Friday, 23 December 2016

Saez at the Bataclan

The final show of three tonight at the Bataclan in Paris by Damien Saez, and artist who has been a favourite of this blog for a good few years, a unique voice as capable of the finest poetic expression as it is of venting the most righteous anger.

2016 saw him embark on a year long project of new releases, poetry and gigs. The Manifeste tour taking him across the country ahead of the 2017 presidential elections and his new album Le manifeste, l'oiseau liberté - released earlier this month - captures an artist at the height of his powers.

Les enfants paradis, written in tribute to the victims of the Bataclan atrocity is one of the finest songs of last year. An affecting work, avoiding anger, dramatisation or sentimentality, a reflection on humanity in the face of atrocity.

2016 has been a difficult year and there are more clouds on the horizon for 2017. If there's a storm ahead few artists will be able to articulate it better than Saez


Friday, 9 December 2016

Vieilles Charrues 2017

Details of another of this summer's major festivals have emerged, with the first 28 names on the bill
of the 2017 edition of the Vieilles Charrues.

Some of the biggests names in French music are there, with Manu Chao, Justice and Phoenix along with Renaud and Jean-Michel Jarre.

Acid Arab, Kungs and Matmatah are also on the list

Arcade Fire, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Dropkick Murphys and Die Antwoord are the big name international acts so far

Vieilles Charrues takes place over 13, 14,15 and 16 July.

Tickets for Vieilles Charrues 2017 go on sale on December 14

Friday, 2 December 2016

Justice: Fire

 A new clip by Justice, released a week after their much anticipated Woman album.

the new clip features Susan Sarandon, one of the more interesting Hollywood stars, in perhaps a homage to Thelma and Louise.

There's no Geena Davis in this version, Justice sharing the car with her instead, after they've given it a well deserved clean.

There have been mixed reviews of Woman, Pitchfork commenting it was "better suited to soundtrack a car commercial than to actively engage the listener".

Perhaps appropriate then that they have a video that plays a bit like an ironic 80s car commercial.

Hellfest 2017

The line up has been revealed for the 2017 Hellfest festival, an event that is not only France's biggest metal festival, but one of the biggest in Europe.

While headliners like Deep Purple and Aerosmith might be heritage acts, there's such a huge bill that pretty much every genre and sub genre of metal and rock are well represented.

You don't have to look far to see acts that would in other events be headliners in their own right at lesser events. Slayer, Alter Bridge, Opeth, Emperor, Prophets of rage... the list goes on.

The return of Trust to a massive festival audience is sure to be one of the highlights.

Meanwhile, the small print reveals Hawkwind, a legendary act who are no stranger to festivals and who continue to make interesting music almost half a century after they first took to the stage.

And favourites of this blog, Breton punks Les Ramoneurs de Menhirs, are there as well.

There are more than 160 acts in total. With so  much on, the challenge will be to be at the right stage at the right time to see the acts you want. But if you don't make it, don't worry, there's probably something you'll like coming up.

Hellfest 2017 is held at Clisson on June 16, 17 and 18.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Bars en Trans 2016

It's Jour J today for the Bars en Trans 2016 festival, bringing acts to the pubs and clubs of Rennes for
a busy weekene of music.

It's the 20th anniversary of the event, which this year runs across 16 different venues.

The event runs parallel to the Rencontres Trans Musicale de Rennes festival, like the Edinburgh Fringe to the Edinburgh International festival. Rather than being in competition, they compliment each other well.

Bars en trans is smaller, the venues are local pubs and clubs as opposed to the Parc Expo, but it's an agile event, with well chosen acts packing venues across Rennes city centre and beyond.

It's spirit is closer to that of Austin SXSW festival, with the opportunity to catch some emerging acts up close. Local acts get the chance to play in front of  friends and fans, as well as journalists and labels who might be in the city for the Trans Musicales.

Those that get it right can catch an act or two in the Bars en trans before heading out to see some of the acts playing the Trans Musicale at the Parc Expo in a late night shuttle bus.

Time permitting (as always!) I'll focus on some of the acts that are playing over the weekend on the blog over the next week or two.

Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes 2017

Today sees the 2017 Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes kick off in full,  the Breton city hosting
acts in both the Parc Expo on the outskirts of the city and at the Ubu and at Le Liberté and other venues in the city centre.

While some acts performed last night, the main event at the Parc Expo opens up, with acts playing into the early hours.

If there's a headliner tonight it's probably Yuksek with a set at the Parc Expo just after midnight.

There are acts from France as well as a well-curated selection of international acts on the bill. Timer permitting I'll take a look at as many of the French acts as I can over the next couple of weeks.

One act getting a significant platform over the weekend is Fishbach, getting a similar showcase enjoyed by  Benjamin Clemintine and  Jeanne Added in recent years.  Fishbach is of course no stranger to this blog, a label mate of Moodoid and Grand Blanc, two other acts whose performances at the Trans Musicales helped establish their reputations.

With free shows and acts touring towns in the area in the run up to the festival, it's a particularly accessible event for what is in essence a festival with a focus on emerging acts.

There is much to see and enjoy. Some of it will emerge on video over the weekend and in coming days, so I'll hopefully post some of it here.

Editorial: December 2016

A busy month for French music last month, with a spectacular number of French acts playing in the UK and some significant new releases hitting the shelves and their digital equivalents.

Much of that is set to continue over this month, with events like the Transmusicales in Rennes kicking off today as a showcasae of some of the finest emerging international and French acts.

In releases, there's a new album by Saez, entitled Le Manifeste, out next week. To these ears he's one of the finest contemporary songwriters in France, and the two tracks that have emerged so far suggest the album will be something quite special.

He plays the Bataclan later this month, a venue that finally opened to the public again last month, almost a year after the tragedy that unfolded there.

Meanwhile, a French act who has become a household name releases a landmark album this month, with Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygène 3, a final part to what became a trilogy started by his 1976 album.

You can get a hold of me at 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.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

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

Merci et à bientôt

John K

Friday, 25 November 2016

Jean-Michel Jarre: Oxygene 17

A new video for the forthcoming Jean-Michel Jarre album, with Oxygene 17, ahead of the release of his Oxygene 3 album.

The new album features Oxygene parts 14-20 and is Jarre's second album release this year, following his Elecronica 2 The Heart of Noise collaborations album.

Jarre describes Oxygene 3 as the third and final part of a trilogy begun with the 1976 collection that went on to sell over 15 million copies.

Jarre said the idea for a new album came to him when he was recording Electronica, and a piece of music which became  Oxygene 19 made him think about what Oxygene would be like if it was composed  today.

The release also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the original Oxygene album.

Jarre's been touring extensively, and each night has been playing a track from the new Oxygene album as part of his set

The album is released next week and it comes in a variety of formats, including a box set with the two previous albums in the set.

