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