Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Christophe Maé: Il est où le bonheur

A new track by Christophe Maé,  Il est où le bonheur, a new release from the singer whose previous albums all reached number one in France.

The new song comes ahead of his forthcoming new album entitled L'attrape-rêve, which is due to be released in May.

It's his fouth full collection, and features songs that deal with difficult subjects including the European migration crisis and the attacks in Paris last year.

His previous album, Je veux du bonheur, was released in 2013 and sold over 500,000 copies and was certified as a diamond seller.

His new album is certainly very much anticipated, it'll likely be one of this year's key releases.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Jain: Come

The aftermath of this year's Victoires de la Musique awards continue, with singer Jain - who performed at the ceremony - seeing her single Come reaching the top of the French SNEP chart.

The track comes from her Zanaka album, her debut which was released last year.

It's an infections and upbeat track, from a collection that was nominated as the breakthought album at the Victoires. That album is now in the SNEP top 10 and has sold over 50,000 copies in France.

Meanwhile, other acts have also benefitted as a result of the Victoires de la Musique.

Hyphen Hyphen - winners of the breakthrough act award - are now just outside the top ten and Jeanne Added have just come into the top 40.

The Avener, who picked up the best electronic/dance act award sees his song Fade Out Lines back in the top 30.

Maitre Gims sits at number 13 with the track Sapés Comme Jamais which picked up the award for best original song on February 12, one of two of his tracks in the top 20.

Pony Pony Run Run: Alright

 A new clip, a 360 degree experience too, by Pony Pony Run Run. 

The Nantes-based act return in 2016 in a slightly different shape, now a two piece consisting of Gaëtan et Amaël.

It's their first release since their 2012 self titled second album. Their 2009 debut You Need Pony Pony Run Run reached the top 20 in France.

The band had that rare combination of being both popular and critically credible, but perhaps never got the widespread commercial recognition that they deserved. Hopefully the still very likeable 2016 version of Pony Pony Run Run will get the reward they deserve.

Their new album - titled Voyage Voyage - is released on March 4 and it's available to pre-order.

They have a series of live dates scheduled from April, preceded by a show in St Avertin, and they play at La Cigale in Paris on May 17

Friday, 19 February 2016

Jean-Michel Jarre: Electronica 2 - The Heart of Noise

An announecement from Jean-Michel Jarre confirms some of the details of his Electronica 2 album,
due for release later this year.

The album, to be called Electronca 2: The Heart of Noise is released on May 6, and like its predecessor that came out last year, features collaborations with other artists working in the electronic music field.

There are 15 collaborators on the new volume, including Primal Scream, Julia Holter, Jeff Mills, Peaches, Yello, Christophe, Gary Numan, Siriusmo, Hans Zimmer, Pet Shop Boys, Cyndi Lauper, Sebastien Tellier, The Orb and Rone.

Last year's Electronica 1: The Time Machine featured a diverse cast including M83, Air, John Carpenter, Moby, Little Boots, Gesaffelstein and Tangerine Dream.

The album was a commercial success, making the top ten in the UK, and top three in France as well as getting widespread approval from the  critics.

I'm looking forward to hearing some of the new material, if the marketing for the last album gives any suggestion as to how the new collection will be publicised, I'm sure we'll get the opportunity to hear most of the tracks in the run up to its eventual release.

He's confirmed a couple of live dates for the summer, with a set at the Sonar festival in Barcelona on June 16, and another at the Melt festival in Germany on July 16. More date are apparently to be announced soon.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Jeanne Added: A War is Coming ( C à Vous)

A performance on French TV evening show C à Vous by Jeanne Added, with the song A War is Coming.

The performance follows the preformance at the Victoires de la Musique awards at the end of last week.

Jeanne Added were nominated for the best breakthrough album award, which eventually went to Hyphen Hyphen.

However, Jeanne Added made a performance at the show with the track Look at Them, which to these ears was one of the highlights of the event.

