Saturday, 29 November 2014

Review: Johnny Hallyday - Rester Vivant

A new album by Johnny Hallyday is no small matter, he's an artist described lazily as 'The French
Elvis' , but given his influence and the shadow he casts over the French music scene, he's pretty much the French Beatles, the French Chuck Berry,  and the French Bruce Springsteen as well.

Rester Vivant is his eighth number one studio album in a row, a run that began with 1999's Sang pour Sang.

But the commercial success is all very well, but does Johnny still matter artistically?

An initial inspection finds the voice in good form, the songs well crafted and the production -  by Don Was,  who has worked with veteran rock acts similar to Hallyday like Dylan and the Stones - is sympathetic.

To these ears it's better that L'Attente, his 2012 collection that I always though a bit on the safe side compared to its predecessor, 2011's Jamais Seul, which felt more like an artist tying some new ideas.

Of course, L'Attente was a massive seller in comparison to Jamais Seul, so it just shows what I know.
If anything this album charts a course between these two previous albums, and there's no shortage of songs that could fit effortlessly into the canon of Hallyday classics, whether the more introspective Seul or A nos promesses, which wouldn't be out of place on a recent Springsteen album.  If Bruce had recorded in French, bien sur.

Hallyday could easily tread water in terms of releasing new material, but listening to this gives the impression that he's still got the drive  to push himself.

While he's never going to step too far from what he does best, this collection still has plenty of pleasant surprises.

It may not be American Recordings period Johnny Cash in terms of an artist redefining his career through his later period releases, but compared to Hallyday's contemporaries like Tom Jones, Elton John or Neil Diamond, Hallyday remains very much an artist vivant.

Le live du 24-10 (Johnny Hallyday - Rester... by f1334235678

Friday, 28 November 2014

Melody Says: Bang Bang

I always love it when something wonderful pops up unexpectedly on the radio, so it was a real treat to hear the song Bang Bang by Melody Says on Xfm this morning,

Hats off to Jim Gellatly at Xfm Scotland for picking this track as his breakthrough track of the day and to Fraser Thomson for playing it this morning.

French artists, other than a few well-known acts, rarely get an airing on radio so it was nice to hear a young artist getting some well-deserved exposure.

Melody Says,  known to her friends and family as  Alix Lachiver, is a Scottish educated Parisian singer, who sounds like an indie Françoise Hardy.

She's toured extensively, and worked with Pete Doherty, collaborating on the writing of the track Penguins on the recent Babyshambles album Sequel to the prequel.

She has been in the studio with Scottish producer Kenny Paterson, who worked with Placebo and the Lightning Seeds.

Hopefully we'll be hearing more from her soon, and hopefully she'll be a regular feature on the radio.

Trans Musicales 2014 preview: Jeanne Added

The Trans Musicales in Rennes gives a showcase to acts  who are genuinely doing interesting things
and who, given the right exposure, could be as commercially successful as they are artistically credible.

Jeanne Added is one such artist, an eclectic artist with a powerful and unique style.  Although working in the more exploratory areas of rock, she's informed by jazz and  songwriting with a unique voice.

Originally from Reims, she studied music there before studying jazz in Paris, then going on to work with a variety of musicians and establishing herself as a solo artist.

Jeanne Added plays at the L'Aire Libre in Rennes as part of the  Trans Musicales 2014 over five nights, with a different support act each night.

Her debut album will be released on Naïve records in 2015.

The song A War is Coming was released this week as the first single from the album, and it looks like her album will be something to look forward to in 2015.

Acid Arab: Mosaïques Festival

Acid Arab take to the decks n London tonight for a DJ set as part of the Mosaïques Festival.

The festival, the 14th time it's been held, also sees a screening of the acclaimed film Benda Bilili! and panel discussions , plus world food stalls and mint tea.

It's being held at Rich Mix on Bethnal Green Road in Shoreditch.

Acid Arab  recently remixed the track Think Of Me on the recent Judah Warsky EP

March this year, meanwhile, saw them release their second EP.

Acid Arab played at the Transmusicales festival in Rennes last year, bringing an intense and vibrant sound to an exhibition hall on the outskirts of the city in the early hours of the morning that bordered the middle of the night.


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Trans Musicales 2014 preview: Thylacine

I've featured Thylacine on this bog before, noting how their very cool electro sounded "as influenced
by modern classical music as it is by anything going on in a nightclub".

It will certainly be a pleasure to see them live.

I featured the track Sand previously, a striking piece, and the rest of the material they've released so far is of the same quality.

