Friday, 27 December 2013

Homer Simpson parody: Donutoutai

We're still on Christmas time here at, when over-eating and over-indulging are in order.

So we found an appropriate clip, so you didn't have to get off the sofa and find one yourself.

Stromae's Racine Carrée has been a massive hit in France this year, with the singles Formidable, Papaoutai each massive hits.

The track Tous les mêmes was more recently released as the third single from the collection.

The album was the year's biggest seller in France, and this success obviosuly did not go un-noticed in Springfield, where the man in the world's favourite yellow family has apparently recorded his own version of one of the songs

Meanwhile, if you've never heard Homer Simpson in French, now's your chance.

Homer Simpson - Donutoutai (extrait) by purecharts

Johnny Hallyday: Noel interdit

The Christmas season continues here at, where it wouldn't be Christmas without some Johnny Hallyday.

Noel Interdit was originally released in November 1973, a year that saw Johnny also release his Insolitudes album.

2013, 40 years later, Johnny's been as busy as ever, marking his 70th birthday, and releasing two different live collections, On Stage marking is tour off the L'Attente album, the other - Born Rocker Tour- documenting is 70th birthday concerts in Paris over the summer.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Cœur de Pirate: Noël Blanc

A French version of White Christmas by  Cœur de Pirate, from 2011's Noel! Noel!! Noel!!! collection by Michel Legrand.

Another tune to fill the Christmas season while we take it easy here at

More to come in a few days, but next year is a long way off and in the meantime, pour another eggnog and stick another log on the fire.

The weather's turning and it looks like we should stat indoors for a little longer..

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Les Wampas - Ce soir c'est Noel

Well, it is the season to be jolly, and few acts do jolly better than Les Wampas.

Normal service at is having a break for a couple of days.

I'll stick a few more tunes on here over the next few days between now and New Year, but I'll be busy with the important things that are happening offline.

In the meantime, whether it's turkey, nutroast or huitres and champagne, enjoy the season.

Joyeaux Noel!

Petit Papa Noel is one of France's best know Christmas songs, performed here by Tino Rossi, French singer
and actor.

This song, originally issued in 1946, sold over 30 million copies and continues to sell every year. It has been in the charts almost every year, and has been recorded by artists as diverse as Céline Dion, Boney M, the Smurfs, Trust and Mary J Blige.

From Vive le Roq, hope you're having a great Christmas.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Vive le Roq's French video of the year

I've been increasingly consuming music through channels like YouTube, so I thought I'd take account of this
and give a 'best music video' award this year to a well-deserved winner.

Stromae's Formidable was without a doubt my favourite French music clip this year. And yes, I do know he's Belgian.

Like the best music videos, it's a simple idea, done perfectly. It compliments the song, and is one of those rare clips that is never forgotten once it is seen.

Stromae comes across wonderfully, as both the witty prankster and as the vulnerable human being, so convincing is his performance. But above all it makes him appear likeable.

 I wonder how it would have played out in the UK or elsewhere. Would a member of the public have helped him off the tram track? How would the police have reacted here?

With over 51million views on YouTube, a thumbs-up from Vive le roq is hardly going to make his career, but hats off to the MaeStro.

Vive le Roq's French album of the year

So what was the best French release in 2013?

It's always going to be a difficult choice, and in many ways it's unfair to measure whether one album is 'better' than another, when musical styles can be so different. Are good lyrics key? What if its an instrumental? You get the picture.

But I've had a think about what was my favourite release over the past year, and I think that while Daft Punk and Stromae might be the acts that did the most in terms of raising the profile of French music acts, this year's winner of the much-coveted album of the year release is Woodkid.

The Golden Age, Woodkid's debut album was released in March, and I said at the time that it seemed like an early contender for album of the year, and months later the collection still seems a bold work, epic in its scale but human in its delivery.

He's followed the release with live dates, some with an orchestra, and some remixes of tracks have also surfaced.

Yoann Lemoine has indicated that his Woodkid project may come to an end soon, and thet he intends to focus on a film directing career.  Some new tracks have emerged, but if Woodkid only ever released one full album, it achieved more than many acts do in their entire careers.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Hey Joe

A new track by Charlotte Gainsbourg, from the soundtrack of her forthcoming film Nymphomaniac.

