Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Arnaud Rebotini: Flowers for Algernon

A new video by Arnaud Rebotini for the track Flowers for Algernon, created using footage found on his phone.

The title track of his debut EP for Berlin based techno label Off Records has a very acid flavour, and sits alongside three other tracks and a remix of Flowers for Algernon.

Rebotini has featured several times on this blog over the years, under his own name or as part of Black Strobe. He's one of France's most interesting and unconventional electronic producers, his musical career including playing in a death metal band and Black Strobe remixing artists as diverse as The Hacker, Royksopp, the Penelopes and Rammstein.

His original soundtrack for the French film 120 Beats Per Minute saw him rewarded with a César Award, an award as significant in French cinema as an Academy Award is to the industry in America.

The title of the new EP comes from a 1950's science fiction novel by Daniel Keyes.

Rebotini has a full schedule of live dates ahead, including a sold-out performance on board a cruise on the Seine in Paris on September 5.



Grand Bland - Los Angeles

If there's one album I'm really looking forward to next month, it's the second album by Grand Blanc.

Grand Blanc are my go-to band when I'm asked to name an astonishingly good French act that aren't widely known in the UK.

Their Mémoires Vives debut, released in 2016, followed their self titles EP and the Montparnasse, both establishing Grand Blanc as one of France's finest modern electro rock acts.

They spent most of last year recording their second album, and have spent much of this year touring in support of Indochine, one of France's biggest acts. They'll have certainly got the full attention of the many Indochine fans that have seen them.

With the album emerging at the start of La Rentreé, France's post summer holiday period, my suspicion is that it will have an absolutely massive impact.

Image Au Mur is released on September 14, and Grand Blanc have tour dates from October. They play La Cigalle in Paris on November 26.



Monday, 6 August 2018

L.E.J. - Liberté, Egalité...

August us traditionally the holiday month in France, with shops and businesses closed, the roads and the trains heading south and to the west busier than usual, and a song by LEJ getting played on repeat on the radio.

This year France's favourite female harmony act are singing the praises of the country's World Cup hero Kylian Mbappé, the teenager credited with their tournament win earlier this summer.

He was the youngest ever French World Cup goalscorer, and also only the second teenager ever to score in a World Cup final, the only previous one being Pelé, who congratulated him on social media. He was awarded the tournament's Fifa World Cup Best Young Player award.

He's a hero now, and his achievements look set to establish him as a legend. It's well deserved. From his rise from AS Bondy to the national team, he's been an inspiration.

The video captures nicely some of the atmosphere of the event. The action might have been on the pitch in Moscow, but the celebrations were on the streets all over France.

The tournament is over, the winners now back home and another season of domestic football is on the immediate horizon. But a summer hit celebrating the historic event keeps that French feel-good factor flowing a little longer.


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Madame Monsieur: Comme une reine

A new single from Madame Monsieur, the act who represented France in the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year. Comme une reine comes from their Vu d'ici album which was released in April this year.

Emilie and Jean-Karl went to represent France after participating in the Destination Eurovision TV show where viewers chose them as the act they wanted in the competition. They took part in the televised final of the international event in May.

While Mercy might not have won Eurovision, it did win Madame Monsieur a whole lot of new friends around Europe and beyond. Their song was a good one, far better than the novelty acts that usually take to the stage in that competition, and it deftly tackled a difficult subject.

They were a fine indie pop act before Eurovision and they still are.

Like Mercy, the new single has a political dimension with a positive message about body image, but they don't let it get in the way of the song.

They're touring to promote their album, and played at La Cigale in Paris at the end of June. More dates are scheduled around France in coming months.


Columbine : Cache Cache

A controversial new video by Rennes-based hip hop act Columbine, the first track to emerge ahead of their new album expected later this year.

Columbine released their Enfants Terribles album last year, a collection that has already earned them a gold disc, and they are wasting no time in releasing a follow up.

The video for Cache-Cache ("Hide and seek" in English)  is a strange and quietly disturbing piece, making reference to school shootings. The school prom setting is a scene familiar to anyone who has ever seen an American TV show or film, the members of the band on stage and showing no emotion or involvement whatsoever, the conclusion apparently being a romantic happy ending where the shooter finds love.

It's an ambiguous work with many possible interpretations, all the more so as the act's name obviously makes reference to the infamous American school shooting.

Are they trivialising very real and very tragic events?

