Thursday, 30 April 2015

Christophe Willem: Après toi

A new single by Christophe Willem, with the track Après toi.

It's the third single to be released from his Paraît-il album - his fourth - which came out in December  last year.

The album features songs written by some of France's biggest names, including Carla Bruni and Zazie.

Après toi was written by legendary French songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman.

Willem was the winner of the fourth edition of Nouvelle Star in 2006. Since then he's had a number one album with his second album Caféine in 2009, 2011's Prismophonic reaching the top three.

The new single comes ahead of the release of a film Les Nuits Paraît-il, documenting his tour, to be shown in cinemas on June 18.

He has festival dates over the summer, and an extensive tour that gets under way in the autumn with two nights at L'Olympia in Paris on November 21 and 22.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Lulu Gainsbourg: Culturethèque interview

A great interview with Lulu Gainsbourg by the good people at Culturethèque at the Institut français du Royaume-Uni in London.

He spoke about French culture, working with Babyshambles and his views about London, and his dream about Paul McCartney.

Gainsbourg speaks in English and comes across as an intelligent and likeable chap, the interview's  well worth a watch.


We Were Evergreen: Be Like You

An interesting cover from French indie favourites We Were Evergreen.

Quite a re-intrepretation of the Disney song Be Like You, originally from the Jungle Book.

I don't think the video is quite what Walt Disney had in mind for the 1967 film.

The song's had some airplay in the UK from Radio 1 and Xfm, which is quite an achievement   for a French act.

They've been based in London for a while, so that might help. They've certainly absorbed the influences of some of the UK's best contemporary acts.

It's almost a year since the release of their debut album Today, and We Were Evergreen are currently at work on their second album.

Calogero: Avant toi

A new single by Calogero, for the track Avant toi.

It's the latest track to be taken from his Les feux d'artifice collection, the new clip seeing him in New York, an outsider in the Big Apple.

It's the third single to have been taken from the album that was released in August 2014.

Calogero has enjoyed considerable success with his album, and in February picked up the best original song of the year award for the track Un jour au mauvais endroit.

He plays at the Zénith in Paris on May 4 and 5, and follows that by an extensive tour including festival dates across France over the summer.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

New Acts - Minuit: Flash

The first video has been released by the band Minuit, a strong debut by the Paris-based five piece.

The band features singer Simone Ringer and her brother Raoul Chichin, both children of Catherine Ringer and Fred Chichin of Les Rita Mitsouko.

Fred Chichin died in 2007,  Catherine Ringer continued as a solo artist and has been performing recently as part of Plaza Francia.

While Minuit sound nothing like the legendary, Les Rita Mitsouko, you can perhaps see the influence of Catherine Ringer in Simone Ringer's powerful performance in front of the band.

Regardless of their heritage, Minuit look set to establish a reputation of their own on the strength of this release.

Adrien Soleiman: La Nuit Tombée

A video for the track La Nuit Tombée by Adrien Soleiman, an artist who's been getting attention
from French music magazine Les Inrocks as part of their inRocKs lab programme which promotes new artists.

The track Rue Des Étoiles emerged in September last year, the track a melancholy yet uplifting wonder nostalgic yet aware of what's going on right now. An instant classic.

So a new track is going to get my attention immediately, and it doesn't disappoint. If anything its more epic in its scope that its predecessor, but with a similar depth.

It's work of this kind of class that makes listening to French music the worthwhile experience that it is.

Adrien Soleiman releases his first EP, entitled Rue des Etoiles in June.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Grand Corps Malade: Le Bout Du Tunnel

I missed this when it was released as I was on holiday, but a striking new clip for a piece of music
from the last album by  Grand Corps Malade.

The clip for Le Bout Du Tunnel by Mehdi Idir features Izia Higelin and Nicolas Duvauchelle.

The track Le Bout Du Tunnel is based on  the true story of Laurent Jacqua who spent 25 years in prison after he shot two skinheads who attacked him. One die, the other was left paralysed.

In prison he was found to be HIV+. He was some years later released but would return to prison following involvement in crime, and a subsequent escape attempt led to another sentence, this time in a high security unit.

It was here he began to write, blogging about the injustices of the French prison system.

It was through his writing that he began to turn his life around. He was eventually released in 2010.

Le Bout Du Tunnel features on Grand Corps Malade 2013 album Funambule.

Charles Aznavour and the commemoration of the Armenian genocide

France's president today attended the 100th anniversary commemorations of the Armenian genocide.