Johnny Hallyday: Rester Vivant Tour

A DVD released today to accompany Johnny Hallyday's recent Rester Vivant Tour live album.

The release documents his show in Brussels in March last year and has already appeared as a CD and vinyl collection.

The Brussels concert took place just days after a terrorist attack on the Belgian city, and the show kicked off appropriately with the song Rester Vivant, a track which has certainly earned its place in the pantheon of Hallyday classics.

Johnny, never one to rest on his laurels, has just announced a tour for 2017 with Eddy Mitchell and Jacques Dutronc under their Les Vieilles Canailles collective name.

The three put on a series of shows at Bercy in 2014, 2017 sees them play dates at arenas and festivals in June including Bercy in Paris on June 24.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Mathieu Boogaerts: Pourquoi pas

A lovely clip by Mathieu Boogaerts for his song Pourquoi pas.

The video was directed by Pablo Padovani, who as leader of Moodoid is certainly no stranger to this blog.

Pourquoi pas features on Boogaerts' Promeneur album, released earlier this month.

It marks 20 years of releases by Boogaerts since his Super album was released in 1996.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Sudden Death of Stars: Merci et au revoir

Sad to hear that Sudden Death of Stars have come to the end of their mission.

The Rennes-based act released two albums, 2011's Getting Up, Going Down and 2014's All Unrevealed Parts of the Unknown, which came out on Ample Play records.

The band said in a statement: "Sudden Death of Stars suddenly died.

"Though the phenomenon occurred some times ago, it can only be observed now because of the time needed by the light to travel to your screen. Unless it was the time needed by its members to accept it.

"Anyway, as sound travels slower than light, you may have the opportunity, for those who wish, to listen to our posthumous productions hopefully in a near future.

"We’d like to thank everyone who supported us along these seven years of psychedelic septet, and especially Close Up and Ample Play."

I loved what they did,  a modern 21st century take on psychedelia, in the best traditions of the genre influenced by earlier acts but inspired to create something unique.

Getting the opportunity to catch them live at the Sympatic bar in Rennes as part of the Bars en Trans festival a couple of years ago was  quite an experience.

Thanks for the memories, and hopefully we'll hear from the former members before too long.

Les Inrocks festival

This weekend sees the Les Inrocks festival, with shows at venues in Paris as well as elsewhere in

Tonight there are sets by Her, Lescop, Paradis and Juliette Armanet at La Cigale in Paris, La Boule Noire features Palace, A Giant Dog and Goat Girl.

Tomorrow sees Shock Machien, Parcels and Keep Dancing Inc at La Boule Noure, La Cigale features Jagwar Ma, Lost Under Heaven, Rat Boy, Let's Eat Grandma and Clara Luciani.

On Sunday  La Boule Noire hosts Pumarosa, Lewis Del MAr and Elf Kid, while the Cigale features Cassius, Formation and Adan Naas.

On Monday The Bataclan has a show by Tinariwen, Seratones and The Lemon Twigs.

Venues in Tourcoing, Nantes and Bordeaux host a selection of the acts over the weekend,  Lescop and Paradis playing all three towns,  Her playing Tourcoing and Nantes and Juliette Armanet at Bordeaux and Nantes.

Jagwar Ma, Lost Under Heaven and Rat Boy also play the three towns, and are joined by Let's eat Grandma at Nantes.

Tonight's sold out show by Her, Lescop, Paradis and Juliette Armanet is being streamed live. so a good opportunity to drop in on what looks like a very tastefully considered bill.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

La Femme: Sphynx ( Line of Best Fit session)

An acoustic session by La Femme for The Line of Best Fit, with the track Sphynx.

The song featured on the band's second album Mystère, released in September this year.

It was a much anticipated release, their Psycho Tropical Berlin debut from 2013 earning them a  Victoires de la Musique award as well as setting a  benchmark for 21st century French psych pop.

Mystère reached the top ten in France,  with three tracks including Sphynx released as singles.

It's a wonderful album, and surely a contender for French album of the year.

La Femme play in London later this week, with a show at the Shepherd's Bush Empire on Thursday November 17 .

Monday, 14 November 2016

Sting at the Bataclan

The weekend saw both the anniversary of the Bataclan attack, and the first performance there since the atrocity last November.

While I had reservations about Sting being the first show at the hall, it was an appropriate choice.

 He's an intelligent and articulate artist, the song Fragile an inspired song to open the venue.

Despite his global superstar status, he  - like many British and US artists -  played the venue in 1979, as an artist hoping to establish their reputation in France.

Despite a newly released album, he's not trying to squeeze some cheap publicity from someone else's tragedy.

It's a difficult balance to get right, marking a commemoration at a venue previously associated with celebration.

At the end of the day, the Sting gig really wasn't about him. More about a remembrance of those who died and our collective refusal to be silenced by the bullets of terrorists.

The Last Shadow Puppets: Les Cactus

A cover of Jacques Dutronc's  Les Cactus by The Last Shadow Puppets for their forthcoming Dream
Synopsis EP.

Perhaps not as sharp as the original,  and it certainly raises a point or two about French pronunciation and about Alex Turner's dancing, but it's spiky enough and the track's certainly an evergreen classic.

Dutronc's single was a massive seller in 1967, featuring on his self-titled debut album that was released the previous year. In the years since its release it's gone on to be recognised as one of Dutronc's many classic songs in his back catalogue.

The forthcoming EP  by The Last Shadow Puppets  features  six cover versions, including  Leonard Cohen's Is This What You Wanted and The Fall's Totally Wired.

Dream Synopsis is released on December 2.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Leonard Cohen RIP

Terribly saddened by the death of Leonard Cohen.

Few artists explored the human condition as thoroughly as he did, and fewer still were able to report back with such wisdom and eloquence.

The songs of love and hate, of the uncertainties and the hope, of the despair and the joy.

Leonard was the songwriter, the poet, the writer. The others were just entertainers.

I only saw him once, when he played in Glasgow in 1988, having listened to him for years. I'll still be listening to him for years to come.

Take your pick of a favourite song, choose your favourite song lyric or quote. There are so many to choose from. The videos below are just to illustrate the length of his career, from the 60s to his last ever show in Paris.

 We'll not see his like again and the world is a better place because of him.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Sting reopens the Bataclan

I don't quite know how I feel about Sting being the act to re-open the Bataclan just before the first anniversary of the atrocity that took place there.

Firstly, it's beyond a doubt right that the club should re-open. To do anything else would give those who sympathised with the killers a victory they don't deserve.

I thought that the club re-opening after the anniversary was the best idea, a low-key return to business as usual.

But opening with Sting just seems a bit odd. An act like Sting normally wouldn't be playing a venue like that, he's more a figure from international celebrity culture than from the world of music these days.

Maybe it's just that I've never been a big fan of Sting. Maybe it should be a French artist instead.

