Friday, 25 December 2015

Gaspard Royant: Christmas is Back in Town

Kick back and relax, time to take it easy for Christmas Day.

But not without a tune or two to mark the occasion, so nice to hear  a great one by the ever-reliable Gaspard Royant, the finest exponent of Doo Wop Garage 'n' Roll from Haute Savoie,  with the track Christmas is Back in Town.

It follows his Christmas 2014 near hit Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

2016 sees Gaspard working on his second album, the follow up to the mighty 10 Hits Wonder collection, with former Orange Juice and all round Scottish music legend Edwyn Collins.

Another thing to look forward to in 2016 for sure.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Mireille Mathieu: Colombe de Noel

Proper old school festive chanson with Mireille Mathieu performing Colombe de Noel on C à vous earlier this month.

Mireille Mathieu, now 69, has had a career that began in the early 1960s, enjoying massive success from the mid 60s onwards.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Michel Polnareff: L'Homme en Rouge

A Christmas song from the legendary Michel Polnareff, ahead of a year that sees him touring  and
releasing a new album.

It will be his first since 1990's Kama Sutra album. Since then he's made occasional return to performing,  his profile sustained by cover versions and celebrity magazine coverage.

He's sold over three million albums, and his new collection is one of 2016's most anticipated releases.

Typical for Polnareff, the song  L'Homme en Rouge is an anti-Christmas song. And probably one of the most memorable Xmas releases in recent years.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Vive le Roq Album of the year 2015

A look at French music in 2015 cannot fail to take into account the tragedies that unfold in Paris. Discussing the events in the context of a music blog seems both inapproriate but unavoidable, such was the shadow cast.

To ignore it would be grossly insensitive, but to mention it a crass appropriation of other people's sorrow.

But I've always been interested in French music, and that is what will focus on here. I'll leave the geopolitics to others, but the events that unfolded this year will be felt in the French music world for years to come.

In terms of what else happened in music in 2015,  there might not have been a massive international breakthrough like Daft Punk, but the acts at the current forefront of the French scene have continued to release strong new material.

Christine and the Queens released their debut album in the USA with new songs including the wonderful Jonathan.

Stromae's Quand c'est was one of the year's most remarkable videos, as the success of his 2013 Racine Carrée collection saw him embark on adventures in North America and Africa.

Respectable releases too from stars of previous generations, with new material from Mylene Farmer, Johnny Hallyday and Jean-Michel Jarre all showing that established artists can still have something to offer.

But focussing on five of the best releases of 2015 brings some other acts to mind.

Fauve's Vieux Frères, Partie 2 was the release that saw the act fully deliver on the promise of their debut. As good as that release was, it never quite hit the spot for me as much as I felt it should. No reservations about its follow up whatsoever, and with Les Hautes Lumières  simply one of the best French language songs of recent years.

 A more electronic proposition came from Rone, with the album Creatures. It's a mature and confident album, taking modern electronic music somewhere where it is more cerebral, but remains accessible at the same time.

 Who would have expected an album that saw Grand Corps Malade with not only  Charles Aznavour and also include the return or Renaud? GCM's Il nous restera ça album took seemingly disparate elements in its stride,  and raised the bar when it comes to spoken word performance.

 An album I thouroughly enjoyed was the debut by Blind Digital Citizen, Premières vies, which came out in March. It continues the trend of France producing wonderful genre defying modern rock acts, somewhere between rock, electro and psychedelic with a nod to chanson.

But if an album of the year must be chosen, unquestionably it came from Feu! Chatterton in the form of their Ici le jour (a tout enseveli) collection.

The Paris-based five piece have this year moved from critical acclaim to becoming one of the country's most significant acts. Their influences run deep, from 18th Century poetry, 19th century painters and Alain Bashung , jazz, and indie rock, but the songs on their album sound like no one else.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Yann Tiersen: Porz Goret

A new video by Yann Tiersen, for the track
Porz Goret which features in his new book of piano music.

His new collection  - entitle Eusa - was released in this format rather than as a recording. It features the music for ten new pieces.

The clip was recorded on the island of Ouessant off Brittany, where Tiersen lives.

His most recent album Infinity was released a year ago.

Tiersen plays two nights at The Barbican in London in May 2016.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Zaz: Tous les cris les SOS

A new track by Zaz, with a cover of the song Tous les cris les SOS originally by Daniel Balavoine.

The track comes from a tribute album  entitled Balavoine(s) that sees a variety of artists re-interpret his works.

It includes Raphaël,  Nolwenn Leroy, Christophe, Florent Pagny and  Jenifer.

The tribute album format has been particularly successful in France in recent years,  with the La Bande à Renaud and Géneration Goldman collections both massive sellers that produced successful second volumes.

The interest in coincides with the 30th anniversary of his death, Balavoine dying in a helicopter crash in January 1986.

TF1 broadcasts a programme dedicated to Daniel Balavoine recorded at the Zénith in Paris on January 9 next year.

Meanwhile, France 3 has a programme on December 30 dedicated to Balavoine featuring contributions from La Grande Sophie, Christine and the Queen and  Orelsan.

 Balavoine(s) is released on January 8 2016.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Mika: Je Chante

A cover of a Charles Trenet song by Mika for a new advert for the SNCF.