While many world leaders did not attend,  their political concerns still clouding the issue, one figure that was there was French Armenian singer Charles Aznavour.

Aznavour, still performing while aged 90, remains a legendary figure both for his music and his humanitarian work.

Aznavour has been involved for decades with humanitarian work in Armenia, including a charity single that came out following the earthquake in the 1980s.

He has the ceremonial title of French ambassador-at-large to Armenia, and was appointed  Ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland in 2009.

There's a stutue of him in Gyumri, Armenia's second largest city, and a square named after him in Yerevan, ceebrating the links between one of France's

Born in France to parents who fled Armenia, his mother surviving the genocide,  his 1975 song Ils sont tombés commemorates the tragic events.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Fauve: Tallulah

Another track being promoted as a single from the Vieux Frères partie 2 album by Fauve.

The album's been one of this year's best, and if their debut showed them as masters of the angry torrent of words, this new one showed them capable of a more colourful and varied sound, perhaps a more mature outlook and certainly one that's met with considerable commercial success.

It's a collection that has grown in its appeal with repeated listening, and if the new track Tallulah encourages others to tune on or to re-listen, they'll certainly come away the better for the experience.

Fauve are in their on-going tour at the moment, with gigs around France over the next few months and festival shows over the summer.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Baden Baden: Hivers

A new video by Baden Baden, this time for the track Hiver.

The track features on their recently released Mille Éclairs album which came out in February this year.

The French band has produced a collection that matches or betters any indie rock release from this side of the channel this year, and this track is one of the album's highlights.

I've listened to the album repeatedly since it was released, and I'd be surprised if it doesn't feature on some lists as one of the best of 2015 by the end of the year.

Baden Baden have a nunmber of live dates ahead, including shows at the Francofolies festival in La Rochelle, and a show at the Olympia in Paris in December.

« HIVERS » - Baden Baden from Passion Paris on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Christine and the Queens: Intranquilité

Now that the dust has settled on another Record Store Day / Disquaire Day, worth a look and a listen
at one of the items that came out.

I featured many of the special releases that were sold in independent record shops in France at the weekend, but one that was particularly interesting was the four-track EP release by Christine and the Queens, featuring as it did a previously unreleased track.

The four tracks on the release,  limited to 550 vinyl copies, featured the tracks Science Fiction, Paradis Perdus and Amazoniaque.

Amazoniaque was a cover of an Yves Simon, which was originally released on a 2012 EP,  but  the track  Intranquilité  has not previously been made available.

It was apparently recorded longside the rest of the debut album but for whatever reason left on the shelf, although performed live under the alternative title Dessassossego.

Disco Anti Napoleon: UFO

Missed this when it came out last week as I was on holiday, but a fine clip for a fine track by Disco
Anti Napoleon.

Very much a heavy trip from the Nantes four piece, and is taken from their debut album Ascent.

It's the kind of track that fans of 70s Hawkwind would not believe possible in the 21st century, with The Man no doubt banning this kind of krautrock propelled open-minded astral strangeness in the name of health and safety.

Disco Anti Napoleon are still in search of space, and their silver machine is flying high.

Bénabar: La forêt

A video for the track La forêt, a song from Bénabar's most recent album Inspiré de faits réels.

The clip, a tasteful black and white affair, covers the singer's recent tour.

Inspiré de faits réels was released in August last year, following his  Bénéfices du doute collection from 2011. The singles Paris By Night and Le Regard preceded its release.

Bénabar is one of the contemporary singer songwriters in France whose influence by traditionla Chanson style is the most explicit.

Since the release of his 1997 debut  La p'tite monnaie, he's had four platinum albums in France and won a Victoires de la Musique award for Best male artist in 2007.

He's got live dates around France over the next few months, with festival dates over the summer.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Jean Michel Jarre and Gesaffelstein: Conquistador

A new collaborative track featuring Jean Michel Jarre and Gesaffelstein has emerged, with the track Conquistador appearing on Beatport.

Gesaffelstein is no stranger to this blog, the DJ producer known to friends and family as Mike Lévy has worked with the likes of Moby, Phoenix and Lana Del Rey as well as Arnaud Rebotini, Zombie Zombie and Justice.

He also produced two tracks on Kanye West's 2013 Yeezus album, and relased his own debut album Aleph the same year.

There are also two remixes of the new track, and I'm certain more will appear before too long.

