Saturday, 1 June 2013

Some of the best of 2013 (so far)

With the year half way though, I thought it an appropriate time to take a look at some of the best French releases so far this year, in an interim annual report style. A mini best of the year. A lookback that doesn't look back too far. That kind of thing.

In no particular order, the track I love you by Woodkid. Woodkid's album The Golden Age is an outstanding work that really pushes the boundaries.

No mention of the best French releases of 2013 so far could ignore the track Get Lucky by Daft Punk. While the marketing of the album built it up as THE release of the year, there's little doubt that it lived up to expectation and the song Get Lucky will probably be the biggest single of 2013. We could still do with a complete video clip though.

Meanwhile, Phoenix set the standard for what a modern rock band from anywhere should sound like with the long-awaited release of Bankrupt! The track Entertainment was immediately recognisable as a classic Phoenix track, and also at the same time something quite new and different. This is the kind of track that will be the highlight of many festivals this summer.

Tomorrow's World features Jean-Benoit Dunckel from Air and Lou Hayter from New Young Pny Club, but their self-titled album that was released in May really deserves to be regarded in its own right rather than just as a 'side project' by two artists. It's a great piece of atmospheric electro.

I've talked incessantly about Arne Vinzon and their 2013 album Les Belles Structures, a wonderful piece of work that gets better with every repeat listening.

Girls in Hawaii are a Belgian band, and the track Misses comes from their forthcoming third album. Melancholy rarely sounded so beautiful.

Indochine, the veterans of French outsider rock, returned in February with the album Black City Parade, their first release since 2009. The track college boy is an outstanding track, with or without its controversial video.

Aufgang are a trio that are as much influenced by classical music as they are by electronics, and their album Istiklaliya - their second - was released in May. The track Kyrie is a dramatic and atmpspheric piece of music.

We Were Evergreen's Leeway EP came out in January, with a wonderfully catchy and refreshing indie pop. The trio have just recorded their debut album, which hopefully we'll see before too long.

Finally one track that just emerged, the new track Formidable by Stromae. A remarkable video and a great track, one of those songs and videos that are utterly memorable from the first time its seen and heard.

I expect the idea in this video will be copied by others before too long.

Not forgetting releases by the likes of Vanessa Paradis, Saez, Carla Bruni, M83, La Grande Sophie, Yelle, Miss Kittin and many, many more, all making it a vintage year for French music so far.

Here's looking forward to the next six months.

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