The advert is a cornerstone of a massive publicity campaign for the French railways, in particular their TGV service.

Mika says that when the project was suggested, he immediately said yes because when he was working with Michel Legrand on a cover of Vive le Vent, Legrand introduced him to the music of Trenet and he loved Je Chante, a song he describes as having the kind of alchemy he tries to find in his own songs.

The song was originally written in 1937, as the title track for a musical film.

Mika has become a French artist by adoption, the new video placing him firmly in the French landscape.

Mika's most recent album No Place in Heaven was released in June.

A fuller version of the video can be seen on the SNCF website 

Monday, 14 December 2015

Selah Sue: Fear Nothing

A new video by Selah Sue, with the track Fear Nothing getting a big screen cinematic treatment.

The track come from her second album, entitled Reason, which came out earlier this year. It follows the release of the tracks  Alone and I Won't Go For More  as singles.

 She has recently taken to Facebook to discuss her fight with mental health issues, a brave move for someone in the public eye.

She's just finished a tour, and has a number of dates scheduled for next year.

Meanwhile, she has been nominated for three major awards in her native Belgium, as best female artist, best pop and best album categories for the Mia's Awards.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Vieilles Charrues artists unveiled

Some of the headline acts for next summer's Vieilles Charrues festival have been unveiled, with some  big names in French music playing, including Alain Souchon and Laurent Voulzy  and Michel Polnareff.

Polnareff is about to release his first album in 25 years, and has a huge number of live dates scheduled for next year.

Souchon and Voulzy are still riding high on the popularity of their recent collaborative album, and released the track Bad Boys as a new single.

Meanwhile, the Téléphone reformation under the name Les Insus are headliners on the first night.

But it is not just veteran acts, with The Avener - producer and DJ who not only hit it big with his Wanderings of The Avener album but also produced recent work by Mylene Farmer - set to play.

Vieilles Charrues attracted 250,000 people to Carhaix in Brittany last year and the vent has gronw to be one of France's key music events.

Other artists who have signed up for the event include Louise Attaque, The Libertines, Lou Doillon, Major Lazer and Mickey 3d ,Nekfeu and Editors.

More names will be added as the event gets closer.

2016 will be the 25th birthday of the Vieilles Charrues festival, and so far an interesting event looks on the cards.

Vieilles Charrues takes place on July 14-17 2016.

Tame Impala: Let It Happen (Deezer session)

A Deezer session clip by Tame Impala, featuring the band performing Let It Happen in front of one
of the more interesting landmarks in Paris.

The band performs in front of the Géode building is in Parc de la Vilette, the park that is also home to  the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie as well ast the Le Zénith music venue and the Grande halle de la Villette.

The Géode, which is home to an Imax cinema, is a huge silver sphere that sits in the strange and otherworldly landscape of the park which is full of strange and interesting artwork and architecture.

Tame Impala play the Zénith in Paris on January 31.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Grand Blanc: Surprise Party (Clip)

A new video by the mighty Grand Blanc for the track Surprise Party, regular favourites of this blog,  with a clip emerging for their new track Surprise Party.

The track emerged at the end of last month, living up to the expectations that have been raised by the band's earlier releases.

The clip meanwhile displays the same kind of cinematic awareness that they've employed previously.

Surprise Party will feature on the band's debut album,  Mémoires Vives, which is expected to be released on February 19 next year.

Madonna in Paris

An unusual performance by Madonna in Paris, with one of the biggest music stars in the world choosing to perform a couple of acoustic numbers at Place de la République in tribute to the victims of last month's attacks.

She had just played a show at Bercy before appearing in the city centre, performing impromptu acoustic versions of songs including Like a Prayer and John Lennon's  Image.

Those with her included, according to reports, film maker Agnes Varda and Woodkid.

It was a touching and unexpected gesture from a star who you would not expected to seen on the streets of Paris.

But it is the kind of gesture that goes s long way in these troubled times.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Alain Souchon and Laurent Voulzy: Bad Boys

A new clip from Alain Souchon and Laurent Voulzy for the track Bad Boys.

It's a surprisingly modern video from two of the elder statesmen of chanson, whose first album together was issued in November 2014.

Three singles have already been issued, and the album been met with considerable commercial success in France

A new edition of the collection featuring a DVD has recently been released.

They've just played a run of shows at the Zénith in Paris and have live shows scheduled until the end of January.

Nicolas Godin: Bach Off (La Blogothèque session)

Wonderful video for the track Bach Off by Nicolas Godin, continuing the series of short music performance films made for La Blogothèque.

The video was shot at Terminal 3 of Orly Ouest airport in Paris and it makes an appropriately atmospheric background for the track.

Godin is of course best known as one half of Air, the act that pretty much defined modern French music from the late 90s.

He released his first solo album, entitled Contrepoint, at the end of September.

Indochine: Live at Le Trianon

A special gig tonight at Le Trianon in Paris, as Indochine mark the release of their new live collection
 Black City Concert with an intimate show.

The live album/DVD/Blu Ray/Box Set was recorded in June last year at the band's two show at the Stade de France, tonight sees them take to the stage of the historic theatre with a capacity of just over 1,000.

Indochine toured extensively following the release of  Black City Parade in 2013. There were three legs of the tour from February 2013 until June 2014, with sold-out shows at arenas throughout France and beyond. It was followed festival dates that summer including a show in London.

