights at the Olympia in Paris.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Johnny Hallyday: L'Attente

I'm sure for many a new album by Johnny Hallyday would be met with little more than a shrug of the shoulders.  More of the same, no surprises here, nothing worth writing about.

But Johnny merits more than this, and not just out of nostalgia or giving him the benefit of his status. For a British listener, if anything Johnny's history and celebrity is more of an obstacle as it's a history we're not part of and a celebrity we're not generally aware of.

We're left with a singer, with one of the most exceptional voices in rock, and whatever musical resources he could want at his disposal, from songwriters to musicians.

Meanwhile, the voice remains in excellent form, despite scares in recent years that medical damage could have taken its toll.

While his work doesn't have the stark bleakness of late-period Johnny Cash, Hallyday was never all about that. The album's an affirmation that for his age, Johnny's in apparently good shape and in a good place.

johnny could have chosen to take it easy and just rehashed some of his past glories, but I don't think that as an artist this course of action would have satisfied him. Even now he's trying new songs, new work and tour dates that see him playing new places.

Of course, there are those who point to the disappointing sales of Jamais Seul as evidence of a talent on the wane. However, this should be seen in the light of all album sales being disappointing now, with speculation that the very concept of an album released on CD might be coming to the end of its tenure as a viable medium. remember that Rihanna, one of the biggest artists internationally at the moment, topped the UK album charts in August with under 10,000 physical and online sales, a UK all time low for a number one.

But the real test is not in sales of the album, or even what the critics think. At the end of the day, it it how the album compares to his other work. While not groundbreaking, L'attente is a collection that holds its head up well amidst one of the most extensive back catalogues in modern music.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

M: Îl

A new release from M, with his sixth full studio album, entitled Îl coming out in France.

The single Mojo was released in September, followed by a video a few weeks later.

The album was recorded in Los Angeles earlier this year.

His last full release was 2009 Mister Mystère, he's been far from idle since with the sountrack for Un monstre à Paris last year and a live album the previous year, not forgetting his collaborative work with Johnny Hallyday on his Jamais Seul collection.

In his career so far, Matthieu Chedid has picked up eight Victoires de la musique awards, along with a César Award for soundtrack work, and it would be no surprise if there are more awards ahead for one of France's most highly regarded and talented contemporary artists.

His live dates in France next year are certainly going to be one of the most anticipated shows of the year.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

November 11: Armistice Day

A post to mark November 11, Armistice Day.

This year, Johnny Hallyday's cover of the French resistance classic le Chant des Partisans.

The song was written by Anna Marly during the war, and was adopted by the French Free Forces and the Resistance fighters in France.

I posted last year about how 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 adorning  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.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Rétro: Anthrax - Antisocial

Trust's best known song was convered by US thrash act Anthrax on their 1988 album State of Euphoria, an album that came out when the band were probably at their commercial peak.

I'm sure many of their fans were unaware of the song's French origins, originally appearing on Trust's 1980 Répression album.

I have to say that for my money the Trust version is far superior, with a poetic lyric that is spat out with suitable venom.

The Anthrax cover reminds me of an American remake of a French film, the grit and emotional punch replaced by glossier production values and bigger effects. And, despite whatever reservations I might have, a far bigger audience.

However, the song did get exposure to a whole new international audience, it was probably down to the Anthrax cover that the song appeared as a track on the Guitar Hero video game.

Anthrax continue to tour, currently featuring a line up that's closer to what was regarded as their classic line up than they've had for many years. I saw them a few years ago, and Antisocial remained the high point of their set.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Mr President: The best is yet to come

While this wasn't Barack Obama's official campaign song, it really should have been.

I know I featured this song on the blog before, when it was released last year, but given the US election result there's certainly call for it to get an airing again.

I'm sure some broadcaster will use it for the soundtrack of a montage of scenes of the election night drama.

Mr President is a project by Bruno 'Patchworks' Hovart, exploring vintage funk and soul with an authenticity that belies his French origins.

Favourite Fecordings have release an EP collection of Patchwork's 12' extended remixes, and a compilation of material from the label Favourite All-Stars Vol 4 is released in December featuring the track Left and Right by Mr President.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Scott Walker sings Jacques Brel

With the release of his new album Bish Bosch, Scott Walker continues his exploration of the furthest frontiers of song.

While as an artist he has progressed immesurably since his work with the Walker Brothers in the 1960s made him a star, his solo albums, starting with 1967's Scott featuring his interpretations of Jacques Brel songs made clear his intentions as a serious artist.