How should we react to artists who apparently remain passive in the face of these kind of events?

Do the performers in the video represent a government that fails to intervene?

Does the entertainment industry with its stylised portrayal of violence play a part?

What part do gender stereotypes play in these incidents?

Would an American artist make a video like this and what kind of criticism would they face?

Many questions. It's a video that provokes some difficult reflection.

Columbine's album is released inn the autumn, and they have tour dates across France from October, including two shows at the Olympia in Paris on October 23 and 24.


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Zazie: Speed

A new video for the track Speed by Zazie, a song from her forthcoming new album.

She's been a big star in France since her 1995 Zen album, her most recent - 2015's Encore Heureux - reaching the top five in France.

Recently she's been had a high profile in France due to her role since 2015 as one of the coaches on The Voice: La Plus Belle Voix, the French edition of the reality TV show. One of her team, Maelle Pistoia, was the winner of this year's season of the show . It was the second time one of her acts won the competition.

Speed features on her forthcoming album Essenciel - her tenth - which is due to be released on September 7.  That;s not a typo, incidentally. Wordplay, puns and changing the meaning of words by altering their context or spelling have always been a thing for Zazie all through her career.

The track emerged in May, but a video didn't come out until recently. There's maybe  something of Christine and the Queens in the choreography, which isn't a bad thing by any measure.


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Oui Love: Lucien & The Kimono Orchestra and Bon Voyage Organisation

Another night of quality live French music in London tomorrow, with another night organised by the good folks at Oui Love Music Made in France showcasing two of the country's most promising acts.

Taking the stage at Archspace are Lucien & The Kimono Orchestra and Bon Voyage Organisation.

Lucien & The Kimono Orchestra have just released a video for the track Horizon, a finely crafted piece of dreamy pop from the Paris-based four piece. It's the title track of the band's recently released EP.

Also playing are Bon Voyage Organisation, who brought their cosmic dance music to Les Francofolies de La Rochelle. I like what they do and will be featuring them again soon.

Looks like a pretty fine evening's entertainment, and given that it's under £10 pretty much a bargain by London standards.


France wins the World Cup: Music stars react

It was a weekend of historic proportions in France. No sooner were the festivities for July 14 out the way than France  picked up the biggest trophy in international sport.

It was an exciting few weeks watching the team's steady progress, knowing full well that any slip up in the later stages would have ended their hopes.

Their victory in 1990 was something special, but with the World Cup actually in France that year the stars seemed aligned in their favour. This time they faced an uphill struggle, and  rose to the challenge magnificently.

Despite not being a big football fan, during the last few World Cup finals I've bought a reproduction France top. Each time the team has crashed out without making much of an impression. This year, needless to say I didn't bother. Obviously that gave them the push they needed to bring the cup back home with them from Moscow.

The France team's win always seems more significant given the number of players with roots outside France, particularly in Africa. It's a reminder that France is at its best when all the country's communities work together and hopefully another step towards eliminating racism from French society.

While the action might have been on the football pitch, France's musicians have been quick to involve themselves in the celebrations. There are so many crossovers between the worlds of sport and music, whether athletes being fans of musicians to artists supporting sports stars, musicians creating songs for events to teams and supporters adopting songs that suit their cause.

Benjamin Biolay, Julien Doré, Jean-Michel Jarre and Jenifer were among the big names who showed their delight across social media.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z wore France tops during their show at the Stade de France.

Meanwhile, iTunes in France had 70s disco anthem I will Survive by Gloria Gaynor in the number one position. Gloria Gaynor herself congratulated the team on their victory. It's a song in France so associated with the National Team than the cover version by Hermes House Band recorded for the 1998 World Cup campaign is at number two.

Also selling significantly are the Queen song We Are The Champions and even La Marseillaise as well as the more obvious Live It Up, the anthem for this year's competition by Nicky Jam, Will Smith and Era Istrefi.

It was an astonishing event for the whole of France, and with sport and music closely entwined it was also a victory for French music as well.

Friday, 13 July 2018

La Femme: Live in the UK

There's a great opportunity this weekend to see one of France's best recent bands playing in the UK, with La Femme playing sets at both the Latitude festival in Suffolk today and at the Citadel festival in London on Sunday.

They've been playing festivals in mainland Europe over the past few days, in the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia. After their visit here they play France, Hungary, Ireland and the Basque country.

