Monday, 29 July 2013

Gaëtan Roussel: Dis-moi encore que tu m’aime

I featured the new single by former Louise Attaque singer Gaëtan Roussel
earlier this month, and I thought it well worth posting some of his earlier work to refresh both our ears and memories ahead of the release of his new album in September.

Roussel released his debut album Giner in 2010, which followed his career with Louise Attaque and his work with Alain Bashung on his 2008 Bleu pétrole collection.

His Ginger album saw the release of two singles, this one: Dis-moi encore que tu m’aime and the track Help myself (Nous ne faisons que passer).

Both wonderful tracks that build on the legacy and reputation of Louise Attaque.

Gaëtan Roussel's new album is due out on September 30 in France.

Friday, 26 July 2013

La Fouine: Quand je partirai

A great piece of French hip hop by La Fouine for the track Quand je partirai

A dramatic video as well, as much a short film as a clip.

I'm not usually a fan of the speeded up sample and I do reckon that the track would be better without it, but it doesn't distract too much.

The track comes from his album Drôle de parcours which was released in February this year.

It is the rapper's tenth release, including his mixtapes, and he's been active since 2004 and in this time has established himself as a rapper and has established a record label and fashion line.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Jac Berrocal: Rock 'n' Roll Station

The song Rock 'n' Roll Station really deserved to be regarded as a classic of the genre.

The track is by French musician Jac Berrocal, who said that he originally wanted to have Lou Reed performing the vocals.

Berrocal, a jazz trumpeter, has worked across the experimental fringes of a variety of genres from avant garde to rock and roll.

The vocals were eventually performed by Vince Taylor, a British rock 'n' roll singer who found success in France in the 1950s and early to mid 1960s.

Taylor was troubled by mental illness, his eventual breakdown in the mid 60s apparently inspiring David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust character.

Taylor continued to perform occasionally in the 70s and 80s, and his best-known song outside France is probably brand New Cadillac, as covered by the Clash on their London Calling album.

He recorded Rock 'n' Roll Station in 1976 with Berrocal, and it appears on Berrocal's Parallèles album. Taylor died in 1991, living in Switzerland.

The song was covered by Nurse with Wound, who included Berrocal on their list of influential (but for the most part unknown) artists on their Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella debut album from 1979. The list became something of a collector's guide to obscue and outsider musical acts, and included other French acts like Magma as well as more widely recognised acts like the Velvet Underground, the Residents and Frank Zappa.

The track itself comes across like a half-remembered dream about a 1950s film. Fragments and phrases, cut up and rearranged into new meanings.

Having Taylor on vocals is a perfect choice of vocalist.

Everything is possible. Chouette! Do you remember?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Hellfest 2013 videos

Enjoyed Hellfest this year and want to relive it? Or didn't get there and want to see some of what went on?

The good news is that a whole lot of videos of this year's performances are available to watch online in their entirety, in professional shot quality.

While there's by no means every act that played the even - there were over 100 after all - and not the big name headline acts, it certainly gives a flavour of the event and shares some amazing performance.

To these ears the set by Canada's Voivod has to be the best, one of the finest bands of their era, as innovative as they are powerful and imaginative.

Their set includes a guest appearance by ex-Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo on the Pink Floyd track Astronomy Dominé.

Other videos on the site from hellfest include Lordi, Voivod, Bad Religion, Korn, NOFX, Anti Flag, Girlschool, Napalm death, Gama Bomb, Dropkick Murphys.

There are 44 videos available to watch, with some from previous years alongside the new sets.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Cascadeur: Ghost Surfer

I featured the new track Ghost Surfer by Cascadeur when it emerged earlier, and I'm pleased to see there's now a video for the track.

It's a wonderfully atmospheric video for the new track, a song that combines an upbeat feel with a dreamlike quality.

Cascadeur's a class act and this track and video certainly add to that reputation.

Cascadeur's debut album The Human Octopus was released two years ago, prior to that he was the winner of the CQFD (Ceux qu'il faut découvrir) prize organised by Les Inrockuptibles magazine in 2008, the predecessor to the Les Inrocks Lab, the influential French magazine's competition for new musical talent.

The track will feature on Cascadeur's new album, which is expected to be released in September.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Vanessa Paradis: Love Songs

The new album by Vanessa Paradis - Love Songs - gets a UK release this week.

The double album came out in May in France, and the near-title track gave her a top ten hit in France, a fair achievement for an artist who despite her continued hight profile, hasn't released a full album in six years.

