Tuesday, 31 March 2015

New Acts: The Psychocandies - Sandcastle

A slice of gothic psychedelia from The Psychocandies entitled Sandcastle.

The acts is a solo project based in Paris, who released a five track EP entitled You Feel The Sun (I Kiss The Floor) in 2012 on Dufflecoat Records.

There's an obvious nod to the Jesus and Mary Chain in the band's name, but the Mary Chain were themselves inspired by acts like Suicide, the Velvet Undergound and Can, as well as the Beach Boys and 60s pop, so there's a similar understanding of some great music going in with The Psychocandies.

The track comes from their forthcoming release entitled From The Depths

Izia: Les ennuis

A new track has emerged ahead of the release of the new Izia album La Vague, this time the track
Les ennuis features rapper OrelSan.

It's a very electro flavoured track from Izia, a singer who had been until this album been more associated with a rock sound.

Previous tracks Hey and La vague indicated the new sound thet Izia was exploring with this release.

Izia lent her vocals last year to the Casseurs Flowters track Regarde comme il fait beau (dehors).

La Vague is being released on April 13.

Andrea Balancy: Waterfalls

I featured Andrea Balency last year when she toured the UK last year as part of the Oui Love
Exchange tour in September and October. Great to hear new work from her.

The track Waterfalls comes from her new EP Volcano and it confirms her status as one of the mostly interesting artists around, taking electronic music somewhere very interesting indeed.

Writing last year, I said she had : "A distinctive voice and artistic vision, with the possibility of achieving a genuine popular success."  This new EP certainly bears witness to this.

The new EP features four tracks, Volcano, Waterfalls, Please Fall and Deep Sunk, and it follows her Walls EP and You've Never Been Alone single and remix EP releases last year.

Writing about her new video on Facebook, She said she was: " So proud of this collaboration with Natalia Stuyk and her team, it was an amazing experience. Wasn't easy but we made it!"

Andrea Balancy performs at the Great Escape festival in Brighton in May.

Monday, 30 March 2015

New acts: Pointe du Lac - A progressive approach to​.​.​.

An EP by Pointe du Lac,  a project centred on Julien Lheuillier from Créteil entitled A progressive approach to​.​.​.

The music's a very fine take on electronic music, the kind of work that could be at home in a collection of classic  70s synth rarities as it would be in the flight case of a particularly well-informed 21st century DJ.

 The collection covers a lot of ground, from the rythmic krautrock influenced The Rhythmatic Express #8, the more reflective  adaptation of Spiegel im Spiegel, a piece of music by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, and the unashamedly cosmic - and wonderfully titled - Visions d'un lac en orbite dans une jungle​-​cauchemar.

The EP is available as a five-track digital download, or as a very limited cassette.

Selah Sue: Reason

A new album release by Selah Sue this week, a vocalist who would probably be described as a French Adele by those in a hurry.

Of course, she's actually Belgian, and doesn't sound that much like Adele, but you get the picture. She's an exceptional vocalist.

Her self-titled 2011 debut album was a top ten in France, a number one in Belgium and a massive seller elsewhere in Europe.

Selah Sue plays at the Olympia in Paris tonight, and is touring across France and elsewhere in Europe off the back of the album.

Forever Pavot: Ivresse de pacotilleby

A very freaky video for the track Ivresse de pacotilleby Forever Pavot.

the track features on Forever Pavot's debut album, entitled Rhapsode, released on Born Bad records in November last year

It's an album that really deserves some attention, one of the many great psychedelic influenced acts that have emerged in recent years from France such as Moodoid and  Orval Carlos Sibelius.

References to the likes of The Beach Boys, Can and others from the experimental edge of the 60s and 70s are there, but its a collection that remains modern in its outlook.

The album is their first full-length collection, after releasing a number of limited edition singles since 2011.

Forever Pavot are one of the French acts scheduled to play the the Great Escape festival in Brighton in May, having played some dates in the UK in December last year.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Hollydays: Les Insatisfaits

A nice piece of modern French pop by Hollydays, with the track Les Insatisfaits available as a free download for the next couple of days.

A very cool video as well from the Paris-based duo of Elise Preys and Sébastien Delage.

This week saw them feature on Le Grand Journal in their Presque célébre feature, introducing the band to a potentially massive audience.

Their new EP follows the release of the five track Des Animaux EP last year, which included a cover of a  Véronique Sanson song. Their debut release was love is just a Game

Better move quickly though, the track is only available as a free download until Monday March 30 when they release their EP.

Abrahma: An Offspring To The Wolves

Some monumental heaviness from Paris-based rockers Abrahma, with a video for the track An
Offspring To The Wolves, taken from the band's forthcoming second album Reflections In The Bowels Of A Bird.

It's a heavy and psychedelic offering from the four piece, a follow-up to their 2012 Through The Dusty Paths Of Our Lives album.

Abrahma plau the Roadburn festival in April, and have dates elsewhere in Europe that month with shows in France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany

 Reflections In The Bowels Of A Bird is released on May 12 on Small Stone records.

AN OFFSPRING TO THE WOLVES - ABRAHMA from The Phantasma Company on Vimeo.

Festival: Chorus des Hauts de Seine

The Chorus des Hauts de Seine gets under way today, with the focus on events taking place at the esplanade of La Défense, the business district on the outskirts of Paris

 Over a period of ten days there are shows in venues across communities in Hauts de Seine, and there are two big weekends of shows in La Défense.