This year Indochine have played sold-out club shows at eight European cities.

A live album Black City Tour, documenting their gigs in Brussels on March 2014 came out in December last year in  2CD, DVD and Blu Ray versions.

However the new release should be a pretty different affair.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Mylène Farmer on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

A high-profile appearance by Mylène Farmer in the USA, as she appeared with Sting on the Tonight
Show with Jimmy Fallon performing her single Stolen Car.

It was, surprisingly perhaps, Farmer's US TV debut. Sting is unquestionably a bigger name in the US that Farmer is, and his presence may have helped persuade the show to put her on.

The song was, of course originally by Sting, appearing on his 2003 Sacred Love album.

Farmer's version reached number one in France on its release at the end of August, and features on her  Interstellaires album.

Before they performed their duet, the pair appeared for a brief good humoured interview with Fallon.
There's been more of a focus on establishing Farmer as an artist in the USA with the release of Interstellaires, with an interview appearing in Rolling Stone magazine in September.

An CD EP featuring five remixes of the track emerged at the end of last week, two vinyl releases of remixes are expected at the end of January.

Christine and the Queens: Paradis Perdus (Apes and Horses remix)

 A new version of the track Paradis Perdus by Christine and the Queens, with a remixed version of their cover of the Christophe classic emerging.

The new version of the track was remixed by French producers Apes & Horses.

It doesn't features as a physical release as yet, but Christine and the Queens recently issued a new version of her debut album Chaleur humain, with a selection of bonus tracks.

A slightly different version of the album has also been issued in the USA, with many of the songs now appearing in English.

Christine is currently working on her follow up to her debut, although no date for when it will emerge has been revealed.

Louise Attaque: Du grand banditisme

Lovely little piece of video by Louise Attaque, in the form of a mini-documentary about how the
cover of their new album has been created.

It features the track Du grand banditisme, one of the new titles on the forthcoming release.

The new album, their fourth, comes ten years after their last collection, when they split shortly after its release.

The new three piece version of the band release their album on February 19, the track Anomalie emerging in October.

they've got an extensive schedule of live dates ahead next year, with many of the shows including three nights at La Cigale in Paris already sold out.

Monday, 7 December 2015

LEJ: Get Lucky

It has been a while since versions of Get Lucky were a thing, but proper pop stars LEJ revealed their version of the track in an appearance on France 2.

The trio of Lucie, Elisa and Juliett have had massive success this year with their track Summer 2015, re-versioning summer hits in their own style.

They've released a collection of cover versions entitled En attendant l'album, which includes Get Lucky as well as ten other tracks, with Summer 2015 and Hip Hop Mash Up also featuring.

They're 2016 diaries are already looking quite full, with extensive live dates throughout next year across France including a date at L'Olympia in October at the end.

L.E..J. "Get Lucky"

Flavien Berger: Bleu Sous Marin

A great new clip by Flavien Berger for the track Bleu Sous Marin.

The video by Cosme Castro and Jeanne Frenkel was filmed in one take and was initially broadcast live on the youtube channel of the record company Pan European Recording.

It was broadcast live three times at the end of last month, and one of the takes was selected  to be the final video.

The track features on Flavien Berger's album Léviathan which was released in April  this year.

Bars En Trans videos: Day 2 and Day 3

A couple more videos rounding up the live events in the bars and clubs of Rennes over the weekend during the Bars en trans festival, where dozen of acts played at en event that runs in parallel to the larger Transmusicales festival in the city.

The video for Day 2 featured Kazy Lambist live at the 1988 Live Club, Philemon Cimon at La Trinquette, Hello Bye Bye at La Trinquette, LOAS at La Notte, Midnight Ravers at Le Kenland,  Clément Bazin at Le Chantier, Joycut at Le Bar'Hic, Frankie goes to Pointe a Pitre at L'Artiste Assoiffé, and Don Cavalli at Le Dejazey.

Meanwhile, Day three rounds up Garesud at the pool party held at the Piscine St Georges, Rick Le Cube at Théatre de la Parcheminerie, Lomepal at La Notte, Papooz at Le Dejazey, Pain-Noir at La Trinquette, Bon Voyage Organisation at the 1988 Live Club, Plaisirs at Le Chantier, and Carpenter Brut at the 1988 Live Club.

In short, a pretty good snapshot of a wide range of very different acts concentrated over one weekend.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Transmusicales 2015: Video available

Video report from local TV in Rennes covering this year's Transmusicales festival, with footage of
shows taking place in the city, brief interview clips and clips form acts playing this weekend.

I'm not making it over to the event this year, but it's good to see so much coverage of the event so it's possible to get a taste of what's going on.

Arte Concert have been screening some of the live sets, others are available on Culturebox 

I'll feature some of these in coming days, there's plenty of material available to watch.

Bars en Trans festival 2015

A video summing up some of the shows held in Rennes last night under the umbrella of the Bars en
Trans festival.

The first night of the three-day event, which takes place in parallel to the Transmusicales festival, saw dozens of gigs take place at the many bars and clubs across the city.

This year the festival puts a particular focus on artists from Quebec.

Last night saw the likes of Elliot Maginot, Jesse Mac Cormack, Chouette, Mensch, We Are Match and Adrien Soleiman at the likes of the 1988 Live Club, Le Backstage and L'artiste Assoifée.