The track was produced by Beck, who has been a regular collaborator with her since he worked with her on her 2009 IRM album.

Like much of her work, it is in English, and while the song is well known to the English-speaking music world through the Hendrix cover, there have also been many other versions over the decades, including interpretations by Deep Purple, Love, The Byrds and Patti Smith.

Meanwhile, there is also a well-known (In France at least!) French version was recorded by Johnny Hallyday.

Charlotte Gainsbourg's version also makes a musical nod towards one of her father's works, the track Cargo Culte from his 1971 Histoire de Melody Nelson album.

Her new film is by Danish director Lars Von Trier, and it is the third time she's featured in one of his films, having starred in 2011's Melancholia and 2009's Antichrist. Much of his work features sexually explicit scenes and this new film is seen as the third part of what has been referred to as his "Depression trilogy", a sequence of films that centre on characters suffering the consequences of depression of grief.

This film features her as the main character - named Joe -  recounting her life of erotic encounters. It has already been met with the kind of controversy that her father would no doubt have relished.

Von Trier's earlier 2000 film Dancer in the Dark featured Bjork, and won a Palme d'Or at Cannes, Bjork also getting a nomination for an Academy Award for best song for the track  I've Seen It All.

Charlotte has of course enjoyed the success in cinema that eluded her father. She has been working as an actress since 1984, and her career has so far seen her win a César in 1985 and five nominations since, including four for best actress. She also won the Cannes film festival award for best actress for her performance in Antichrist.

Her last full music release was the 2011 Stage Whisper double CD set.

Nymphomaniac is due to be released in January.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Stromae: Tous les mêmes

A new clip by Stromae is something that we're always going to mention here, on account of him being
probably this year's biggest Francophone music star and also for being an innovator with his video
Tous les mêmes is the third single from  Racine carrée, his second album, which was released earlier this year.

The previous singles, Papaoutai and Formidable were among this year's biggest sellers and the album has been at the number one position in France for over a month.

The success of the album and singles have confirmed Stromae's place as the most popular rapper in the Francophone world, and a star whose work goes beyond appealing simply to fans of the genre.

The album showed him to be an intelligent and witty commentator, as well as a fabulous entertainer.

He's been playing live extensively around France, and has more dates in the spring of 2014, including shows at the Zémith in Paris on April 9, 10 and 11. Two shows in November 2014 at Bercy in Paris have already sold out.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Live: Rhume at the Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes

A more-or less final lookback to the Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes festival just over a week ago,
and it would be remiss of me not to mention the act Rhume, who played a set at the l'étage.

Quite an extraordinary act, displaying a passion and anger that few display these days. A genuine punk spirit, even though their means of expression are more electronic and closer to rap in their delivery.

True, there's a possible nod to the likes of Suicide, very much the percussors of the angry electronic rock 'n'roll, and a possible comparison to Fauve in their use of rap in a way that sits outwith the usual hip hop conventions, but Rhume are very much their own selves, quite unique.

They reminded me more of the spoken word work of Mark E Smith,  but with the Fall's use of electronics taken forward into the foreground.  Unpolished, rough and urgent, a volley of green-ink rants with passages underlined with the luminous highlighter pen of minimal percussion.

They are the kind of act we need in  these turbulent times, reflecting the anger and vitriol without serving it as nostalgia or as irony.

Rhume released their debut album earlier this year, and it is available from their bandcamp site. 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Tomorrow's World: Life on Earth.

A new clip has emerged for the Tomorrow's World song Life on Earth.

Their self-titled debut album was released in April this year, and will hopefuly be  appearing on some of the well-informed 'best of 2013 lists before the year is out.

The band features Jean-Benoit Dunckel from Air and Lou Hayter from New Young Pony Club. They produce a darkly sophisticated pop that doesn't mind being classy and intelligent.

They played in London in October as part of the OohLaLa! festival which showcased a number of French acts including Moodoid and Lescop.