Their Mystère album was one of the French music highlights of 2016, reaching the top ten in France.

A video for the track Elle ne t'aime pas was released in May.

Since their album release they've been playing live extensively, reinforcing their reputation as one of France's finest live acts.

It's a great opportunity to experience some of this in the UK this weekend.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Baloji – L’Hiver Indien (Bruxelles Ma Belle session)

A great session in the Bruxelles Ma Belle series that takes an act and places them in an interesting and filmic location somewhere in Brussels.

This session sees him perform at the city's Royal army and military history museum.

The track originally features on his 137 Avenue Kaniama album, which was released in March on Bella Union records.

It's his fourth solo album, his career as an MC and rapper starting in the 90s when he was a teenager as part of the hip hop band Starfam. After four albums with band, he briefly quit music before returning as a solo artist.


Dominique A: TV5Monde Acoustic session

I've been catching up on a few things I'd missed over the past few weeks, and thought the live session by Dominique A from TV5Monde was a great performance that really deserved a mention here, even if it was originally broadcast a few weeks ago.

Dominique A was on the show to perform tracks from his new album Tout Latitude, his 11th collection, the first of two albums he's got planned for 2018.

Following the tour for his Eléor album he spoke about how he found himself inspired by contradictory ideas.

His electric tour inspired him to write more acoustic songs that were strong on melody, but he also found himself simultaneously drawn towards more rhythmic and repetitive work.

He took these two strands, separated them and came up with the content for two differently flavoured releases.

His performance on Acoustic gave him the opportunity to showcase some of his new work, and to discuss it with the show's host.


Friday, 6 July 2018

Main Square and Beauregard Festivals 2018

It's another summer weekend in France, so there are no shortage of live music events across the country and this weekend sees two of the biggest - Main Square and Beauregard festivals.

 Main Square festival takes place in Arras today, Saturday and Sunday. This year's acts include Depeche Mode, Queens of the Stone Age and Liam Gallagher. Other international acts to take the stage include The Breeders, Jamiroquai and Damian Marley.

The festival has a strong line-up, with a particularly fine selection of French acts, most of which are no strangers to this blog.

The acts representing the local country include Orelsan, IAM, Nekfeu and Justice. Gojira, Girls in Hawaii, Roméo Elvis and BB Brunes are also on the bill. It's a pretty wide selection, from rap to metal to indie and dance, but if there's one thing linking them it's the fact that they're all at the top of  their game right now.

Elsewhere in France, Beauregard is also a pretty big event, held in Hérouville-Saint-Clair in Normandy.  It's certainly got its share of interesting acts and while there is some crossovevr with Main Square, there are a few differences too.

Among the French acts are Charlotte Gainsbourg, Orelsan and Petit Biscuit as well as Hollysiz, Nekfeu, Carpenter Brut and Ibeyi.

If the international acts are more how you measure it, you'll find Jack White, Simple Minds, The Offspring, MGMT along with At the Drive In and Macklemore.

Beauregard has an extra day at the end, aptly called The Day After, which features Depeche Mode and Girls in Hawaii along with Concrete Knives. Interesting to see two of France's top indie bands supporting the Mode. That will be quite a show.


Thursday, 5 July 2018

Juliette Armanet: A la folie (rework)

A new single by Juliette Armanet is always something to celebrate, and while A la folie has already appeared on her Petite Amie album, a new version of it gives the song an entirely new context.

A new version of her debut album was released recently, with an extra four tracks.

Petite Amie has certainly established Armanet as an artist, the album having sold over 100,000 copies and won the breakthrough album award in the Victoires de la Musique awards in February.

Her work has seen her compared to some of France's classic singer songwriters and in the space of a couple of years she's gone from developing artist to an act who sells out shows in Paris and plays in front of massive festival crowds such as this month's Les Francofolies de La Rochelle.

The crown she's wearing on the album sleeve is certainly well deserved.

There are, as I've mentioned repeatedly, a huge number of significant female artists emerging in France in recent years, from Christine to Fishbach, and there's little doubt that Juliette Armanet deserves her place at the forefront.


Fnac Live Paris 2018 festival

Today sees this year's Fnac Live Paris festival get under way, with a strong bill of acts performing live at the Hôtel de Ville  in the centre of the French capital.

From 5pm until midnight on July 5, 6 and 7 there are acts playing in the square outside the historic seat of local government, as well as some acts performing their sets inside.