The weekend sees the number of shows increase, as does the number and range of artists.

Highlight probably has to be The 1988 Live Club , which has shows on from the afternoon from Alice on the Roof, Mathieu Saikaly, Camp Claude and Krazy Lambist.

Camp Claude had been scheduled last year but had to pull out.

Elsewhere you can catch No Money Kids, Con Cavalli and many others.

For Saturday's highlights, there's a show at Le Backstage showcasing Disques Enterprise artists, with Fishbach and Paupiere and La Trinquette sees sets by Mazarin and Pain Noir.

The 1988 Live CLub meanwhiles hosts four acts inclusing Hollydays and Carpenter Brut.

Three days, with more than a dozen venues and some great shows. Again, great work by the Bars en Trans team and all those involved.

Paupière: Cinq Heures

A new single by the band Paupière, with the track Cinq Heures available ahead of their new EP.

Paupière, from Quebec, are on the Disques Enterprise label, home to Vive le Roq favourites like Granc Blanc, Bagarre and Moodoïd.

The band are a trio of Pierre-Luc, Julia et Éliane, and they make a sophisticated pop, which they describe as at once naive and profound, light and powerful.

It's approachable and easy to like, but there's a lot going on at the same time.

Paupière's Jeunes instants EP is available on January 29.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Saycet: Culturethèque interview

Hats off to Culturetheque for an interview with Saycet during his trip round the UK  as part of the Oui Love 2015 tour.

The tour saw him perform in London, Newcastle, Glasgow and Manchester alongside St.Lô & Acre Tarn.

The video features some nice footage of him performing as well.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Feu! Chatterton: Fou à Lier

A great new video by the mighty Feu! Chatterton for the track Fou à Lier.

The track comes from their debut album Ici le Jour (a tout enseveli), which was released in October.

Feu! Chatterton have taken the step from developing act to critically and commercially acclaimed artists with ease

The band are presently in mid-tour, a tour which sees them play a sold-out date at Le Traianon in Pairs in December, as well as shows at the venue in January, February, March , April and May next year.

Transmusicales Preview: Louise Roam

Louise Roam is another developing artist getting some much deserved exposure at this year's 
Transmusicales festival in Rennes.

She's got three shows at the Aire Libre, during the course of the event, so there's no excuse to miss a set if you're at the festival.

Roam, known to friends and family as Aurélie Mestre, released her first EP last spring. The four track Rapture release shows an artist as familiar with the organic as she is with the electronic, as capable as working with texture as she is with rhythm.

Louise Roam plays the Aire Libre venue on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Editorial: December 2015

December kicks in after what was one of the most significant months I've covered in my time writing this

There's no way around it, the attacks in Paris were one of the darkest moments in the history of the city of lights, a place that for all its reputation for vibrancy and life has known its times of almost immesurable bleakness.

Much will, for years to come, be measured by what took place in Paris this month.

To add my views or opinions seems almost banal and inappropriate given scale of events. My thoughts are with those who were hurt, and with the friends and families of those who fell.

Things go on. To be intimidated out of our way of life seems like a surrender, to hate and to wwant vengeance feels like playing into their hands. The moment's silence has been observed, songs have been sung again, at first defiantly and mournfully, and also full of hope.

Meanwhile, the regular business continues. For December, the releases continue with DVDs by Stromae, Indochine and  Shaka Ponk in the diary.

Live event see a series of sold-out UK dates from Benjamin Clementine, as well as a tour by Caravan Palace. A London date by The Dø takes place in the middle of the month.

In France, the Transmusicales festival takes place in Rennes, alongside the Bars en Trans event that sees several dozen of the city's small venues host a well-chosen selection of acts.

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

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, for a regular dose of fresh and vintage French music.

Thanks as always to the French Music Office in London and to the Institut francais in London for their help and encouragement.

Merci et à bientôt

John K

Monday, 30 November 2015

Aline: Les Angles Morts

An impressive new clip from Aline for their track Les Angles Morts.

For the video, the band asked internet users in October to send them images they could use inspired by nocturnal wanderings, parallel and urban atmospheres.

The track, and its video has taken on a much more significant meaning in the light of recent events, the band saying that it was with a heavy heart that they decided to keep the montage as it was before the tragic events.

The song features on the band's second album La Vie Electrique.

Aline play Paris at Le 104 on April 14 next year

Friday, 27 November 2015

Grand Blanc: Surprise Party

A new single by the mighty Grand Blanc, the track Surprise Party emerging today ahead of the
release of their album.

The Paris-based four piece were one of the highlights of last year's Transmusicales fastival in Rennes, proving to be as impressive  alive act as their previous releases led me to hope.

The band's earlier releases make it clear that their album will be something to look forward to in the new year.

Grand Blanc's debut album, to be entitled Mémoires Vives, is scheduled for release in February 2016.

Nolwenn Leroy, Camélia Jordana and Yael Naïm: Quand on n'a que l'amour #hommagenational

Tributes have been paid in Paris this morning to those killed in the terrorist atrocities earlier this month.

A ceremony at Les Invalides saw leading figures from the world of politics as well as the arts pay tribute.

One significant moment was the performance of the song Quand on n'a que l'amour by Nolwenn Leroy, Camélia Jordana and Yael Naïm.