The new collection sees her work with a variety of collaborators including Benjamin Biolay.

While a UK release is unlikely to see the album repeat the success it enjoyed across the channel, it's always positive to see a French artist take the chance to release a French language album in the UK.

Paradis remains one of the French artist whose name is widely known in the UK, albeit for work decades ago, but the release of this new collection shows that the work she's doing now certainly deserves attention.

 If you want to take a more detailed look back at Vanessa's career, there's an article I wrote on the Institut Français' Culturethèque website here

Friday, 19 July 2013

Miss Kittin: What to wear

France's Miss Kittin is one of the acts to play this weekend's Lovebox festival in London, one of the most
prestigious music events to take place in the capital.

The three day even focuses on dance music, with acts like Azealia Banks, Rudimental, Wiley, Plan B and Goldfrapp taking the stage from Friday to Sunday.

Miss Kittin plays at the event on the Sunday.

The DJ, singer and songwriter known as to some as Caroline Hervé released her Calling from the Stars album earlier this year, and , as I said at the time, it's as perfect a taste of state of the art electronica as you could hope for, with innovative sounds from dancefloor to more ambient work.

If anything, repeated listening to the album has made it grow on me even more.

She's been active since the 90s, and the experience she's gathered since then at the forefront of electronic music is clearly evident.

She's currently running a remix competition for her track Maneki Neko and also released the track What to Wear at the end of June as the lead track on an EP.

Miss Kittin - What to Wear (Official video) by wSphere

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Woodkid with the Orchestre national de Lyon

Some great video has been made available of a performance by Woodkid with the Orchestre national de
Lyon on the Arte website.

I've repeatedly written about Woodkid on this site, his debut album The Golden Age came out in March and is probably one of the best releases of the year.

This live performance sees Yoann Lemoine with a full orchestra, and it was filmed on July 1 2013.

It gives another dramatic interpretation of his work, and while some artist's work sounds overwhelmed by an orchestral treatment, Woodkid's work takes on another aspect, the orchestra adding new colours and textures to the work.

It's with some disapopintment then that I read that apparently he's planning to kill off Woodkid by 2015. He's been working as a musical artist since 2011 and while he's had a successful career as a music video director, he's keen to pursue work on a film

Next year he's got a series of dates in France at the arena-sized Zenith venues, but before then he plays at the O2 Academy in Brixton, London on Wednesday November 13.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Sébastien Patoche: J'emmerde les bobos!

France's love of the comedy record continues this week, with Sébastien Patoche at the top of the album charts.

Patoche, a creation of presenter and comedian Cartman, has already had a hit single with Quand il pète il troue son slip, and has followed it up with a second single La cartouche.

 Cartman, known to his family as Nicolas-Bonaventure Ciattoni, established himself in radio before apeparing as a sketch guest on Touche pas à mon poste! which gave his songs a huge audience, rapidly spreading across social media.

 The album J'emmerde les bobos! was released on July 8, and its success echoed the success of Quand il pète il troue son slip which went to number one in the French download charts immediately after its release.

 I'm pretty sure that there are plenty of people who reckon that all French popular music is a bit like Sébastien Patoche, just cheesy party music with a tacky video.

I'm sure also that there are French musicians and commentators shaking their heads despondently.

 But it's worth remembering that at the end of the day, it's pop music and it's meant to make us smile.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

François Hollande Gets Lucky

I earlier featured the Baracksdubs version of Get Lucky, with the American president performing (almost) his version of the Daft Punk hit, it's good to see some French creative people taking up the baton.

Marking July 14th this new version of the song emerged online

François Hollande's - unauthorised, I'm sure, version of the song featured the French president singing in English.

An English Language song by a French musical act, of course. Very much in the spirit of international co-operation.

I reckon it can only be a matter of time until his version of Call Me Maybe emerges. But I won't hold my breath.

Maska: Lève ton verre

Another track from the Les chroniques du Wati Boss collection by the Sexion D'Assaut family gets the
promotional treatment.

This time its the track Lève ton verre by Sexion D'Assaut member Maska.

It follows the track Hasta la Vista by Maître Gims with L'Institut which emerged as a clip last week.

2013 continues to be a busy time for Sexion D'Assaut and their various members, the new collection obviously intenderd to draw attention to the solo careers following the success of the debut album by Maître Gims entitled Subliminal, which was released earlier this year.