Gigs take place there on the Friday Saturday and Sunday, the first weekend sees  Charlie Winston, Feu Chatterton, Bagarre and Shaka Ponk, the second features La Roux, Rone, Thylacine and Yuksek.

There are also free shows earlier in the day at the La Defense venue.

Meanwhile,  there are shows taking place in community venues across the Hauts de Seine area include big names like Cats on Trees, Miossec and Grand Corps Malade.

Last year saw the festival scaled back, but this year sees it again becoming a large-scale music even on the doorstep of Paris.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Petition: Help La Malterie in Lille

An issue raised on the French Music Podcast's facebook page that certainly merits a share on this blog.

The loss of venues is a significant threat to the development and health of any music scene, and if a petition can help ensure the future of La Malterie in Lille, I'm in favour of it and reckon it merits wider support.

Here's what was posted:

Earlier this evening we were contacted by Pascal Descamps regarding a culturally significant venue in Lille, which is apparently on the verge of closure. Why is it important? We shall let Pascal explain...


A great place in Lille is near to closure. This is a venue with artists studios, residency programs, gigs, exhibitions and much more. Some bands (which have appeared on your radio show) have played gigs here. The Forest Sessions (who have appeared many times on the show) have rehearsed too. This cultural venue needs a little help.

In this petition, we ask local politicians from Lille and the north of France to help save this cultural establishment.

Best regards,


We ask fans of French music (and culture) to sign this petition in order to help Pascal and friends to safeguard the future of this artistic space.

Thank you, 


The link for the petition is here

Zoufris Maracas: Live in Paris

A date in Paris at the Trianon tonight gives me a chance to mention Franco-Mexican electro mariachi chanson merchants Zoufris Maracas.

Theirs is a colourful re-interpretation of chanson, reminiscent of the likes of Mano Negra in their cross-cultural mash-up that should probably be filed somewhere under punk or indie rock, rather than in the rather worthy but dull World Music section of the record store.

The band were originally a duo of Vincent Sanchez and Vincent Allard, originally from Sète n the south of France, and expanded to a fuller line up with more members.

Their first release was Et ta mère in 2011, followed by their Prison dorée album in 2012.
The band released their latest album Chienne de vie earlier this month.

The collection gets a special Disquaire Day vinyl release next month.

Their show at Le Trianon is followed by a lenthy tour all over France through April, May June and July including several festival dates.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Avener: Castle In The Snow

A new video for a track by The Avener, with Castle In The Snow getting  a clip released.

The track, which features Kadebostany , comes from his debut album The Wanderings of The Avener, and it follows hot on the heels of his last track Hate Street Dialogue.

The track Fade Out Lines was a massive hit for the DJ from Nice, helping the album sell over 100,000 copies in France alone.

Sadly, the full video has not been made available to watch in this country, so all I can link to is an audio version of the track.

Hopefully the full video will be made available internationally before too long.

The Avener, Kadebostany - Castle In The Snow (HD) by DJPHIL01

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Jacques Dutronc and Nicola Sirkis: L'opportuniste

A revival of a Jacques Dutronc song L'opportuniste by Dutronc himself and Indochine singer Nicola
Sirkis has emerged as a single and video.

The track comes out ahead of an album of covers of Dutronc numbers, to be released at the end of March to celebrate his 70th birthday.

L'opportuniste was originally the title track of an Dutronc album from 1968, the song again becomong popuar in the early 90s with the release of the Dutronc live collection Dutronc au Casino.

Dutronc was always one of France's most skilled songwriters, and his mocking of the ways of the politician has not really aged at all.

In November last year Dutronc toook to the stage in Paris alongside Eddie Mitchell and Johny Hallyday under the name Vieilles Canailles, for a run of sold-out shows at Bercy.

The album Joyeux anniversaire M'sieur Dutronc comes out on March 30.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Izïa: Le Grand Journal

A high-profile appearance by Izïa on Le Grand Journal, ahead of the release next month of her new album La Vague.

She performed her latest single, the title track from the forthcoming album.

Her new musical style caused some surprise, on first listen very different from her more rock orientated previous material, but repeated listening reveals that her new material has more in common with her earlier work than first thought.

A new direction, perhaps, but not a complete diversion.

La Vague is released on April 13.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Mixtape: Néoprisme x My Summer Bee

A mixtape by the Caen based act My Summer Bee, a band featured on this blog last month.

The mix was done for Néoprisme, an online magazine that focuses on art and music, aiming to elevate the album sleeve back into the realm of art.

My Summer Bee are expected to release their debut album later this spring.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Vive le roq @ 5: Five 'old' acts

There have been many acts who I have got to appreciate since launching this blog, and many of them
are established acts who are widely known in France and beyond, but who have - for whatever reason - not registered much on my radar.

The last five years have been an immense opportunity to put that right, and it's been quite an education in France and French music.

Alain Bashung

I had only come across Bashung in passing previosly, a Gainsbourg associate, a singer who had a hit with Gaby oh Gaby in the 80s, but I wasn't aware of his later work, such as the masterpiece that is Bleu pétrole. An astonishing work.