The work of Jacques Brel would undepin Walker's early solo career, and also influence his own work at the time.

Scott featured Mathilde, My Death and Amsterdam, along with other covers and original material. Brel songs would feature on his subsequent two solo releases, Scott 2 featuring Jackie, Next and The Girls and the Dogs and Scott 3 included Sons of, Funeral Tango and If You Go Away.

By Scott 3, the Brel songs were the only covers on the album, with all the other material written by Walker himself. His subsequent Scott 4 collection would be all original material.

Walker's career would subsequently take strange directions, with albums of easy listening covers (his 'Sings songs from his TV series' came out between Scott 3 and 4) and a re-convening of the Walker Brothers in the 70s, before his muse would take him in his current direction.

Interesting that a singer who was part of the Easy Listening scene of the 70s should be an artist producing such genuinely harrowing work in the 21st century.

Walker's recordings of Brel became for many the definitive versions of these songs in the English language, and have informed other artists who have subsequently performed his work in English, from David Bowie to Marc Almond.

Walker's Brel covers from his first three albums were collected in a compilation in 1981, Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel. The album also included the track Little Things (That Keep Us Together), one of walker's own works. This track was omitted from the subsequent CD reissue of the collection.

Interestingly, he performed a few other Brel songs, including Alone, during his TV show. Recordings of these have not been made available.

Jackie was a number 22 hit in the UK in 1968, despite being banned by the BBC for its lyrical content.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Zebda: Une vie de moins

A song by Zebda, and its associated video, has caused a row for political reasons.

The song Une vie de moins pays tribute to the residents of Gaza, the Palestinian enclave currently under a blockade from Israel.

Lyrics for the song were written by French scholar Jean-Pierre Filiu, a lecturer at the Sciences Po Paris and an expert on middle eastern affairs. he's written several books about the subject is Islam and Palestine, his most recent being Histoire de Gaza. He also wrote a book about Jimi Hendrix in 2008.

Zebda have always been a politically engaged act, and for my money this is the best thing they've done, simple and hugely affecting.

The song was released last month, and has already caused a reaction.

However, the song has been met with criticism from the organisation Conseil représentation des institutions juives de France, who say that it risks promoting hatred of Israel and that the song and the video are anti-Israeli propaganda.

The situation in Gaza remains one of the most politically charged in the world. Whether pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli, the only real position worth taking is one that values human life and promotes peace. Hopefully this song and video goes some way towards that.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Editorial: November 2012

As winter begins tuning up, another month begins.

OK, so I've not been the best at keeping up with posts over the past month, but we're entering November with some great releases either just out or coming out shortly.

highlight of last month? Lescop. Simple as that.

We'll put last month's shortage of posts down to adjusting to the new season, or something. My ideal target of over 24 posts in one month still seems to remain a challenge, but hopefully this month...

Why 24 posts? Well, in the first year of the blog I only managed a grand total of 24 posts, so even getting into double figures this month is pretty good in comparison. Looking back it's quite astonishing how far it's come.

Anyway, thanks again to those who have been in touch, I can be contacted on johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, and you can follow vive le roq on twitter at @viveleroq

Until next time,

Merci et à bientôt


Monday, 29 October 2012

M83: My Tears Becoming a Sea - Rust and Bone

A song that's gained a renewed life after its appearance in the UK trailer for the film Rust and Bone.

My Tears are becoming a sea featured on the M83 album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, and album that's secured a place as one of the classic albums of the last few years.

The film debuted at Cannes earlier this year, and while not a winner of the palme d'or, it gota positive critical reaction, and more recently won the Best Film award at the BFI London Film festival.

Some suggest the film could earn Marion Cotillard her second Oscar award.

The soundtrack for the flim was composed by Alexandre Desplat, who previously worked on Cotillard's earlier film Coco Before Chanel, and with Rust and Bone director Jacques Audiard on the films A Prophet, A Self Made Hero, Read My Lips and The Beat That My Heart Skipped.

Desplat's film soundtrack career also included work on Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Queen, Twilight: New Moon and both Harry Potter and the Deathley Hallows movies. He's been nominated for an Oscar four times and won two César awards as well as a Golden Globe and a Bafta.

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Rolling Stones: Special gig at the Trabendo, Paris

A special concert in Paris by the Rolling Stones last night at the Trabendo, a tiny venue in the North east of Paris.

The band are marking their 50th anniversary of their career.

Three hundred and fifty  tickets were sold for the 700 capacity venue, getting snapped up almost immediately. Fans were told about the show via Twitter, the tickets being sold at Virgin in the Champs-Élysées the following day just hours ahead of the concert.