The song was originally written by Jacques Brel, it's been coverd by many artists since.

A measured and considered song choice, and an absolutely appropriate one for the circumstances.

Nolwenn Leroy, Camelia Jordana et Yael Naïm... by Europe1fr

Louis Bertignac: Hallelujah

A magnificent live version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah performed by Louis Bertignac.

Bertignac dedicates it simply: "For Paris and France."

It, of course, recalls the version of the song recorded at the Bataclan club by Jeff Buckley, from his 1995 EP.

Bertignac has been playing solo shows as part of the tour following the release of his solo album Suis-Moi last year,  and he's also played a few shows with two fellow Téléphone veterans under the name Les Insus, to huge demand.

Téléphone  are enjoying a higher profile than ever, with a raft of re-issues and re-packages on the market, along with a new various artists tribute CD.

 Bertignac has a show scheduled at La Cigale in Paris on December 3.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Transmusicales Preview: La Mverte

Electronic music takes a central role in this year's Transmusicales festival in Rennes, and another act worth
investigating is La Mverte, playing at the l'étage venue in the city centre.

La Mverte is a project featuring Alexandre Berly, a musician, DJ and producer who played keyboards with Yan Wagner.

He released his first EP under the La Mverte name - Through the circles - in 2014. A second EP A Game Called Tarot in April.

A joint EP The Line, with Alejandro Paz, emerged earlier this month.

He played at the Red Bull Music Academy in Paris in October, he's no stranger to the event having been involved in the Red Bull Music Academy event in Tokyo.

Bose headphones advert: Charles Aznavour - Hier Encore

Another high-profile appearance by some French music on an advertising campaign, with a song by Charles
Aznavous being used in an ad for Bose headphones.

The advert, entitled Music Deserves Bose: Someone Special features a man being transported back in time through the music he is listening to on his fancy new wireless headphones.

The song was originally released by the veteran chanteur in 1964 and makes an unusual choice of track for an advert like this, a classic tune for a piece of modern technology.

The song is better known to an anglophone audience in its English version, under the title Yesterday When I Was Young, and was co-written by Aznavour. Many artists hare recorded covers over the decades, including Julio Iglesias, Bing Crosby and Marc Almond.

The advert makes the point that music is a time machine. Perhaps that makes Aznavour, now in his 90s and still performing, some kind of time traveller.

Indochine : Alice & June (live)

A new clip by Indochine for the track Alice & June, ahead of the release of their forthcoming live
collection documenting their two recent shows at the Stade de France.

Black City Concert is released on December 4 in multiple formats covering the two shows the veteran band played at the national stadium in Paris during their Black City Tour, a tour that ran for over a year promoting the release of their Black City Parade collection

The band played extensively on the back of that release, and ensured their reputation as one of France's most significant rock acts ever.

They've already released one live collection from the tour, Black City Tour, released last year. But there's clearly a massive demand for more live material from a hugely successful tour.

Alice & June featured on the special delux edition of Black City Concert.

Indochine play a special show at the Trianon in Paris on December 9.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Transmusicales Preview: Holy Strays

Many interesting acts on the bill at this year's Transmusicales event in Rennes next month, a key showcase
for emerging acts in France.

One that got my attention was Holy Strays, a project by Sebastien Forrester, an artist working in a particularly interesting area of electronic music.

There are touches of classical and some dub, but it's a fascinating blend. He's been active for a couple of years, and the Paris-based artist has started to establish a very credible reputatuion,

France has excelled in this field in recent years, and with acts like Holy Strays there are signs that the future of the genre in French hands is a good one.

Brigitte: Le Grand Journal appearance

An appearance last night by Brigitte on Le Grand Journal, the flagship show on French TV channel Canal+

The appearance saw them perform with a string quartet - The Free Bows - for the song Plurielle.

They also performed the tile track of their A bouche que veux-tu album.

A new edition of the album was released earlier this month, as a two CD edition with unrelerased material and a disc of tracks recorded with an orchestra.

They played at the Zénith in Paris earlier his week, a show that went ahead despite recent events. They later said: "To share that moment with you last night was extraordinary for our hearts."

Brigitte are still on tour, with shows in December and January until April, with shows across France, New Caledonia and Australia.

The Dø: Trustful Hands

A new clip by The Dø, with a new representation of the song Trustful Hands.

It's another track from their Shake Shook Shaken album, the duo's third collection. The album won the best rock album award in the 2015 Victoires de la Musique awards.

The new clip sees  Olivia Merilahti and Dan Levy adopt a Japanese aesthetic.

The Dø had a show in Paris on Saturday November 14 cancelled as a consequence of the attacks on the capital the day before, and have rescheduled their gig at the Olympia for December 20.

They also play a show in London at The Electric in Brixton on December 16.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Transmusicales preview: Inüit

The Transmusicales festival is all about new and emerging acts, and while acts from across France andbeyond get the chance to impress on the big stage, the inclusive nature of the event sees it extend into the city centre, where the L'étage venue hosts a series of shows, almost like a mini-festival within the larger event.

There is a programme of free shows on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday, meaning that the festival is not just for those able to attend the late night sets at the parc expo on the edge of the city.

The late afternoon/early evening times mean that the truly dedicated can of course fit in both in the course of a full-immersion in music over the course of several days.