I was aware of only a couple of Renaud songs, Miss Maggie form the 80s and Hexagone. But there is so much to Renaud's back catalogue that is worth exploring, and the recent issue of the two tribute CDs have hopefully spread awareness of one of France's finest songwriters to a new generation.


Always a comlicated proposition, I never got Magma at first, despite a friend enthusiasing about them, particularly their Üdü Ẁüdü album. Maybe it was the 70s production that put me off, but after hearing their more recent work and being blown away I got into fully investigating their back catalogue. One of the greatest prog bands ever.

Johnny Hallyday

Easy to criticise Johnny. The butt of a thousand jokes about how French music is rubbish and how they can't do rock 'n' roll in France. But there's much goodness in his back catalogue, from the genuine rock'n'roller of the early 60s to the artist pushing the limits of pop/rock at the end of that decade, and still capable of surprises in the decades since.


I had originally thought of Justice as a dance act, but they changed my entire perception of musical genre. This was modern music, but something that this listener to decades of rock music cold understand immediately. Justice made me change my way of thinking.

Cleo T: Whistles in the night (remix)

A remix of the track Whistles in the night by Cleo T.

The song originally featured on her Songs of Gold and Shadow collection, released last year on Folkwit Records.

The remix sees a different style for Cleo T, seemingly a long way from her usual dark   cabaret stylings, but the song remains intact and her voice still shines.

The original was more smoky jazz than dancefloor, the sympathetic remix was done by  Chkrrr, the Paris-based trio who recently soundtracked the French film Discount.

 That soundtrack is available as a free download from their Soundcloud site.

Blind Digital Citizen: Dvek

A new video for the track Dvek by Blind Digital Citizen.

The track features on theirdebut album, entitled  Premières vies , which is released on March 30.

Blind Digital Citizen are on Entreprise Records, the same stable as Moodoid and Grand Blanc. I've mentioned before the good work being done by this label in producing quality contemporary French music, and Blind Digital Citizen shows they're certainly keeping up their game.

They recently played in Paris n the same bill as Grand Blanc and Bagarre, a sold-out show at the Point Ephemere for those lucky enough to get to it.

Blind Digital Citizen play in Paris to mark the release of their album on April 23 at Petit Bain.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Vive le Roq @5 - Five 'new' acts

OK, not strictly speaking 'new' acts, but a list of five acts that were new to me and I only came across
as a direct result of having my ears open for this blog. Some of these acts have gone on to be pretty big, but I first came across them while on the look out for interesting francophone material, taking me way out of what would be my normal musical comfort zone.

Since launching the blog, I've had a tremendous opportunity to hear acts that I might not have otherwise had the opportunity to discover. There are few opportunities for French acts in the traditional media in the UK, whether on radio or TV, but since organising this blog I've heard more interesting acts,  perhaps due to the greater availability of music and information being easier to come by.

There have obviously been many acts I've heard for the first time, but here is a quick top five


Francophone psyche, smart and fun with an understanding of the greats of the past but with a forward looking attitude.


To be fair, I may have come across this act as they went on to soundtrack adverts, films and more, but I first heard of them through this blog, and they impressed me hugely. This is also one of my favourite videos I came across in my viewing for this blog.

Fat supper 

Now firm favourites here, a French indie act that have consistently delivered interesting sounds. First encountered thanks to the Transmusicales de Rennes festival in 2012.

Grand Blanc

A band that ticked so many boxes of my musical like list. A flavour of the 80s, whether New Order or Depeche Mode, but with a very modern outlook. They've yet to even release their debut album.

Sudden death of stars

I never thought that a year after I first heard them I'd be seeing them play in a small bar in Rennes in front of a home crowd alongside Orval Carlos Sibelius. One of the absolute musical highlights since starting the vive le roq blog.

Live in London: The Dø

A gig in London tonight by The Dø, following the success of their Shake Shook Shaken album.

The collection, released in France last year and reaching the top ten, was released in the UK earlier this year.

The band recently celebrated a significant win at the Victoires de la Musique awards in Paris last month, where they won the best Rock Album of the year award.

There is, of course, more to The Dø than just last year's album, their 2008 debut A Mouthful reaching number one in the French album chart, a feat that had never been accomplished before by a French act performing entirely in English.

The Dø play at Koko tonight.

Eurovision 2015: Lisa Angell - N'Oubliez Pas

The video has been unveiled for this year's French entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The annual event is, for many, the only time in the year a UK audience gets to hear artists from outside the anglophone sphere.

Lisa Angell is representing France this year, with the song N'Oubliez Pas.

The song was written by Robert Goldman, the brother of Jean-Jacques Goldman, one of the most successful names in French songwriting in recent decades.

It's a more traditional song that last year's entry, Twin Twin with the song La moustache. That novelty song didn't perform well for France, while the previous year's power ballad L'enfer et moi by Amandine Bourgeois equally failed to leave much of an impression on voters.

France is one of the countries that automatically goes straight into the  for the final contest without having to participate in qualifying rounds.

This year's Eurovision Song Contest is held on May 23, and comes from Vienna in Austria.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Vive le Roq @ 5: Five great videos

I've featured a massive number of videos here over the past few years, many have been excellent, but
here are five that particularly struck me.

I could have course listed many, many more, but without much thought I was able to list these five as favourites.