It will have no doubt introduced Jeanne Added to a wider audience, and I'm sure they'll certainly have won themselves quite a few new admirers. An appearance on evening TV just a matter of days later will add significantly to the well-deserved attention they'll be getting.

Jeanne Added played a massive number of live dates across France and beyond in 2015, and the schedule for 2016 looks equally busy.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Hyphen Hyphen: Just Need your Love - Deezer Session

A Deezer session by Hyphen Hyphen, published just the day after the band picked up the breakthrough
act Victoires de la Musique award.

Always a real pleasure to see a band up close and live, filmed in the kind of quality that only a few years ago would only have been at the disposal of more established acts with a great deal of financial backing.

Hyphen Hyphen were one of the acts that performed at the Victoires ceremony in Paris on Friday, introducing then to a massive audience.

Their debut album Times was realeased in September last year, but I suspect that a few more copies of that have been purchased over the past week.

They've got a busy schedule of live dates in the forthcoming months, with shows around France and beyond, and play the Vieilles Charrues festival in July.

Louise Attaque: C à vous

An appearance on French evening chat show C à vous by Louise Attaque, marking the release of the band's
long awaited new album.

The album Anomalie was released on Friday, a fourth album by a band who seemed to have called it quits for good following their 2005 release A plus tard crocodile.

But they were always held in affection, their subsequent post Louise Attaque careers meeting with success.

Last year's announcement that they were to reform as a three piece and release a new album and tour extensively was met with excitement and anticipation, subsequent singles sparking debate and rekindling memories.

So an appearance on TV marked the release, with Avec le Temps, one of the singles from the new album performed.

 Louise Attaque begin their live dates at the end of this month, with shows across France and neighbouring countries, and festival dates over the summer.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Daven Keller: Reverse

A new video by Daven Keller, an artist who is no stranger to this blog. 

Reverse shows the same level of imagination and style as his previous work, both nusically and visually. And like his previous work, it's a completely self-made affair, with DK not only writing, composing arranging, producing and performing all the music, but he also directed and edited the video as well.

In an interview with this blog last year, he said: "Music and filming both shared a lot in common so I got into this new form of art with lots of interest and happened to make eight videos out of the album."

He's certainly made a good job of it, a simple visual idea thought through and executed with confidence. Nice work.

Reverse features on his Reaction in C album released last year.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Victoires de la Musique 2016: Winners and performers

So after my predictions last week, how did this year's Victoires de la Musique awards play out at the weekend?

I was - of course - mostly wrong. I did get a few right as well, so at the end of the day much the same as previous years.

Debate will continue about the choices. Too many TV show winners taking the awards? Too many acts that appeared on the show picking up trophies? Too much Johnny Hallyday? Not enough? 

There were of course some memorable performances during the evening, from emerging acts to some of the biggest established names.

So who won what, and how did this compare to my predictions?

Male Artist 


I did suspect it might have gone to Dominique A, but a memorable performance by Monsieur A more than made up for my prediction being off the mark.

Female Artist 

Yael Naim

A worthy winner without a doubt, given the event's focus on the November terrorism attack victims. Naim's singing Brel's Quand on n'a que l'amour alongside Nolwenn Leroy and Camelia Jordana at the commemorative event following the attack was an appropriate tribute. I went for Zaz in my predicion, her collection of songs in praise of Paris taking on a new dimension in light of last year's tragic events.

Breakthrough album

Louane: Chambre 12

Another feather in the cap of an artist who has had an incredible time over the last 18 months, the biggest selling album of the year and a César award being previous steps leading to this. It would have been churlish at the end of the day to overlook France's biggest young pop star for a breakthrough album award.

I called this one right, although with the comment that my personal choice would have been for Jeanne Added. However, a performance by Jeanne Added was probably one of the highlights of the evening.

Breakthrough Act 

Hyphen Hyphen

No strangers to this blog, an infectious and modern-edged act who have delivered a first class album, and who exude the confidence of an act who will be around for a while.

My choice was Feu! Chatterton, an act who ticked this blog's critical boxes last year with their debut album receiving this blog's best release of 2015 accolade. Again, a dazzling performance on the night was some compensation for my malfunctioning crystal ball.