While still an endeavour by artists involved principally in significant other acts, Tomorrow's World are certainly more that just a studio project.

Live: Dead at the Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes

If there was ever a for a genre called nudryicewave, Dead would beat the forefront of it.

I caught Rennes act Dead at the Transmusicales when they played at the L'étage at the Liberté venue in the city centre.

There were echoes of late 80s post-industrial electronic dance acts like Front 242 or Nitzer Ebb in their performance, but to this listerner at least I couldn't help but compare them to the Sisters of Mercy, the one-time dark lords of the dry ice, menace and moodiness.

Not that they actually sounded like the Sisters, more that they sounded the way that the Sisters should sound like today.

Much as I was a fan of Eldritch and co. in the past, re-listening to their material today is a fairly disappointing experience. Despite live shows and new songs, the band have released no new material since 1992.

 The intervening decades reducing much of their recorded output, which was once an all-consuming techno rock into something now sounding rather thin and dated.

Not so Dead. They're very much across the changes that have mutated electronic music in the years since the Sisters went into hibernation. Their music might well be no stranger to the sounds of the dancefloor of a punk night at a student union in the late 80s, but Dead are very much a product of the 2010s musical environment.

When Andrew Eldritch awakes from a troubled sleep and tries to recall what the band he dreamed about sounded like, they probably sounded a bit like Dead.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Richard Pinhas and Etienne Jaumet: Vents Solaires EP

A new EP has emerged featuring the combined talents of Richard Pinhas and Etienne Jaumet.

Pinhas has been a legend in the underground music scene since the 1970s, with a long solo career and groundbreaking work with the electronic progressive band Heldon.

He's also collaborated with some very interesting musicians over the years, including the likes of Merzbow.

Jaumet was previously a member of French electronic act Zombie Zombie, who I've featured previously on this blog over the years.

Pinhas has always been a pioneer exploring the area where electronics and guitar meet, at times complimenting each other, at other times confronting.

There are few artists who have maintained a position at the forefront for so many years as Pinhas has. This new release shows he has lost none of his experimental edge.

The new release came out on December 9 on Versatile records

Tal: Pas Toi

A new clip for Tal with the song Pas Toi, which looks likely to give her another hit before 2013 is over.

The song features on the Génération Goldman volume 2 CD, released in August this year. It is the third single to be released from the collection.

The original featured on Goldman's 1985 Non Homologué collection.

The previous Génération Goldman collection, released in 2012, was a massive commercial success in France, with the song Envole-moi, a duet between Tal and M Pokora a hit single

Tal's recent album A l'infini which originally came out in September has just been re-issued, it reached number three in the French charts and will probably sell a few more copies following the release of this single too.

 Her profile's been particularly high in France this year, with an appearance as a contestant in season 4 of reality show Danse avec les Stars which was eventually won by Alizée in November.

Meanwhile, she also won the prize for best female Francophone artist of the year at the 15th NRJ Awards, having won the Francophone breakthrough award last year.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Live: Oum Shatt at Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes

Another great act that was unknown to me before the Rencontres Trans Musicales last weekend was Oum

While a German band might normally fall outwith the usual French music framework of this blog, I'm never the strictest at drawing borders and a band playing in France, especially one that made a big impression at a French festival certainly merits a mention.

Oum Shatt are a rock and roll band, a four piece that takes the traditional guitar rock into a 21st century context.

There's a strong flavour of the Turkish and middle eastern sound that anyone who has ever visited Germany will be familiar with.

You can imagine them somewhere around Franz Ferdinand or even Talking heads, smart indie rock that's unafraid to be heard on the dancefloor.

Oum Shatt have been around since 2012, and their Power to the Women of the Morning Shift EP was
released in August this year and it is available at their bandcamp site. 

Another thing that I've enjoyed about the Rencontres Trans Musicales is that so many of the acts were filmed in such high quality, and the videos made available internationally. Not only does it give the event a  reach that goes beyond those who attended the event, but also gives those who were there the chance to catch acts again or to see things that they weren't able to see on account of there being so much going on at the same time.

Fauve: De ceux

A great new clip by Fauve for the track De ceux.

