Friday, 29 May 2015

Festival: We Love Green

This weekend sees a very tasteful two day music festival take place at the Parc de bagatelle in the bois de Boulogne, Paris.

We Love Green sees Christine and the Queens and Julien Casablancas and the Voidz at the top of the bill. Other acts playing include Django Django, H-Burns, Flavien Berger and C.A.R.

There are also sets by Siriusmodeselektor, Ratatat, Nicolas Jaar, Joey Badass, José Gonzalez, Allah-las and dozens of others.

 Seun Kuti, son of afrobeat legend Fela Kuti also takes to the stage.

The festival takes, as the name suggests, a pro-environmental stance, with green initiatives informing much of the organising of the event. Renewable energy and local produce feature, public transport, low carbon emissions and recycling are key.

The event takes place over two days, Saturday May 30 and Sunday May 31.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Tepr: Hypnotease

Appropriate that we featured Yelle earlier today,  with a show celebrating the new release by Tepr earlier this week taking place tonight.

Tepr, along with GrandMarnier and Yelle make up the three members of the band, but Tepr (or Tanguy Destable as his family know him) has been active as a musician and producer before and throughout his time with Yelle.

The six track Hypnotease EP came out on Monday, on the Partyfine label, home of Yuksek.

Tepr plays in Paris alongside Yuksek, Dactylo, Myd and Boston Bud at Wanderlust.

Yelle: Ba$$in

A new clip by the always effervescent Yelle, with the track Ba$$in.

It's the second single to be taken from their Complètement fou album, released in September last year.

It's a suitably over the top pop art video, with the kind of craziness others could only dream of.

Perhaps the English subtitles are a nod towards the anglophone market. It would be fascinating to see tham make inroads outside France. they're no strangers to playing in teh UK and USA, having played Coachella and supported Katy Perry on tour.

Julie Budet certainly deserves to be better known outside France.

Yelle have festival dates over the summer, with shows at Solidays and Le Rock Dans Tous Ses Etats Festivals, as well as shows in New York and Florida.

Yelle play at the Casino de Paris on October 10.

Arnaud Fleurent-Didier: Un Homme et deux femmes

A new video by Arnaud Fleurent-Didier for the song Un Homme et deux femmes

The video is a low key affair, but it certainly captures the retro exotica mood of the music.

The track and video are like a teaser for a forthcoming album, although there's no date for its release or any other details yet.

His last album was La Reproduction, his fourth, which was released in 2010. That album achieved considerable critical acclaim and commercial success, and was shortlisted for the  prix Constantin.

The tracks France Culture and Je vais au Cinema were released as singles

Hopefully more details will emerge soon, but in the meantime, please remain seated, keep your seatbelt fastened and enjoy the flight.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

New Acts: RubiCan - Par delà la pudeur

An inventive piece of electro chanson by RubiCan  for the track Par delà la pudeur.

RubiCan is a project by Pierre-Louis François, a veteran of French act Luis Francesco Arena.

Luis Francesco Arena was essentially a vehicle for Pierre-Louis François, latterly a three piece with François-Pierre Fol and Yohan Landry. There were four albums in their ten year career, the act receiving considerable critical acclaim for their folk flavoured indie rock.

The final show under the Luis Francesco Arena name took place in August last year, Francois saying that in recent months his music had evolved towards new horizons and that after careful consideration a new project had been born.

 Par delà la pudeur comes from a five track EP entitled Brise-Lame released earlier this month, featuring this track alongside Analphabet, Bittersweet, Once Meet and Le Large.

RubiCan plays at the Graine d'Arts Festival 2015 in Vouvray in France on Saturday May 30.

Luce: Acoustic session

A session by Luce for Acoustic, the music show on TV5Monde.

Luce initially came to prominence when she won the eighth series of the French music competition Nouvelle Star in 2010.

She released her debut album in 2011, which reached number 11 in the French charts.

Luce's  second album Chaud was released in 2015, with the song Malibu released as a clip last week. Polka was released as a single in February.

The session was originally broadcast at the end of last month,  it features the tracks Malibu, Vernis, Polka , Chat doux, Ton Crane and Sable,  as well as interview segments.

Luce has live dates at Festivals around France over the summer, and plays at the Théâtre Antoine in Paris on November 16.

Marina Kaye: The Price I've Had To Pay

An acoustic session by the singer Marina Kaye, with the track The Price I've Had To Pay.

Her career began as a youngster, when she posted her versions of songs on youtube. She went on to appear on the TV talent show La France a un incroyable talent in 2011, the French version of Britain's Got Talent,  where she sang tracks by Adele and Katy Perry.