You'll probably hear their work appearing on adverts and soundtracks before too long, Thylacine has the kind of sound that could add a touch of class to anything.

Thylacine is  a project by William Rezé from Angers, and the second EP Blend was released earlier this year. A new EP is due out at the end of January.

Following their set at the Trans Musicales, Thylacine play at the Nouveau Casino in Paris on December 12.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

David Guetta: Dangerous (Sam Martin acoustic version)

David Guetta's new album Listen dropped his week, a collection of songs that should dominate the
charts over coming months.

The song Dangerous is already a number one in France, as it is elsewhere, but an interesting acoustic version of the song has emerged, featuring the vocalist Sam Martin who features on Guetta's song performing solo with a piano.

While Guetta's version gets the airplay and views on YouTube and TV, Sam Martin's version reveals a completely different side to the song that maybe disappears beneath Guetta's onslaught of beats.

They sound like two very different songs, and reveal the difference that Guetta's work makes to a song.

There are some who would prefer Guetta's take on the song, others might like this version instead.

There's certainly room for both, and there will probably be others before too long.

Trans Musicales 2014 preview: Forever Pavot

Another look ahead to the Les   festival, today looking at Forever Pavot.

The Paris-based act presents a technicolour vision informed by the further reaches of cinema, part Ennio Morricone, part psychedelic soundtrack from long-forgotten B-movies.

The group, led by  Emile Sornin have been around since 2011, with a number of singles issued since then.

Their debut full-length album Rhapsode was issued earlier this month on Born Bad records.

Following their show in Rennes, they play in the UK in December, with shows in Reading on December 10, Northampton December 11, Manchester the 12th and London on December 13.

Sable mouvant was issued as a limited edition seven inch single in 2013.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Le Vasco: She Saw Light

 A new video for a track by Le Vasco, with the track She Saw Light emerging from the shadows.

Almost a short film in terms of its length and scope, the clip does a good job matching the atmospheres created by Le Vasco.

They're an act that intrigues and quietly insist on  your complete attention.

Le Vasco are one of the acts that first came to my attention at the Les Trans Musicales festival last December, and they've remained a fascinating proposition since.

Their full-length album Passion Things - apparently more of a mix tape than a debut album proper - was released in December last year, preceded by a self-titled EP in November 2012.

Hopefully there's more by Le Vasco on its way before too long..

Indila: Love Story

A new clip from French pop star Indila, with the song Love Story getting the big budget video

It's the fifth track to be taken from her Mini World album as a single.

The album's been one of this year's biggest sellers in France since its release in February, reaching number one in the charts and selling enough copies to get diamond status.

A new edition of the album's recently been released.

Her single Dernière danse reached number two in France, and number one in other countries in Europe

There's an obvious Christmas and winter theme going on in the new video, which should see it getting some attention for this time of year

Trans Musicales 2014 preview: Dad Rocks!

Continuing my look ahead to the acts playing at this year's Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes
next Month, today it's the turn of Dad Rocks!

While not strictly French (OK, they are from Denmark...) I've always been relaxed about my definition of French music in this blog, and they are signed to a  French record Label, Les Disques Normal, who are based in Rennes.

The label is also home to acts like Fat Supper and Lady Jane, two acts I had the chance to get acquainted with last year. And I've  been delighted to have had the chance to get to know their work.

The same applies to Dad Rocks!

They make a pretty gorgeous sound, epic and approachable, as welcome as a favourite jumper on a  cold autumn day.

The act has been active since 2010, with Denmark-based Icelander Snævar Njáll Albertsson at the helm.

They released an EP that year, following it with their Mount Modern debut LP in 2011.

 The album Year of the Flesh by Dad Rocks was released in September this year.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Trans Musicales 2014 preview: Grand Blanc

Next month sees the Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes festival, running from December 3 to
December 7.

I'll be over to see the event, a well-selected showcase for emerging and established talent including - as you would expect - some French acts that are well deserving of your attention.

Over the next few days I'll be previewing some of the acts that are playing at the event, as well as updating and reporting from the event once I'm there.

First act to fall under the Vive Le Roq spotlight is Grand Blanc.

They are label mates of Moodoid and Les Superets, two acts that hugely impressed me last year. All three acts are on Disques Enterprise, a label that champions emerging acts performing in French.

Listening to Grand Blanc you can hear an influence of the likes of the Cure and New Order, at least in terms of atmosphere, but Grand Blanc take a more electro approach that locates them firmly in the 21st century.