Fauve are getting a huge amount of attention at the moment, not surprising given their position somewhere between the popularity and directness of rap and the more experimental areas of rock.

Fauve's debut album Vieux Frères - partie 1 is to be released on Feb 3 2014 in France and already looks like one of the things to look forward to in the new year.

A second disc will follow towards the end of 2014, which the band are writing at the moment and are to record in the spring.

They've got a schedule of live dates for 2014 already in place, with a show in Paris at the Bataclan on February 3 and another there on March 4.

Fauve released their debut EP Blizzard earlier in 2013, and a number of tracks are available as free downloads from Fauve's facebook page.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Live: Doist at the Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes

One of the strengths of the Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes festival was the opportunity to catch acts
that would be outwith my usual listening comfort zone.

The festival's bill was an eclectic one,  in the most part steering away from obvious commercial acts and instead giving acts that are more interesting the opportunity to showcase their work in front of an open-minded audience.

So it was with Doist! performing at the Heineken Green Room on the final night of the festival.

The duo from Rennes were tipped as a marriage of electro and metal, but they were much more than this. It wasn't metal as such, probably not electro either, but something that fans of each genre would certainly recognise and respond to at an instinctive level.

Fans of extreme music of any stripe would be into what Doist! are doing.

They're not the first French act to put guitar and electro together and take things to a new level - older listeners will remember the likes of Heldon and the solo work of Richard Pinhas - and while in some ways what Doist! is doing is an extension of that electronic rock, they've come up with something exciting in its own right.

Their digital release Black Church EP was released in April this year, with four tracks and three remixes. It is available from their bandcamp site at a price of your choosing.

Détroit: Null and Void

A new clip by Bertrand Cantat's new act Détroit, for the track Null and Void.

It's a great song, which stands up will to the work of Noir Désir, as indeed does the rest of Détroit's debut album Horizons.

Of course, the circumstances of Cantat's situation hangs heavy over the release, which is difficult to assess without regard to the fact that Cantat committed a crime that would appall any right-minded person.

There's an argument over whether he has any right to continue working in a field which, whether framed as art or culture, remains at the end of the day entertainment.

I don't have any easy conclusion.  While the song and much of the work can be seen as an expression of Cantat's pain and turmoil, I have my doubts  whether the family of his victim - or those who have themselves suffered domestic violence - particularly care.

But putting the crime and punishment debate to one side, taken on its own merit the album is a powerful release and in easier circumstances would probably find itself regarded as one of the best of the year.

While not exactly pushing the boundaries of new music, Cantat has always been one of French rock's most articulate voices and the release shows that has not been diminished.

Détroit are touring next year, with a series of sold-out dates in Paris in June next year as well as shows elsewhere across France.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Live: Moodoid at the Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes

Much to digest from the rich musical pickings of this weekend's Les Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes
event, so I thought that a series of short articles would do it better justice than a lengthy report that would inevitably not cover everything that it should.

Of course, one other consequence of the visit was getting the chance to not only experience a huge number of acts live, but also getting introduced to other acts that I didn't get the chance to see.

There were so many acts on it simply wasn't possible to be everywhere at once, and with the Bars en Trans festival running at the same time - with dozens of acts across the city in smaller venues - I couldn't see everything, but I certainly got to hear about some acts that I'll hopefully get to feature.

To kick things off, however, I was particularly looking forward to seeing Moodoid perform at the Parc Expo, and I was not disappointed.

Live Moodoid are the kind of band that can pull of some ridiculously complicated progressive psych rock, but with a melodic and pop sensibility that means they're never less than approachable and engaging.

It was also great to see Moodoid feature on the front cover of Le Monde during the festival. Looks like its not just fans of  Melody's Echo Chamber that are paying attention to the band. If 2014 sees them getting  share of mainstream popularity, it's certainly deserved.

During theTrans Musicales, Moodoid also performed a special concert to an audience of kids in Rennes, a perfect example of the inclusive attitude of the Trans Musicales event that included free shows and talks in the city, bringing some of the best music on offer at the moment to as many people as possible.