She subsequently won the contest on December 14, aged just 13.

The track comes from her debut album Fearless, which was released earlier this month.

It followed the release of the EP Homeless last year, the which reached the top ten in France.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

New Acts: Lenparrot - Gena

A cinematic video by Lenparrot for their track Gena.

The video was directed by  Johanna Sephora Benaïnous and Elsa Parra

The track comes from the band's debut EP, entitled Aquoibonism, which was released earlier this month.

Two tracks preceded the five-track EP as singles, Les yeux en cavale and A Fake Prophet.

Lenparrot is the latest project from  Romain Lallement, a musician from Nantes, singer with Rhum for Pauline
Lenparrot present a minimal and modern take on pop, stylish and glossy.

Rhum for Pauline, meanwhile, have just completed work on their debut album.

Christine and the Queens: Chaleur Humaine

Some good news for French act Christne and the Queens, with their debut album Chaleur Humaine
being awarded a triple platinum award for its sales in France.

 Christine and the Queens have been playing in North America, including shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and New York.

Her Saint Claude EP has recently been released in the USA.

There's no rest however for Christone, with festival dates around France over the summer, including the Francofolies, Eurockéennes, and Vieilles Charrues.

They play the We Love Green festival in Paris this coming weekend.

Christine and the Queens have also confirmed some arena dates around France for the autumn, with a show at the Zénith in Paris on September 25.

Shake Shake Go: Le Ring Live

I featured Shake Shake Go earlier this month as one of our New Acts, nice to see the French/Welsh act getting some significant attention.

The five piece recorded a session for Le Ring, the music programme on France Ô made in conjunction with Deezer.

Shake Shake Go  released their debut four track EP featuring the track England Skies last month.

The session includes the tracks Doors to Heaven, Take me to the sea,  England Skies, All in time and Teach me to fly.

Shake Shake Go play La Cigale in Paris on November 5.

The band are expecting to release their debut album in 2016.

Monday, 25 May 2015

New Acts- One Divide: Eden

A sweet piece of French indie rock from One Divide with the track Eden.

The song is the title track from their four track EP that was released in January this year. It followed the release of their Open Wounds single that came out in November last year.

There's more than a nod to the sharp rock of early 80s new wave acts on display, no bad thing if you ask me. They've got a smart and polished sound with a bit of substance to it.

The video was released earlier this month.

 One Divide are a three piece from Bordeaux, the members going by the names A Grey, R White and S Black.

One Divide have two shows in Paris in June, playing Le Buzz on June 23 and Le Klub on June 24.

Lou Doillon: Tour announced

A return to the stage by singer Lou Doillon has been conformed for later this year, with dates for a
tour in autumn confirmed.

Doillon's 2012 album Places saw her take the 2013 Victoires de la Musique award for best female artist.

She is the daughter of  film director Jacques Doillon and actress Jane Birkin, and very much park of the French music aristocracy, but I reckon her music was judged more on its own merits rather than on who her mother or father were.

The album was an acoustic and folk flavoured take on indie rock, produced by Étienne Daho,  and was a massive commercial success.

There are no dfetails yet about a follow up album or who will be involved in it.

Her tour kicks off in Arles on October 24 and takes her all over France, as well as Zurich, Lausanne and Brussels

 She plays in Paris on December 8 at the Casino de Paris.

Stromae on the Jimmy Kimmell Show

 A recent high-profile appearance by the maeStro himself on TV in the USA, with Stromae performing Carmen on the Jimmy Kimmell show.

I featured the track when it emerged as a single in April, with its striking video directed by animator Sylvain Chomet.

While that would video will no doubt continue the support for the album in Europe, an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmell show would introduce him to a whole new audience.

There are of course many levels of strangeness at work here, with a Belgian rapper performing a track about the dangers of an American social media on American TV.

Hats off to whoever did the subtitles too, translating a song or a poem is not an easy task.

While Racine Carrée has conquered the market in Europe since its relase in 2013, there remains a massive potential audience in the anglophone world, and appearances like this will certainly help raise the profile of the most famous Belgian around.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Luce: Malibu

A new video by Luce, for the track Malibu.

The song comes from her second album Chaud, which was released earlier this year.

Luce won the eighth series of the French music competition Nouvelle Star in 2010, following that with the release of her debut album the following year.

The track Polka came out as a single earlier this year. Malibu is by far a more poppy proposition, its video the kind of imaginative technicolour overload that's not far from something that Yelle might come up with.

Luce is playing live dates at Festivals around France over the summer, and has a show at the Théâtre Antoine in Paris on November 16.