It would be easy to compare them to the likes of indie electro acts like Bastille or Chvrches, but to be honest I reckon Grand Blanc are streets ahead in terms of doing something interesting.

Grand Blanc realsed their first EP in September this year. Hopefully it won't be too long until we hear more from them.

SACEM Grands Prix 2014

Today's the day of the SACEM Grands Prix 2014, where the organisation celebrates some of the biggest players in the field.

The Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique performs a job like the Performing Rights Society does in the UK, collecting payments of the rights of artists and then distributing these to the songwriters, composers and music publishers.

The ceremony at the Olympia in Paris sees an award going to Johnny Hallyday , who receives the Prix Spécial.

Among the other awards, there's recognition for Lilly Wood and the Prick for Prayer in C, getting the Rolf Marbot Prize for song of the year.

Martin Solveig gets an award for best Electro, The Grand Prize for French Song, creator-performer goes to Pascal Obispo and the Grand Prize for French Song creator goes  Jean-Pierre Bucolo, who has worked with Johnny Hallyday and others.

There are awards for Jazz, traditional and world music, symphonic, humour as well as awards for film directors and music publishing.

The event is being streamed on the website from 8pm Paris time.

Grands Prix Sacem 2014 by SACEM

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Review: Comett - My reality is your fiction

I first came across Comett when I chanced upon the track Once upon a time/ the city of lights with its
delightful clip, and I've been awaiting their debut album since.

The album My reality is your fiction finally came out last month, and while they've not rushed into it, the time they've spent putting it togtehr has certainly been worthwhile.

If Once upon a time/ the city of lights got my attention, songs like Don't Turn Off Your Light make it clear that it was no one-off, and the entire collection is infused not only with imagination but also displays ample evidence that they've got the skills to make it real.

 My Reality is Your Fiction is the kind of crafted electro indie pop that convinces you entirely.

At times there are touches of the epic and cinematic that are reminiscent of M83, at other times the off-kilter pop of Air. What's certain is that Comett are capable of greatness.

The European Space Agency landed a spaceship on a comet just days ago.

This Comett is easier to find but every bit as deserving of exploration.

Playlist: Les Inrocks

Probably time to try a new thing here on the blog, so I though I'd make n effort to link to an interesting playlist every week .

Obviously subject to the usual small print disclaimer of me actually remembering to do it, having the time to make it happen, and keeping it regular. We'll see how it goes.

So, to start, a great new playlist by the good people at Les Inrocks, with 26 French acts well worth discovering.

Not strictly Francophone by any means, many of the acts performing in English, but that's always been a thing in France and I've never been too precious about what defines a French act anyway.

Some acts that we've featured here on the bog before are included, like Husbands and Jessica93, and I reckon I'll feature some of the others here before too long.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Daft Punk: Recognizer - Audi TT Advert

A new appearance by a Daft Punk track on an advert, with a remix of the track Recognizer .

The track comes originally from Disney's Tron Legacy soundtrack, released originally in 2010.

The third generation TT was unveiled at the Geneva motor show earlier this year, and the advert certainly shows it making a dramatic entrance.

While car enthusiasts were pretty excited about the new car, the advert does perhaps ramp up the drama a bit.

Still, what better act to soundtrack some cutting-edge technology than Daft Punk?

Vorsprung Daft Punk, perhaps?

Bikini Machine: Stop all Jerk.

A film noir setting  for the ever stylish Bikini Machine in their new clip Stop all Jerk.

The track comes from their most recent album Bang on time, which was relased earlier this month.

I've features Bikini Machine a few times here on the blog over the years and I've always been a fan of their french-fried take on Yéyé and garage rock.

 The Rennes-based band have been active since 2001, releasing their debut in 2003.

Other releases since in clude a collection of Jacques Dutronc covers Bikini Machine joue Dutronc released in November 2005.

Prior to Bang on Time they released Comme dans un garage  in 2013.

Bikini Machine play in Paris on December 17 at the Nouveau Casino

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Brodinski feat SD: I can't Help myself.

A great track and a remarkable video from Brodinski feat SD for the track I can't Help myself.

It's the first track from a forthcoming album that is due out early next year.

Brodinski's developed a fearsome reputation as a DJ and producer, for both his own work and the remix projects he has been involved in.

He's worked with the likes of Yuksek, Gesaffelstein and Justice over the years, as well as with Kanye West.

His album looks certain to be one of 2015's key releases.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Cleo T: Live in London

A London date tonight for French chanteuse Cleo T, who plays at The Social.