Some had bigger budgets than others, some are by better known artists than others, but each video remains an outstanding piece of work.

Stromae: Formidable

Quite simply one of the finest videos of the past few years. A simple idea, executed to perfection. I thought at the time the idea would be "borrowed" by UK or US artists, but I reckoned without Stromae becoming so massive that any attempt to replicate it would be recognised as an inferior copy. Hats off to the MaeStro

Lescop: La Nuit Americane

A video that came out in 2013, illustrating a track from Lescop's self-titled debut album. A perfect visualisation for the music, the artist as outsider ,  located somewhere on the desolate fringes of the punk rock spectrum in the interzone inhabited by Joy DIvision and Iggy Pop.

The video - more a short film - was directed by Sylvie Verheyde from an original idea by Mathieu Lescop.

Alain Bashung: Variations Sur Marilou

This could have been a disaster. Two iconic and respected artist, a double posthumous release. That the source material is one of Gainsbourg's more complicated, lesser known and more erotic works makes it more complicated yet. But this video tapped into the pioneering and iconoclastic spirit that informed both Bashung and Gainsbourg, finding an entirely new way to interpret both artists.

The Enchanted Wood: Death is Knocking at your Door 

Like the best music videos, this took a simple idea and developed it to the absolute conclusion. It's cinematic but referring a much older, much richer cinematic craft than that word usually implies

Christine and The Queens: Saint Claude

A video that is as sophisticated as it is apparently simple. Put a singer on a plain stage, have them dance along to their song.  What could be simpler?  But her theatrical background is apparent, and her  performance utterly compelling,  while the director effortlessly messes with reality so subtly that you almost don't notice until the end.

Saycet: Mirages

A video for the track Mirages by Saycet, an impressive track with an appropriately epic video.

Saycet is a project led by Pierre Lefeuvre

The track comes from their Mirage album which was released earlier this month.

There's something of the M83 sense of scale about it.

It's their third album, following the 2010 Through the Window and the 2006 One Day at Home albums.

Saycet played in London at the Village Underground earlier this week.

Peine Perdue: Segment

I've featured Peine Perdue before on the blog, nice to see a new track Segment emerge ahead of the
release of their album.

The band, a duo of Coco Gallo & Stephane Argillet, released the track Cerceaux earlier this year.
They've released a few things before, including last year's No Souvenir album, a collection that rightly saw they receive critical praise.

Their music reminds me of a modern take on transgressive 80s electro from the likes of Chris and Cosey, a post-industrial intersection between sleaze and sophistication.

The new album, entitled Disparitions is expected to be released next month on Medical Records.

They will be touring in May and June.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Vive le Roq @ 5: Five great tracks

There have been over the past five years a huge number of songs that have impressed me, but I
thought a list of five that particularly blew me away was called for.

They were not necessarily the best songs, or even the ones I've heard over the past five years that went on to become favourites, but these were all songs with a certain je ne sais quoi, all giving an immediate reaction of chair de poule.

The kind of tracks that made me think that I was on the right track looking at and listening  to French music.

Commet - Once upon a time / The city of lights

I heard this track long before the release their debut CD My reality is your fiction, and it was a striking piece of music. And a wonderful video as well. The album lived up to the expectations of this track.

Girls in Hawaii - Misses

When I heard this song I was impressed by its simultaneous strangeness and familiarity, that even though it was in English it was still evidently a French act. But it gives it a beauty and individuality of perspective that many indie acts strive for but few actually have.

Zaz - on Ira

I've always thought that Zaz is the kind of artist that fulfils expectations of an anglophone audience about what a French artist should be like, perhaps a bit too much. Her music is immediately likeable, if unchallenging, But theres' no denying this is a great song. A massive hit, and deservedly so.

Mylène Farmer - Bleu Noir

I've never been a huge fan of Mylène Farmer, being left like many confused by an artist who chooses to apparently express her thoughts about philosphy, art and culture through the medium of euro disco, but this track is simply outstanding. Maybe its the consequences of her working with Moby on this number, but to these ears it sounds like little of her other work.

Fauve - Les hautes lumieres

While I liked Fauve, I ever felt totally convinced. Were they really ground breaking or just rap with the hip hop removed? Was it poetry but with lyrics that missed the mark occasionally. But everything is right here, all doubts cast aside.

Jean Michel Jarre and M83: Glory - EMIC: An Interstellar Time Capsule Film soundtrack

Some new material has surfaced from French synth legend Jean Michel Jarre, with the track Glory, an excerpt from his forthcoming album, used as a soundtrack for a movie put together by Google Play.

The film is entitled EMIC: An Interstellar Time Capsule Film and is a short film intended to capture life on earth in a time-capsule format, to benefit future generations should they eventually leave the planet, tying in with the recent science fiction epic Interstellar.

The film says it "Weaves submissions from people around the world into a story celebrating the human experience on Earth."

The short film was curated by Interstellar director Christopher Nolan.

Jarre's last release was the  Essentials & Rarities collection from 2011. Prior to that a re-recording of Oxygène marking the landmark album's 30ht anniversary was his last studio album. His most recent album of new material was 2007's Téo & Téa, a top ten release in France.

Jarre says the new track is a collaboration with M83. More details, and more material,  will certainly emerge before too long.