But maybe it's just that someone has to be the first act to play there, and they'll be scrutinised and criticised whoever they are.

Sting says: "In re-opening the Bataclan, we have two important tasks to reconcile. First, to remember and honour those who lost their lives in the attack a year ago, and second to celebrate the life and the music that this historic theatre represents.

"In doing so we hope to respect the memory as well as the life affirming spirit of those who fell. We shall not forget them."

The concert will raise money for charity. Maybe his heart's in the right place.

Pete Doherty and Youssou N'Dour play the Bataclan in the days after the anniversary, Marianne Faithfull, Laurent Garnier and Yael Naim play in weeks to come.

That feels a lot more like a return to normality for the Batacla.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Christine and the Queens: UK Tour

A triumphant return to the UK by Christine and the Queens, with the first of a series of sold-out shows across the country tonight.

Héloïse Letissier and her gang play the first of two nights at the O2 Academy in London, before moving on to shows in Manchester and Glasgow.

It's wonderful to see her get the recognition she deserves in the UK.

While Tilted made the top 20, Chaleur Humaine made number two in the charts and while it is a version of the album that's been tilted towards anglophone ears, it remains a firmly French musical product.

An expanded UK version of Chaleur Humaine has been made available on Spotify and will be released on CD and DVD shortly, featuring bonus tracks and a live DVD.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Mick Harvey: Je T'Aime Serge event

Another mention for tonight's Je T'Aime Serge event at the  Institut Francais du Royaume-Uni in
London, with Mick Harvey discussing his three albums of English language covers of Serge Gainsbourg songs.

Harvey is of course a bona fide legend in his own right, from his part in The Birthday Party to his role with Nick Cave as one of the key members of the Bad Seeds.  As part of Crime and the City Solution to his work with PJ Harvey.

He's also an established solo artist and has also released a number of film soundtracks over the years.

I've loved both Intoxicated Man and Pink Elephants, his first two volumes of Gainsbourg songs that were released in the 90s. Quite simply, they're albums I've listened to repeatedly for years.

This year's  new collection - Delirium Tremens - is every bit as classy in its sympathetic re-imagining of Gainsbourg's work. Another volume is coming out early next year.

In the meantime, tonight's a great opportunity to find out more about Mick and Serge.

Editorial: November 2016

A new month begins, October being both a good month for traffic to the site and a month that saw us
begin to get more regular content again.

We again saw a great number of visitors this month, not far off our peak, which is always encouraging. Hopefully we've also turned a corner in terms of getting more articles on the site.

November continues the busy pace of releases and live date, with a sold out UK tour by Christine and the Queens on the agenda in the next couple of  days.

She plays shows in at the O2 Academy in London, O2 Apollo on Manchester and the O2 Academy in Glasgow on Monday.

Mick Harvey, meanwhile, speaks about his relationship with the work of Serge Gainsbourg at an event at the Institut Francais in London tonight.

Elsewhere, Caravan Palace play Dublin, Manchester, London and Birmingham this month.

La Femme play one night in London at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on November 17, and M83 play the O2 Academy on November 23.

Gojira, possibly France's most successful metal act ever support Alter Bridge on their tour of the UK this month, with arena gigs in Manchester, London,

Nouevelle Vague,  St Germain and Zombie Zombie are also playing around the UK.

As for major releases this month, the new album by Justice drops in a couple of weeks. Can't wait.

You can get a hold of me at 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.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

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

Merci et à bientôt

John K

Monday, 31 October 2016

Je T'Aime Serge: Mick Harvey Questions and Answers in London

A great opportunity to question music legend Mick harvey about his Serge Gainsbourg cover albums at an event at the Institut Francais du Royaume-Uni in London tomorrow night.

Mick Harvey has of course had an astonishing career beyond these albums, as a founder member of Australian band The Birthday Party who were one of the pioneering acts in the in the UK and Europe in the aftermath of punk. He continued to work with Birthday party vocalist Nick Cave as a founder member of the Bad Seeds where he was a cornerstone of the band  for 25 years.

He was also an integral part of  the band Crime and the City Solution, who released several albums throughout the 80s but never really got the recognition they deserved.

His first solo album was a collection of Serge Gainsbourg covers entitled Intoxicated Man released in 1995, where he performed some of Serge's best known songs in English. He followed this with a second volume of Gainsbourg covers in 1997 entitled Pink Elephants.

I'm pretty sure it was Harvey's covers that helped introduce Gainsbourg to many of those who now hold his work dear. Gainsbourg was very much an unknown in the UK for much of his career despite his success at the end of the 60s. At best he was regarded by many simply as a novelty act or a one hit wonder. Mick Harvey showed that Gainsbourg was a genius in any language.

June 2016 saw the release of a third volume of Gainsbourg covers - Delerium tremens. A fourth volume is in the pipeline and scheduled for release early in 2017.

Tomorrow night Mick Harvey will be speaking about this and the two previous releases with author Simon Price, about his relationship with Gainsbourg's work and the challenges of his legacy.

If you're in London, it's an event not to miss.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Renaud: Live in London

An appearance in London tomorrow night by the legendary Renaud, one of the many stops in the tour he's undertaking following the release of his latest abum earlier this year.

It's worth pausing a second to remember just how unlikely all this seemed just a few years ago. Renaud was apparently all but washed up, his voice shot and his career over, his health failing.

But his comeback has been little short of remarkable, with an album that's among his best, and a critical and commercial success like no other during his career.

Meanwhile his aptly named Phénix tour, which began this month sees him taking to the stage after a ten year absence, with lengthy two and a half hour sets covering his career.

The question of whether or not his voice is back hasn't been answered. There are of course many who maintain he never had much of a voice in the first place. But the London show gives Brits, and the many French living here, a chance to catch up with Renaud.

Renaud's album gets a re-issued on November 18, the new version featuring two bonus unreleased tracks and a DVD with an interview and a look at his recording the album in the studio and on tour.

Renaud plays the Eventim Apollo and continues a run of dates at the Zénith in Paris before embarking on more shows across France through to April next year.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Feu! Chatterton: Ophélie (live)

 A live video by the mighty Feu! Chatterton for the track Ophélie.

Its' the opening track on their debut album  Ici le jour (a tout enseveli), one of the highlights of last year.

A reminder - if we need one - that the band are a mighty impressive live proposition.

They're in the middle of their latest series of live dates at the moment, and play the Olympia in Paris on Monday October 17.

The band have been touring extensively over the past few months, with festival sets as well as headline shows of their own, in Europe and North America.

They've got dates elsewhere in France until mid November.


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

MaMa event in Paris

The MaMa festival gets under way in Paris, an industry showcase and convention in the French
capital as well as the chance to catch some

It takes place over three days in venues across the north of the city, in the Pigalle and Montmartre area, with some big names, blog favourites and new acts keen to get your attention. There are a total of 120 acts in 12 venues, French and international

Among the bigger names are Nouvelle Vague and the legendary  Christophe.