Her sound's a sophisticated one, informed by cabaret and classic pop, but remaining a thoroughly  modern experience.

Her debut album Songs of Gold and Shadow, which was released in September,  was produced by PJ Harvey associate John Parish.

She is no stranger to the UK, having played in London in June, and at the Great Escape in Brighton in May.

She's releasing a new single, Comme vient La Nuit, with an EP to follow next year.

She'll be playing live in Europe in 2015, with dates in Italy, the UK and Germany and some shows in the east coast of the USA and Canada too.

Husbands: Let Me Down (don't)

A great new clip by the band Husbands, where you have to love the retro televisions.

The song Let Me Down (don't) is a tasteful piece of electro from the Marseilles three piece.

Their self-titles five track EP was released in June 2013,l featuring other memorable tracks like You, Me, Cellphones

The single comes out as a 12 inch vinyl next month with remixes by Laurent Garnier and Ghost Of Christmas.

The band recently signed to the Sounds Like Yeah! label, co-founded by Laurent Garnier, and an album is anticipated some time next year.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Hellfest 2015: Line up details

Details have emerged for much of the bill for this summer's Hellfest festival, the annual metal event in Clisson.

Topping the bill are Slipknot, Scorpions and Faith no more, also at the top are Judas Priest, ZZ Top, Slash, Motorhead and Alice Cooper.

While Download released details tody of four acts on the bill, Slipknot, Priest, Five finger death punch and Black Stone Cherry, Hellfest revealed details of 130 acts.

I've always been impressed by not only the number of acts that are on the festival each year, but the way that pretty much every sub-genre of metal is represented. And there are many, many such sub genres.

Korn, Limp Bizkit, Nightwish, Marilyn Manson, Airbourne and Billy Idol are there, as are Venon, Children of Bodon, Satyricon and Arch Enemy.

More punk styled acts include  Dead Kennedys, NOFX, Bodycount, the Exploied and France's  Les Wampas and Les Ramoneurs de Menhir,

Five finger death punch are also there. No sign of Black Stone Cherry though. So far, anyway.

Hellfest 2015 takes place on June 19, 20 and 21. Three-day tickets have gone on sale today.

Official Hellfest 2014 After Film by hellfestchannel

Mr Oizo: The Church

The new album by Mr Oizo has been made available to listen online, a week ahead of the full release  of the new collection by Quentin Dupieux .

The stream is on the Dazed and Confused website, where Oizo speaks of his time in Los Angeles where he collaborated with Flying Lotus over the re-issue of his second album, the positive experience leading to his continued relationship with his label.

Oizo's been engaged in low-budget high-imagination cinema in recent years, and while best-know for the film Rubber (about a killer tyre...) he's worked on promo clips and music videos as well.

The new album, The Church, follows the release of the track Machyne in September and it's certainly been eagerly awaited by fans of the more experimental edge of the electronic music spectrum.

The new collection, his fifth, comes out on Brainfeeder.

Stromae: Meltdown (feat Lorde, Haim, Pusha T and Q-Tip)

A high-profile new track by Stromae, with the song Meltdown featuring on the soundtrack for the
latest installment of the Hunger Games film franchise.

The track features on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, which is released at the end of November and stars Jennifer Lawrence.

It's likely to be one of the Christmas season's biggest earning films.

The track has an impressive cast list too, with Lorde and Haim as well as Pusha T, Q-Tip featuring on the release.

Stromae takes the lead credit and the production duties for bringing the elements of the track together.

Some of the scenes of the film were, incidentally, shot in the Paris area, with filming taking place in May in Ivry-sur-Seine and in Noisy-le-Grand.

The soundtrack album also features Chvrches, Charlie XCX, Grace Jones, the Chemical Brothers as well as several tracks by Lorde who curated the collection.

Stromae comes to London on December, with a sold-out show at the Eventim Apollo on the ninth.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Charles Pasi: Acoustic

An Acoustic session this week by Charles Pasi, a Paris jazz and blues infused based singer

Acoustic is the music show on TV5monde, a show that gives French artists an international showcase.

Pasi studies music in Paris and Rome, and has been active from 2005, winning an award at the Le festival Blues sur Seine.

His debut album Mainly Blue was released in 2006, his second Uncaged coming out in 2011.

His most recent album, Sometimes Awake, was released earlier this year.

Pasi played at La Cigale in Paris on November 12, and has dates in Strasbourg and Romans sur Isere later this month.