Chanson album

Johnny Hallyday - De l'amour

I was pretty sure Johnny would not be going home empty handed this year, the album - his 50th - which dropped in the middle of the tour he was undertaking for its predecessor catching both critics and fans by surprise. A quality release, with everything from a sprightly rockabilly title track to appropriately reflective work commemorating the Charlie Hebdo attack in January.

With the caveat that it was a difficult award to call, I did go for Frero Delavega in this category, reckoning Johnny for a different award.

Rock album 

Les Innocents - Mandarine

Les Innocents seem to have set the trend for bands who have been absent from the scene making a sccessful reappearance, with Louise Attaque and Téléphone both re-emerging in 2016 for major tours and releases.

My pick for winner was Lou Doillon, but again noting that it was going to be a difficult choice to select the winner in this section.

Urban album 

Nekfeu - Feu


I called this one right, with the new(ish) voice of the three on the shortlist taking the prize. Again, an artist who has made a significant impact in a short period of time, an award that suggests he'll be around as long as the likes of Booba.

World Music Album

Hindi Zahra: Homeland

Always a difficult category to make any kind of predicion in, but Hindi Zahra just seemed to be the right album at the right time. I called this one right as it just seemed to have the outlook that critics and listeners were looking for in difficult times.

Urban/Electronic album

The Avener - The Wanderings of The Avener

A correct prediction for this win, but to be honest not a surprise at all. The album has been a massive commercial success, as well as being the kind of release that has endured repeaetd listening since it came out.

Original Song

Maitre Gims: Sapés Comme Jamais

Some surprise at this choice, but a reminder at the massive popularity of rap in France cannot be underrated. A public vote for this winner, so a reminder that what the public like isn't always what the critics (this one included) reckon. I went for Johnny Hallyday in this category, reckoning the vote for a rap act might be spilt between Gims and Nekfeu.

Musical show/Tour/Concert 

Christine and the Queens

Another victory for Christine and the Queens, following on from their overwhelming success at the awards last year. Looks like the success she enjoyed in 2015 will be continuing for the forseeable future.

I suggested it would go to Louis, Matthieu, Joseph and Anna Chedid, but Christine and the Queens are still the act of the moment.

Video clip

Christine and the Queens: Christine

Again, a close category, and again one I called wrongly suggesting it would go to Stromae. It was to be Christine again, another win for an act going from success to success.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Gaspard Royant: Getaway

A new track has emerged by Gaspard Royant -, leading light of the Haute Savoie Doo-Wop
Garage'n'Roll  scene - ahead of the release of his second album.

Getaway is a great tune,  sharp and stylish, and I can't wait to hear more from the album.

 Production duties for the new album were undertaken by Scottish music legend Edwyn Collins, an inspired pairing.

The new song follows his festive release Christmas is back in town in December.

The album, entitled Have You Met Gaspard Royant, is released on April 8 and is available to pre-order now.

He plays  the Zoo Zoo club in London on March 25, and la Marouinerie in Paris on April 11.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Victoires de la Musique 2016 preview

Friday February 12 sees this year's Victoires de la Musique award take place in Paris. It's the 31st time the event's been held, the ceremony being the French equivalent of the Grammy Awards in the US or the Brit Awards in the UK.

It's prestigious and a big spectacle, and while it's easy to criticise the relevance of awards in a field like music, there's little doubt that the expose an act can get as a result of a win can establish careers.

Like last year, I thought I'd take a look at the short list, and throw in my predictions. Last year I got some right, some wrong, but it was fun to take an in-depth look at the event.

Male Artist 

Dominique A
Kendji Girac

My money here would be on Dominique A on the strength of his Éléor album. He's an artist who has created some great work over the years, his most recent album certainly is as good as anything he's previously done.

Female artist 

Yael Naim
Veronique Sanson

I think Zaz might pick this one up. Another great year for a singer who has become for many an ambassador for French music internationally and her Paris album released at the end of 2014 took on a different meaning in the light of events in the French capital in 2015.

