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