Gaspart Royant is the first act to play, and  elsewhere blog favourites la Féline,  Talisco, Samba de la Muerte are on the bill. Fishbach and Wall of Death are also part of the event.

Monday, 10 October 2016

M Pokora: Belinda

A newn single by M Pokora, with the track Belinda, a cover of the hit by French music legend of the 60s and 70s Claude François.

Pokora's new album My Way consists of versions of Claude François songs. Claude François is of course the singer who's track Comme D'Habitide was re-interpreted in English as My Way, the Sinatra classic.

It's a bold project, for although Claude François is remembered fondly, his artistic reputation is not great. Cloco has never been fully rehabilitated from his catalogue of French interpretations of 70s easy listening and disco hits, always the opportunist rather than the innovator.

But he was massively popular, and there's still a market for his music even now, decades after his death as the endless stream of re-issues attests. It'll be interesting to see if there's much crossover with the younger generation of music fans associated with M Pokora.

Belinda came from Cloclo's 1971 album Le Lundi au Soleil and was originally the B side of a single.

My Way is released on October 21.

Johnny Hallyday: Rester Vivant Tour

With the certainty of night following day and the turning of the seasons, a new Johnny Hallyday live collection is being released on the back  of his last tour.
The album - Rester Vivant Tour - documents his live show in Belgium on march 26 this year, which was broadcast in cinemas around France. 

His set featured songs from throughout his long career, as well as numbers from De l'amour, his 50th studio collection, which was relased in November last year.
De l'amour album came out in the middle of his Rester Vivant tour, and was met with considerable critical success.

A number one seller in France, it went on to take the chanson album of the year award at the Victoires de la musique ceremony in February.
A couple of tracks, Blue Suede Shoes, Rester Vivant  and Noir c'est noir, have emerged ahead of the new album.
Rester Vivant Tour is available as a 2CD, 3CD or triple vinyl collection. A DVD is expected shortly.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Acid Arab: Musique de France

I've been aware of Acid Arab since they played the transmisicales festival in Rennes in 2013, I loved
their track Berberian Wedding, a distinctive and intoxicating piece of electronics and they've continued to develop into something quite special indeed.

The debut album by the Paris based duo of Guido and Hervé - 'Musique de France' - is released today and it refreshes like a mint tea on a hot dry day.

They're a French act playing a north African flavoured music, and maintain that there are no geographic barriers to music, developing into the act they are today from DJ sets in Paris.

Acid Arab play a live set at the Mosaiques festival in London on October 15

Trust: Au Nom De La Rage Tour

A welcome return to live action for the French music legends that are Trust, with vocalist Bernie
Bonvoisin and guitar hero Nono Krief

They were one of France's biggest bands in the early 80s, big enough to make a significant impact in the UK, their albums getting released in both French and English language versions.

Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain was in the band for a while before joining Maiden, they were mates with Bon Scott from AC/DC and their classic Antisocial was covered by Anthrax.

Trust were proper legends, and they deserve to be back on the stage.

Maybe it's the success that the reformed Téléphone have enjoyed under their Les Insus name that finally inspired Bernie and Nono to join forces again over the summer to celebrate the band's 40th anniversary.

There are 12 dates scheduled for December, all in smaller venues outside Paris. Hopefully the demand will lead to some arena sized shows for 2017.

Slaughterhouse Brothers: Time & Yards

A new clip by Slaughterhouse Brothers for the track Time & Yards, which comes from the band's
second album.

It features a beautiful piece of animation showcasing the Normandy-based four piece.

They've been around since 2012, I mentioned them here in the blog last year following  the release of their Hometown Boys debut that came out in November 2014.

They described themselves as an invitation to taste an English tea with Floydian aromas and an XTC background.

Sounds good to me.

The band's new album The Man is Gone is available to listen to free on their bandcamp site


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The Weeknd and Daft Punk: Starboy

A partial return by Daft Punk, with the release of a track by the Weeknd that features an appearance by probably France's most recognisable anonymous(ish) act.

The Weekend had an international success with the track Beauty Behind The Madness last year, and the release of their third albums sees a collaboration with Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalte.

There are of course rumours that there will be much more Daft Punk activity before too long, with suggestions that a 2017 world tour might be on the cards, with an announcement before too long.

We'll see.

Starboy is released on November 25.

Julien Doré: Porto Vecchio

Another new track from the forthcoming new album by Julien Doré, with the release of the song Porto Veccio.

Julien Doré releases his new collection, to be entitled "&" on October 14 and the new song follows teh tracks Le Lac and Mon écho.

Doré 's last studio collection was Løve, a top five seller released three years ago, which featured the hit Paris-Seychelles.

Doré's done well to establish himself as a credible artist in France, he's become a significant act even though his career began fron TV reality show Nouvelle Star. He's come a long way from covers of Moi...Lolita and ...Baby One More Time.

He's got a tour supporting the release of the album from February next year, with shows in Zénith arenas across France and surrounding countries. He plays Paris on May 10

Justice: Randy

Welcome back Justice, who return with a new video for the track Randy, another track from their forthcoming third album.

The track Safe and Sound emerged in July before getting a full release last month.

The new collection follow's 2011's Audio, Video, Disco album, a long-time favourite of this blog.

As one of the main instigators of the renaissance of interest in French music, Justice's new album is a kind of a big deal. They've got a reputation as both innovators and commercial crossover artists second only internationally to Daft Punk.

The indications look good. Les Inrocks magazine spoke to Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay and described the album as a kind of simultaneously digital and glossy Dark Side of the Moon, sometimes funky and always jacked up.

Whatever, it will be worth the wait.

The new album Woman is released on November 18

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Lescop: Echo

A welcome return for Lescop, an artist whose debut album was one of this blog's favourites when it was released on Pop Noire a couple of years ago.

The track Echo emerges in July, and it shows his continued poetic exploration of an apparently bleak new wave environment.

It's an epic piece of work and I can't wait to hear more new material.

Lescop is in the middle of a series of live dates across France until the end of the year, and plays at La Cigale in Paris on November 18 as part of the Les Inrocks festival.

Echo is released on October 21.

Jean-Michel Jarre: Electronica UK Tour

A tour of the UK gets under way today for the legendary Jean-Michel Jarre, probably one of the best known French artists both commercially and critically outside France.

He's inspired generations of musicians over his career, as his two recent Electronica collaborative albums show. The collections also showed that there's a huge audience for Jarre who perhaps weren't familiar with his work, but who had grown up listening to contemporary electronic artists who themselves had looked to Jarre for inspiration.

He is also one of the artists who inspired the creation of this blog, and one of my first experiences of French music many decades ago.