Breakthrough album

Jeanne Added - Be Sensational
Jain - Zanaka
Louane - Chambre 12

My personal favourite here would be Jeanne Added, but I think this award will go to Louane, a pop star of the truest sense, going from winner of The Voice to top of the charts via a César award.

Breakthough act

Faada Freddy
Feu! Chatterton
Hyphen Hyphen

While all worthy winners, surely this must go to Feu!Chatterton, worthy winners of this blog's best release of last year award.

Chanson album

Frero Delavega - Des ombres et des lumieres
Johnny Hallyday - De l'amour
Yael Naim - Older

Difficult one to call, with three releases that are all strong and deserving of the award. I'd be surprised of Johnny goes home empty handed, but I do think this might go to Frero Delavega.

Rock album

Lou Doillon: Lay Low
Les Innocents: Mandarine
Rover: Let it Glow

Again, another difficult selection here. Lou Doillon's won before, but it would not surprise me if she picked up this award.

Urban album 

Booba: D.U.C.
Nekfeu: Feu
Youssoupha: NGRTD

Some hugely popular acts, arguably at the top of their game. My money would go on Nekfeu, the youngest and least established of the three on the list.

World Music album

Tiken Jah Fakoly: Racines
Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal: Musique de nuit

Hindi Zahra: Homeland

A fine release by Hindi Zahra, which should hopefully see her pick up the award.

Electronic or Dance music album 

St Germain: St Germain
The Avener: The Wanderings of the Avener
The Shoes: Chemicals

Some strong releases in this category, but my suspicions are The Avener will get this one, his work meeting with massive commercial and critical success since the album came out.

Original song

Johnny Hallyday: De l'amour
Louane: Avenir
Maitre Gims: Sapés comme Jamais
Nekfeu: On Verra

Some very varied work here, but I reckon this might be one for Johnny Hallyday. A surprisingly sprightly number from the veteran performer that took a lot of people, incuding Johnny's fans, by surprise.

Musical show/Tour/Concert 

Louis, Matthieu, Joseph and Anna Chedid
Christine and the Queens
The Do

Another category where it would be no surprise whoever won, but I think the sheer likeable qualities of Louis, Matthieu, Joseph and Anna Chedid will win the day for them.

Video clip

Christine and the Queens: Christine
Stromae: Quand c'est
The Do: Miracles

Not a bad one on this list, all favourites of this blog. Christine won massively last year, Stromae is also no stranger to the awards. The Do picked up best rock album last year. But judging on the clip alone, it would have to be Stromae that gets my vote.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Rover: Some Needs

A track from the recent Rover album Let it Glow, featuring German actress/model Diane Kruger.

Some Needs features of Rover's second album, which was released in November last year. The track has something of a mid 70s David Bowie classiness to it.

It follows the song Call My Name as a single.

The album meanwhile has been critically acclaimed, and has been nominated for a Victoires de la Musique award for Best Rock Album, we should find out on Friday how it gets on.

Rover is touring across France at the moment, with dates going on until May, and plays a show at the Olympia in Paris on March 24.

Christine and the Queens feat Booba: Here

A much anticipated video of the track Here by Christine and the Queens featuring rapper Booba.

A strange and cinematic clip of the seemingly unlikley pair on a car, as the sea gradually comes in, the camera moving past the singer and rapper and focusing on the horizon.

It was shot in Normandy near Trouville, although the grey skies suggest it wasn't quite peak season when it was shot.

The track is a version of the song that appeared in the Christine and the Queens Chaleur Humaine album.

Both Booba and Christine are shortlisted for awards in this year's Victoires de la Musique awards at the end of this week, Christine having dominated the ceremony last year.

Christine plays a sold-out show at Koko in London on March 15, before she embarks on live dates across North America including shows at the Coachella festival in California.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Festival: Les Francofolies

With the torrent of festival details emerging in recent weeks,  I can't overlook this year's Les Francofolies
event, taking place this summer in La Rochelle.