Rone: Acid reflux

A new clip by Rone, this time for the track Acid reflux.

The track comes from the album Creatures, released earlier this year. It's his third album,

It's a collection that I've grown to love more and more with repeated listening. It'e electronic music, but taken beyond the confines of the dancefloor.

There were some reviews that didn't get the album on its release, but patience brings rewards.

There are textures and subtlety at work that add depth to the work, a rare thing in a field that thrives on instant gratification.

OÜI FM festival

Some details have emerged about this year's OÜI FM festival in Paris, an event organised by the
radio station that's probably  France's most musically aware broadcaster.

There will be three nights of concerts, in the open air and free in the centre of the city.

So far confirmed are Les Innocents, Gaz Coombes, The Strypes, Mina Tindle, Fuzeta and Talisco.

More acts will be added in the build up to the event.

Last year the station put on free shows  in July featuring acts including Cats on Trees, Shaka Ponk, Le Vasco, Zebda, FFF and Gaspard Royant

The organisers are promising a bold and eclectic bill, with both promising new discoveries and international headliners.

The event will take place on June 23 - June 25 at Place de la République in Paris.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Magma in the UK: BBC Radio 6 interview

Nice to see a feature on BBC Radio 6 music about the return of French prog legends Magma to the UK for their two recent shows.

Stuart Maconie interviewed Christian and Stella Vander for his Freak Zone show, which was broadcast on May 17.

Magma also attracted an incredibly positive review from The Quietus for their show at London's Cadogan Hall.

It may have been a short visit to the UK from Magma, but it certainly seems to have made an impression.

Hopefully it won't be long until we see them over here again.

French acts at Liverpool Sound City

Another weekend city festival takes place in the UK this weekend, and again there's a considerable French presence.

The Sound City event in Liverpool sees three days of music at the docklands area.

Big names include The Vaccines, the Flaming Lips and Belle and Sebastian, as well as the likes of the Thurston Moore Band, Swans and Peace, but scattered across the bill that encompassed eight stages and dozens of acts, are some of the best current French talent.

Sunday at the Atlantic Stage sees Gaspard Royant, no stranger to this blog, perform. His is a stylish take on retro rock 'n'roll, he'll go down well on the bill alongside Belle and Sebastian.

Royant's set is in the afternoon, and making the most of his tie in the north of England, he also plays in Manchester the same day, with a show at 10pm at the Whiskey Jar

Aquaserge play on the Saturday at the North Stage. They've been playing a few dates in the UK and have certainly established themselves as a name to drop amongst those who are well-informed about what's going on.

HollySiz and C.A.R are two acts that made an impression at the Great Escape. I've featured C.A.R. repeatedly on this blog, so her show at the North Stage on Sunday at 5.30 is well worth catching. If you can't make it, C.A.R also play on June 11 at The Shacklewell Arms in London.


HollySiz meanwhile released her debut album My Name Is in 2013, with the single Come Back To Me reaching the French top 30. She's the half sister of  actor Vincent Cassel and daughter of  Jean-Pierre Cassel.

 HollySiz play the North Stage on Friday at 3.30.

Another act that are well worth attention are NLF3, whose instrumental post rock soundtracks imaginary films that need to be made, as well as pretty nifty videos that have been made.

NLF3 play the Cargo Stage on Saturday at 1.15pm.

60 years of Europe 1 concert

An impressive line up for a free show at the Zénith in Paris to mark the 60th anniversary of Europe 1.

The commercial radio network was set up in 1955, and has since then become one of France's leading broadcasters.

The show in Paris features Calogero, Zaz, Thomas Dutronc and Loane, as well as The Avener, Cats on Trees, Charlie Winston Black M and others.

The show will, of course, be broadcast on Europe 1.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

New Acts: Iñigo Montoya! - Joie

Always a particular pleasure to come across a new band who not only have a striking video as well as
some impressive music.

The track Joie by Iñigo Montoya! comes from the Paris-based four piece's forthcoming debut EP.

Pierre Plantin and Quentin Convard were previosly in the band Mungo Park, in  Iñigo Montoya! they are assisted by Adrien Pallot who has been involved with La Femme, Moodoïd and Grand Blanc and Louis Delorme played drums with Blind Digital Citizen.

 The video was directed by Romain André and Victor Brangoleau.

The debut EP, entitled InigEP01 comes out on May 25.

David Guetta: Hey Mama

A new clip by the French dance music monolith David Guetta, this time performing alongside  Nicki

The track Hey Mama comes from Guetta's recent album Listen and it follows the singles Lovers on the Sun, Dangerous and What I Did for Love.