His Elecronica tour is first proper UK tour since 2010, and it sees arena shows across the country. Perhaps smaller than some of the shows he's played in the past, but its always going to be tough to top the world record for attendence at your shows. I doubt we'll ever see 2.5m in one place again for a gig like there was at his show at La Defense. Never mind over a million for his shows at Houston, Paris in '95 and at Place de la Concorde in 1979.

Jarre of course played in the UK over the summer at the Blue Dot Festival at Jodrell Bank, an appropriately forward-looking science flavoured festival.

The UK dates are just part of his tour, with 38 shows in 22 different countries scheduled.

Dates in the UK are Cardiff tonight, Brighton, London, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow on October 14, with a show in Dublin on October 10.

Beyond the tour Jarrre's confrmed his next project is a third volume of his Oxygene collection.

Hw said earlier this month: "When I was recording Electronica, two years ago, I did a piece of music (today Oxygene 19) that made me think about what Oxygene could be if I was composing it today."

Oxygene 3 is released on December 2 to mark the 40th anniversary of the original landmark release.

Editorial: October 2016

Few posts last month on the blog, but sadly no shortage of things worth writing about. I've missed out on
writing about some great things for sure over the past few weeks.  Lack of time to write bit into the blog, but we aim to amend this on October and catch up a bit. Little point moping about not having time, it's a better use if time to actually get back into gear.

This month sees no shortage of releases and live activity, from major acts to developing artists.  From Jean Michel Jarre embarking on UK dates supporting the release of his Electronica albums, and Acid Arab bring their flavour to the Mosaïques festival in London.

We'll be across this month's new releases, as this month brings another crop of quality French related sounds, autumn being treditionally a key time for new products leading up to Christmas. Again, big names and newcomers make their presence felt, from Johnny Hallyday with a new live album to Lescop with a much anticipated second album.

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.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

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

Merci et à bientôt

John K

Monday, 26 September 2016

Blind Digital Citizen: Carnaval

A very psychedlic video for the track Canraval by Blind Digital Citizen.

Carnaval features on their new Mother EP which is released this month.

The five piece releaed their debut album Premières Vies last year, very much a favourite of this blog. They're on Enterprise Records, home of fellow first-rate French freak acts Moodoid and Bagarre.

Great to have some new material from them and it's certainly been worth the wait.


Friday, 23 September 2016

Liverpool Festival of Psychedelia: French acts

The Liverpool Festival of Psychedelia gets under way today, with two nights of cutting-edge
weirdness and strange sounds in the city.

While there are plenty of big names, whether more mainstream like the Super Furry Animal or more underground legends like Silver Apples, and newer names like Dungen and Demdike Stare, there's a healthy French presence at the event.

The Fete Souterraine event curated by the La Souterraine label at the festival tonight provides a unique and strange showcase for some very fine French acts.

It features  Aquagascallo, a pooling  of the talents of Tame Impala's  Julien Barbagallo, Julien Gasc and Benjamin Glibert performing works of Aquaserge, Barbagallo and songs from Gasc's solo catalogue.

Also on the bill at the event are drone folk act France, one of the highlights of last year's Rencontres Trans Musicales event in Rennes.

Also playingare Yeti Lane, who follow the releas of their L'Aurore album with a set  at the festival.
Elsewhere. Acid Mothers Temple, while firmly a Japanese act, are no strangers to France with their Occitan incfluenced albums La Novia and Mantra of Love.

While there are dozens of acts at the festival over the two days - it's quietly become one of the UK's most significant underground events - it's great to see some key French acts take centre stage.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

M83 on Later...with Jools Holland

A high-profile appearance by M83 on the BBC's premier music show Later...with Jools Holland this week.

Christine and the Queens might be the most high profile French act in the UK at the moment, but there's no disputing there are many other acts worthy of similar attention, M83 being just one of them.

Their Junk album might not have spawned quite as many advert and TV feature soundtracks (so far!) as Hurry Up...We're Dreaming did, but the album's an infectious collection with much to love. 

It's been a top thirty hit in France, the USA and the UK and looks likely to subtly insinuate itself into the musical fabric of the next few years as its predecessor managed to do.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Justice: New album details

Justice have revealed some more detail of their forthcoming third album.

The duo of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay have published the cover of the album, and announced that it is to be titled Woman.

The new album is a follow up to 2011's Audio, Video Disco.  In 2013 they released their Access all Arenas live collection, documenting the lice shows they undertook following the release of Audio, Video Disco.

Justice have been at the forefront of French electronic music, along with Daft Punk, and it's almost a surprise to remember that it's only their third proper album.

The track Safe and Sound came surfaced at a set at the Sónar 2016 Music Festival and was subsequently released as a single.

Woman is expected to be on sale from November 18 and to say it's much anticipated is something of an understatement.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Julien Doré: Le Lac video

A new clip by Julien Doré, ahead of the release of a new album, his first studio release since 2013's Løve collection.

The video for Le Lac features an appearance by American TV icon Pamela Anderson.

Løve was a double platinum seller, his most successful release so far, with the singles Paris-Seychelles and Chou Wasabi making the top 20.

A live album and an EP have followed Løve, 2015's Løve Live reaching the top 20.

His earlier albums made the top five, from 2008's Ersatz onwards he's been a pretty big star in France.

He's come a long way since winning the fifth series of Nouvelle Star  - the French equivalent of Pop Idol in 2007 and since his interesting take on developed into a much more interesting artist that a programme like that might have been expected to produce.

Doré's new album will be released in October.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Christine and the Queens: Spotify Session

A session  by the mighty Christine and the Queens, recorded recently in London for Spotify.

It's been a golden time for Christine, finally making a significant commercial mark in the UK with both her album and the song Tilted. The good reviews that she's received should come as no surprise to a blog like this who has been following her career for a while, but it's encouraging to see an artist get the widespread recognition that they deserve.

Maybe record companies are playing it a bit safe these days, by promoting artists who have already established themselves in other territories, but none the less it's no small thing to see one of France's best acts in recent years attract both critical and conmmercial acclaim here.

If anything it will hopefully encourage other music companies to consider French acts as a valid proposition for a UK audience. We can only hope.

You can go to the Christine and the Queens session here>

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Trans Musicales festival 2016: First names

The first 15 names have been released for the 2016 Trans Musicales festival, taking place in  Rennes this December.

French acts include Fishbach, Moon Gogo, Chouette, Octave Noire and Pyrit.

So far international acts on the bill include Anna meridith, BCUC, Nova Twins, Rozzma,  Cabo San Roque, Däs Mortal, PWR BTTM, Reykjavíkurdætur, Talmud Beach and Tiggs Da Author.

There might not be many household names so far, but that's never been the agenda of the Trans Musicales. It's always been a forward-looking event,  showcasing the developing acts that you'll hopefully be hearing more about before too long.