The session sees him play Too many friends,  Up to us,  Little love,  A sleeping scene and Lazy lady as well as brief interviews.

Christine and the Queens: Christine

A lyric video for the track Christine by Christine and the Queens.

The track features on the Chaleur Humaine album that was released this summer, and has seen the act become one of France's most acclaimed new acts.

The track is as good as anything in the album, and we'll hopefully see a fuller video emerge before too long.

Earlier this month Christine featured as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of Canal+. performing  We are Family with Nile Rodger.

Christine and the Queens have announced some new live dates in France in February and March next year, and have just finished some dates in Scandanavia.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Marion Cotillard: Snapshot in LA

A new video by French actress Marion Cotillard for the song Snapshot in LA, a song conceived for the new advertising campaign by Dior.

Music is of course nothing new for Marion Cotillard, given that she starred in the film La Vie En Rose, a role that saw her win an Oscar.

She also teamed up with Scottish indie rockers Franz Ferdinand for the song The Eyes of Mars to launch a previous fashion range in 2010.

Last year saw her feature in a video by David Bowie for the track The Next Day.

In 2010 she featured in the clip for the track More Than Meets The Eye by Yodelice.

The new track sees her collaborating with Joseph Mount from Metronomy, showing that her musical taste remains as well informed as it did in 2010.

La féline: Les Fashioniste

A great track by electro act La féline.

Their single Les Fashionistes is a classy piece of work that both pays homage to the retro sounds of the 80s but with its eyes very much on on the 21st century.

La féline describe themselves as "Julee Cruise meets Christophe, meets the Stranglers" and features singer and guitarist Agnès Gayraud from Paris who has been releasing material since 2009.

The track features on their debut album Adieu l’enfance on Kwaidan Records,  which follows an EP of the same name that was released in May.

If the single is anything to go by, the album will require my full attention very soon. It has the kind of class  that makes you confident you will be hearing about this act a great deal before too long.

The album was released in France on Monday November 10 and La féline play at the Nouveau Casino on Paris on November 27 to celebrate the release of the album.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Live: Petit fantôme at Festival Les Inrocks Philips

A gig in London tonight with the mighty Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains, but one that also features the very interesting Petit fantôme.

The show, the Festival Les Inrocks Philips sees the venerable French magazine behind an outing of quality French acts in the British capital.

Petit fantôme is a project by Pierre Loustaunau, who previosuly played with Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains.

He released an EP entitles Yallah in 2011, and followed this up with a mixtape entitled Stave in 2013.

Petit fantôme is playing a few more dates supporting  Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains before going into the studio to record their debut album.

The gig is tonight at the Scala at  276 Pentonville Road London.

November 11: Armistice Day

I've marked Armistice Day on the blog in previous years, and this year is no exception.

France suffered from the wars of the 20th century like  many others, and the scars remain visible in some places to this day.

It is a holiday in France, for most a day off work, but also a time to reflect on those whose sacrifice ensured the freedom we enjoy today.

While peace may remain as elusive as ever, it remains an ideal worth pursuing even in the times of conflict.

Monday, 10 November 2014

M83: Moonchild

Another older track by M83 getting another moment in the sun, with a new video for the track
Moonchild emerging.

The video marks the latest phase of the reissue campaign that saw new editions of their first three  albums M83, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts and Before The Dawn Heals Us.

Moonchild comes from Before The Dawn Heals Us, a collection originally released in January 2005.
It also featured the tracks Lower Your Eyelids To Die With The Sun and In The Cold I'm Standing , both of which have been featured in recent videos.

On the M83 YouTube channel, Anthony Gonzalez said: "Before the Dawn Heals Us’ is still my favorite… There's something very special about it.

"I remember listening back to it for the first time with my manager at the end of the session, and it was like, “Yeah, that's cool. I'm going to sleep well tonight.”

While it may be some time since we've seen a new album from M83, there's little doubt that their back catalogue is packed full of classic material.

Zaz: Champs Élysées

A new album out today by Zaz,  the collection entitled Paris seeing her focus on Paris and all matters

The album, her third, finds her covering classic songs about Paris including the new single Champs Elysées, a song originally by Joe Dassin.

Dassin was an artist who released music from the early 60s until his death in 1980. Les Champs-Élysées featured on his 1969 album.

The new single follows the previous single, Paris sera toujours Paris, which was originally recorded in 1939 by Maurice Chevalier, a singer who throughout his long career sang many songs in praise of the French capital.