Last month saw the release of the track Glory, a collaboration with M83 for the soundtrack of a short film.  The track featured on EMIC an Interstellar Time Capsule Film, a short film based n some of the ideas in the hot film Interstellar.

M83 is of course a band led by French artist Anthony Gonzalez, whose work has shared the futuristic themes that are present in Jarre's work, and whose work has increasingly featured in film soundtracks, an area where Jarre's career began.

Jarre's last release was the  Essentials & Rarities collection from 2011. Prior to that a re-recording of Oxygène, released to mark the iconic album's 30th anniversary was his last studio album.

His most recent album of new material was 2007's Téo & Téa, a top ten release in France.

To say the new material is long-awaited by fans is probably something of an understatement, and his choice of collaborators has so far been an inspired one.

Stromae and Kanye West at the Coachella festival

An appearance at the Coachella festival at the weekend saw Stromae appear with US rap megastar Kanye West.

West appeared during a performance of Alors On Danse, Stromae's first massive hit track, The song was remixed by Kanye West in 2010.

The Coachella festival in California is one of the USA's highest profile festivals and the attention from Kanye West will no doubt raise the awareness in the US of Belgium's biggest export since fantastically strong beer.

Coachella is held over two weekends, and there were also performances by French artists Yelle, Gesaffelstein and David Guetta.

Stromae has recently confirmed more live sates, this time in Africa. He'll be performing in Sénégal, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon Cameroun, as well as  a  show in Rwanda, where his father originally came from.

ALB: The Road

One of the most striking clips of 2015 so far, with the track The Road by ALB.

The track comes from the Paris-based act's album Come out! Its Beautiful which was relased last year.

ALB is a project headed by Clément Daquin, who first realsed an EP CV 209 in 2006, and a debut album Mange-disque in 2007.

Earlier this year ALB was nominated for a  Victoires de la musique award as the breakthrough act of the year, a category that was eventually won by Benjamin Clementine.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Record Store Day in France / Disquaire Day

Tomorrow marks Record Store Day, when independent record dealers get some special exclusive
releases, and some much needed attention.

 While originally a UK and US event, Record Store Day has in recent years become more of an event in France, where Disquaire Day sees a batch of releases and events including bands and DJs performing in shops.

 France gets many of the same international releases as the UK and elsewhere, including a limited release of a vinyl Air single Playground Love / Highschool Lover, tracks from their score for the film The Virgin Suicides from 2000.

There are plenty of French acts getting special releases in France,  among them is a seven inch vinyl by Aline of La vie électrique / Plus noir encore.

Breakthough act of recent years 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.

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

There's also a five-track  live ep by Jean Louis Murat.

The seemingly tireless Johnny Hallyday has a seven inch picture disc of the track Seul available, featuring an instrumental and an acapella version as well as the regular track.

There are a couple of archive releases by French electronic progressive legends Heldon , with Live in Paris 1975 and Live in Paris 1976 available on vinyl for the first time.

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

There are, of course, many of the big international names also with special releases and re-issues available tomorrow. Big names like Bowie, Springsteen and Robert plant feature among dozens of other featured artists.

These treasures are available briefly, so better be quick.

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, be sure let me know ;-)

Friday, 10 April 2015

Benjamin Clementine: Live in the UK

Great to see Benjamin Clementine getting some exposure in the UK following his success in France.

While an artist originally from the UK his move to Paris established him as a musician, while living on the margins of society and busking for a living.

His unique voice and style saw him signed in France, and key gigs at the Francofolies de La Rochelle in June 2013 an at the Transmusicales de Rennes in December 2013.

This year saw him win a well-deserved  Victoire de la musique award in February, following the release of his At Least for Now debut album in France in January.

That album has just recently been released in the UK, with shows in the UK in May as part of his European tour.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

New Acts: We Are Match - Speaking Machines

Something right up to date, with  the track Speaking Machines by We Are Match.

Paris based band We Are Match have been active since 2012 and released an EP entitled Relizane last year, with four tracks and a Griefjoy remix.

The band played in Paris earllier this week, with a show at the cafe de la danse.

The new track hopefully comes ahead of more new material this year.

Petit fantôme: Je ne reviendrais pas

A great track by Petit Fantôme entitled Je ne reviendrais pas.

Petit Fantôme, who I've featured before, is a project led by Pierre Loustaunau from François and The Atlas Mountains.

The band previosuly released the collection entitled Yallah in 2011, and the free mixtape entitled Stave in 2013.