Think of the likes of Benjamin Clementine, Jeanne Added, as well as Moodoid, France and Grand Blanc who have all played in the last few years.

Its experimental spirit has guided it over the decades since it began in 1979, with Noir Désir, Mano Negra, Zebda, Daft Punk and Stromae having graced the stage.

The Trans Musicales runs from November 30 to December 4 in Rennes.

Editorial: September 2016

A busy month in August, and while intentions were good to provide more content for the blog, things
got the better of us and there was a lot less content than we might have liked.

Still, there were some major events such as the  Rock en Seine festival near Paris marking the unoffial end of the summer music festival season.

August was significant in that it saw Christine and the Queens firmly establish themselves in the UK, with their debut album selling enough copies to qualify for gold disc status.

Also we were delighted to see a song by Gaspard Royant being used in a high profile advertising campaign.

Looking ahead, September sees la rentrée , with more new releases in the busy months leading up to the end of the year, and there's no shortage of live activity from French artists.

September sees French prog legends of the 70s Magma play in the UK, and there is a significant French presence at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia this month.

 We'll be upping our game, getting over our summertime slumbers and keeping a close eye on the French music scene.

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.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

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

Merci et à bientôt

John K

Friday, 26 August 2016

Rock en Seine festival

The Rock en Seine festival kicks off today in Paris, one of the most significant summer music
festivals in France.

While not the biggest, it's location near Paris at the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, the Château de Saint-Cloud's park, gives it a high profile and a massive audience on its doorstep.

This year's again sees a well-curated bill, with French acts as well as international names, ranging from the developing artists to the massive headliners.

Friday sees The Last Shadow Puppets, Bastille and the Brian Jonestown Massacre on stage. Meanwhile, Flavien Berger, Caravan palace and Rendez-Vous fly the flag for French acts.

Saturday includes Wolfmother, Sigur Ros and Massive Attack, and Casseurs Flowters, Grand Blanc and La Femme are among the French names.

Iggy Pop, Chvrches and Peaches play on the Sunday.

There's no Eagles of Death Metal, after their ill-considered comments  earlier this year. They're at Reading and Leeds instead.

This year it takes place in a heatwave, and with the three day ticket coming in under 120 euros, it's not only better value for money but probably a much more pleasant experience than Reading or Leeds festivals in the UK this weekend.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Gaspard Royant: Citroen C4 Rip Curl advert

A surprise appearance by Gaspard Royant as the music behind the new advert campaign for Citroen cars.

The track Marty McFly is soundtracking the new ads for the C4 Cactus Rip Cury, an appropriately sharp tune for one of Citroen's more stylish offerings. I have my doubts about the advert, not really my thing, but there's no disputing quality of the tune.

The track comes from Gaspard's Ten Track Wonder debut album, originally released in 2014. We've been fans of Gaspard since then, so it's nice to see him get this kind of exposure in the UK.

Gaspard's most reccent album Have You Met Gaspard Royant was released in April this year, a fine follow up which was produced by Scottish music legend Edwyn Collins.

Great to see a French artist getting played on prime time television, and hopefully more people in the UK and beyond will get to know the king of the Haute Savoie Doo-Wop Garage and Roll scene.

He's just released the track Sevcen Inch Club as a single and Gaspard's got live dates scheduled across France, and plays Paris on October 12 during the MAMA Festival.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Festival Interceltique de Lorient

This weekend sees the start of the world's biggest Celtic festival, with the Festival Interceltique de Lorient held in the Breton city.

This year's festival, the 46th, puts the spotlight on Australia, while still featuring the Celtic  nations closer to home.

Around 4500 singers, musicians and dancers are involved in events, from traditional to contemporary, pipe bands to rock acts, and among the big names are the Corrs, Joan Baez, Alan Stivell and Dan Ar Braz.

Meanwhile, smaller scale events and workshops take place across the city. Some of the events such as the Grande Parade on Sunday will be broadcast online on Culturebox and on TV on France 3

The festival takes place in tighter security than ever before, in light of events in France. This weekend's Lille Braderie, a huge fleamarket event held in the northern city, event was cancelled over security fears.

The Festival Interceltique de Lorient  runs until August 14.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Savages: Hyundai Mercury Prize nomination

An announcement today of the shortlist for this year's Hyundai Mercury Music Prize, and while most of the attention goes to the inclusion of David Bowie's final album Blackstar, it was the inclusion of the album Adore Life by Savages that got our ears up.

They're a London based four piece, which no doubt gets them their place in the Mercury prize's UK and Ireland focused shortlist, but it's the presence of singer Jehnny Beth - or Camille Berthomier as her family knew her - that particularly interests us.

She was or course previously the singer with much-loved French indie duo John and Jehn who released two albums before becoming involved in Savages. John and Jehn founded the Pop Noire label, which has also released material by Lescop, whose video for La Foret was directed by Jehn.

Johnny Hostile, the other half of the duo, produced both Adore Life and their debut album Silence yourself . That collection was released to massive acclaim in 2013, reaching the top 20 of the UK album charts. Like Adore Life, it was shorlisted for the Mercury Prize.

Last year the Mercury Prize was won by Benjamin Clementine, a London-born artist who lives in France. This year hopefully it will be won by a band featuring a French songer who lives in London.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Yann Tiersen: Roc’h Ar Vugale Live at Abbey Road

 An appropriately cinematic session by Yann Tiersen ahead of the release of his new album.

The clip features the track Roc’h Ar Vugale, recorded at Abbey Road studio in London.

Roc’h Ar Vugale fetures on Tiersen's most new album Eusa, a collection that was originally issed as piano music. The album, to be issued at the end of September, is his first ever collection of solo piano performances.

Tiersen's last album was 2014's Infinity album, which saw works in Breton, Icelandic, Faroese and English, but no works in French.
Yann Tiersen plays the Edinburgh International Festival on August 21 and 22.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Lilly Wood and the Prick: Live at Paléo Festival de Nyon

This year it featured acts like Lilly Wood and the Prick, AaRON and The Avener, JC Satan and their sets have been made available to watch online thanks to Franco german broadcaster Arte.

With an audience of 230,000 over six days, and 210 acts it's by far the biggest music festival in Switzerland.

The event has been held since 1976, increasing in size over the years since then.

Next year's Paléo Festival is held from the 18th to 23rd July.

More of the videos can be seen on the event's website 

Holy Oysters: Summer Rain

A new track single by critically acclaimed Paris act Holy Oysters.

Their new song Summer Rain follows their debut single Take me for a ride, released in November last year.

It's another impressive piece of electro-informed psychedelia,

On their facebook page the band ask the big questions: "What is psychedelism? a dream without sleep?

"When your mind escapes your body?

"Everything can be psychedelic, a smell, a touch, a taste, a vision, a sound."