Today sees L'Impératrice, Jeanne Added, Voyou, Petit Biscuit and Vitalic, while Dominique A performs indoors.

Tomorrow has Angele, Synapson and Feder among others while Sting and Shaggy play indoors. Saturday includes L'ordre du périph, Gaelle Faye and Ibeyi. 

Each day also has a playlist from a leading French indie label, Enterprise, Believe and STRN.

While there's no denying it's a great bill, it's also worth noting that it's free. You could hardly imagine a similar event being staged in London without a hefty ticket price.

 I know there are strong arguments against music being involved with commercial organisations, but when the end result is an event that is not only artistically robust but also accessible to all, there's no denying the merit of it. 

Fnac is of course one of France's biggest consumer brands for buying music, so it's a really positive thing to see them stage an event like this. It encourages interest in music, gets the acts to potential fans and benefits the brand. Everyone wins!


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Alain Chamfort :Tout est pop

A lovely little video by veteran French artist Alain Chamfort, who clearly knows who actually are the real stars of the internet.

The clip for Tout est pop claims to be the first music video made by cats.

It's certainly not the worst camera work I've seen, although I'm not sure how they'd cope with the post production, but I'm pretty sure they'd use a mouse rather than a keyboard for the editing.

I'm just grateful they let Chamfort take care of the singing.

It's nice to see an artist like Chamfort come up with a clever clip like this. Like all my favourite music videos, it's a simple idea done well.

The track Tout est pop comes from Chamfort's recent Le désordre des choses album, which was released in April.

Chamfort's got live dates in France towards the end of the year, with a show at the Trianon in Paris on November 15. There are no details as to whether his new entourage will be with him or not.


La Ferme Electrique

With festival season truly upon us, it's easy to focus on the big ticket events, where tens of thousands get to see dozens of big international acts somewhere in the distance.

There are sometimes even a few French acts thrown into the running order, all too often its the same few acts playing across France's summer festivals , promoting whatever they released a few months ago, before they do their headline tour across France in the autumn.

So I always like festivals that are a bit different, with their own distinct identity and a carefully curated line up of artists, especially when you can see them up close.

That's where events like La Ferme Electrique come in. LFE has been quietly running for several years now, 2018 is the ninth edition of the event, taking place in the countryside at Tournan-en-Brie, a short ride from Paris.

This year the two day event features Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp, Sister Iodine, Snapped Ankles, The Monochrome Set and Hyperculte, to name just a few of the dozens of artists on the bill.

Maybe you know a few of them, maybe there are some you're not familiar with, but events like this give emerging artists a loyal following that a slot at the bottom of the bill in a tiny tent at a local enormofest never will. There's much to enjoy here, in the kind of setting you'll never experience even if you've paid hundreds of pounds to stay in your own private yurt with catering and a butler at some massively sponsored commercial event,

Over and above the live sets, there are art exhibitions and installations as well as screenings of music films

True, you won't get to see any of this summer's big names. But who needs to see them anyway? La Ferme Electrique is the kind of event that restores your faith in music and in festivals.

La Ferme Electrique runs on July 6 and 7  in Tournan-en-Brie.


Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Review: Juniore - Magnifique

If you're going to give your album a title like Magnifique, you'd better be sure it lives up to the name.

No such worries for Juniore for their debut UK album, a delicious ten inch collection of eight tracks that takes classic French yéyé pop into some strange and interesting places.

Imagine the scene in an imaginary Dario Argento movie, where the characters stumble into a freaky late 60s night club, and the band are playing some fierce garage pop on stage. Juniore would probably be that band.

Magnifique sounds like Juniore were raised on 60s French pop but gradually got interested in vintage spooky films before distilling these interests together into songs.  There is of course a French sensibility to the work, with a feeling of poetic melancholy and nostalgia hovering like a mist of dry ice, but it works surprisingly well. For all its possible gothic connotations, it's a fun and hugely enjoyable collection.

Juniore have been around since 2013, and released their French debut Ouh là là in 2017 following a string of singles, an EP and a compilation. The band centres on singer/songwriter Anna-Jean, with Swanny Elzingre, Laure Weisdorf, and a shrouded bass player known only as Le Chose (the Thing).

Magnifique is released on Outré on July 7. They're playing in the UK at the end of the month, with dates at Sebright Arms in London on July 25, The Crofters Rights in Bristol on July 26 and Bitch Craft in Brighton on July 27.