The first two featured vocals by Sam Martin, the third featuring Emeli Sande.

 Nicki Minaj appeared on the David Guetta single Turn Me On, one of the tracks from his Nothing but the Beat album from 2011, a number one in some countries and top ten in France and the UK.

Guetta's got an extensive schedule of dates across Europe over the summer with regular shows in Ibiza.

He plays at Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy for two nights in December 18 and 19.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

New Acts: Shake Shake Go - Doors to Heaven

An acoustic version of the song Doors to Heaven by Shake Shake Go, a London based Welsh/French

The five piece have captivated audiences with their folk flavoured pop, and released their debut four track EP featuring the track England Skies last month.

Doors to Heaven is one of the other tracks on the release , alongside Take me to the Sea and The Lovers Side.

This video was filmed in Normandy for French music mag Les Inrocks.

They've been touring in France and Germany in recent weeks following the release of their EP.

They play at the Hoxton bar in London tonight and have other live dates scheduled including a show at La Cigale in Paris on November 5.

Their debut album is expected to be released in 2016.

2015 Eurovision Song Contest

The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest gets under way in Austria tonight, with France no doubt hoping to win back some honour in the continent's most popular international music event.

France are through to the Grand Final on Saturday so don't have to compete in the two semi final rounds.  Probably just as well given the country's performance last year.

Last year in Copenhagen it was won in memorable style by Austria, with Conchita Wurst stealing the show and the overwhelming number of points.

France entered the song Moustache by Twin Twin, a change from the more traditional French entries over the years. They went for something fun, something trashy and pop.

Bad idea.

They came last, with a grand total of two points.

This year France is represented by Lisa Angell, with the song N'oubliez Pas. She's already got three albums under her belt, and the song was written by Robert Goldman, brother of legendary songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman.

It's a power chanson ballad, the kind of thing that Johnny Hallyday would belt out in front of a stadium full of lighters held aloft. It's about the First World War.

I get a feeling that they're not wanting a repeat of last year's humiliation and have left nothing to chance.

Last year's defeat was not France's most glorious moment in the Eurovision Song Contest. Who can forget that golden time in the 60s when France Gall won in 1965 with Poupée de cire, poupée de son, written by Serge Gainsbourg.

(We'll overlook the fact that the entry was actually for Luxembourg.)

Gainsbourg did try to do his bit for France though, but the 990 song that he wrote failed to reach the same level of success.

 France has won Eurovision five times over the years, the first time in 1958 with  André Claveau singing  Dors, mon amour.

Quite a different approach in both music and presentation to Twin Twin.

As always, Eurovision remains the most significant platform for an anglophone audience for music from outside the usual US/UK English speaking world.

Not that that is any guarantee of quality.

Maud Geffray: Bleu Pétrole

A powerful piece of electronica  by Maud Geffray with the track Bleu Pétrole.

Geffray is half of the act Scratch Massive as well as a solo artist.

Most recently she worked on a film and music project entitled 1994, an experimental work  which took footage of a rave in Brittany in '94, re-imagining the visuals of an almost forgotten event with a 21st century electronic soundtrack very different from the kind of music that would have been played at the event.

It's a striking piece that deals with memory and nostalgia, youth and maturity.

Bleu Pétrole is a more upbeat work, but still one rich with complexity.

Geffray and her Scratch Massive partner Sébastien Chenut have just completed soundtrack work for the forthcoming film by Zoé Cassavetes entitled Day out of Days.

The film is expected to be released next month.

Monday, 18 May 2015

New Acts: The Lemon Queen - Sweeten Sorrows

A quality piece of electro rock by The Lemon Queen.

The four piece, who come from Angers, released the track Sweeten Sorrow ahead of their debut EP which is due out on June 8.

They have been around for a couple of years, with a number of demo tracks and other earlier material available on their bandcamp site 

They've also remixed the track You've Never Been Alone by Andrea Balency.

The Lemon Queen sounds exactly the kind of act that deserves to be listened to repeatedly over the summer.

Thylacine: Mountains

A striking new video by Thylacine, for the track Mountains.

Instead of the sights of California, Miami or one of the regular settings that the world of electronic music feature in the videos, Thylacine take us east to Bulgaria, with director Cyprien Clement-Delmas looking at both the bleakness and the beauty of the area, particularly through the eyes of the young people that live  there.

Experts will notice the striking architecture of the Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria, sitting like an abandoned soviet UFO at the Cantral Balkan mountains.

The statue of Dimitar Blagoev and other concrete relics of the country's past feature in the  video, remonders of the weight of the past, and the unfilfiled promises of a better future.