They add: "What is « Holy Oysters »? I don’t know, do you?"

It's worth finding out for yourself.


Monday, 1 August 2016

Superbus - C à vous live

A great appearance on French TV by Superbus, with a visit to the evening chatshow C à vous.

I missed it when it went out, but it's still worth a watch even a few weeks later.

They performed their single Strong and Beautiful.

The band , now a four piece, are promoting their new Sixtape collection which was released in June. They've been making a few TV appearances on the back of their new collection.

They've been on the show before, but this marks their return following singer Jennifer Ayache's solo interlude.

Superbus have a series of live dates across France in October and November, with a show in Paris at Le Trianon on October 29.

Editorial: August 2016

It's been a quiet couple of weeks here in terms of posts, but we're refreshed following a summer break and ready to write about French music more than ever.

Last month saw festival season at its peak, and the there's been plenty of inetresting releases. But above all this comes the massive success of Christine and the Queens in the UK, with France's favourite act reaching (so far) number two in the UK charts.

Tilted has been one of the big songs in the past few months, with appearances at Glastonbury and Latitude festival over the summer cementing her position. The UK's not the first country to fall for her, she's been a major star in France for a while now, but it must be particularly rewarding for an artist who was so inspired by London to be so successful here.

It's been quite a journey for her since we first wrote about her playing at the Great Escape festival in Brighton a few years ago. A tour later this year with dates across the UK are something to really look forward to.

Meanwhile, last month saw a bit of a record for us, with the number of visitors to the site reaching over 10,000 in one month for the first ever time. Thanks for your support. We've come a long way since we got a few dozen visitors a month in 2010.

There's more coming this month, with the summer festivals continuing, August seeing Rock en Sein in Paris and the Route du Rock in St Malo among them.

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.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

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

Merci et à bientôt

John K

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Comett: Love 2.0.

Delighted to see a new video by Comett, with the release of the track Love 2.0.

It's a charming piece, packing more ideas into four minutes than many acts can fit into a whole album.

I love the video's  retro sci fi feel, something of a space odyssey with cute details like the ENG/FR lyric language indicator.

The band have been teasing the track for a few weeks, and it's certainly been well worth the wait.

I was taken by Comett's first release, Once upon a time/city of Lights, as fine a piece of electro pop as you could hope to find. Their My Reality is Your Fiction debut collection in 2014 proved they had a whole lot more to offer.

They're working on their second album, to be entitled Back to reality, which is released in the autumn.

In the meantime, the new track is available from the usual download sites.

July 14: Bastille Day

I always like publishing something appropriate to mark La fête nationale, Bastille Day, the annual commemoration of the French revolution.

While military parades and French presidential interviews fill the TV and fireworks light up town squares at night, La Marseillaise will no doubt be performed.

I've always liked the way Gainsbourg re-makes La Marseillaise, taking it from the hands of the establishment and re-connecting it to its popular origins.

This live version of the track from Le Zénith de Gainsbourg is quite different to the better-known studio version. While his reggae albums were pretty great, I've always thought his later work was quite under rated in comparison.

Interesting that the live version of Hey Man Amen from the same release features an early appearance by the then toddler Lulu Gainsbourg on stage, although not actually doing much other than being a very small kid.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Christine and the Queens: UK dates

Some exciting news today with the details of three dates in the UK by Christine and the Queens later this year.

While no stranger to playing the UK, she's already played two shows in London and a set at Glastonbury so far, it's great to see her play some dates outside the UK capital, particularly a show in Glasgow.

Safe to say she's finally cracked the UK market, with her album sitting high in the charts, and the track Tilted getting some serious airplay and being rewarded too with a high placing in the charts.

I even heard it played on a local commercial channel recently, given that it's the most commercially driven place for music, it's not usually a forum for anything terribly interesting.

Ahead of the shows in November, Christine and the Queens play the Latitude festival in the UK this weekend.

Grand Blanc: Verticool

A new video by Grand Blanc for the track Verticool, in quite a different visual style from their previous offerings.

The music remains as gritty and epic as ever.

It's another track from their Mémoires Vives abum that was released earlier this year,  probably one of my favourite French releases this year.

Grand Blanc have some festival dates in France and surrounding countries, including the Paleo festival in Nyon, Switzerland in July 19 and Rock en Seine on August 28.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Julien Doré: Le Lac

A new track by Julien Doré, with Le Lac getting a release after some short clips last week.

Doré's come on a long way since he won the fith season of Nouvelle Star, his last album Løve in 2013 reaching the top five in France and reaching double platinum sales.

The track Paris-Seychelles was the first single from that album, reaching just outside the top ten in France.

A subsequent live album came out documenting his extensive live shows that supported the release of the album.

Le Lac, a song which has some of the feel of Paris-Seychelles, comes ahead of Doré's forthcoming fourth album. As yet there are no details of the name or release date of the new collection, but it's certainly much anticipated.

A video for the new track is expected shortly.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Justice: Safe and Sound

A new track has emerged by Justice, with the track Safe and Sound played during a  DJ set by the band's manager at the Sonar music festival.

The new track was played by Busy P at the Ed Banger House Party, and a check on Shazam recognized it as a new unreleased track by Gaspard Michel Andre Augé and Xavier de Rosnay.

Their last studio release was 2011's Audio, Video, Disco, with a live collection Access All Arenas released in 2013 documenting their live show at the  Arena of Nîmes the previous year.

A new album by Justice is expected to be released later this year.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Damien Saez: Le Manifeste

A welcome return to activity from Damien Saez,an artist who is to these ears certainly one of France's finest singer songwriters.

Be's confirmed a series of concert dates, including three nights at the Bataclan in Paris in December before a tour across France in March and April, with more Paris shows in April.

He'll be releasing two albums before the end of the year, and is offering the opportunity for a year-long subscription to his new project which he has titled Le Manifeste, running from the end of July this year until the end of July next year, including streaming of the new releases and access to other material.

Saez's last album was Miami, released three years ago, an incendiary work from an artist who remains capable of not only surprising, but constantly delivering material that surpasses what for others would be regarded as artistic peaks.

I don't know what's ahead for Saez in the next 12 months, but I do know that it will be fascinating to find out.

Feu! Chatterton - Bruxelles Ma Belle session

A five-star session by the mighty Feu! Chatterton for Belgian blog Bruxelles Ma Belle.

An acoustic take on Boeing at the Hotel Metropole gives the track a stylish setting, the band looking at home in the plush surroundings.

The vesion of Le Pont Marie takes another track from the band's debut album in the photogenic and luxurious setting at the heart of the city.