Tickets for the show, their first in the French capital for five years, were priced at just 15 Euros.

The other tickets going to the likes of TV presenter Nagui, singer Raphaël and model Natalia Vodianova.

The show was billed as a low-key warm up show for their forthcoming arena dates, and certainly would have given a reminder in no uncertain terms as to why the Stones deserve their legendary status.

They played for just under an hour and a half, kicking off with Route 66, then It's Only Rock 'n' Roll.

Other numbers in the set including Shattered, Start Me Up and Miss you and the unreleased track Doom & Gloom from their recent Grrr! greatest hits compilation.

There were two encores, Jumping Jack Flash and Brown Sugar.

For an intimate show in Paris by a superstar act, it couldn't be more different from the show by Madonna earlier this year, which saw her booed and jeered by fans once the (short) show ended.

In contrast, the Stones set list reads like a well-thought-out showcase of the Stones at their best. They chose not to play some of their best-known songs, instead going for songs that while perhaps not as iconic work well in an energetic live set.

I could imagine the set list of the show as the track list of a really good 70s vinyl bootleg.

Route 66
It's Only Rock n Roll
When The Whip Comes Down
Champagne and Reefer
Doom & Gloom
Miss You
Start Me Up
Midnight Rambler
Tumbling Dice

Jumping Jack Flash
Brown Sugar

The Stones are playing a handful of dates in the UK and the US to coincide with the release of their album, and fuller tour dates are expected to be confirmed later. Hopefully there might even be more surprise low key shows as well.

The video that has emerged so far is pretty poor quality, hopefully better will emerge before too long.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Benjamin Biolay: Aime mon Amour

A new single by Benjamin Biolay, with a video for the song Aime mon amour.

Biolay has been releasing material since 2001 and has establlished himself as onf of France's pre-eminient singer songwriters, with both a solo career and work with other artists including his then wife Chiara Mastroiann.

He also worked with singer Keren Ann, as well as iconic artists like Henri Salvador, Juliette Gréco, Julien Clerc and Françoise Hardy.

Biolay had two releases last year, the album Pourquoi tu pleures? and a greatest hits compilation which included a new song.

His 2009 double album La Superbe saw him win two awards at the Victoires de la musique awards, chanson/variety album of the year and male artist of the year.

The track Aime mon amour comes from the forthcoming album Vengeance, which comes out in France on November the fifth on the Naive label.

The new album includes seven collaborations with other artists, including Vanessa Paradis, Carl Barât, Oxmo Puccino and Orelsan.

Benjamin Biolay Aime Mon Amour (exclu vidéo) by Europe1fr

Monday, 22 October 2012

Lescop: La Foret

A new release well worth highlighting today, with the debut album by Lescop coming out on Pop Noire records.

While hailing from La Rochelle, Lescop was as influenced by the sounds of Manchester as he was by the French music scene.

As a teenager he was fascinated by Joy Division as well as acts like the Buzzcocks, going on to sing with the band Asyl before embarking on his current solo career.

Asyl, formed in '95, released four albums. With their musical roots in the art-informed end of punk, new wave and post-punk as well as the likes of David Bowie, particularly in his Berlin phase.

Lescop's solo album develops the ideas that Asyl played with, and delivers a sophisticated modern pop, with depth and intelligence.

While many electro acts simply recycle the pop sensibilities of the 1980s, the grittier side of the genre, from Suicide to Soft Cell, is often overlooked. Few capture the potential of the genre, with its tension or urgency. Worth remembering too that the original Goth punk scene of the mid to late 80s was as much influenced by the likes of Joy Division as it was by acts like the Sister of Mercy or Bauhaus.

Lescop is however not just a subcultural archaeologist, mining a rich seam forgotten by much of the mainstream. While aware of the 80s underground and the music that influenced it, he's making something entirely new. Some of the ingredients might be familiar, but the recipe is something unexpected.

A new version of the video of La Foret is expected to appear shortly.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Thomas Dutronc: Sac Ado

A new single, Sac Ado by Thomas Dutronc.

It's another track from his Silence on tourne, on tourne en rond album that came out in France in October last year.

The album, his second, sees Dutronc further establish himself as an artist. Despite a surname that should be familiar to anyone with a passing knowledge of French music, he's become a voice in his own right, with his own style.

The track remains nods to his manouche style, but is principally a great contemporary pop song.

It has the kind of qualities I love about the best French music, a great tune and clever lyrics. It's a playful and intelligent song with an effortless quality that only comes from an artist that really knows his craft.