Perhaps the youngsters in the video are trapped by their circumstances, but perhaps they themselves are the change.

Thylacine's music in this track is both melancholy but with a strength that could be seen as optimistic.
The track featured on their Exile EP, which was released in January.

Monogrenade: Le fantôme

A new video by Montreal-based band Monogrenade, with the track Le fantôme.

It's an atmospheric track, with a video that goes soem way to capture the strangeness and beauty of their music.

The four-piece released their  La saveur des fruits debut EP in 2009, their debut full album entitled Tantale emerging in 2010.

Their most recent album was 2014's Composite, which includes the track  Le fantôme.

Monogrenade play at Le Centquatre in Paris on July 15.

Friday, 15 May 2015

French Miracle Tour

Several French acts are currently undertaking an ambitious tour of Asia, with the French Miracle
Tour taking them to China, Hong Kong Korea and elsewhere.

The tour features Yuksek, as well as Clarens, Manceau and Juveniles, and while perhaps not the most commercially known French artists, there is a potentially massive audience in Asia, and an equally massive appetite for music.

While they are all acts familiar to this blog, establishing a reputation in Asia will be a major step for any of these acts.

The tour has been running from April 26 and continues until May 24, with stop offs in Beijing, Jinan, Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shenzen, Jakarta, Chengdu and Singapore.

There have of course been problems and difficulties, the logistics and organising an event like this must be tremendous, but there has also some great music and memorable shows.

The tour has been documented on the tour's Facebook page, with video regularly being posted.

French Miracle Tour - Beijing (EN/FR) from French Miracle on Vimeo.

French acts at the Great Escape festival 2015

Many of France's finest musical exports are playing at the Great Escape festival in Brighton this

The event has in recent years become something of a beachhead for French acts, many of which have gone on to considerable success subsequent to their appearance at The Great Escape.

Christine and the Queens, darlings of the 2015 Victoires de la Musique awards, played there in 2013.

Perhaps some of this playing over the next few days will go on to similar success. But regardless of whether or not they make any kind of commercial breakthrough, there's a great selection on offer.

Hundreds of acts play across the city, in the closest thing we probably have in the UK to the SXSW festival in America, both an event in itself and a showcase for acts to establish themselves.

Andrea Balency is no stranger to this blog, she plays Tonight (Friday) at the Komedia Studio Bar 9.15pm-9.45pm and on Sunday at the Paganini Ballroom 1.30pm-2.00pm

Bristol, the new project from Marc Collin of Nouvelle Vague. They offer a unique interpretation of 90s trip hop. Bristol plays the Spiegeltent on 16th May 2015 2:15pm - 2:45pm

Camp Claude have featured on this blog before, and play today (Friday) at Carousels 2pm - 2.45pm.

C.A.R. play two shows over the weekend, with a show on Friday  at the Prince Albert from 7.45pm-8.15pm, and another tomorrow (Saturday) at Brighthelm from 1.00am-1.30am.

Forever Pavot have also featured here previously, on account of them being wonderful, and they play at The Hub on Friday 12.30pm-1.00pm

Ibeyi bring their soulful pop blended with Cuban stylings to Brighton and play at Coalition on Saturday, 8.15pm-8.45pm

Saycet brings some cutting edge electronics, and plays on Saturday at Patterns-Downstairs, 2.15pm-2.45pm

Others on the bill include Jeanne Added, Acid Arab and Stal, but having played yesterday you'll have to catch them next time they play the UK.

In the meantime, make the most of the opportunity to catch the acts above while you can.

BB King: Live in Paris 1973

Another legend of music passes away, with the death of BB King.

There are few musiscians who really merit the use of the description 'legend' but BB King was one of them.

There's not much that I can add that hasn't been said in a million obituary reports around the world. But his influenced spanned generations of musicians, from pub blues acts to stadium megastars, from the ghetto to the whitehouse.

He died at the age of 89, leaving a legacy that few will ever match.

So the least I can do is put up a clip of the master of the blues, at the height of his powers in a  clip from a show in Paris in 1973.

Does it get much better than this?

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Ben L'Oncle Soul: Stay

A very reggae style cover of the Rihanna hit Stay has been unveiled by  Ben L'Oncle Soul.

Ben L'Oncle Soul releases his most recent album, his second, at the end of last year. A coup de rêves might not have so far enjoyed the commercial success of its 2010 self-titled predecessor, but its established his reputation as one of France's best contemporary soul voices.

These ears certainly prefer the  Ben L'Oncle Soul version of the song.