Feu! Chatterton continue their live dates that followed the release of their Ici le jour (a tout enseveli) album with festival shows in the next few days,  including the Montreux Jazz Festival and the festival Pause Guitar.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Marc Lavoine ,Coeur de Pirate and Arthur H: Vivre ou ne pas vivre

A new track featuring the combined talents of Marc Lavoine and Coeur de Pirate, collaborating on the song Vivre ou ne pas vivre.

The release comes ahead of Lavoine's forthcoming new album, a project that sees him undertaking musical adaptations of the work of Hans Christian Anderson.

The album sees Lavoine work with Coeur de Pirate and Arthur H, the son of French music legend Jacques Higelin who has enjoyed a successful career of his own.

Lavoine established his career with the track Elle a les yeux revolver in the mid 80s, his most recent studio collection is 2012's Je descends du singe.

Coeur de Pirate is of course no stranger to this blog, her most recent album being last year's Roses, a top five release in France and in her native Canada.

The album, entitled Les souliers rouges is to be released in September.

Editorial: July 2016

Another month begins, with July smack in the centre of festival season. Some of this year's big ticket events in France have already taken place in the last month, from Hellfest to Solidays, Les Eurockeenes to Mainsquare.

Other high profile events are happening in the next few weeks, such as Les Francofolies and Vieilles Charrues.

We've been quieter here than usual, but aim, to make up ground again this month. There's certainly no shortage of things requiring an urgent listen to.

Again, we've seen another record number of visitors to the blog, which is always encouraging. Hopefully we'll see this continue month, with a significant milestone on the horizon.

June of course saw the UK take a massive step backwards on the international stage, with a vote to leave the European Union. It was a vote influenced by blatent xenophobia, misinformation, small mindedness and political shortsightedness. If anything, it shows the scale of the challenge anyone who is an advocate for French or any other European culture faces in the UK. The scale of the decision is horrific, and more will no doubt emerge in the months to come, and it will be a long time until the dust settles.

Ironically it happened at a time that saw French acts enjoy more success in the UK than they have for a while, with Christine and the Queens crowned at Glastonbury, Gojira delivering the molten metal materpiece that is their Magma album, while Kungs takes some French deep house to the high end of the UK charts.

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.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

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

Merci et à bientôt

John K

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Jenifer: Paradis Secret

A new single with a clip by Jenifer for the track Paradis Secret, the first track from her forthcoming new

Her new album, her seventh, is expected in the autumn. It's been a successful career for the Star Academy graduate, winning the first season of the reality TV series.

She's gone on to become one of France's most high profile performers, and appears on the french edition of The Voice as one of the regular coaches.

Her last album was 2013's Ma Declaration , a collection of interpretations of songs originally performed by France Gall. It reached number two in the charts, and led to a number of singles.

The new track has already reached the top ten in France, enjoying more success than any of the tracks off her last collection.

She's recently announced a series of concerts in 2017, with shows across France in February and March.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Christine and the Queens: Tilted on the Graham Norton Show

Another major step forward in Christine and the Queens' gradual world domination with a memorableappearance on one of the UK's most popular entertainment shows.

The artist formerly known as Héloïse Letissier performed a live version of the song Tilted, the English take of the song originally known as Christine. 

Letissier was of course originally inspired by her time in London to create Christine and the Queens, nice to see her finally being so widely accepted here.

The song's gone on to receive national radio airplay on Radio One, and while Chaleur Humaine might have originally emerged two years ago, it's still evidently still winning people over. 

The album is now sitting at number one in the UK iTunes chart, ahead of Radiohead, Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers and er...Rick Astley. Tilted sits at number 15 in the iTunes singles chart. No small achievement for a French act.

Christine and the Queens play Glastonbury on June 24, and the Latitude festival on July 15.

Fête de la musique 2016 #fdlm2016

Every day on this blog we celebrate a fête de la musique, but today's the day that France as a whole celebrates music.

In venues across the country from concert halls to street corners, music is being celebrated in all its variety. Events are free, and participation and involvement is encouraged.

The French government via the Ministry of Culture supports the event, as does cultural media institutuions like Radio France, France Télévisions and TV5monde.

It's been an annual event in France since 1982, and it's being marked this year in around 120 countries.

In London, the French Music Bureau are hosting an event at the Rich Mix on Bethnal Green road featuring Talisao, rapper Man Like Nells and a DJ set from C.A.R.

Elsewhere, the Alliance Française Glasgow has been linking with the Cottier Chamber Project to put on a series of several classical music performance, and organising a series of lunchtime cultural conferences. Today, as well as a screening of the film Il est minuit, Paris s’éveille, it's also  hosting an open stage for performers.

The Institut français d'Écosse in Edinburgh has a busy programme, and is hosting French acoustic folk singer Adrian and French- Cameroonian indie perormer Djana Gabrielle.

Playing in the venue's theatre there's also Edinburgh indie band Fuzzystar, and local based (But Buenos Aires formed)  band The New Beans and Franco Scots act Jack and The ' .

So while France enjoys a day of Music, there's plenty going on elsewhere, and of course this blog remains a place where French music is celebrated every single day.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Hellfest 2016

Another major festival weekend in France, with among other events the Hellfest event being held in Clisson.

While there are other major metal festivals in Europe, among them Download in the UK and its associated French event, but Hellfest looks head and shoulders above the rest.

It genuinely features metal in its widest possible definition, from classic rock to underground, heritage acts to developing artists.

This year was the eleventh time it's been held and its reputation has grown to the extent that an increasing number of fans in the UK are now attending Clisson or considering heading there next year.

Given the choice of Clisson or Donnington, the French venue seems all the more attractive, and with 140acts there was something for pretty much every rock fan on the menu.

This year Black Sabbath and Rammstein headlined, with Megadeth and Slayer among the many, many acts worth seeing.

Some acts played both Download and Hellfest, including Rammstein and Sabbath, and while Download may have had Iron Maiden, Hellfest had Ghost who cancelled their appearance at Download.

However, for this blog the prospect of Magma playing was something special. Sunn o))) and Earth were on the same stage, all presenting extreme rock that falls beyond any normal category.

Hellfest will be on again next year, on June 16, 17 and 18.

Transmusicales festival: 2016 Visual unveiled

The visual for this year's Transmusicales festival in Rennes has been unveiled by the event
organisers, with an eyecatching work by grafitti artist WAR!

His work is familiar on the streets of Rennes, he describes his work as ' a little poetry amid the concrete.'

Tickets are already available for the event in December, and again reasonable by UK festival standards, with a VIP three-day pass for the Parc Expo where the main acts play coming in at 66 euros, the regular weekend pass coming in at 49 euros.

Preceding the event many of the acts involved play local shows across the west of France, with shows in Caen, rennes, Morlaix, Nantes, St Avé, Quimper and St Malo between November 9 and November 25.

There will also be a series of free concerts and workshops in the  Ille-et-Vilaine department in the run up to the festival from November 12 to 25th.

More details will be released by the event on September the first.