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