Ben l’Oncle Soul has got live date across France over the summer, including a show at the Cabaret Sauvage in Paris on July 3

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Jean-Michel Jarre: New tracks

Some more news from the Jean-Michel Jarre camp, with confirmation that a number of new tracks are to be released as limited edition 12 inch vinyl releases.

The releases include the track Conquistador, a collaboration with Gesaffelstein, the track Watching You, a collaboration with 3D from Massive Attack and Zero Gravity, a piece that sees him working alongside Tangerine Dream.

His work with Tangerine Dream features work he did with the band's founder Edgar Froese before his death earlier this year.

The three 12 inch singles are each released in an edition of 1,000 copies

Jarre's choice of collaborators has been excellent, and the work that's emerged so far this year has shown him to be an artist who has been keeping up with developments in electronic music in the decades since he became one of the best known artist operating in that field.

From what's emerged so far, there's much to involve fans of his classic work, and plenty to interest those into 21st century electronic music.

Jarre's new album is expected to be released on June 19 this year.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Rock en Seine: More acts unveiled

More acts have been confirmed for this year's Rock en Seine festival in August.

Another twenty acts have been listed, including Stereophonics, Ghost,  Glass Animals and Balthazar, Bianca Casady & the C.I.A and Parquet Courts.

Meanwhile, six new acts have been added to the bill, including Vive Le Roq favourites  Jeanne Added and Forever Pavot. Also on the  Avant-Seine are VKNG,  DBFC, We Are Match and Last Train.

They join  a bill that already includes The Chemical Brothers, The Libertines and Kasabian, Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, The Offspring and Alt-J.

French artists include Etienne Daho, Fauve and Benjamin Clementine.

The three-day event is held at the Domaine National de Saint Cloud in the Hauts-de-Seine departement near Paris on the weekend of August 28, 29 and 30.

Benjamin Clementine: Le Ring session

A great session for Deezer and France O by Benjamin Clementine.

There are four tracks in the set, The people and I, Nemesis,  Condolence and  cover of Nick Drake's River Man.

Clementine is a unique talent who look set to become better know this year.

His album At Least for Now won the Breakthrough Act of the year award in the Victoires de la musique 2015 awards in February.

Since then his album  has had a UK release, appropriate for a British born act, although one who established his artistic reputation in France.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Film: Renaud, on t'a dans la peau

Today marks the 63rd birthday of French chanson legend Renaud, the occasion being marked by a new documentary being broadcast on France 3 tonight

Entitled "Renaud, on t'a dans la peau", the film features tributes from artists including Patrick Bruel, Elodie Frégé and  Nolwenn Leroy.

Renaud has been in poor health for a number of years, but his status as an artist remains undiminished.

The recent La Bande à Renaud albums showcased his work by artists from a younger generation, introducing him to many and raising his profile.

While his voice has been silent in public, he has been missed from the stage and the documentary will no doubt inspire hopes that some day he might eventually return.

Blind Digital Citizen: Variations sur Marilou

A cover of the Serge Gainsbourg classic Variations sur Marilou by Blind Digital Citizen for online radio station La Nuit Nous Attendra.

The original came from Gainsbourg's 1976 album L'Homme à tête de chou, his final rock album.

It was memorably covered by Alain Bashung, his version coming out posthumously in 2011  having recorded a version of the album for a dance show that was intended to be staged in 2008.

Blind Digital Citizen released their debut album Premieres Vies earlier this year, an intoxicating and rich collection.

La Femme: Hypsoline ( As Above So Below soundtrack)

Came across this wonderful track in the soundtrack for the film As Above So Below at the weekend.

Yes, I know that film - a horror set in the Paris Catacombs - isn't exactly a new release,  but that's pretty recent for me to catch a film these days.

The 2014 movie was directed by John Erick Dowdle, an established horror director behind films like Quarantine and Devil.

The film was remarkable in that it was actually filmed in the catacombs of Paris, which must have been a spectacularly difficult environment to make a movie in.

On the whole not a bad film, although probably one that could have been better. But the use of La Femme on the closing titles was a nice touch, with their otherworldly take on Gainsbourg/Vannier's mash up of classical music, psychedelia and cool talk-over vocals.

The track features on the 2013 Psycho Tropical Berlin album by La Femme, an album that went on to with the breakthrough album category in the 2014 Victoires de la Musique awards.

Friday, 8 May 2015

New Acts: Damien Rougier

An album's expected at the end of this month by  Damien Rougier, an artist for whom the 80s never ended and the new wave never became old.

The Paris-based artist's  track Sweet "Souvenir" is a fun piece of retro synth pop, playfully taking the stylings  of the previous decades  and dragging them into the 21st century.