St Patrick's Day: Vielle ville de merde - Gilles Servat

A cracking celtic tune for St Patrick's Day with a French version of Dirty old Town, under the title Vielle ville de merde,  by Breton singer Gilles Servat.

Servat's got a voice that makes his version of the song sounds as authentic as any version by Shane MacGowan and the Pogues.

The song was originally written by Ewan MacColl, and popularised by both The Dubliners and The Pogues.

Servat's version appeared on his 1996 album Sur les quais de Dublin, a collection that saw him interpret this and other Irish songs including The Foggy Dew along with his own work, with Irish musicians.

Yael Naim: Deezer session

Another quality Deezer session, this time from Yael Naim.

Naim shot to success when her track New Soul was used in an Apple advert, reaching the Billboard top 10 in the USA in 2008.

The song had features in her 2007 self-titled second album.

Yael Naim has won two Victoires de la Musique awards in her career so far, World Music album of the year in 2008 and best female singer in 2011.

Her new album, entitled Older, is released this week. It has been five years since her previous album She Was a Boy was released, a platinum seller in France.

Since then she was not only winner of the Victoires de la Musique award, but also winner of a Globes de Cristal award for best female artist, and recipient of a  Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres title.

The session features three tracks, trapped, Coward and Dream in my head.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Vive le Roq @ 5: Five most popular posts

Given that we're marking our fifth anniversary, I'll have a brief series of five articles marking the
historic anniversary on our site this week.

I thought I'd start with a look at our five most popular posts over that five-year period might be worthwhile.

Tal - Le Sens de la Vie

Sexion D'assaut - Avant qu'elle parte

Martin Solveig - Ready 2 Go

Commercial break: David Guetta

Johnny Hallyday: Ten great French versions of English songs

I think it reflects the popularity of some of France's biggest stars, and it's no surprise that the next five of the top ten of all time includes  Mylène Farmer, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vanessa Paradis and 1995, as well as more Johnny Hallyday.

The fact that Sexion d'assaut and 1995 are in the list is significant, given that rap is massively popular in France, and while often critically overlooked it remains as valid a means of musical expression as indie, electro or chanson, while these might be areas more commonly associated with French music.

Recent months have shown that there's a huge interest in many of France's new acts, with posts about the likes of Panthère, The Same old Band, Aline and A Thousand Candles all attracting significant traffic.

We'll be looking much more at some of France's developing acts in the future, but we won't be overlooking some of the others who have made the French music scene the fascinating area that it has become.

Tahiti 80: Coldest Summer

A video for the track Coldest Summer by Tahiti 80, following in from the release of their Ballroom
album last year.

Ballroom is the Rouen-based act's 80's sixth album, their debut was 1999's Puzzle, and since then they've attracted both critical and commercial success with their infectiously poppy indie rock.

 Coldest Summer has now appeared as the lead track on an EP of remixes, with versions by The Reflex, Dorian Pimpernel and  My Tiger Side alongside the original.

Vive le roq: We are five

If five tears is a long time in the internet. It's actually also a long time in reality too.

Those five years have seen the rise of Daft Punk, going from 'dance act' to world conquering icons, seen Stromae conquer Europe, and David Guetta dominate the world's dance floors.

French music icons Johnny Hallyday and Mylène Farmer have gone on to become if anything bigger stars, still producing music their fans love, still filling massive venues, still to the bewilderment of much of the anglo saxon audience.

Other acts have risen from relative obscurity to international success, such as M83, and others who look set to reach that level, like Christine and the Queens.

We've moved on significantly in those five years, we now cover more music every month than we did in the first year. We managed only 24 posts in the whole of 2010. We managed  46 last month, this month it will probably be more.

Over the last five years I've heard some incredible music by acts I might not otherwise have heard, been at some magnificant shows, and had the opportunity to attend the Transmusicales de Rennes festival twice.

But most significantly  I've had support ad encouragement from some fine people along the way.
So thanks, and here's to the next five years.


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Review: Fat Supper - Academic sausage

Fat Supper were an act I came across at the Transmusicales in Rennes in 2013, around the time of the release of their Flat Slupper ep.

Perhaps a Scottish writer might be expected to give a band with a name like that the benefit of the doubt, but the quality of their material made it clear they were no lightweight snack and they had cooked up something tasty indeed.

So after the appetizer of the EP, and their 2013 debut CD, we move on to the main course of their Academic Sausage album.

Ten tracks by the Rennes-based act, and it's packed with goodness.

If there's a flavour of art about it, from the cover to the titles you get a feeling that they don't take things too seriously. 

But there's  a special sauce served with every portion, infused with post rock and a generous portion of musicality.

It's a rich dish, but it goes down easily and the service is a pleasure.

Fat Supper? Double portion please. With chips.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Dominique A: Au Revior Mon Amour - Live on Le Grand Journal

An appearance by Dominique A on Le Grand Journal last night, with two tracks from his forthcoming new album.

Eléor is to be released on Monday, and the tracks Au Revoir Mon Amour, which was released as a single, was one of the two titles played.

Nouvelle Vague, another title form the forthcoming collection was the other title to be aired.

Eléor is his first collection since 2012's Vers les lueurs and it will be his 11th studio album.

Dominique A is an artist very much at the forefront of 21st century chanson, taking French language song into new areas. The release of his new album is a much anticipated event.