Les Kitschenette's: Envoie Moi Un Sexto

A classy performance by Les Kitschenette's of their track Envoie Moi Un Sexto.

The track's actually a French cover of the song Send me a Postcard, originally recorded in '68 by Dutch band Shocking Blue for their Scorpio's Dance album.

Les Kitschenette's update the song's lyrics for the 21st century, but wisely don't mess too much with the original's garage fuzz and organ wig out.

The song comes from their recent 10' album (or 25cm if you're metrically minded...) "C'est pas d'la physique quantique, du chant grégorien ou du lapon !" It's their third collection, featuring a few tastefully curated covers with more than a little French freakbeat flavour.

The video, a well put together live performance,  was shot live at the Nouvelle Vague de St Malo at the album's launch party.

If you like what you see, they play in London at Weirdsville on September 29.


Monday, 2 July 2018

It's Sunday: Projection on a sheet

A solid piece of underground indie psych from It's Sunday with the track Projections on a Sheet.

The band are a duo of Lucas Lecacheur and Dawnie Perry who previously worked together under the name Lemon Swell Duo.

Last week saw them opening for the Jesus and Mary Chain at the Trianon in Paris and you can hear something of the Scottish underground icons in their work, with the drone of the minimal guitars and the realisation that what they're doing is also a very sweet 60s influenced pop gem, albeit in a slower and more glacially chilled style.

Projection on a Sheet was released as a super-limited flexi picture disc last month on Slimer Records. If you're quick you might be lucky.

It's Sunday release their debut album on Howlin' Banana records in early 2019.


Editorial: July 2018

A reasonably busy month here on Vive le roq. You'll no doubt notice that we managed to post a significant amount of material for the first time in a while, hopefully a sign that we are finally back to our normal service.

Yes, I know pretty much every month starts with me declaring how this month will see things get back to the way they were in terms of amount of material I'm able to write but I reckon we've turned a corner, quietly and without too much fuss.

It's been helped of course by some strong releases, and a huge number of events taking place in France and elsewhere that deserve to be covered.

One thing to note this month is that I'm actually not here at the moment. Well I'm away from my desk for the next couple of weeks but I've filed quite a few short articles in advance so there hopefully won't be any major interruption of the service we provide here.

I'm still of course available by email at johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, with a couple of obvious changes in the email address that I'm sure you can guess.

If you're a PR for a French act, label or event, just drop me an email. I'm always pleased to get feedback, suggestions and inspiration.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq, so give us a follow or contact us via there. I'm also on Twitter as @karnag, and usually respond a bit quicker on that address especially when I'm out the office.

Thanks as always to the team at Oui Love Music for all their work introducing French acts to the international audience.

John K

Friday, 29 June 2018

Garorock Festival

This weekend sees another of France's major music festivals taking place, with Garorock being held over four nights in Marmonde in the south west of France.

The event kicked off last night with a headline set from Indochine, along with performances from Django Django, Angele and a DJ set from Joris Delacroix among others.

Tonight's big names are Marilyn Manson and Orelsan, Saturday includes DJ Snake, Nekfeu and Charlotte Gainsbourg, while Sunday features Macklemore, Tryo, and MGMT.

While there are many international acts, among the dozens of others on the bill over the weekend are Therapie Taxi, Roméo Elvis. L'Impératrice and Petit Fantome.

Garorock features many more emerging artists than some of the big festivals, and selects the kind of  bill capable of drawing around 100,000 revellers every year.

It's come a long way from its urban rock and punk roots, but remains the kind of event that attracts some of the biggest names in French music as well as some of the artists that will be featuring elsewhere over the next few years.


MIss Kittin at Ministry of Sound

France's Miss Kittin is one of the artists at Ministry Of Sound's He She They event in London on Saturday night.

She's been touring extensively with sets in the USA and Lebanon as well as the Sonar festival in Spain. Her Kittin 1993EACID EP was released in March, the latest release in a career that has seen her at the forefront of electronic music since her 1998 EP with the Hacker.

Some previously unreleased tracks from these early sessions recently emerged on the Lost Tracks vol 2 EP  last month, the latest instalment in a look into their archive.