Pretty much every 80s box can be ticked in the video, from lasers to Adam Ant styled jacket. It's well observed and cleverly put together.

While  it's easy to be distracted by the synth drums and 'experimental' guitar,under all that there's a talented artist at work here, with an ear for a classy pop tune.

 Damien Rougier's album, to be entitled Light at your Window, is expected at the end of May.

Gaël Faure: Acoustic session

A session on Acoustic, the music show on TV5Monde by singer songwriter Gaël Faure.

Gaël Faure was involved in 2005 in the fourth season of TV talent show Nouvelle Star, reaching the semi final.

Christophe Willem would eventually win the series.

Despite offers, he held off  his career as a solo artist until 2007,  his debut album emerging the following year. Jardin en ville was recorded in Paris and London and it saw him emerge as a poetic and talented singer songwriter.

He released his second album, De silences en bascules, in 2014.

Songs featured this week include Comme si, Tu me suivras, Un peu, Chateaux de sable  and Pour qu'un jour.

C.A.R. - Live in London

A gig in London tonight by C.A.R., and electro act I've featured before on this blog.

Chloé Raunet was previously part of Battant, a band that never got to realise their potential following the death of Joel Dever, Raunet's partner in the act, at the age of 25 in 2011.

She released The Idle Eyes EP under the C.A.R. name at the end of September last year, and since then the My Friend album has been released.

2015 saw the release of the four track Glock'D EP in March.

I caught C.A.R. live in Rennes in December, when they played as part of the Bars en Trans festival, where acts play the smaller venues of the city while the transmusicales festival is on.

C.A.R play at the Lock tavern on Chalk Farm Road.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

New Acts: Tifa's - You Platypus

A video for a new track by Tifa's entitled You Platypus.

The four piece band from Lyon have an imaginative and distinctive sound, and the video certainly matches their ambition.

There's something of the spirit of experimental rock that has haunted bands like Can from the 70s to bands like Mogwai in the 21st century present in Tifa's work. There's a whiff of art here, but it doesn't obscure a very fine band.

I'll even forgive them their misuse of the apostrophe in the band's name.

They have been active for three years, releasing their four-trackEP The Axolotl coming in May 2013.

The EP featured the tracks Praying Mantis Dilemma, Paul the Polar Bear, We Love all of Them and the title track.

Magma: Live in the UK

A rare chance to experience one of France's legendary bands live in Britain over the next couple of days, with Magma playing two shows in the UK.

Magma's live show is a powerful experience, and this year finds them in fine form. 2015 has seen there-releases of their back catalogue on vinyl, some of their more recent albums getting a pressing for the first time.

The mini album Slag Tanz was released in January this year, hot on the heels of last year's Rïah sahïltaahk release.

They've just played in the USA as part of their tour, with sold out shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

Magma play at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester tonight, and the Cadogan Hall in London tomorrow.

Magma - Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh (2000 Live) by someone24637

Black M: C'est tout moi.

Another video from Black M, one of France's most  prominent rappers at the moment, with the track C'est tout moi.

It's another track from his Les yeux plus gros que le monde collection, an album that was released just over a year ago.

It's been a massive seller, with singles Sur ma route reaching number one, La légende black and Je ne dirai rien both reaching the top ten as well.

A re-edition of the album came out in December with eight extra tracks.

He's got live dates in July and August across France, with more shows scheduled for later in the year as well

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Bob Sinclar: Feel The Vibe

A new release by French DJ and producer Bob Sinclar, with the track Feel The Vibe.

His last couple of single releases haven't been met with the same level of commercial success as some of his earlier material, but it's hard to match the success that a track like Love generation had, reaching numbe rone in many countries in 2005.

Feel The Vibe was co-produced by Joachim Garraud and features  Dawn Tallman. It's the kind of clubby track that could make major inroads into playlists of DJs as warmer weather begins to kick in. You can imagine it as an Ibiza summer anthem without too much difficulty.

Sinclar's not had an album out since 2013's Paris By Night (A Parisian Musical Experience), so perhaps this single could be a look at what a new album might sound like.

Zaz: Live in London

A London date tonight from Zaz, the singer whose latest album Paris could almost have been
designed to fulfill the musical requirements of the francophile music fan.

It's an easy and jazzy collection, every song  a cover of an old time number that praises Paris.

While still not a household name in the UK, she's been one of France's biggest sellers in recent years, and this album, her third, has continued to reinforce her reputation.

Yeserday saw her answering questions from fans at Facebook's London HQ. Her album's recently been released in the UK.

She's no stranger to playing in the UK, and was over in 2013 when she played the Scala as well as a low key session at the Institut Francais.