He's got an extensive series of live dates scheduled for April, May and June across France and plays the Grand Rex in Paris on May 26.

Montmartre: Out of violence

An epic video for Montmartre's song Out of Violence, following the release of the song as a single
last month.

The video was shot in Iceland, far from the Paris quartier that you might associate with the electro pop duo.

Their debut EP Inside of Me  came out in June last year, with remixes including one by Yuksek appearing.

Last year a Montmartre remix of Bob Marley's Is this Love made some waves, and previous remix work includes names like Adele and Daft Punk.

Daevid Allen RIP

Sad news about the passing of Daevid Allen, the founder of Gong. A unique character and true  musical visionary.

For an Australian his links with France were deep, living and recording some of his most highly regarded work there.

His move to France was unplanned, he was working in England, part of the Soft Machine and the Canterbury scene when a UK borders agent refused to allow him back into the country, so he settled in France.

Sometimes fate takes us to places we didn't expect to go to. Sometimes this turns out to be he right place after all.

He would become part of the expat anglophone beat poet scene, hook up with French musicians and other expats, and sign to BYG/Actuel French jazz label.

The rest is history. His long musical career, it's ups and downs and sideways movements, breakthroughs, flashbacks and insights merit a library of books rather than a meager blog post.  

I've listened to Gong for years, recently listening to them again over the past couple of year in depth after a friend who died left me his vinyl collection. I'd always liked them, but taking the time to explore their recorded legacy was a real treat. The well-known works, the more obscure, Allen's solo material and the manifestations of Gong that he wasn't involved in.

The silliness, the wisdom, the fun and the quite extraordinary music over the decades leaves a body of work that few will ever match. Although perhaps a greater legacy will be the creativity he inspired.

Gong released their most recent album I See You just at the end of last year and not long before the news emerged that Allen was in his final days.

I listened to I thoroughly just the other day, and couldn't help but think as the final blissful drone of the track Shakti Yoni and Dingo Virgin faded out that if that was the last release by Daevid Allen, it would be an absolutely perfect farewell.

Daevid Allen took to the stage at a poetry event in Australia at the end of last month, for what would be his final performance.

He quoted Khalil Gibran, with the lines: "For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountaintop, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."

Bernard Szajner: Convergence festival

One of those days when it would be handy to live in London, as French electronics legend Bernard Szajner takes to the stage for a questions and answers session as part of the Convergence festival.

He's appearing alongside the equally pioneering David Vorhaus, whose releases under the White Noise name from the late 1960s onwards marked a significant moment in the  development of electronic music in the UK.

Vorhaus 's first album as White Noise, An Electric Storm, was a hugely influential work in showcasing the possibilities of electronic music.

Szajner through his career has released several powerful collections of music, as well as developed instruments including the iconic laser harp.

Szajner's Visions of Dune album, which originally came out in 1979, was re-issued last year to the kind of acclaim that eluded it when it originally came out.

A new collection or remixed and new material Rethinking Z has just come out.

With a bit of luck the renewed interest in Szajner's work will see some of his other work re-surfacing, albums like the harrowing Some deaths take forever and Superficial Music - a collection that re-processed some of the tapes used in Visions of Dune  - certainly bear investigation.

Szajner's always been an interesting artist whose work has never failed to raise questions. Hopefully he'll have  a few answers as well.

The event  is being held at Rough Trade East in London

Thursday, 12 March 2015

New Acts: Camp Claude - Blow

A new track by Camp Claude, with the song Blow.

Camp Claude are a Paris-based trio featuring vocalist Diane Sagnier alongside Mike and Léo, two members of electro act Tristesse Contemporaine.

They were one of the finalists in 2014's  Inrocks Lab competition for news acts, which saw them in the final 5 alongside acts like eventual winnners Feu! Chatterton.

Camp Claude came second in the public vote for the winner.

Their Hurricanes EP was released  in August 2014, and Camp Claude's debut album is expected in the autumn.

Camp Claude play at the Point Éphémère in Paris on April 9, and during the Chorus Festival 2015 in Paris before then.

Disquaire Day / Record Store Day releases

Much excitement about his year's Record Store Day releases, where independent record dealers
across the world get exclusive releases, limited editions and special events.

The UK sees a coloured vinyl Air single Playground Love / Highschool Lover, which also features in the Disquaire Day catalogue in France.

France gets many of the international releases, featuring big manes like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, but France sees a great many special French releases, many by favourite acts of this blog.

Aline release a 7 inch of La vie électrique / Plus noir encore, while Christine and the Queens release a four track Ep featuring Science Fiction /  Intranquilité / Paradis Perdus and Amazoniaque in an edition of 550 copies.

Etienne de Crecy has four releases, from his Super Discount 3 collection and Feu! Chatterton a limited 7 inch, with only 300 copies of bic medium / vierge.

H- Burns has an album of cover versions, with 350 copies of The Lo-Fi Series album.

There's a live ep by Jean Louis Murat.

There are a couple of archive Heldon releases on vinyl, Live in Paris 1975 and Live in Paris 1976.

Elsewhere n the world of magnificent 70s French prog, there's a Magma 7 inch of Floh Essi,, in a limited edition of 250 copies.