The four tracks, which she describes as 'naive, innocent,adventurous'  not only show how she has developed as an artist over two decades, but serve as a reminder as to how ahead of the game the pair's First Album from 2001 actually was and how much it has influenced subsequent artists.


Thursday, 28 June 2018

Montreux Jazz Festival 2018

If there's one festival that has the reputation for being a bit classier than the others, it has to be the Montreux Jazz Festival.

No seas of mud, no ramshackle tents, no Slipknot T shirts and not so many pub rock acts with indie haircuts.

This year's event, the 52nd, gets under way on Friday and like previous festivals, it has the widest possible definition of what constitutes 'jazz'.

There are also a healthy number of French acts playing at the prestigious event.

Etienne Daho plays on the opening night, as does Pomme, and Flavien Berger is on the bill with Charlotte Gainsbourg on July 2.

Goijira play on July 5 and on Sunday July 8 Brigitte, Juliette Armanet and Voyou are on the same bill. Angele, Lomepal and Fleche Love are playing on Friday July 13.

Elsewhere over the 14 days of concerts there are a wide range of international acts including John Cale, Aloe Blacc, Rag 'n' Bone Man, Young Fathers and Iggy Pop.

No shortage of decent acts in possibly the most polite and civilised festival in Europe.


Her: Live on Acoustic / Tv5Monde

A live set on Acoustic, the weekly music show on Tv5Monde by Her following the release of their debut album, a release that really has to be by anyone's measure a strong contender for the French album of the year.

Her are no strangers to this blog, formed by Simon Carpentier and Victor Solf , two members of Rennes act The Popopopops until they formed their own act in 2015.

They released two EPs, establishing them as one of France's most promising acts, but tragically Simon Carpentier died of cancer aged 27 last year.

Victor Solf continued the band in tribute, and released their self-titled debut in March this year. It's a soulful and uplifting work,  that very much fulfils the band's promise.

The show featured the songs Wanna be Her, Five Minutes, Shuggie, Blossom Roses, a cover of Elton John's Rocket Man as well as an interview with Victor Solf by Sébastien Folin.


Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Tahiti 80: Sound Museum

A colourful piece of indie pop courtesy of Tahiti 80. If there;s any justice in the world it should be a massive hit for the summer.

Sound Museum comes from the band's forthcoming album The Sunsh!ne Beat Vol 1 and follows the release of the track Let Me Be Your Story in May.

The Rouen-based act have been active since '92 and released their debut EP in '96, their first album entitled Puzzle in 1999.

They've gone on to release a series of albums and a huge number of sharp and punchy singles, easily establishing them as France's foremost purveyors of well-crafted indie pop.

Tame Imapa's Julien Barbagallo played drums for them between 2008-2012 before going on to join  team Tame Impala and to pursue his own solo career.

Tahiti 80's most recent album was 2014's Ballroom.

You can expect The Sunsh!ne Beat Vol 1 in October. They play the La Maroquinerie in Paris on November 29.



Mylène Farmer: N'oublie pas (video)

The video has finally arrived for the new Mylène Farmer single N'oublie pas.

The song is a duet with American singer LP who also features on the video. The clip, directed by long-time Mylène collaborator Laurent Boutonnat, was shot in Iceland, an appropriately dramatic landscape.

Boutonnat has, of course, worked on some of Mylène's most memorable videos since the beginning of her career and has also written some of her most loved songs.

Having an artist like LP alongside Mylène probably won't do her any harm in the anglophone market. In recent years she's worked with Sting, Seal and Moby, and while she's probably France's biggest musical performer, she remains somewhat less of a household name in the UK and USA.

 N'oublie pas follows the release of the single Rolling Stone earlier this year, a collaboration with French DJ Feder which gave her the latest in a long catalogue of number one singles in France.

Farmer has a new album scheduled for later in the year, a follow up to 2015's Interstellaires, expected to be entitled Désobéissance.

While nothing has been confirmed as yet, the possibility of a tour next year has already got her fans in a frenzy.


Review: Moodoïd - Cité Champagne

Moodoïd's 2014cdebut album Le monde Möö and the singles that preceded it showed that Pablo Padovani had a lot more to offer than just being the guitarist for Melody's Echo Chamber.

Already a significant figure in France's neo psyche scene, Moodoïd's colourful and pleasantly unhinged vision was closer to Prince's Around The World In A Day than garage rock and all the better for it.