Incidentally, I caught some of the members of Moodoid, including Pablo Padovani, at a gig at Le Sympatic bar during the Bars en Trans festival. They were all wearing the silver face  make-up they wore during their set at the Parc Expo. Good to know that even when off duty, Moodoid remain loyal to the cause.

The four track of September's Moodoid EP have just been released as two seperate seven inch singles on Enterprise records.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Ben L'Oncle Soul: Être un homme comme vous

Ben L'Oncle Soul has been a busy chap recently, and has featured a couple of times on the blog in the last couple of weeks, with a new video and a show in London.

He's getting another mention, this time for his cover of the song Être un homme comme vous, a song better known to English-language listers as I Want to be like You.

The song originally featured in the 1967 film The Jungle Book, a movie that has gone on to be recognised as one of Disney's classics.

This version of the song features on a  new compilation entitled We Love Disney, released recently in France.

It also features the likes of Jenifer and a duet between Thomas Dutronc and Laura Smet on Tout le monde veut devenir un cat, from The Aristocats.

Nolwenn Leroy,  Élodie Frégé, Zaho and Michaël Youn are among the others, all certainly hoping that the collection enjoys the kind of success that collections like Generation Goldman have had in recent years.

Nice to hear Ben L'Oncle Soul perform this song, one that's pretty well known and also one that has recently been performed by Paulo Nutini.

Of course, hearing a song that's so well known to an English-speaking audience but with French language lyrics is quite  a novelty.

The album, released just in time for Xmas, is certainly likely to appear in a few Christmas stockings on Christmas Day.

Ben L'Oncle Soul - Etre Un Homme Comme Vous on MUZU.TV.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Mylène Farmer: Timeless 2013

A new live album by Mylène Farmer arrives in the stores today, following her tour which was probably one
of the most eagerly-awaited in France for some time.

The Timeless 2013 tour followed her Monkey Me studio collection that was released in 2012, and it started with ten nights at Bercy in Paris before moving around the country and beyond, with dates in Switzerland, Belarus, Russia and Belgium.

The tour came to an end last week on Friday December 6 in Nice.

The live album was recorded at her shows at the Halle Tony Garnier in Lyon on September  24, 25, 27 and  28.

It is her sixth live collection, and is a 2 CD affair, and includes the track Slipping Away(Crier  la Vie)  as a duet with Moby, and two tracks (Mad World and Les Mots) as a duet with Gary Jules.

While it features some of the songs of her last two studio albums, with number like Monkey Me, Bleu Noir and Oui...mais non, there's still room for some of her classics like Sans contrefaçon and Désenchantée.

A DVD of the tour is expected to be released next year.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Live in London: Stromae

Belgian rapper Stromae takes to the stage in London on December 11, with a sold-out show at the Scala

The London show comes as Stromae prepares for the release of the third single from his album Racine Carrée, one of the year's biggest selling albums in France.

This time it is the song Tous les mêmes.

The new single follows Papaoutai and Formidable, both massive hit sings and both with memorable videos.
The  Belgian rapper, best known in the UK for his single Alors on danse, a massive hit around Europe and a reasonable success in Britain, has sold out the Scala for what is his debut London performance.

Friday night saw him play at the Les Rencontres Trans Musicales in Rennes, where he was probably the act that most people who attended the event wanted to see live.

He's set to play in London again in February next year, although this too has also already sold out.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Gilles Servat: Je dors en Bretagne ce soir

While enjoying the acts at the Trans Musicales event in France, this song by Gilles Servat is one that I find sticking in my mind.

Admittedly Rennes might not be the most rural part of Brittany, but none the less this is where I find myself.

The music of Gilles Servat may be very diffferent to the music being showcased at the Trans Musicales event that's on at the city, but music has been one of the key elements to Breton identity, and Servat has been at the forefront of this.

This song originally appeared on his 1973 album L'Hirondelle.

He has been releasing work since his 1970 debut La Blanche Hermine, performing in English, French and Breton.

He's long been a campaigner for Breton language and culture, and stood up to the Front National's use of his song Blanche Hermine in his 1998 live album Touche pas à la Blanche Hermine.