Zaz's previous collection, 2013's Recto verso was one of the biggest selling albums in France last year.

 Her new work is likely to find favour not only with a domestic French audience but with a certain kind of nostalgic francophile whose idea of French music this pretty much encapsulates.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

MTV European Music Awards

The MTV European Music Awards event takes place in Glasgow this weekend, with David Guetta in
the Best Electro Act category.

The list of artists performing an those shortlisted for awards show it's very much a US/UK dominated event. It's being hosted by Nicki Minaj and acts appearing include Charli XCX, Kiesza, Ariana Grande, Royal Blood and Ed Sheeran.

The MTV European Music Awards were last held in France in 1995 at the Zénith in Paris.

Five acts competed for the Best French act local category, which was won by Indila whose Mini World album was a diamond seller and number one in France this year.

The other acts in the French act nominations shortliset were Julien Doré, Casseurs Flowters and Christine and the Queens.

The award has previosuly been won by the likes of Manu Chao and Indochine, as well as Justice and Jenifer. The last two years saw Shaka Ponk win, beating Daft Punk, Maître Gims, Tal and C2C least year, Tal, Irma, Orelsan and Sexion D'Assaut the previous year.

Prior to that, the five nominated acts this year, the pre-nominations list also included Tal, Black M, Fauve, Team BS and  Maître Gims.

But this year's winner is Indila, the R&B styled pop star whose album was one of the biggest French sellers in 2014.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Kavinsky: Sovereign

A new track by French electro master Kavinsky, Sovereign emerging from the his live OutRun tour.

If Kavinsky have a reputation for creating work that fits in with cinema, this track certainly would, but it is strong enough to stand on its own.

It's a heavy piece of electronics that follow son well from his OutRun collection that was released last year.

While his love of the futuristic sounds of the 80s can be heard at fist listen, its as informed by the 21st century as it is by any notion of retro.

Hopefully it's a prelude to more new material. In the meantime you can imagine this brooding piece playing while the stone-faced hero drives through the midnight streets under neon light...

La Bande à Renaud 2: Nolwenn Leroy - J'ai la vie qui m'pique les yeux

With the release of the Bands La Bande à Renaud 2 album at the end of last month, a video has
emerged to promote the album, and the chosen track is Nolwenn Leroy's version of J'ai la vie qui m'pique les yeux.

The track originally appeared on Renaud's 1979 Ma Gonzesse album.

Leroy featured on the first volume of contemporary interpretations of Renaud songs which was released earlier this year to considerable success.

The new volume features return performances by Benjamin Biolay Nicola Sirkis from Indochine and Renan Luce, the son in law of Renaud.

New artists to feature on the second volume include Thomas Dutronc,  Emmanuelle Seigner and Bernard Lavilliers.

The previous volume was such a  success, bringing Renaud to the attention of new listeners, that the new collection is likely to be met with a similar reaction.

Nolwen Leroy meanwhile releases a live collection on December the first  documenting her tour that followed the release of her  Ô Filles de l'Eau album.

Vanessa Paradis and Benjamin Biolay: Pas besoin de permis

A new video has emerged for the track  Pas besoin de permis by Vanessa Paradis and Benjamin

The song Pas besoin de permis is a previously unreleased track that emerged towards the end of her recent tour.

The pair collaborated for Paradis's Love Songs double album, a collection that sold over 200,000 copies, the singer subsequently embarking on a  major tour across France and elsewhere that saw her even perform in the UK over the summer

A live collection documenting her tour is due to be released at the end of the month, in a variety of editions including DVD and CD.

The new video comes ahead of the release of the live collection, and while the live collection looks back on the tour, the new song suggests that the successful collaboration between the two artists has a strong future.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Chill Bump: One Way Ticket

Some very cutting edge rap from Chill Bump, an act from Tours pushing the frontiers of the genre.

The two artists, Bankal and Miscellaneous,   have been around since 2010 and the track comes from their debut Ego Trip albun that was issued earlier this month.

The video for One Way Ticket is a classy piece of work too, memorable and avoiding the cliches that all too often dominate the genre.

Their flow in English is so convincing that there will be listeners who don't believe they're a French act.

They play in Paris for a sold-out album launch gig on November 13 at La Maroquinerie.

Benjamin Siksou: La bande à Renaud 2

A second volume of La bande à Renaud came out at the end of last month, a follow up to the tribute
collection that was released earlier this year.

The first volume of La bande à Renaud saw the work of the beloved French singer songwriter interpreted by the likes of Cœur de Pirate, Bénabar and Nicola Sirkis from Indochine, along with Carla Bruni and Nolwenn Leroy.