Maska looks set to be the next band member to release an album, but as yet no details of the title have emerged.

Meanwhile, Sexion d'Assaut play in Paris at the end of September for the Urban Peace 3 hip hop event at the Stade de France.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Gaëtan Roussel: Éolienne

Very pleased to see the release of a new video by former Louise Attaque singer Gaëtan Roussel for the
track Éolienne

While I loved Louise Attaque, his solo career has certainly seen Roussel develop into a very interesting performer and songwriter.

Roussel released his first solo album Ginger in 2010, which featured among others the singles Help myself (Nous ne faisons que passer) and Dis-moi encore que tu m’aimes.

Louise Attaque were a hugely popular act at the end of the 90s, their self-titled debut album from 1997 selling over 2.8 million copies. They released a further two albums in their career, the band briefly seperating in 2001 after their second album Comme on a dit, regrouping for a third album that came out in 2005, À plus tard crocodile.

The band called a pause in their career in 2007 so members could focus on their solo activity, but  greatest hits compilation in 2011 kept the band's profile high.

Prior to his solo career, Roussel worked with Alain Bashung on his Bleu Pétrole collection, which was released in 2008.

Roussel reprised Bashung's Play blessures album at the weekend's Francofolies festival at la Rochelle, the album that saw Bashung working with Serge Gainsbourg.

The new track comes from his forthcoming album, which is due out on September 30 in France.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Happy 14th of July!

July 14 is the French national day, a day referred to in English speaking countries as Bastille Day.

Across France there will be events, some formal, some less so, ranging from the military parade in Paris to community events and fireworks.

While in previous years I've featured different versions of the Marseillaise, I thought it was time for something different this year.

So it's Bastille day by Rush, a song that probably like no other spread awareness of the French national day among the non- French.

Well, those who listen to 70s rock anyway.

This version is from 1976, the song originally appeared on their Caress of Steel album which was released in 1975, and is one of the Canadian band's best-known songs. Certainly one of the most enduring from an album that's often overlooked in the band's discography, coming as it does before their 2112 album, a collection widely regarded as both their artistic and commercial peak.

So to all in France, and elsewehere, enjoy the day, and don't lose your head.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Gérald De Palmas: Serait-il?

A strong new clip and song by Gérald De Palmas, ahead of the release of a new album scheduled for September.

De Palmas has recorded the new material from the album - his sixth studio collection - to be entitled De Palmas in a as-live environment.

The clip for Serait-il ?, a rock flavoured track, certainly has the same qualities with its grainy black and white urgency.

De Palmas' most recent release was the double best-of collection Sur Ma Route, released in 2011, which featured one previously unreleased track L'étranger.

Previously his last full album was 2009's Sortir, which reached number two in France.

De Palmas undertakes a tour from next January, and plays in Paris in February.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Wati B: Les chroniques du Wati Boss

A new release of a rap compilation on the Wati B label, a company that's in recent years been at the
forefront of French rap with acts like Sexion d'Assaut, Dry and Maître Gims.

It's also branched out into clothing with a shop in Paris and a range of clothing and accessories. Music merchandise has come a long way from the days of bands just flogging a tour T shirt at the stall at their gigs.

The album Les chroniques du Wati Boss features unreleased performances by artists on the label

Maître Gims performs the track Hasta la Vista with L'Institut in a  video to promote the album, and given the success of the debut album by Gims, released earlier this year, it should attract more listeners to other acts on the label,

Sexion d'Assaut members Maska, JR O Crome and Black Mesrimes are also present, with their solo work getting some of the spotlight.

Sexion d'Assaut play in Paris at the end of September for the Urban Peace 3 hip hop event at the Stade de France.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Saez at Solidays: Fils de France

Great to see some video online of Saez playing at the Solidays festival recently.

I just don't ever tire of the song Fils de France. Angry and intelligent, written in response to the FN's apparent success of getting Jean Marie le Pen int othe second round of the presidential election ballot in 2002. The song was written and recorded the day after the first round of the election in a matter of hours.

It's lost none of its urgency, and is a reminder that France should always be a place with tolerance and justice at its heart.

The performance was at the Solidays festival, held at the Longchamps racecourse just outside Paris, which marks its 15th anniversary this year. The festival is more than just a music even, and is intended as an event focussing on the fight against aids. This year saw adound 58,000 people involved in a 'die-in' calling on the president to increase France's support of the fight against aids.