Hopefully it won't be long until we hear some new material from M. Dutronc (fils.)

Tal: Rien n'est parfait

Another single from Tal, the track this time being Rien n'est parfait.

It comes from her debut album Le droit de rêver, which came out in May in France and reached the top ten.

Again, it's a French take of the kind of music that's huge in the USA, the production not a million miles away from the sound of the likes of Rihanna or Beyoncé.

Her song Le Sens de la Vie made number one in France

She's not the first French artist to take on the Americans at their own game, she won't be the last. It's a commercial music genre shes' working in, after all, and while there are many who think French pop music peaked in years gone by, contemporary artists cannot succeed by looking backwards.

It wouldn't surprise me that now that she's experienced some success in France and has established herself as an artist, we see Tal record for the wider English speaking market.

Tal plays in Paris in December.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Johnny Hallyday: L'Attente

With a major release from Johnny Hallyday announced at the end of last month - the Johnny History 23 CD box set - I hadn't expected another release announcement just days later.

While I knew he had been in the recording studio working on new material, I hadn't expected it to surface so quickly.

The new single L'Attente comes from an album of the same name that's scheduled to come out on November 12.

Johnny sounds in good voice here, in a track written by Miossec. It's his first new material since the release of his Jamais Seul album in 2011 and was recorded just last month.

Meanwhile, Hallyday's resumed his tour, with dates in Montreal and his first ever show in New York at the Beacon Theatre, bringing his live experience to a more intimiate audience of under 3,000 as opposed to the 15,000 he played to each night in Montreal.

With the mosst recent apparent health problems behind him, Johnny doesn't sound like he's slowing down or retiring anytime soon.

Friday, 5 October 2012

James Bond 50th anniversary: The French (music) connection

With the 50th anniversary of the James Bond films, October 5 1962 being the release date for the film Dr.No, I thought I'd have a quick look at how French music has played a (small) part in the most British of film legends.

French locations feature in many of the films, as do French actors, and the series is as hugely popular in France as it is elsewhere.

A number of composers are familiar names associated with the James Bond franchise. The James Bond Theme which has appeared in all the Eon Productions films since 1962 being composed by Monty Norman and arranged by John Barry.

John Barry is probably the composer most associated with the film series, Barry being a familiar name to French music fans as the former husband of singer Jane Birkin. Barry composed 11 Bond scores.

Of the others, the one with the strongest French connection was 1995's GoldenEye, which was scored by Éric Serra, an artist who has regularly worked with Luc Besson since his first film Le Dernier Combat in 1983. Serra also played bass for Jacques Higelin in the 80s.

Serra collaborated with Besson on hit films like Nikita, Subway, Léon, The Fifth Element and more recent work like The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec.

His work on GoldenEye gave the film an edgy modern feel, although some were unhappy with the departure from what had become traditional Bond music.

French film music legend Michel Legrand, whose career in film music has seen him composed for over 200 films, including iconic French works like Les Parapluies de Cherbourg and widely-known The Thomas Crown Affair, also contributed to the series, although in the non-Eon productions Sean Connery Bond film from 1983 Never Say Never Again

Of course, the title songs for James Bond films have become as well known as the films themselves, songs like Goldfinger and From Russia with Love giving Shirley Bassey and Mat Munro probably their best known songs, more recent songs being a good measure of the popularity of an artist, whether Tina Turner or Adele.

There is an obvious lack of French singers performing the title songs, but a close place for Mirwais and his co-writing or Die Another Day with Madonna for the 2002 film. Mirwais was a member of 80s French group Taxi Girl, and established himself as a pioneer of electronic dance music in the 90s, signing to Madonna's label Maverick records. He would go on to collaborate with Madonna on a number of her albums including Music, American Life and Confessions on a Dance Floor.

There are other songs that have been associated with Bond films, with many Bond films have had equally memorable 'supporting' songs. It's hard to believe that Louis Armstrong's We Have All The Time in the World was originally a song from the closing sequence of a James Bond film, given that it has become such a standard.

In this category, at some distance, we find the 1983 non Eon Bond film Never Say Never Again featuring the song Une Chanson d'Amour by Michel Legrand sung by Sophie Della.

Meanwhile, there is another category of Bond songs, where foreign language versions of the films re-recorded versions of the songs. This was done with From Russia with Love, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever

Here we find the French version of From Russia With Love, entitles Bons Baisers de Russie by Bob Asklöf, a Swedish actor and singer who made his career in France.