It's always an event that puts the spotlight on french acts, and this year is no exception. There are over 100 shows taking place across the town at a variety of stages, from the intimate to the large scale, with a range of acts from the emergint artists to the established stars.

This year the big names include Les Insus, Louise Attaque as well as Maitre Gims. Also on the bill are Mika, Nekfeu, Louane and Caravan Palace, while Lilly Wood and the Prick and Madeon are the latest names to be added.

Les Francofolies takes place on July 13-17.

Shake Shake Go: England Skies (C à vous)

A live appearance on French evening TV show C à vous for Shake Shake Go, and act that we've featured here a few times over the past year.

They may be London based, but with a partially French line-up they certainly qualify for a mention here.

The band released their debut album at the end of last month, and have a series of dates across France next month.

Last week saw a special free showcase gig in Paris at the Montparnasse branch of Fnac, they're back in Paris for a gig at La Cigale on May 10.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Alain Souchon, Nolwenn Leroy and Carla Bruni: 2 générations chantent pour la 3ème

A new track has to promote a special charity concert later this month featuring some of the biggest names in French music.

The song Vole comes ahead of a special concert at the Olympia in Paris benefitting dementia charity L'Association pour la Recherche sur Alzheimer.

The event - entitled  2 générations chantent pour la 3ème - takes place on February 15 and will feature Brigitte as well as Carla Bruni, Nolwenn Leroy as well as Alain Souchon and Laurent Voulzy and others.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Festival: Solidays 2016

Another day, another French summer festival confirms details of what is on the bill, with Solidays in Paris coming under the spotlight.

Solidays has become a key festival for a Paris-based audience, an event focussing on solidarity in the fight against Aids at its core.

This summer the Longchamp racetrack takes on a Californian Summer of Love theme, and  plays host to M83, Cypress Hill and Louise Attaque, alongside Jain, Synapson and Flume.

More acts will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Solidays is held this year from June 24-26, and tickets go on sale on February 10.

Solidays 2016 by solidays

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Festival: Vieilles Charrues 2016

Some more very significant additions to the bill of this year's Vieilles Charrues festival in Carhaix, Brittany, in

The Pixies and Lana Del Rey have been added to the haedline slots, with Pixies at the top of the bill on the second night, Lana Del Tey on the final night.

The two previosuly annouced headliners are Les Insus (the former members of Téléphone) and Alain Souchon and Laurent Voulzy.

Also confirmed today are Jeanne Added, Synapson and Denez Prigent.

It's a festival that's always had a strong representation from French performers, as well as some of the best international acts.

Also on the bill this year are Lou Doillon and Hyphen Hyphen, neither strangers to this blog, while Flavien Berger was added today.

More acts are yet to be confirmed, but given what has been confirmed so far it looks like an event well worth the 148E pass for four days. A bargain by the standard of UK festival prices.

This year's Vieilles Charrues festival is held on July 14, 15, 16 and 17 in Carhaix.

Fauve ≠ Blizzard (150.900 live version)

A new live collection is on the cards from Fauve,with an album chronicling their last three years of live appearances due out this spring.

150.900 takes its title from the number of kilometers they travelled in the course of their live appearances over three years, a period that saw them progress from the critically tipped act that released their Blizzard EP to the widely acclaimed act with two albums under their belt, masive sales and sell-out live shows.

While managing to maintain a level of anonymity, they've also paradoxically become an iconic act, articulating the discontent, bleakness as well as the hope for something better experienced by all too many these days.

The Paris-based collective have released a live version of the track Blizzard as a preview of the new album.

Fauve announced in the autumn of last year their plans to take a well-deserved break, to restore their sanity and to avoid falling into a new routine. Hopefully it will not be too long until they're refreshed and ready to release new material.

In the meantime, 150.900 is released on April 1.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Rone "(oo)"

A new video from Rone, this time for the track (oo), the opening track to his most recent album.

Creatures was one of 2015's key releases and a favourite as far as this blog is concerned.