Zaz plays at Under The Bridge in Fulham tonight.

Maître Gims: Est-ce que tu m'aimes ?

A new video from Maître Gims, with the track Est-ce que tu m'aimes ? 

The track comes from Gims' forthcoming album MCAR, which is expected to be released in the autumn. The album, his second solo collection takes its title from an acronym of Mon cœur avait raison.

While best known for his role in  Sexion d'Assaut , Gims 2013 solo debut Subliminal was a massive seller, reaching number two in France and number one in other countries.

The album led to some massive singles, particularly the number one J'me tire, while the songs Bella and Zombie also reached the top three in the singles charts.

The new song sounds very approachable to an audience that normally wouldn't go for an urban track and sounds likely to open a the 2015 chapter in the Gims success story.

Gims plays at the Palais Omnisports De Paris Bercy on December 14 as part of his tour of arenas around France.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

New Acts - ATOM: Extraction (Pad session)

A strong piece of work by ATOM with a live session of the track Extraction, a number that appears
on the bands four track EP Extractor.

The EP was released in December last year, the new session version emerged at the end of last month.

The Bordeaux based four piece band credit acts like Editors, Joy Division,  Radiohead  and Interpol as influences.  You can hear something of each of these bands in what they do, but there's more at work here than borrowing from some of the best.

What they've come up with is an inspiring sound, rooted in a rugged post-punk soundscape but unafraid to turn things up to epic level.

AaRON: Blouson Noir

A new track - Blouson Noir - by AaRON.

AaRON is a duo of Simon Buret and Olivier Coursier and the track comes ahead of the release of a new album, due later this year.

AaRON relased their debut album Artificial Animals Riding on Neverland in 2007, the track U-Turn (Lili) reacing the top 20 in France. The album reached number one, as did its follow up, 2010's Birds in the Storm.

Their track U-Turn (Lili) was used in the soundtrack of the French film Je vais bien, ne t'en fais pas, the 2006 movie winning two César awards.

AaRON's new track features an interesting franglais lyric, but it's a sombre and dark piece of electro-backed songwriting.  If there's a new Ryan Gosling movie in search of a piece of music to illustrate motorcycle emptiness existentialism, this could be it.

The lyrics video doesn't prevent repeated listening to the song. Hopefully the album will be of a similar quality.

They have live dates at the end of May and a couple of festival shows confirmed over the summer with a gig at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July and the Brussels Summer Festival in August.

AaRON release the album We Cut The Night in September.

Rone: Quitter la Ville - Blogothèque session

A magnificent new Blogothèque session video for Rone's track  Quitter la Ville.

It was filmed at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, continuing the tradition their take away show of Blogothèque videos taking music to interesting locations.

Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle couldn't be a more appropriate setting for the song. A well-known location, yet a place that also a very strange . A place people pass through but rarely stay any time at. A place that exists between two locations, both familiar and unsettling.

The original video for Quitter La Ville was a striking one, this visual representation of the track is  every bit as powerful. The cinematography here is outstanding.

The session features the vocals of François Marry from François and the Atlas Mountains, in a very different context from his usual musical framework.

Friday, 1 May 2015

New Acts: The Slaughterhouse Brothers - Hometown Boys.

An act that came to my attention thanks to the French Music Podcast UK Facebook page, the Slaughterhouse Brothers are a nimble act this track displaying with a funky take on post rock.

They are a four piece from Caen in Normandy, who began working together in 2012 rehearsing in a former slaughterhouse.

They released an album entitled Hometown Boys in November last year.

The album is well worth a listen, on their Bandcamp page

You'll find a sharp and energetic collection, and get the strong impression that they'd be a great band to see live.

An EP, also entitled  Hometown Boys, is due to be released later this month.

Editorial: May 2015

Another busy month at Vive le Roq, a healthy number of posts despite the Easter break and an
equally healthy number of visitors to the site.

Record Store Day  / Disquaire Day saw some interesting releases , and the appearance of new material by Jean Michel Jarre was obviously seen as a major event by his many fans.

Meanwhile, some new acts that we featured on the site attracted a huge number of visitors.
There will be more of these this month, and some interesting features are in the pipeline as well.

There are a huge number of French acts playing in the UK this month, from prog giants Magma in Manchester and London, to more underground acts et the Great Escape festival in Brighton and at the Sound City event in Liverpool.

Meanwhile, there will be final names being added to festival bills, as the summer events begin to get underway. last months le Printemps de Bourges event marking the start of the 2015 summer season.

I've been getting involved when time allows with the French Music Podcast page on Facebook, so give it a like if you want a serving of French music videos in your timeline. 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