Matmatah get a 4 album box set of their four studio collections and Zoufris Maracas see a vinyl version of their most recent Chienne de Vie album

You'll find them, if you're lucky, in record shops across France on April 18. If you pick up a spare copy of the Heldon or the H-Burns albums, let me know ;-)

Aquaserge: À l'amitié

Aquaserge perfroming the track À l'amitié on Le Ben & Bertie Show on French TV  channel Paris

Aquaserge have been around for about 10 years, and I've featured them here before, their brand of psychedelia existing in the kind of interzone you might expect from a band that features Tame Impala drummer Julien Barbagallo, Melody's Echo Chamber collaborator Benjamin Glibert , former Stereolab member Julien Gasc and Acid Mothers Temple associate Audrey Ginestet.

They released the abum  À l'amitié in autumn last year, their fifth collection, which followed 2013's collaboration album with singer April March.

Aquaserge have some dates in the UK in May and  play London on May 20, with a gig at the Shacklewell Arms, with gigs also in Brighton, Manchester and Coventry.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Bob Sinclar: Feel the Vibe

A preview of a new track by French DJ Bob Sinclar, with the song Feel The Vibe.

Sinclar's last album was 2013's Paris By Night, and recent years have not seen the same success as songs like Rock this party and Love Generation, but he remains one of the best known French dance artists.

This song is an infectious piece, and one that will hopefully put him where he shoujld be, alongside the likes of Guetta and Solveig.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Woodkid ft. Lykke Li: Never Let You Down

Another track from the soundtrack of the forthcoming Divergent film Insurgent, this time a coalition
between Woodkid and Lykke Li.

Woodkid featured on the soundtrack of the film Divergent, the first chapter of the series, with Run Boy Run.

M83 also appeared in the first chapter, and re-appear in this second film with the track Hole in the Sky, a collaboration with Haim.

Insurgent is expected to be released on March 20 in the USA.

Woodkid had announced a forthcoming collaboration with Lykke Li on Instagram, although it wasn't certain whether it was for work on a new Woodkid album or not.

The new release seems to suggest that any hope of a new Woodkid album was premature, and we'll have to make do with a new track for the time being.

Commercial break: Air France #franceisinthe air

A new commercial for Air France, going some way to re-imagine flying, or as the airline puts it "Discover the French way of traveling."

As a branding campaign it's pretty successful, playing with clichés about France and re-imagining the experience of flying.

It's directed by award-winning French creatives We are from L.A. , the team who have previosuly made music videos for Kanye West (Power)  and Pharrell Williams (Happy), as well as advertising campaigns for Evian and MTV.

The music is by Glass Candy, with the song Warm in the winter.

It would of course have been nice to have a French act provide the music, but Air France have been pretty good with Air France Music  and recent in flight playlists featuring Moodoid and Chapelier Fou.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Moodoïd: Le Lac D'Or

It's no secret that this blog are big fans of Moodoïd, so we're delighted to see  a new track emerge.

Le Lac D'Or (featuring Melody's Echo Chamber) has Melody Prochet on vocals.

Moodoïd’s Pablo Padovani is of course also a member of Melody's Echo Chamber.

Melody's Echo Chamber are currently working on a new album, a follow up to their 2012 debut and have dates in the USA in May.

Moodoïd’s debut album, Le Monde Möö is according to the Brooklyn vegan website 
 getting a vinyl re-press with some extra tracks.

Moodoïd have got some live dates in France and Belgium, with shows at the Festival Chorus La Défense and at the Art Rock festival in May.

New Acts: Daven Keller - Slogan

A stylish video for the track Slogan by Daven Keller.

The track comes from his forthcoming album Reaction C, which is due to be released on April 13.

Keller, a true indie act, not only performed the music, but also directed the video.

His previous releases include Reaction A from 2008, and Reaction B from 2012, and his work ranges from classy indie pop lilke to Désormais Solaire to the pieces on Reaction B that lean  more towards modern classical.

He's also worked on film soundtracks, including 2011's Je suis un no man's land.

With a voice not a million miles from a young Jean-Louis Murat and a musical vision as broad as Yann Tiersen, he's an artist worth investigating.

If you like what you hear, there's more on his soundcloud site 

Commercial break: Vanessa Paradis - Mi Amor

Another left-field but high profile sighting of some French music, with the song Mi Amor by Vanessa Paradis being used in the latest advertising campaign by perfume Chloé for their scent Love Story.

It's been around a few months, but I've only recentkly seen it in TV and on the cinema screen.

 Mi Amor was the third single from Paradis's 2013 Love Songs album.  It is a collection that was not only a successful comeback six years after her  last studio album, but it has proved to be a durable album of songs that have borne repeated listening well.

 Mi Amor was written by BB Brunes singer Adrien Gallo

Paradis has recently released a live collection documenting the  tour that followed the release of Love Songs.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Bernard Szajner: Rethinking Z

Last year's saw the reissue of  Bernard Szajner's Visions of Dune album from 1979 , which has  been
followed by the appearance of some new material from the French electronic pioneer, in the form of a new mini album of remixes and fresh material.

Szajner's album, originally issued under the name Zed, came out on  InFiné last year. The label now issued the Rethinking Z collection, which sees tracks from Visions of Dune re-interpreted by other artists.

The label says "InFiné thought it was time to let a newer generation create their interpretations of Visions  of Dune."