His work has included French interpretations of songs by English-language songwriters like Christy Moore, whose La Quinta Brigada he performed, as well as Ewan MacColl's Dirty Old Town, under the title Vieille Ville de Merde.

Servat remains a big presence in the Breton music scene, with a live schedule that artists more than half his age would welcome, and  his most recent alum being released last month.

Dionysos: Jack et la mécanique du cœur

A clip for the track Jack et la mécanique du cœur has emerged ahead of the release of the film of the same
name, based on the album by Dionysos.

I earlier features a trailer for the animated film, Jack et la La Mécanique du Cœur, which is due out next year.

The film, set in 19th century Edinburgh and likely to be called The boy with the cuckoo-clock heart in English, is based on the album and subsequent comic book La Mécanique du Cœur by Dionysos, the book written by Dionysos singer Mathias Malzieu.

The film is to be directed by Stéphane Berla - who directed Dionysos ' promo films  along with Mathias Malzieu.

Dionysos have been around since the early 1990s, and have so far released seven studio albums. La Mécanique du Cœur was released in 2007, their most recent Bird 'n' Roll coming out last year.

The new song was recorded for the soundtrack of the movie, which features songs from their earlier album.

The new movie features amongst others the vocal talents of Olivia Ruiz, Grand Corps Malade and  Jean Rochefort.

The film is due  to be released on February 5 2014.

Les Rencontres Trans Musicales: Le Vasco

Le Vasco are another act that I'l looking forward to seeing over the weekend at the Les Rencontres Trans
Musicale in Rennes.

Le Vasco takes an uncompromising approach to electronica, with an edgy sound that  reminds us that many of the artists working in electronic music have ideas and ambitions  beyond lowest common denominator dance music.

Their new release Passion Thing, an 11 track collection, was made available this week.

The song In Your Dreams features on the most recent compilation CD by Les InRocks Lab, which features  18 of the best new acts from 2013.

In Your Dreams features on the six track Le Vasco EP, released last year.

Le Vasco plays at Les Rencontres Trans Musicale on Friday night.

Passion thing is available as a fee download from the website.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Les Rencontres Trans Musicales: The Enchanted Wood

An impressive new video for the track Death is knocking at your door by The Enchanted Wood, a track
which could easily sit alongside works by the likes of masters like Nick Cave an Tindersticks.

There's a beautiful melancholy in their work, it will be fascinating to see how this works in a live environment.

The Enchanted Wood is a musical project fronted by Michel Le Faou, working with other musicians or performing solo.

The second album by The Enchanted Wood, Monster Parade, was released in 2012, the debut self-titled album in 2006.

The Enchanted Wood play on Friday December 6 at Les Rencontres Trans Musicales.

Death is Knocking at your Door - The Enchanted Wood from Mein Herr W on Vimeo.

Les Rencontres Trans Musicales festival

The Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes festival gets under way in full today, with the Breton city hostinga wide and varied selection of bands, DJs, and acts of all descriptions taking to stages in the city.

It's the 35th time the event has been held, attracting some of France's best new acts as well as others from around the world keen to showcase their acts to critics and potential fans.

A brief look back at the history of the event shows that some names that went on to become among the most significant in the music scene have played, Cabaret Voltaire, Sugarcubes, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Portishead, Massive Attack, Daft Punk,  Röyksopp and MIA have played at the event, Meanwhile, some of the best French acts have graced the stages, with names like IAM, Zebda, Noir Désir, Mano Negra, Etienne Daho and Cassius playing.

Needless to say, Daft Punk played there in 1996, well before they became global event they have been this year.

The act that has probably attracted the most attention is Belgian rapper Stromae, playing on the Friday night. His long-awaited second album Racine Carée has been one of the most significant releases in France this year, more so even than Daft Punk, and while he's best known in the anglophone world for Alors on Danse, his album's given him some of his biggest successes yet in France.

One act I'm looking forward to is Moodoïd, who I've featured previously on this blog. Their videos are a colourful psychedelic spectacle, but as a live act Moodoïd look like they will be every bit as much of a strange and captivating sight.