The festival presented around 150 artists, with an audience of around 170,000 people, and this year the likes of Daivd Guetta, -M- and Liam Gallagher's Beady Eye were also on the bill.

Saez is the kind of artist whose work will be recognised as amongst the finest that France has produced, his songs ranging from the personal to the political, unafraid to tackle the difficult issues in approachable ways.

His most recent album Miami - his eighth was released in France in March, the cover art sparking controversy with planned ads on the Paris Metro being banned before it was released.

He's currently in the midst of an extensive tour until the end of August.

Jean-Louis Murat: Over and Over

A new clip for the track Over and Over by Jean-Louis Murat. I missed it when it came out first, so catching
up now with a wonderful track.

Murat's been one of France's most distinctive voices for several decades now, his debut album Murat coming out in 1982, although his career didn't really pick up until 1989's Cheyenne Autumn.

His duet with Mylène Farmer in 1991 on the song Regrets gave him a number three hit single, and firmly established his name as one of France's foremost singer songwriters.

The track comes from his album Toboggan, which was released in France in March this year, and like the best of his work is a melancholic and atmospheric piece.

Murat's got a number of live dates in October and November in France and Belgium, and plays in Paris on November 22.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Julien Doré: Paris-Seychelles

A teaser has been released for a new track by Julien Doré ahead of the release of a new album later this

The track comes from his forthcoming third album entitled Løve

It follows his album Bichon that came out two years ago.

Doré, who initially came to prominence as the winner of the fifth series of Nouvelle Star - the M6 version of Pop Star - in 2007.

He went on to have a number one single in France with Les Limites in 2008, his debut album Ersatz reaching number two.

Rather than following a straightforward pop star career, Doré has always been a more colourful and interesting character, more an artistic outsider who occasionally hits the commercial mainstream.

The track Kiss Me Forever from Bichon gave him a number 4 single in France in 2011, and since then he's collaborated with artists like Coeur de Pirate, Mélanie Pain and Sylive Vartan.

He's also appeared in the film Pop redemption playing the vocalist with a fictitious black metal band.

Løve is expected to be released in the autumn, and ahead of it the track Paris-Seychelles will be released as a single.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Phoenix: Trying to be cool

A new video for another track from the Phoenix album Bankrupt!, a strong contender for 2013's album of
the year.

The album was certainly one of the most anticipated of 2013, and it's certainly lived up to expectations.

While other bands returning after a four years gap between albums can find themselves behind the times and only playing to fans they've already won over, Phoenix sound fresher than ever. They don't need to try too hard to be cool.

Meanwhle, the new clip is the kind of video that demands to be watched a second or third time after it's seen for the first time.

The track follows Entertainment, the first single from Bankrupt!, and it's a strong track from an album that set the standard for what a modern rock band should sound like. Seemingly stylish and effortless, but with a startling amount of skill and expertise at work.

A bit like the video itself.

Phoenix are playing over the summer at a number of festivals, and are playing a number of arena dates in France in November.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

-M- : Baïa

A new clip for the track Baïa by -M-, the latest track from his album ÎL to get the promotional treatment.

The video sees Matthieu Chedid in B-movie Technicolor film action, or as it describes itself "A space opera picture in Rockabilly color."

It's certainly a very different proposition to the previous videos from the album, the title track Mojo being one of last year's more memorable clips.

ÎL was released last November, and he's been touring extensively since its release, with more shows at festivals over the summer.

Baïa, with its latin flavour, should easily find some airplay over the summer.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Mr Oizo: Amicalement

A new EP - Amicalement- has appeared by Mr Oizo, with the track Solid featuring the voice of Marilyn Manson.

The EP is available free from Oizo's website, although the website can be a bit unpredictable about loading.

Hopefully it's just a case of it being hit repeatedly for downloads of the EP.

Oizo's one of France's most respected producers and artists, and one of the few to have a huge mainstream hit with Flat Beat in 1999, a number one in the UK and a huge hit elsewhere.

The new release follows 2012's Stade 3 EP, a seven track affair that's also available from Oizo's website.

In the meantime, some cracking French music, available free. What are you waiting for?

Monday, 1 July 2013

Phoenix at Glastonbury Festival

Great to see Phoenix take to the stage at Glastonbury at the weekend, even if the closest I got the event was watching it on TV.