An interesting French footnote to the musical legacy of one of cinema's most iconic creations.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

-M- : Mojo

I previewed this track a few weeks ago, and it's great to see at long last the full video for the -M- track Mojo.

It's a cracking piece of contemporary rock, an edgy sound that's rooted in a great pop song.

It's also catchy as hell, and reminds me a bit of bands like The Hives with their modern take on classic garage rock.

Meanwhile, the video is an instant classic. The dancing and the air guitar are hard to forget once witnessed, and the street locations give it an effortlessly French context.

The song dropped without warning, perhaps this kind of release puts the record companies one step ahead of the illegal downloaders, maybe the element of surprise - especially when it's a great song - gives a release a bit more of an impact.

The album Îl, his sixth, is released on November 10, and -M- is on tour next year

Monday, 1 October 2012

Editorial: October 2012

October is usually a busy month for music, with tours and releases in the build-up for Christmas, and it certainly looks like that will be the case this year.

Some big releases ahead, with the likes of Mylene Farmer releasing her much anticipated new material to give just one example.

Not quite as many posts as I had hoped for last month, but not to worry, pretty much the average number of posts for the last few months, and some great material covered.

I was blown away by releases by Saez and BB Brunes, and in particular by the acoustic version of the song Place de Mon Coeur by Eiffel.

It was also a reasonable month in September in terms of visitors to the blog, so thanks once again to all who took the time to drop by.

Meanwhile, last month also saw the blog pass a milestone of 400 posts. Over the years some posts have been  better than others, some more popular than others but on the whole I'm quite pleased that I've kept things going so long.

There were some great releases last month, and that certainly looks likely to continue in October. I've also got a few more ideas for feature type pieces, I'll hopefully get those together before too long.

Thanks again to bands, promoters and record labels who have been in touch, it's this kind of encouragement that makes it worthwhile.

Remember that I can be contacted via email at johnkilbride AT hotmail DOT com, with the appropriate punctuation instead of the words.

We're also on Twitter as @viveleroq, so catch up with us there if you can.

Until next time,

Merci et à bientôt


Friday, 28 September 2012

Johnny Hallyday: Johnny History 1959-2006

Another major retrospective release by Johnny Hallyday, with the 23 CD box set Johnny History 1959-2006

The collection includes over 400 titles, including career highlights along with rare and unreleased recordings.

The first 14 disc is a collection of 269 songs from throughout his career. A further five discs each take a themed approach to his work - cinema and TV, Rock 'n' Roll, Rhythm and blues, country and blues.

The third part of the collection features unreleased and rare material. One disc is unreleased and rare 1970-79, another from 1980-2003. The final two discs come frmo the archives of Europe 1, one a concert from Grenoble in 1968, recorded to coincide with the Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble in February '68, the final disc being a concert from the Olympia in 1973.

As a collection it's quite an item, although smaller than the 42 disc collection that was released to mark his 50th birthday.

An item like this is quite an investment, and I'm sure there are some who would question its release as one monolithic item.

I'm sure there are fans who would want to get explore his back catalogue without the need for the rarities, and I'm certain there are completists who want the rare and live material and who already have multiple versions of the previously available material.

Meanwhile, some might say it's not complete enough. Where is his most recent material, for example?

But how can you adequately collect the works of an artist like Hallyday? The sheer amount of material he's released over the years could intimidate many from exploring beyond the familiar material, never mind the cash and time it would take to track down the original releases.

Until his record label releases an iPod shuffle with every recording he's released, this looks as good an account of his career as we'll get.

With a new album being recorded in LA at the moment, and live dates scheduled in coming months, there's no sign of Johnny slowing down

The collection, selling for 199 euros, is released on October 22

Sinik: La Plume et le poignard

A new album released this week by Sinik, one of France's top rap artists, entitled La Plume et le poignard.

Sinik has been releasing solo albums since 2005's La Main sur le cœur, and has extablished the kind of reputation that sees him referred to as The French Eminem, although he gives his influences as French rappers like NTM or IAM.

His albums La Main sur le cœur and its follow up Sang Froid were both platinum sellers, Le Toit du Monde selling over 200,000 copies

He's also released a number of 'street albums', collections outwith his official discography.

One strange episode in his career is that his 2007 album Le Toit du Monde includes a collaboration with James Blunt, on the song Je Réalise, which featured Sinik in French and blunt singing English lyrics.