Getting proceedings under way this year are Inüit, who perform on Thursday afternoon. They are a six-piece from Nantes, associated with that city's Conservatoire. But what they perform is not any rarified classical material, but a very organic and unique electroacoustic thing.

Their debut EP is released in January 2016.

Florent Pagny and Anggun: Nos vies parallèles - C à vous

A live appearance on C à vous by Florent Pagny and Anggun, with the song Nos vies parallèles.

The track comes from Anggun's new album Toujours un ailleurs, which came out last week.

It's the sixth French language album from the Indonesian-born singer, who moved to France to pursue her career in the 90s.

She's one of the most successful Asian artists in relation to the western audience, and France has adopted her as one of their own.

Pagny, now something of a veteran figure, has been a massive seller since the early 90s, with his most recent album 2013's Vieillir avec toi, a number one album in France.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Transmusicales Preview: Paradis

The Transmusicales festival in Rennes at the beginning of next month is a crucial showcase for some of France's finest emerging acts, so in the run-up to the event I though it only right to feature some of them on this blog.

The last two years saw Benjamin Clementine and Jeanne Added achieve considerable recognition as a result of their performances, both being give the opportunity to play multiple shows during the course of the festival.

This year sees a similar opportunity being given to Paradis, who play five shows at the Aire Libre venue.

The act, a Paris-based duo of Simon Mény and Pierre Rousseau have been releasing material since 2011,  their French language vocals and sophisticated groove making them one of the country's most promising new acts.

They've featured on this blog earlier this year, with the track Sur une Chanson en francais. You can probably expect to hear a great deal more of them in 2016 following their performances at this years Transmusicales.

Benjamin Clementine: Mercury Award winner

A well-deserved Mercury Music Awards win on Friday for Benjamin Clementine, with his debut album
At Least For Now recognised as the album of the year.

When I first heard he was on this year's shortlist I was pretty confident he was the best artist there. I really should have bet £10 that he would have won.

It's a remarkable album, poetic and confident, like nothing else but probably the closest I've heard to French chanson in the English language.

The winner was selected by a panel of musicians, music writers and broadcasters and is seen as one of the UKs most presigious music awards, on account of it being awarded for the artistic merit of the winning album rather that simply by their popularity.

Previous winners since the award was first presented in 1992 include Pulp, PJ Harvey, Portishead and Anthony and the Johnsons

There were 12 acts on this year's shortlist, including Aphex Twin, Florence and the Machine, Slaves and Jamie XX

Clementine graciously dedicated his win to Paris, the city that became his adopted home and the scene of the tragedy that unfolded just one week before.

Clementine has featured on this blog many times previously, and despite being from London, he lived in Paris for several years, sleeping rough until he was discovered working as a busker. He signed to a French label and established his reputation as a performer there, with gigs at events like the Transmusicales festival building his name.

The album was a number one seller in France.

He may have won the UK's most prestigious musical awards, but he's very much an honorary French artist too.

Mermonte: Angélique Beaulieu (live)

A lovely performance by Mermonte from earlier this year, with the Rennes based band playing
outdoors during the city's I'm From Rennes festival earlier this year.

The event saw bands play at venues throughout Rennes, at clubs and bars but also at unusual venues

The video was shot in the Parc du Thabor in the city, and sees them perform the track Angélique Beaulieu, a track from their 2014 album  Audiorama.

Mermonte are currently working on a new album, and are set to release their third album in 2016 and it will certainly be one to anticipate.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Playlist: Dimitri from Paris

A quality mix from Dimitri from Paris, with an articulate response to the darkness that descended on the city.

He explains: "Rather than pray, I choose to play. And play music is a way I know to express my voice.

"I hope this will help, if only so slightly, in lightening the heavy burden that's been recently cast on our lives.

"I dedicate this hour of French, nonchalant music to those who's life was taken because they chose to play, rather than pray.

"In Paris, but also elsewhere around the world, they remind us how high is the value of freedom of choice, at the cost of their lives."

Friday, 20 November 2015

St Germain: Sittin' Here

Nice to hear some new material by St Germain, with the clip Sittin' Here from their newly released
self-titled album.

St Germain, a project by Ludovic Navarre, has had a low profile in recent years, despite being massive in the 90s with his jazz-flavoured house.

His 1995 debut Boulevard sole over 1 milion copies, 2000s Tourist reaching the top five in France.

The new album puts a flavour of Mali in the mix, the album emerging last month and reaching the top 20 in France.

The video directed by Cédric Mérand is a very smart piece of work indeed.

St Germain played a sold-out show at the Bataclan in Paris on Thursday November 12, the night before the terrorist atrocity.

Animali: Who?

A quite startlingly psychedelic clip by Animali for the track Who?

Plenty of cool retro science fiction references too, always a good thing in my book. I'm sure the recipe works well too...

The band made the video in the course of a single night, the band saying it involved crisps, been and a version of Final Cut.

The track comes from their new five track EP entitled This Plane is going down, are we all gonna die?, which is available as a free download. 

I was fortunate enough to see Animali play at the 1988 Live Club in Rennes last December. Great live act, and looking forward to hearing more by them before too long.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

New Acts: Giirls - Far Life

A familiar name behind a new release, with the EP Far Life by Giirls.