If this track might have been overlooked as a piece in its own right, the video gives it a whole new dimension. Like the best music videos, it's a simple and imaginative idea, perfectly done.

It also showcases Rone's music as potential soundtrack, and given the success that other French acts have enjoyed in recent years producing soundtrack works for critically acclaimed films it would be no surprise at all to see Rone follow this path.

Rone has been playing some dates recently in North America and has show this month in Bordeaux and La Rochelle before heading to New Zealand and Australia for festival dates.

Festival: We Love Green

Details of another French summer music festival have emerged, with some of the first names on the bill confirmed for the We Love Green event in Paris.

We Love Green is held this year on June 4 and 5, in the Bois de Vincennes, with PJ harvey and LCD Soundsystem at the top of the bill.

LCD Soundsystem are making a return this year after an absence of five years, their influence if anything growing during their time off. They confirmed in January their intention to play this year's Coachella festival in the USA and their plans for a new album.

PJ Harvey has a new album due out in April entitled The Hope Six Demolition Project, and released the single The Wheel at the end of last month.

Two very credible acts for We Love Green, which this year marks its sixth anniversary with a move to a larger location, but one that remains accessible to the Paris audience. Last year saw Christine and the Queens and Django Django amongst the acts on the bill.

Also on the bill for 2016 are Air, as well as the likes of Hudson Mohawk and Hot Chip.

It will, like previous years, be an event with an ecological focus, with workshops, talks and other events that go beyond music and embarce activism and sustainability.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Taratata 503

A new edition of French music show Taratata, another edition that saw some inspiring choices of acts and memorable performances.

This edition saw performances by Sylvie Vartan, performing solo and duetting with Axelle Red for a version of Elvis's Suspicios Minds.

Minuit performed a version of the depeche Mode track personal Jesus, as well as their own track Flash.

Other highlights Hyphen Hyphen performed with Charlie Winston, with a version of the Queen and David Bowie track Under Pressure.

Skunk Anansie performed with Shaka Ponk, with a mash up of and Motorhead's The Ace of Spades.

All the performances are available to watch on the Taratata website

Christophe - Dangereuse

A new track from the legendary Christophe, with the song Dangereuse giving us the first look at his
long-awaited new album.

It's the first extract from his forthcoming new Les vestiges du chaos collection.

Christophe's last studio release was 2013's  Paradis retrouvé, an acoustic live album Intime followed the year after.

Christophe's earlier work has been getting more attention recently thanks to the cover of Paradis Perdus by Christine and the Queens, the song - written by Jean Michel Jarre - found a new audience due to Christine's cover that saw the song combined with Kanye West's Heartless.

Last month saw Christophe appear on a new collection of songs by Daniel Balavoine entitled Balavoine(s) alongside the likes of Cats on Trees, Nolwenn Leroy, Zaz and Jenifer. He performed the song Lucie.

Les vestiges du chaosis released on April the eighth.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Synapson: Fireball ( C à vous )

An appearance on French chat show C à vous by French electro house duo Synapson with the track Fireball.

The duo of Alexandre Chiere and Paul Cucuron are best know for the track Djon maya maï, a remake of a song originally by Victor Démé which reached just outside the top ten in France in 2014.

Their Convergence album was released in October 2015, with the track Fireball released as a single in January.

Synapson released their debut album Stendahl Syndrome in 2012.

Synapson play a sold-out show at La Cigale in Paris on April 7 as part of their current series of live dates.

Editorial: February 2016

Another month of French music passes, and while January is traditionally a quieter month there has been no shortage of interesting releases in the past few weeks.

This looks set to continue this month, with plenty of interesting things coming out, and more events of note in the diary over the next few weeks.

February sees Johnny Hallyday play shows in Paris, elsewhere we are fully in awards season, with the Oscars, the Césars and most significantly the Victoures de la Musique on February 12. I'll take a look at what's on the shortlist and details of my predictions ahead of the event.

Meanwhile I've got a few interesting things coming up, with the fist big interview of the year appearing here on the site in the next couple of  days.

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