Sinik's last full album was 2009's Ballon d'or, and the new album features collaborations with Alonzo, Kayna Samet and Médine, who I featured earlier in this blog.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Mylène Farmer: Monkey Me album and tour

Details have emerged about the new Mylène Farmer release, the album Monkey Me due to come out on December 3.

There are few singers who have attracted such a mythical status over their career. Farmer isn't, as some would have it, simply a "French Madonna". I've said it before here, she's as much Kate Bush and Lady Gaga as well, to view her in simple terms for an English language audience.

The announcement of a new album, and a tour, was in itself an event on the scale of the release of the latest Apple product.

A small selection of around 50 journalists in France were sent details in a customised brass USB stick annoucing the album and a tour entitled Timeless to take place in autumn 2013.

The album will feature 12 tracks, all by Mylène and long-term collaborator Laurent Boutonnat, and all the songs on the new album, which was recorded this summer, are in French and a mix of uptempo tracks and ballads.

Her last full release was the album Bleu Noir in 2010 and her last tour was in 2009, so the appetite for the new shows is immense.

A single is to be released at the end of October, although the details of the title have not been confirmed.

The tour starts at Bercy on September 7 2013, and tickets go on sale on October 4.

7 September 2013 Paris-Bercy
24 &  25 Septembre Lyon Hall Tony Garnier
1 & 2 October Montpellier Park & Suite Arena
8 & 9 October Nantes Zénith
15 & 16 October Strasbourg Zénith
18 & 19 Octobee Geneva Palexpo Arena
1st November Moscow Olimpiyski
4th November Saint Petersbourg SKK Arena
15 & 16 November Bruxelles Palais des Expositions
20 & 22 November Douai Gayant Expo
26 & 27 November Toulouse Zenith

MYLENE FARMER-TIMELESS 2013 by tsprod-com

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Eiffel: Place de Mon Coeur

I loved the track Place de Mon Coeur by Eiffel when it came out earlier this year, a rich collision of electronica, rock and chanson.

The four piece from Bordeaux released their fifth album Foule Monstre earlier this month, and Place de Mon Coeur came out ahead of it as a single.

The acoustic version of the track that was recorded for webzine Le Hiboo is one of those alternative versions of a song that just makes your jaw drop. It stands up every bit as well as the original, albeit in a completely different way.

It ticks all the boxes of a confirmed Francophone's heart. Paris riversides, Eiffel tower, cool people and great music.

It's not just a beautiful musical experience, the way it looks so effortless and spontaneous is breathtaking.

Eiffel are touring France in October, November and December. I expect their shows will be a big bigger than this wonderfully understated performance.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Soma: Nobody Hotter than God.

Another strong new release this week, with the band Soma releasing their second album Nobody Hotter than God.

In their official biography, the band quote John Lennon, according to whom French rock is like English wine, but they maintain that they are the exception that proves the rule.

Soma released their debut album Jewel and The Orchestra in 2010, and they've taken things a bit further with their second, a sharp collection of robust tunes.

The band recorded the new album in just 23 days at Vega studio in Carpentras with producer Bertrand Montandon. The album came after a period of months of intense rehearsal in drummer Thomas's home studio, the band sharpening their material ahead of capturing it in the studio.

It was mixed by Tony Hoffer, who previously worked with the likes of Beck, Suede, Phoenix and the Kook. Hoffer wanted to get involved after hearing their debut album, and given his track record he's certainly got his ears well atuned to what a modern rock band should sound like.

Soma have got dates around France in October, November and December.

To give a flavour of their new release, the band's released a video that sums it up in four minutes.

BB Brunes: Stéréo

A great studio acoustic performance by BB Brunes, marking the release today of their album Long Courrier.

They're playing on Canal+ programme Grand Journal tonight to coincide with the release of the album, their third, which comes out three years after their last, Nico Teen Love.

Meanwhile, the video of an acoustic version of the track Stéréo from the album has emerged, and personally I think the acoustic version really highlights the strength of the song.

Stripped of the studio stylings and sheen, the quiality of the band and their material really shines through.

BB BRunes played at the Fête de l'Humanité in Paris earlier this month, and they've got a handful of dates scheduled in October including a show at the Alhambra in Paris,  and more shows in France and Switzerland next year.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Gojira UK tour dates

A full set of tour dates for the mighty Gojira, the band behind probably the finest rock albums (extreme division) of the year.

While Gojira are an uncompromising bunch, their music is far from as inhospitable as it might seem on first listen to those uninitiated in the ways of the extreme end of the rock spectrum.

L’Enfant Sauvage, the album they released on Roadrunner records earlier this year, is an intelligent and articulate work, the music displaying a sophistication that borders on progressive rock while not losing its power or impact.