Brice Delourmel is the artist behind the act, he's also involved in the Paris/Rennes band Dead, who have featured on this blog more than once in the past.

Giirls is a solo project, the new EP recorded at home

Giirls featured alongside Dead on the n0thing collective compilation n0thing #03 which emerged in February this year.

As you'd expect from an artist involved with Dead, it's a suitably sepulchral piece of electro, six tracks that would sound superb at implausible volume amid clouds of dry ice and strobe lighting.

The Far Life EP is released officially today.

Lilly Wood and the Prick: I Love You - Live on C à vous

A live take of the song I Love you by Lilly Wood and the Prick from French TV show C a Vous  originally broadcast at the end of last week.

Lilly Wood and the Prick released their much anticipated new album entitled Shadows last week.

It follows the massive international success Nili Hadida and Benjamin Cotto enjoyed with Prayer in C in 2014 after it was remixed by German DJ and producer Robin Schulz.

That track originally featured on their 2010 debut album Invincible Friends, so if previous performance is any indication of future success, we can probably anticipate this track topping the charts in the UK some time in 2019.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

New Acts: Bruit Noir - Requiem

A new release by the Bruit Noir, an act consisting of Pascal Bouaziz and Jean-Michel Pires from Mendelson.

The track Requiem features on their album I/III, which emerged on the Ici d'ailleurs indie label earlier last week.

It's an atmospheric and powerful piece of work.

Brut Noir play a release party for the album at Le Klub in Paris on December 15

Editorial: The Paris atrocity

I've held off updating for a few days in light of the atrocity in Paris at the weekend. It didn't seem right to write about music following what happened.

I watched the events with horror, hundreds of miles from France. But the interconnected nature of modern society brings us all closer.

Friends were at the football match at the Stade de France, friends of friends died at the Bataclan, colleagues interviewed survivors.

I never intedned this blog to be overtly political, there are already more then enough badly-written blogs full of opinion and short of facts covering that field.

But politics and terrorism impacted not only the country I love and a city I love, but directly targeted people with whom I have so much in common.

There have rightly been tributes, and there have also been voices calling for revenge as well as idiots using events to further their agendas.

The story is still unfolding in France and how it will end I don't know. While I fear he worst, I hope for the best.

I am confident in France and its people. While some things may change, the values that underline the republic will be maintained, and the spirit of the people that constitute it will  prevail.

Grand Corps Malade posted some touching words, saying that while hate and a desire for revenge had been expressed: "Above all I have seen hope, I have above all seen courage and dignity"

"Like the widower who declared to the terrorists that thet will not have his hate, nor that of his 17 month old son.

"Like the elderly woman who stated that we live with 5 million Muslims, and that we fight against 10,000 barbarians.

"Like the journalist who declared that no one coulkd take from us that which makes us what we are.

"Like the child who repeats that the flowers and the candles are to protect us"

He continued: "France is beautiful because she doesn't give in to panic. She is beautiful because she continues to shine in all her colours, her differences and her inconsistencies"

"She is beautiful because she loves to dance and make noise, sing and live at light. She is beautiful because she loves to raise her glass and look into your eyes. She is beautiful because she has a big mouth.

"She is beautiful because she is a rebel and insolent. France is beautiful because it is free and that, no none can take from her."

Vive la France.


Friday, 13 November 2015

Caravan Palace: Lone Digger

A new video by Paris based electro-swing act Caravan Palace, for the track Lone Digger.

The song features on their most recent album <I°_°I> in October, which features their previous single Comics.

Probably for the benefit of radio DJs, the album title is also apparently knopwn as Robot Face.

The band have been attracting some attention in the UK, with a high-profile appearance on the Jonathan Ross show at the end of last month.

They tour the UK in December, with dates in Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester, Brighton, London and Norwich.

Before then they play L'Olympia in Paris on November 20.

Rover: Call my name (C à vous live)

A nice live appearance on French TV chat show C à vous by Rover, for the track Call my name.

The track comes from his Let it Glow album, his second, which was released on November 6. It follows his self-titled debut, which was released in 2012.

Timothée Régnier, as he's known to friends and family, grew up in New York to French parents, and spent time in Lebanon where he established himself as a musician. On his return to France he adopted the Rover name.

His work nods to the early to mid 70s stylings of Bryan Ferry and David Bowie, clever without being inaccessible, distilling some of the best ideas that have emerged over passing decades.

He's touring in France from January, and  plays at the Olympia in Paris on March 24.

Johnny Hallyday: De l'Amour (Review)

Jour J and Heur H for the new Johnny Hallyday album, with De l'Amour the veteran singer's 50th  studio release.

The new collection, dropped as a surprise while he tours to promote last year's Rester vivant album, sees him working with Yodelice.

He seems to have a sympathetic touch, the album has a modern flavour without losing its rock and blues roots. Some rockabilly on the title track, a trace of western on l'amour me fusille, a shot of pedal steel on Un Dimanche de janvier.

There's less showboating, less emphasis on stadium filling anthems or power ballads, and it's all the better for it. It comes across as more authentic and more personal. The voice is there, of course, but Johnny doesn't need to prove anything.

All it takes is  the support of some top notch musicians and some fine songs to showcase it, things this album delivers solidly.