"Rethinking Z is a projection of those visions in 2015,reworked by a new breed of IDM, Ambient & Experimental artists. "

There are  two new collaborations that feature Szajner, one with Etienne Jaumet and another with Almeeva. There is also a new track from Szajner himself, entitled 1oopsyloopsylotsylots.

Szajner has had a long career as an artist an an innovative musician, and it's great to see his work getting the attention that it deserves.

I covered the return of the Visions of Duna album here on the Vive le Roq blog.

Meanwhile, there's a rare appearance by Bernard Szajner in London as part of the Convergence Festival.

He's appearing at a question and answer session alongside the equally pioneering David Vorhaus, whose White Noise releases in the late 1960s and 1970s were key releases in the development of electronic music.

The event  is being held at Rough Trade East in London on March 13.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Dominique A: Take Away Show

A Take Away Show session for  La Blogothèque by Dominique A.

The session features two tracks, L'Océan and Éléor, performed in the musée d'Orsay in Paris.

The two songs come from hsi forthcoming album, to be entitled Éléor, which is released later this month.

It's a wonderfully out together piece of filming. It takes a lot of work to make something look as effortless and spontaneous.

It succeeds in capturing a very fine artist in a  very fine location.

Yelle: Live in London

French electro-pop favourites Yelle take to the stage in London tonight.

It's a welcome return for a fabulously French act, who have been in recent years making inroads to an anglo audience.

For all their electroopo and dance credentials, Yelle have always been a

Yelle dropped a remixed version of the track Moteur Action a few days ago, a nre take on the song re-built by Sophie and A.G. Cook.

Yelle play in Paris on March 11, and after that they are off to perform shows in North America including the Coachella festival in California.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Festival: Rock en Seine

Details have emerged of some of the first names on the bill for this year's Rock en Seine festival.

The three-day festival is held at Domaine National de Saint-Cloud on the west of Paris. The event has been runing since 2003, in recent years attracting over 100,000 spectators.

Last year's headliners were Arctic Monkeys, The Prodigy and Queens of the Stone age. Lana Del Rey, The Hives, Portisheaed and Airbourne were also on the bill.

Those on the bill this year include The Chemical Brothers, The Libertines, Alt-J, The Offspring,  Jungle, Fauve, Tame Impala, Interpol, Etienne Daho, Rodrigo y Gabriela, John Butler trio, Benjamine Clementine, Mark Lenegan band.

 There had been rumours that Metallica would be at the top of the bill, but seems  not to be the case. Metallica are headlining the Reading festival on August 29 and Leeds festival on August 30, leaving August 28 a possible date.

 The band are however playing in Moscow on August 27, so perhaps it was the logistics of bringing the Metallica show to Paris from Moscow in such a short period of time that was the difficulty.

The Rock en Seine festival takes place on August 28, 2 and 30.

M83 - Holes In The Sky ft. HAIM

The first single from the film Insurgent, the latest installment in the Divergent teenage sci-fi series, sees French artist M83 team up with US female act of the moment Haim for the track Holes in the Sky.

Gonzalez has been increasingly involved in soundtrack in recent years, his epic sounding no doubt finding approval with directors of widescreen science fiction works.

The track comes somewhere between the usual M83 synth sound and Haim's west coast rock stylings, instead it's a ballad number that reveals the M83 influence through it's string arrangements.

2014's Divergent featured the M83 track I Need You, along with Woodkid's Run Boy Run, along with a collaboration between A$AP Rocky and Gesaffelstein.

Insurgent, the second film in the Divergent series, is due to be released later this month in the USA.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Yelle: Moteur Action (remix by Sophie and A. G. Cook )

A remix of a track by Yelle from last year's Complètement Fou album.

This version of Moteur Action is re-constructed by Sophie and A. G. Cook into a seriously explosive piece.

Yelle say that "Sopie and A.G. Cook bring ‘Moteur Action’ to the future." Not that the original was in any way too dated or anything.

Yelle play in London later this week and play Paris on March 11, before embarking on shows in North America including the Coachella festival in California.

Panthère: Shaitsu

A video for the track Shaitsu by Panthère.

If the voice sounds familiar, it probably should because it is in fact Nili Hadida, singer with Lilly Wood and the Prick, whose song Prayer in C was one of last year's biggest sellers internationally.

Panthère is the name of her solo project, a low-profile affair while Lily Wood and the Prick  continue to build on the momentum of last year's success.

The new track follows the release of the song Storm at the end of last year.

There's not been a new Lilly Wood album since 2012's The Fight.

The band are apparently working on their third album and playing live in North America next month, with festival shows in France over the summer.

Editorial: March 2015

Another month passed, with more posts last month than ever before, and consequently one of our
busiest months for traffic.

There are of course some internationally dates in March. March 17 is Saint Patrick's Day, March 20 is the Journée Internationale de la Francophonie, but most significantly March 16 marks the fifth anniversary of the start of the Vive le roq blog.

We managed a total of 24 posts in 2010.  In comparison, there was almost double that amount last month on the site.

March sees acts like Yelle and The Dø play in London, but there is also an interesting event that is the Convergence Festival , featuring French synth pioneer Bernard Szajner, whose recently re-issued Visions of Dune album was featured on this site last year.

There are also some interesting releases ahead, with new material by Brodinski and Dominique A, amongst others.

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.

Merci et à bientôt

John K