Renan Luce, the son in law of Renaud, is another of the featured artists.

The album reached number one in the French charts, with the version of Mistral gagnant by Cœur de Pirate reaching the top 20.

The new volume sees a number of new artists on the bill including Thomas Dutronc, along with  Emmanuelle Seigner and Bernard Lavilliers.

Benjamin Biolay, Nolwenn Leroy, Nicola Sirkis and Renan Luce make return appearances.

Health problems means Renaud himself is keeping a low public profile, but his music is continuing to find a whole new audience.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Dø: Concert à Emporter session

A tasteful session by The Dø , with two tracks for a Concert à Emporter on La Blogotheque.

The session features the tracks Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy  and Miracles, two tracks taken from their recently released Shake Shook Shaken album.

The French/Finnish duo of Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy have been around since 2005, their 2008 debut album A Mouthful reaching number one in France.

Their 2014 collection -their third -  has been long awaited, and it gets a UK release in January 2015.

In the meantime, a hugely enjoyable session that was filmed at the Jardin d’Acclimatation park in Paris in September.

Johnny Hallyday, Eddy Mitchel and Jacques Dutronc: les vieilles canailles

French music legend Johnny Hallyday takes to the stage in Paris tonight, for the first of a series of
nights at Bercy.

He's performing along with Eddy Mitchel and Jacques Dutronc, two fellow veteran singers, each with long histories on the French music scene.

The run of shows go under the titles les vieilles canailles. The initial three-night run sold out with more subsequent dates confirmed, so there are now shows until November the tenth.

The show from  Sunday November 9 is being screened live at cinemas across France.

Hallyday, of course, is touring extensively next year and has a new album to be released later this month entitled Rester Vivant, his 49th, with US producer Don Was at the helm.

 He's been making some appearances in the media in recent weeks,  with a few of his new songs getting an airing ahead of the new release.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Black Atlass: Jewels

Yoann Lemoine may be better known by his stage name of Woodkid for his musical career, but he's
also an established video director.

He's worked with the likes of Lana Del Rey, Katy Perry and Moby and is responsible for the videos released by Woodkid.

There has been a suggestion that his music activities are to take a back seat so that Lemoine can establish himself as a movie director.

Whether this happens or not is uncertain, but what is certain is that he does have a unique vision as a director and a new video he's certainly demands your immediate attention.

The video is for the track Jewels by french artist Black Atlass, who has taken electro/R&B somewhere very interesting indeed in his work.

His Young Bloods EP was released in February, and the track Jewels is one of six that features on that release.

Perez: Avant-Scène

A new music section online for Le Figaro debuts today, with Avant-Scène featuring Perez for its
debut edition.

The singer-songwriter released his debut EP in September, featuring the tracks Une Autre Fois and Gamine.

Prior to embarking as a solo artist, Julien Perez was the frontman of French indie rock band Adam Kesher, who were active from 2007 to 2010, releasing two albums and a number of singles and EPs.
Unlike his work with Adam Kesher, he now performs in French, his music informed by French chanson with an electro backdrop. He cites Christophe and Bashung as influences.

The Avant-Scène video features the track La Vie Nouvelle, an as-yet unreleased number that's expected to appear on his forthcoming debut album.

I've embedded a video featuring some performance and an interview  in French, and there is another track performed in full that can watched at the Avant-Scène page on the website

Avant-Scène is set to be a weekly feature of the paper's website, focusing on showcasing the artists of tomorrow,  so hopefully we can look forward to some more interesting music in weeks and months to come.

Barcella: Acoustic

Another quality session from Acoustic, the music programme on TV5Monde, with a performance this
week by Barcella.

Barcella takes a modern approach to chanson, with a flavour of hip hop in his songwriting, particularly in his playfully poetic wordplay.

Barcella has recently released his third album, entitled Puzzle. It follows his La Boîte à musiques debut from 2010 and his Charabia collection from 2013.

The session features the tracks Le suicide, Caroline,  La poésie des roses,  Puzzle and Chou-fleur, as well as brief interview segments.

Barcella plays at the Trianon in Paris on Wednesday, and has dates elsewhere in France in November, December and January.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Pendentif: UK live dates

A trio of UK dates for Bordeux indie act Pendentif this week, with shows in Leeds, Manchester and

They play at the Mine nightclub in Leeds on Thurs Nov 6 , Friday November 7 at Mono Chorlton in Manchester, and on Saturday November the eighth at the Lexington in London.