De l' Amour avoids the easy Johnny Hallyday cliches, the music in it is located in the wide open spaces of a rugged American landscape, shot in cinematic wide screen. Johnny centre of screen, exactly as it should be.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Nicolas Godin: Live in London

The chance to see Nicolas Godin, also known as half of legendary French duo Air, at a gig in London tonight.

He plays at Oval Space in Bethnal Green.

Godin recently played at  the Red Bull Music Academy event in Paris.

He released his solo album Contrepoint in September. It's an experimental collection, where he plays with different music styles in his own way, from jazz to classical.

It was his first solo album after his work with Air, and it shows he's lost none of the touch that helped Air become one of the acts that defined French music.

November 11 - Armistice Day

An old school song to mark Armistice day, November 11.

Renaud's 2009 album Molly Malone – Balade irlandaise saw his interpretations of Irish songs He'd previously toured pubs in Ireland in '97, with little publicity despite his being a large star in France at the time.

The album was a number one seller in France, despite questions being asked about the strength of Renaud's voice, by both critics and fans.

It has been, so far, his last full album release, but he remains very much a high-profile figure with the two Bande à Renaud collections introducing his work to a new generation.

Renaud's French version of the song Willie McBride retains much of the original's anti-war sentiment.

With the drums of war beating as loudly as ever, and with xenophobia and racism being exploited for political ends, the lesson of the First World War has, it seems, still not been learned.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Housse de Racket: The Tourist - Monte Le Son session

A session appearance by  Housse de Racket for Monte Le Son, with the track The Tourist getting an

The song is the title track from the Paris-based duo's recently released  third album which emerged at the end of last month.

Victor le Masne and Pierre Leroux established their reputation at the forefront of the French music scene with their 2008 debut Forty Love, where they found their own unique place where dance music, indie and electronic overlapped.

They play at Le Trianon in Paris on November 28.

Thylacine: Train

A new track by Thylacine, Train coming from his forthcoming new album inspired by his voyage on the Trans Siberian Railway and recorded on board the train during the journey.

The intercontinental railway journey of almost 10,000 miles connects Moscow with the Russian far east.

Thylacine has been releasing short videos documenting the trip, with three episodes a week throughout the month of November.

Samples of the rythm of the rails underscore the piece, while images from the journey illustrate the video.

The album Transsiberian us released on November 29.

Thylacine has a busy schedule of live dates in November and December across France, and plays at La Cigale in Paris on February 5

Monday, 9 November 2015

Calogero: Live in London

 A night in London tonight from Calogero, who plays a show at the Scala.

His 2014 Les feux d'artifice album, his sixth, was a massive seller. The album, which was released in August 2014, was a number one seller.

The song Un jour au mauvais endroit won a Victoires de la musique award in February for the best original song.

A live album by Calogero, entitled Live 2015, is expected to be released at  the beginning of next month.

Mylène Farmer and Sting at the NRJ Music Awards

A performance at the weekend at the NRJ Music Awards by Mylène Farmer and Sting, of the song Stolen Car, the first single from Mylène's new album.

The collection,  Interstellaires, was released on Friday. It's Mylène's tenth album, and its release was met with a massive commercial success.

Stolen Car was produced by French DJ The Avener and, it gave Mylène her 14th number one single, her first since 2012's À l'ombre.

The award ceremony also saw Mylène present Sting with an honorary award.

Among the other winners at the event, the 17th time the NMA have been held,  were Louane for the Francophone breakthrough artist, Shy'm for best Francophone female artist, M Pokora for best male Francophone artist, Fréro Delavega for Francophone group/duo of the year.

The Francophone song of the year award went to Kendji Girac's Conmigo and DJ of the year was David Guetta.

Honorary awards also went to Adele, Charles Aznavour  and Juston Bieber.

But while the international attention may have gone to the performance by Adele, it was Mylène's appearance that the French audience would have been watching.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Grand Corps Malade: Pocahontas

A cracking new video by Grand Corps Malade, the song Pocahontas from his most recent album.

The album, entitled, Il nous restera ça, was releases at the end of last month.

The album features guest appearances by a diverse cast of other artists, including Renaud and Charles Aznavour, but this track focuses entirely on GCM himself.

It's a remarkable video, in the best tradition of being a simple idea done perfectly. I thoroughly enjoyed the the album it comes from, nice to see a video that gives it more of the attention that it deserves.

Johnny Hallyday: Te Manquer - Deezer Session

A unreleased new session version of the track Te Manquer by the legendary Johnny Hallyday, recorded for a
Deezer session ahead of the release of his new album.

Johnny, now 72, releases his 50th studio album De l'amour next week. The title track came out as s single last month, the announcement of the album and single coming as a surprise during his current tour.

He's on tour at the moment, until March next year, with three shows at Bercy in Paris at the end of November, and two more there in February.

Te Manquer featured on his last album Rester Vivant. More from the Deezer session is to emerge in the very near future.

Hindi Zahra: Silence

A new track by Hindi Zahra, with the song Silence being lifted from her Homeland album.

It's the this track from the album to be released as a single

Homeland was released in April this year,a  top thirty album in France that followed her 2010 Handmade album.

That release won the  Prix Constantin for Best Album that year, and the following year the Victoires de la Musique award for the best World music album.

She's got extensive tour dates across France in November, including a show in Paris on November 18, but ahead of that she plays the Royal Albert Hall in London this weekend.