This new track is apparently not from his forthcoming album.

Whenever that emerges, and it what form it appears, it will be well worth investigating

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

New Acts: Electric Discharge Machine

A name like Electric Discharge Machine might conjure up an electro act, but this Paris/London band
deal with a heavy psych rock sound.

The four piece act have been playing around London for a few years and established their  reputation as a live act.

The band describe themselves as having "A pulsing beat with strong rythmique riffs, with just a touch of melancholy and nostalgia which makes for a stimulating cocktail of sounds. "

There's certainly no argument about that here.

The video was shot in New York.

The Declaration of War EP was released last month.

Akhenaton - Acoustic session

A recent live session by rapper Akhenaton for the TV5Monde music programme Acoustic.

The programme casts its net wider than its title might suggest, and doesn't just feature acoustic singer/songwriter types by any means.

Akhenaton is something of a French hip hop legend, famous particularly for his involvement in Marseille act IAM, whose L'École du Micro d'Argent album is regarded as the classic of French Hip Hop.

He's also had a successful solo career, from his Métèque et mat collection onwards to his most recent Je suis en vie album from 2014.

many of the tracks performed in the session from from this album.

The session featured the songs Même les anges, Deuxième chance , Saga, Mon texte le savon, Part III and Côté obscur.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

New Acts: De la Romance - Unfree

A cinematic video for the track Unfree by Paris- based act De La Romance.

De La Romance is a project led by Vincent Girault whose previous releases include the five track As We Feel Ep from 2013, which featured the track This Day.

They've also produced remixed soundtracks of classic French films like Amélie and Le Mépris.

They describe their forthcoming EP as "An invitation to follow an isolated heart into the depths of the night. With mysterious synths and dancy beats, this new opus focuses on cold emotions and textures."

The video for Unfree was directed by Sébastien Desmedt and Thomas Lemoine.

Their Secret World EP is available to pre-order and is released on May 18

M Pokora: Mieux que nous

A new clip for the track Mieux que nous by M Pokora, the French pop star whose success continues more than a decade after he appeared in the TV show Popstars.

He was initially part of the boyband Linkup, whose single Mon Étoile went to number one, but whatever success they enjoyed has long been eclipsed by his solo career.

Since his 2004 debut album M. Pokora was released  he has had several major hit releases, his second album Player reaching number one, as did his 2013 live album À la poursuite du bonheur Tour - Live à Bercy.

In February Pokora relased R.E.D., his sixth album, which also topped the French charts.

The new track sees him work with rapper Soprano.

He plays at the Zénith in Paris in June.

Monday, 6 April 2015

New Acts: Amarillo - Long Gone

 Sounding not unlike a more psychedelic Blur, Paris-based five piece band Amarillo bring a love of classic Beatlesesque pop and combine it with bang up to date 21st century stylings.

The video is like a more psychedelic version of The Sims. They should release it as a real game, with  a bonus point for the player who spots the Yellow Submarine when it drifts past.

It's their second video, following quickly on the heels f the equally luminous Breaches.

Long Gone is available from microqlima records, as a download or as a ten inch four track single that also features Breaches.

Forever Pavot: Les Aventures de Tintin

I've featured Forever Pavot here before, but it was nice to see some quality live footage emerge for Monte Le Son.

The performance features a cover of the theme music for The Adventures of Tintin.

It's a perfect choice of a tune, nostalgic and with more than a hint of strangeness about it. You can either see it as something that fits perfectly into the world of Forever Pavot or as part of the fertile landscape they sprang from.

Either way, it's something wonderful for sure.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Stromae: Carmen

Another track from Stromae's Racine carrée getting released with a striking new clip.

The track Carmen features a video directed by  Sylvain Chomet.

Chomet's a serious director, whose work is amongst the best known French animation in recet years, including the films the Illusionist and The Triplets of Belleville (also titled Belleville Rendez-vous), a film that was nominated for two Oscars.

I'm sure the  video could be used to educate folk about social media use.

The song was co-written with rapper Orelsan.

Since Racine Carrée was release in 2013, its success has been almost unprecedented for a French language act. It has spawned three number one singles in France so far, and a number one album in most coutries in Europe as well as sales of close to two million in France.

It's sometimes hard to believe it is only Stromae's second album.

Booba: LVMH

A new video from Rapper Booba

the track LVMH comes from the rappers forthcoming album. The new collection, to be entitled D.U.C. is his seventh.