They're at the top of their game at the moment and the chance to see them live is not to be passed lightly.

Support on the tour comes from fellow French rock acts Klone and Trepalium, about whom I'll no doubt have more later.

The tour dates are:

Nov 06 GARAGE Glasgow
Nov 07 ACADEMY 2 Manchester
Nov 08 GREAT HALL 2 Cardiff
Nov 10 RESCUE ROOMS Nottingham
Nov 11 KOKO London
Nov 12 SLADE ROOMS Wolverhampton
Nov 14 LEMON GROVE Exeter
Nov 15 MO CLUB Southampton
Nov 16 ACADEMY Oxford

The UK dates are followed by shows in France, and a December gig at the Indian Metal Festival in Bangalore, India

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Hallyday

It's 42 years today since the death of Jimi Hendrix, and he's still relevant enough to be trending on Twitter.

A good enough excuse to link to the video of Jimi and Johnny in 1966, when Hallyday gave Hendrix the support slot for his shows in France and his first shows in the country.

Hendrix has been much mythologised over the years since his death,

Hendrix recorded Hey Joe in '66, Hallyday covered it the following year. While he wasn't the only artist to cover the song befire or after Hendrix, he there's no question Hallyday played a significant part in the Hendrix story.

But as I've said before, Hallyday is more than just a footnore in the biographies of the likes of Hendrix or Page, I'm certain that the artistic respect went both ways.

Just a pity that Hendrix isn't still with us, and that he never recorded with Hallyday.

Of course, there are always the questoins. What would Hendrix be like if he was still alive today? Playing stadiums and touring still?

Who knows, but what's for certain is that there's not been anyone who has been able to match him since his death.

Jimi Hendrix et Johnny à Paris en 1966. by Tushratta

Monday, 17 September 2012

Saez: Messina

A new album released today by Damien Saez, his seventh collection entitled Messina.

The album is a triple album, the three discs entitles Les échoués, Sur les quais and Messine.

Saez is no stranger to the triple album, his 2008 collection Varsovie - L'Alhambra - Paris spreading over three discs

His last release was J'accuse, which came out in 2010, a top three album in France despite the controversy over the album sleeve (a naked woman in heels in a supermarket trolley) which saw posters advertising the album banned.

The new collection sees Saez focussing on the musical arrangement of the work, the first disc featuring both rock and acoustic backing with pino and strings, the second is more rock orientated, while the third disc is more classical, with instrumental tracks.

In August, two tracks Betty and Les fils d'Artaud were made available as free downloads from  his website, a third track Messine appeared as a free download at the weekend.

The track Ma Petite Couturière was made available in 2010, and it now appears on the second disc of this new collection

Saez has tour dates in November and December across France supporting the album, most of these are already sold out.

Saez is already planning to release a second album this year, with Miami expected to come out in early December. More live dates are planned for March, April and May next year.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Claude François: J'attendrais

With the release of the film Cloclo on DVD, I though it a reasonable excuse for a clip of Claude François, in this instance his Version Française of I'll be there.

The song was Reach Out (I'll Be There) in English, a Holland–Dozier–Holland song recorded by The Four Tops for Motown records in 1966. It was one of the band's biggest hits, and was a number one in the UK.

The clip was from a January 1967 edition of he Sacha Show, a variety programme hosted by entertainer Sacha Distel.

Cloco remains a hugely popular figure in France, his music figuring regularly on nostalgia radio stions. He's remembered with affection, his massive output of songs over his career as well as their success probably both playing a part.

For the French listener his versions of the songs remain the definitive versions, the reverse of the experience of the English speaking listener, who'll always find them falling short of their original.

But that's not to say they lack charm. His songs remain interesting artefacts from an era when tastes were different and the world was a smaller place.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

BB Brunes: Coups et blessures

A video for the recent track Coups et blessures by BB Brunes, a hugely influential French band in recent years.

The new track is an edgy modern rock number, not a million miles from the likes of Phoenix or The Strokes, and it comes ahead of the release of their third album later this month.

Their previous albums Blonde comme moi and Nico Teen Love from 2007 and 2009 established the band as one of France's most credible contemporary rock acts, with the songs, the swagger and style that any modern UK or US rock band would kill for.

The band's singer Adrien Gallo spoke in a recent article about how the band were moving towards a more pop and less acoustic style. He said that the band had matured  and their style had changed, with keyboards now playing a part in their sound.

Their new album Long Courrier is released in France on September 24.