There are of course, for a major international event, bands from outside the French speaking world.

One of my personal favourites here has to be Public Service Broadcasting, a UK act who take government information films and re-contextualise them in a way that makes the hair on the back of yoru neck stand up.

London Grammar have been for many the band of the year in 2013, and their most recent release is a cover of the Kavinsky track Nightcall, a French track that got a huge amount of attention when it featured in the soundtrack of the film Drive.

Of course, not every international band is a household name. Acts are on the bill more on account of their artistic reputation than their commercial success. Of course, that commercial success should hopefully follow before too long.

There are a huge number of quality French bands. Dead,a  three piece from Rennes, restore some of the strangeness and menace to electronic music.

Le Vasco deal with an equally unsettling electronic sound, a reminder that modern electronic music can still be experimental and artists working with it have ambitions beyond playing safe stadium house.

Another act with an interesting sound are Rouge Méchanique, who released their debut single in June this year, the first release on Pyramids of Mars records. Electronic music from a musician whose background includes studying classical piano and playing in rock bands in France and Italy.

I'll update the blog with brief reports throughout the weekend, there's almost so much going on that it will be impossible to cover everything, especially with even more bands playing in the pubs around the city as well.

Meanwhile, the TGV from Paris to Rennes on the afternoon will feature a DJ set from Surfing Leons, Trans Musicales Express indeed.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Les Rencontres Trans Musicales: Fat Supper

There's little doubt that a band with a name like Fat Supper would get the attention of this Scottish writer.

It sounds like it should be a special delicacy at a local Scottish chip shop, but the reality is that this French four piece that they sound like a particlarly inventive and agile indie act.

They released an eight trackself-titled debut album in January 2013 on French indie label les disques normal.

Their four track EP Flat Slupper, which includes the track Surrogate, was released earlier this month.

Both their releases can be heard on their Bandcamp site

They play on Thursday afternoon at Les Rencontres Trans Musicales, with labelmates Bumpkin Island, The Missing Season and Lady Jane also playing over the weekend.

Hellfest 2014

Details have emerged of this summer's Hellfest festival in Clisson this summer, with Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath playing at the three-day event in Loire-Atlantique.

136 acts are playing over the three days, with some of the biggest names in rock on the bill.

June 20 sees Iron Maiden at the top, along with  Rob Zombie and Queensryche on the main stage. Main Stage two has Slayer, Trivium and Sepultura.

June 21 has Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Status Quo and Skid Row on the main stage, with  Avenged Sevenfold, Soulfly and Hatebreed on Main Stage 2

The final day sees Black Sabbath at the top of the bill on the main stage, alongside Soundgarden, Megadeth and Alter Bridge. Main Stage 2 has  Emperor, Iced Earth and Behemoth.

Over and above these acts, there are bands playing each day on the Altar, Temple, Valley and Warzone stages.

More acts on the bill are expected to be confirmed.

Again, it compares well with the UK's biggest rock festivals Download and Sonisphere, with - it could be said- the best acts that feature across these two events.

No Metallica obviously, but no shortage of first class bands at Clisson nonetheless.

Ben L'Oncle Soul: Live in London

A reminder that tonight sees the very stylish Ben l’Oncle Soul take to the stage in London, with a show at the

I featured his new single Hallelujah !!! (J'Ai Tant Besoin De Toi) last month, as convincing a slice of retro soul as you'll find outside a Northern Soul night.

His debut album was released in 2010, and it attracted the kind of critical praise and award nominations that you might only expect from a more established act.

Ben's got a new album due out shortly, and I suspect it won't be long until he's back in the UK again following its release.

I have a feeling that 2014 will be a big year for the sharply-dressed chanteur.

In the meantime there are more dates in mainland Europe, inclding three shows at the Nouveau Casino in Paris on December 12, 13 and 14.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Mylène Farmer: Diabolique mon ange (Timeless 2013)

Mylène Farmer has released the track Diabolique mon ange as a single to promote her new live album
Timeless 2013.

The track comes ahead of the new album which is due to be released on Monday December the ninth.