Increasingly that's how festivals work these days, with the event being seen by thousands more beyond the actual festival itself. Millions watched the BBC's Glastonbury footage, and pretty much every act that played will benefit from a massive increase in their profile.

While the likes of the Rolling Stones and Mumford and Sons were the acts that grabbed the headlines, plenty of others got to benefit from the publicity around an increasingly iconic event.

So Phoenix will have had the chance to show what they do to thousands across the country, many of whom will be likely to see the band themselves as they play events like T in the Park later this month.

Of course, Phoenix weren't the only French band to play Glastonbury, François & the Atlas Mountains , Melody's Echo Chamber and Savages were also on the bill.

And plenty of other opportunities to catch Phoenix over the summer, as the band play extensive festival dates to support the release of their Bankrupt! album.

Carla Bruni: Le Pingouin

A new video for Carla Bruni, with the song Le Pingouin from her recent album getting some attention.

Not that it's not had some attention in France already, with a 'row' (ie a few comments in the media) about the supposed political message of the song.

Some have taken the song to be a reference to François Hollande, but Bruni herself has denied this, saying that the song doesn't have any political thinking behind it. In in an interview with L'Express she said that the song's about disagreeable people in general, about no one and everyone.

If she wanted to make a political song, she's probably more entitled to do so than many others, having actually been involved in that world, but I have my doubts that she'd be interested. From what I've read, she's not all that bothered about getting involved in the mud-slinging of politics, leaving that to others - including those in the media - to deal with.

The video certainly doesn't take itself too seriously and is more of a nod towards Monty Python than towards any particular politician.

The song comes from her latest collection  entitled Little French Songs, her first since her days as First Lady. the album came out on April the first.

It's been a successful release, despite her having to take a step back from music on account of her position over the last few years.

She's playing a series of live dates at the end of the year, including three shows at the Casino de Paris in November.

Editorial: July 2013

Another good month on the Vive le Roq French music blog.

I managed a record number of posts last month, which is no surprise given the quality and number of releases over the past few weeks.

Again, this was reflected in a pretty healthy number of visitors to the pages. Thanks for dropping by.

I thought I'd take the time to take a look at a couple of interesting things that happened over June.

One obvious one was the Fête de la Musique, which again put music front and centre in France's cultural landscape. If anything I think music - popular music in particular - is somewhat disregarded in France. There could be a huge number of reasons for this.

Perhaps its because the cultural landscape in general is valued more in France, with the result that music is seen as one amidst many strands of culture, while in the UK its seen as particularly vigorous simply due to the lack of public attention given to other forms of art. In short though, it's a remarkably enlightened idea, and one that deserves to be spread further.

Another thing that raised its head this month was the idea of cultural exceptionism with regard to free trade agreements at the G8 summit. The French government were unhappy with the proposition at the G8 conference to agree to free trade in all areas, including cultural, meaning that the French government would be unable to offer financial subsidy to areas such as music and film. Fortunately the French argument prevailed, and the government protection to the creative industries will be maintained.

While in a free market sounds a good idea, trade free from red tape and legislation that allows the consumer to determine the value of the product, the playing field is always tilted in favour of the more powerful player. In the area of culture, especially music and film, that will be the USA. While I have no particular dislike of USA, the world has more to offer than just one voice and a system that maintains, to some extent at least, a cultural plurality is essential.

French cinema might not always be the artistic showcase it's held up as, but the film industry is one in which the reality of making a profit is a far more difficult one that the takings of the latest box office blockbusters might suggest.

The same applies to music. While there are stars, there are many musicians working hard just to earn a living. France is aware, it seems, that it is more than just another market for international acts, and is able to make the case for its own industry at the highest level.

That a government is prepared to stand up internationally and say that its creative industries are important and deserve support and respect is a position that other countries should consider.

Elsewhere there was some good news that Taratata, the TV music show that was to be axed thanks to a decision by France Télévisions is to continue online. The last show in its present format goes out on July 5, but a concert's taking place on October 10 in Paris, which will herald the new era for the show. With terrestrial TV just one more 'platform' in the digital age, fingers crossed that the new online version of the show can thrive.

The show's been at the forefront of online music, so hopefully the new version will continue to thrive.

What would be interesting, of course, would be for some other innovative channel to buy the rights to broadcast the forthcoming internet version of the show. We'll see.

July is now upon us, and I'll be taking a break for a couple of weeks, but hopefully I'll have a few articles written in advance to fill the gap while I'm away from a working wifi connection.