The band play the Fête de l'Humanité at the weekend.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Emily Loizeau: Vole le Chagrin des Oiseaux

An amazing video and equally beautiful track Vole le Chagrin des Oiseaux by Emily Loizeau.

The track comes from her album Mothers & Tygers, released today, the video is by Nicolas Mongin, the illustrations by Paula Castro.

It's her third album, her debut L'autre bout du monde coming out in 2006 its follow-up Pays sauvage in 2009.

The content of the new album makes reference throughout to mystic English poet William Blake, whose work she encountered in her childhood, Loizeau being part English on her mother's side.

Some of the songs use quotes form his work, four are musical adaptations of his poems, some in French others in the original English.

She told La Nouvelle Obs in an interview that the album was written in her home in the Cévennes, where she can enjoy the space and silence, adding that the album was recorded in conditions that were at the same time epic and magical, in the heart of winter in sunshire with temperatures of -15.

Emily Loizeau playes some dates in France next month, and tours the country until March next year.

Friday, 7 September 2012

-M- : Mojo

Some new material from -M-, the artist also known as Matthieu Chedid.

The track Mojo surfaced ahead of a new album due out later this year.

While his last full album was 2009's Mister Mystère, he's been far from idle, with last year seeing the release of the Un monstre à Paris soundtrack, the hit single La Seine with Vanessa Paradis and the work with Johnny Hallyday on his Jamais Seul album.

There was also a Victoires de la musique award for Best concert in 2011.

Chedid is a huge figure in the French music scene, and his album is much anticipated not just because of his previous success, but because he seems to be in recent years to be at the top of his game.

The song came out without warning, premiered on Oui FM There's a proper video due out shortly, a few previews have appeared online.

The new album, his sixth, is expected in November. He's also expected to tour in 2013.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Rétro: Noir Desir and Alain Bashung - Volontaire

I can't think why I've not featured this track before, featuring as it does two the talants of two of my favourite French acts combined, Noir Desir and Alain Bashung.

Add to this it was co-written by Serge Gainsbourg and you've got a round-up of several of the biggest names ever in French music combined in one track.

The song originally apepared on Bashung's 1982 album Play Blessures, his collaborative collection with Gainsbourg. The album was was a far from a success commercially or critically on its release, its apparent overall bleakness contrasting with the massive commercial success he had recently enjoyed with Gaby oh Gaby

However, with the passage of time it has become regarded as one of his most significant works. I'm not surprised.

The collaboration with Noir Desir came with his 2000 album Climax, which saw him re-vist some of his earlier work and re-record the songs.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Saez: Jeunesse lève-toi

An older song by Damien Saez, dating from December 2007. The track Jeunesse lève-toi came out ahead of his triple album collection Varsovie - L'Alhambra - Paris that came out the following year.

The song was written during the presidential elections, and is an acoustic number like the others in the collection.

Up until this point his work had been predominately alternative rock, and this work reflected a more intimate style, the three albums inspired by the break-up with his Polish girlfriend.

The first two discs were influenced by classic French chanson artists like Brel, Ferré and Brassens. Jeunesse lève-toi came from Paris, the third disc, which was also available as a seperate album.

Saez was nominated for a Victoires de la musique award for Varsovie - L'Alhambra - Paris the following year, in the best pop/rock album of the year category, the award going to Arthur H for L'Homme du Monde.

He's released a couple of albums since, both a return to a rock music. A Lovers Prayer from 2009 was a collection of songs in English, and his most recent release was 2010's J'Accuse.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Khaled: C'est La Vie

The title track by Khaled from his new album C'est La Vie, released today.

While one of North Africa's most popular musical exports, it's been a while since Khaled had the success he once had, but this track gave his career a welcome boost over the summer, no doubt in part due to its summer feelgood vibe.

The track was produced by RedOne, the international producer who's worked with the likes of Lady Gaga and Mylene Farmer and some of the biggest names in the current pop scene.

While at first it may seem a strange pairing, it's easy to forget that RedOne is originally from Morocco, not a million miles from Khaled's native Algeria.

C'est La Vie gave Khaled a top 20 hit in France, and while to these ears at least it maybe goes too close to a generic eurodance hit, it can't be a bad thing for a new generation to be introduced to one of the most distinctive voices and artistic ambassadors of North Africa.

One thing that I can't help but notice is how Khaled is now looking more the eledr statesman than angry young man. Still, he's obviously got his ear to the ground and keeping an open mind in terms of his music, and it certainly seems to be paying off for him in terms of revitalising his career.