The song originally featured in its studio version on her 2010 Bleu Noir album, which preceded her Monkey Me album that came out in 2012.

A few (very short) teaser clips have been released ahead of the new album, which chronicles her tour this year that kicked off with ten nights at Bercy in Paris in September.

The live album was recorded at her shows at the Halle Tony Garnier in Lyon on September  24, 25, 27 and  28.

A DVD of the tour is likley to emerge next year, and she still has a couple of shows before the tour ends on December 6 in Nice.

Les Rencontres Trans Musicales: Dead

Some tough electro from Dead, with a new promo video for the track Revelation.

The track comes from their Transmissions EP, released on Le Turc Mecanique.

The trio from Rennes reclaims the punk spirit that inhabited electronic music by the likes of Suicide and Cabaret Voltaire.

Dead play at the Rencontres Trans Musicales on Saturday evening.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Les Rencontres Trans Musicales: London Grammar - Nightcall

Another look ahead to this week's Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes festival, where among the French acts there are a number of well-chosen  international acts, including the much-praised London Grammar, whose latest release is a cover of a track by French act Kavinsky.

Nightcall is the band's new single, released as an EP on December 8.

The track originally appeared on their album If You Wait that was released in September, and for many it was the album of the year for 2013.

A cover of a song as well-known as Nightcall was a bold choice for the band, but their interpretation of the track certainly takes it in a different direction from the  Kavinsky original and makes it something very much their own.

London Grammar play the Trans Musicales  in Rennes on Thursday, and have a date at the Casino de Paris on February 25 next year, along with a show in  Villeurbanne on March the first.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Leonie Pernet : Blue is Dead

Leonie Pernet is one of the many acts taking to the stage at the Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes later this week.

She plays sets on each of the four days of the event, so it will be hard for festival goers to miss seeing her.

While operating in the field of electronic music, she's a hugely talented musician capable of moving from subtle and considered musical environments to a more physical and robust context.

While she started in music at an early age playing drums, she's soaked up a huge amount of influences over the passing years, with nods to the likes of Philip Glass and classical composers like Rachmaninov, Chopin and Satie as well as rockers like Marilyn Manson, Korn, Limp Bizkit and contemporary electronic acts like Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin.

All these influences play their part, and Pernet's performance with synths and drums crosses boundaries and creates some very interesting music indeed.

Gaëtan Roussel: La simplicité

A new clip for  a song by Gaëtan Roussel , this time for the track La simplicité, a track from his second solo
album Orpailleur.

The album was relased in September, the track Éolienne being released as the first single.

Roussel is the former singer with Louise Attaque, one of France's most successful bands of the 1990s.

He  was later vocalist with Tarmac, before Louise Attaque reconvened in 2003 for their À plus tard crocodile album two years later.

In 2008 he worked with Alain Bashung on his  Bleu Pétrole collection, his last album before Bashung died, andn wrote songs for Rachid Taha and Vanessa Paradis.

Roussel released his first solo album Ginger in 2010.

Earlier this year, Roussel featured at the  Francofolies de La Rochelle festival with a performance entitled  Re-Play Blessures, where he covered the Play Blessures album that Alain Bashung  co-wrote with Serge Gainsbourg.

Editorial: December 2013

We're already into December, and most of the year's releases are out of the way and the final push for
Christmas sales are under way.

However, a busy month for us here as I'll be over in France later this week for the Rencontres Trans  Musicales de Rennes event, and a chance to see some of the best acts from France and elsewhere.

While names like Stromae are well known, there are many others on the bill that merit attention and I've been featuring a few of them over the past few days and I'll feature a few more in the days before and after the event.

Meanwhile, I'll also be putting my thoughts toward what I reckon to be the French album of the year, a much sought-after award.

November was a an interesting month here at Vive le Roq, with one of the busiest we've had so far in terms of traffic, and hopefully we'll be building on that in the months to come into 2014.

I can be contacted on johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, with the appropriate punctuation where you'd expect it to be.

We're also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

Thanks as always to the various record companies and promoters who have been in touch, and  thanks again to the Institut francais in London and the French Music Office in London for help and encouragement.

Merci et à bientôt

John K