For a French band they're remarkably informed by contemporary UK indie acts. classic pop with an open-minded attitude.

They've been active since 2010, releasing their first four track EP the following year. The single Jerricane followed in 2012, and the Embrasse-Moi EP in 2013.

Their debut album Mafia Douce was released in September last year and they're made an EP of remixes of tracks form the album available as a free download. 

The band's singer Cindy Callède confirmed that she had left the band this summer, with new singer Julia Jean-Baptiste at the microphone.

With the band having toured extensively to support the release of the Mafia Douce, they're now looking towards the follow up release.

Détroit: La Cigale

November starts with a bang with the release of the live album La Cigale by Détroit, the post Noir
Désir band fronted by  Bertrand Cantat and assisted by Pascal Humbert.

It follows their Horizons debut studio collection, an album that was met with critical and commercial acclaim when it came out in November 2013, accompanied with the complicated moral issues surrounding the fact that Cantat is a convicted murderer.

 It remains almost impossible to see past the elephant in the room with regard any assessment of Cantat's contemporary work, but the fact remains that with songs like this - a NoirDez classic - and a band that sounds an incredible live proposition it's as good as anything produced by Cantat at his best.

But there will always be a shadow over Cantat. He may have served his time, he may be humble and contrite, but there will always be a feeling of discomfort surrounding his work.

That being said, Horizons was a powerful and poetic work, and he remains a consummate live performer.

The new live collection, from what I've heard and seen so far looks an extraordinary document of a band at their peak and an artist perhaps unexpectedly making music that remains as powerful as it ever was.

If only history had been different.

The collection is released as a limited edition 2 CD and DVD, as a 2 CD, a DVD and bluray or as a 2 LP vinyl.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Review: Black Strobe - Godforsaken Roads

Black Strobe's Godforsaken Roads sees Arnaud Rebotini move from the field of EBM to a territory
more associated with the likes of Nick Cave, albeit with a mostly electro backdrop.

The album follows his 2007 Burn Your Own Church album, itself a fine piece of dark electronics, but this collection is more song-based, and all the better for it.

It takes much of its inspiration from the blues, and the primitive rock 'n' roll style fits like a well-cut suit of the blackest cloth.

But it's not an attempt at re-creating music of the past with modern tech, Robotini doesn't shy away from  the 21st century with tracks like Blues Fight showing that the sounds of today's dance floors are not as far away from the haunted swamp blues of Robert Johnston that they would perhaps care to admit.

His version of Folsom Prison Blues as I noted a few months ago, successfully maintains the menace of Cash's original.

Meanwhile, if ever there was a song title that Nick Cave should have written it is For those who came on earth thru the Devil's Assshole.

The blues has proved to be a durable musical meme, re-invented in the 60s by electric R&B acts, 70s rock acts and 90s indie bands. By the sound of things its future in the 21st century is in safe hands.

Godforsaken Roads is re-interpretation of an American music tradition from the early 20th century from the viewpoint of a 21st century European artist, and it works perfectly.

Rebotini has experimented widely with music over the years, but this is probably his finest work yet.

Editorial: November 2014

A busy November  ahead, a key month for music releases with significant releases kicking off from
Monday, with albums from Détroit and Shaka Ponk.

Later in the month there are releases from Zaz, David Guetta, Vanessa Paradis and Tal amongst many others.

 Meanwhile, Johnny Hallyday releases his latest studio collection Rester Vivant on the 17th.
Hallyday takes to the stage in Paris for a series of shows with Jacques Dutronc and Eddy Mitchell.

Closer to home, the MTV European Music Awards event takes place in Glasgow, with David Guetta in the Best Electro Act category. Five acts competed for the Best French act local category, which was won by Indila whose Mini World album was a diamond seller and number one in France this year.

Live French music activity in the UK this month includes Pendentif, undertaking a short tour, Frànçois and the Atlas Mountains playing in London as part of Les InRocKs Philips Festival, a UK venture by the French magazine and Owlle also playing in London.

Acid Arab also DJ in London at the end of the month.

In short, plenty to keep us busy and lots of reasons to drop by regularly.

As always, I can be contacted on johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, with the appropriate punctuation where you'd expect it to be. I'm always pleased to hear from record companies, PR companies and promoters, so do get in touch.

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

Thanks as always  to the good people at the French Music Office in London and to the Institut francais in London for their help and encouragement over the past month.

Merci et à bientôt

John K