The video's an extravagent affir, with perhaps a nod to Kubrik's Eyes Wide Shut.

It follows his 2012 Future , a top five album in France. He's twice topped the French album charts, with Ouest Side in 2006 and Lunatic in 2012, a double platinum selling collection.

There's no denying the popularity of rap in France, and while there are no doubt many who look on French rap as an imitation of US style, there's little doubt that artists like Booba are as capable of delivering the goods as any of their transatlantic competition.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

New Acts: Flavien Berger - Rue de la Victoire

A video for the track Rue de la Victoire by Flavien Berger, an artist doing some very strange and interesting things with electronic music.

A very chilled start to the track soon gives way to something more substantial, and there are echoes of Sébastien Tellier here.

Berger's first release was his Mars balnéaire EP, relased in June last year. January 2015 saw the release of the three track Glitter Glaze EP and the following month the single La Fête Noire emerged
Rue de la Victoire  comes ahead of the release of Berger's debut album, due later this month.

 Rue de la Victoire is available on Pan European Recordings.

Rone: Live in London

An appearance at Rough Trade East in London tonight by  Rone, one of the country's highest regarded new electronic artists.

His 2012 album Tohu Bohu saw him win the Best French Artist, Best French Album and Best Music Video titles from Trax magazine, and he's recently followed up that release with a new album entitled Creatures.

The album includes appearances by François Marry of Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains and legendary French pop star Etienne Daho.

The London appearance is part of a tour that sees him play extensively in the USA, before returning to Europe in the summer, whern he plays several French festivals including Solidays, Les Francofolies de La Rochelle and the Mainsquare Festival in Arras.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Festival: Les Francofolies de La Rochelle

A fuller release of details of the acts playing the Francofolies de La Rochelle this year, with more big name acts added to the event showcasing French musical talent.

With Johnny Hallyday, Etienne Daho and Christine and the Queens already confirmed, others have been added to the bill.

Last year the event marked its 30th anniversary, with the seaside town attracting over 150,00 people to see shows including Jacques Higelin, Alain Souchon, , Yannick Noah, Benebar, Catherine Ringer, Zaz, Nolwenn Leroy at a special look back at the event's history, as well as shows by Stromae, Tal, Cats on Trees, Detroit and Shaka Ponk amongst others.

2015 will see acts including The Avener, Selah Sue, Raphaël, The Do as well as  Véronique Sanson, Julien Doré, Coeur de Pirate, Hubert-Félix Thiefaine, Brigitte, Florent Pagny and Yaël Naïm, as well as Johnny Hallyday and Yannick Noah play over five nights, with 100 concerts at eight venues.

More acts will be announced closer to the time of the event.

Les Francofolies de La Rochelle takes place on July 10  - July 14.

Chilly Gonzalez: Le Grand Journal

An appearance on Le Grand Journal by Chilly Gonzalez, on the back of the release of his album Chambers, which features his piano playing alongside a string quartet.

It's a unique take on classical music, which takes chamber music and reinterprets it as modern 21st century pop music.

Gonzalez established himself as an electronic artist, having trained as a classical pianist and enjoyed some success in his native Canada in a rock band. He would from 2004 both perform as a solo piano artist, and produce other artists including Feist and Jane Birkin.

Amongst his achievements, Gonzalez holds the record for the world's longest solo piano performance, after he played for over 27 hours in 2009 in Paris.

Editorial: April 2015

First of all, last month saw a record number of posts on the site. Maybe I've got better at organising
my time , maybe there's just more material that merits attention coming across my desk. Whatever. I still can't cover all I'd like to, but we're certainly getting there.

Meanwhile, we had a record number of visitors to the site. We've been on an upwards direction every month this year, but not touched our record that we achieved in February last year. We've been close a couple of times, our closest was last month, but it was well and truly smashed in March.

I can't think of a better way for us to have marked our fifth anniversary.

Of course, that means we now have higher figures to beat this month. Lets get to it!

April is of course the month of Record Store Day, an event being marked in France with special releases and events in shops.

There are some key French acts playing in the UK this month, including Plaza Francia in London and Rone making an appaerance at Rough Trade in London.

The Plaza Francia album A New Tango Song Book also gets a UK release as well this month.

More details of France's summer music festivals will no doubt be confirmed over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, at the end of the Month, Paris hosts the International Jazz Day.

If you're looking for more French music in your day, find the French Music Podcast page on Facebook and give it a like. You'll get plenty of listening suggestions from the team in your timeline.

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