With his second album, Cité Champagne I'm pleased to report that Pablo and his pals have lost none of their charm and while it's a glossy and shiny piece, it remains weird at heart.

Musically thing are a little different.  It's glossy and lush and nods towards the 70s, with the easy listening exotica of Kasbah, the Kraftwerkian chrome of Amour Voiture and Planete Tokyo, and the unashamed disco of Reptile.

But while it might on the surface seem a more commercial proposition, it' feels like it's entirely on his own terms. Psychedelic in the broadest sense, unashamed to engage all the senses and refusing to be bound too strictly by any genre conventions. Moodoïd remains a mind expanding trip.


Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Hellfest 2019: Manowar and Slayer confirmed

Last weekend saw a corner of Brittany become the centre of the metal world again, with the 13th  Hellfest festival taking place in Clisson.

While this year saw Megadeth, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and dozens of others including Alice in Chains, Steven Wilson, Ensiferum and Hollywood Vampires, details of the 2019 event have started to emerge.

Ahead of Marilyn Manson's set, Joey Demaio came on stage to announce that Manowar were to play at the event next year, and since then other names have been added to the bill.

As well as Manowar, the first five acts confirmed for next summer include Slayer, Dropkick Murphys, Carcass, and Mass Hysteria. There will be other acts confirmed before the event.

In fact, there will be over 140 other acts playing next year, with Hellfest unquestionably one of the biggest metal events in Europe embracing all genres of rock, and with acts ranging from heritage acts, the established, the underground and the emerging artists.

Hellfest 2019 takes place on June 21, 22 and 23.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Mylène Farmer: N'oublie pas

After hinting during her performance on TF1's Chanson de l'année show earlier this month,  Mylène Farmer's new single is indeed called N'oublie pas and is a duet with American singer LP.

The release, which was confirmed earlier this week, is a follow-up to her Rolling Stone single which came out in January.

Rolling Stone, produced by French DJ Feder, reached number one in the French charts. This was the 17th time Mylène reached number one in the French charts with a single since she reached the top of the charts with Libertine in 1986.  Eight singles in a row reached number one between 2008 and 2011.

A video clip, which was filmed in Iceland, was directed by long-time Mylène collaborator  Laurent Boutonnat who not only wrote many of her songs but has also been behind some of Mylène's most memorable promo videos since her Maman a tort debut in 1984. The prospect of the pair working together on a new video will have Mylène's many fans excited.

Farmer has a new album scheduled for later in the year, a follow up to 2015's Interstellaires that looks like it will be called Désobéissance.

With 2018 already seeing Farmer starring in a new film (Ghostland) and a number one single, the rest of the year will be interesting. Will there be a tour in 2019? Will she have another number one single? We'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Booba: Gotham

French rap superstar Booba returns with a new video for the track Gotham, and this time he's a superhero as well.

With a bit of  a similarity to Batman, Booba dispenses justice on the streets of the city in comic book style, leaving a  bloody trail following the death of Catwoman, exposing a trail of corruption that leads to the very top.

I'm not sure what the comic company will make of it, but Booba makes a convincing figure as the Dark Knight. The animated clip's pretty good too, certainly better than some of the actual Batman movies.

The song, which hasn't been released before, follows Booba's 2017 Trône album, a triple platinum seller and a landmark in recent French rap.

The collection, his ninth, had five tracks released with videos including the memorable Friday with its nod to Star Wars.

Booba has got a show coming up on October 13 at the arena in La Défense, Paris.


 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Miossec: Nous Sommes

A new track has emerged from, ahead of the release of a new album in September.

Nous Sommes is a collaboration with Jeanne Added, who has herself recently released the single Mutate.

The new album, his eleventh, comes two years after his last solo album Mammifères. 

Miossec has been active musically since the mid 90s, his debut Boire released in 1995. HIs commercial breakthrough came with 1998's À prendre album.

In recent years Miossec has written for some of France's most significant performers including Johnny Hallyday, Nolwenn Leroy. His song 20 ans performed by Johnny won the Victoire de la musique award in 2014 for best song of the year.

Miossec's new album, to be entitled Les Rescapés, is released in September and he's got a series of live dates including a show at the Gaîté Lyrique in Paris as part of the Les Inrocks festival on November 21.


Friday, 15 June 2018

Jean Jean: Event Horizon

If my preview piece on this weekend's Download Paris festival noted that there were not many French bands playing the event, one notable exception is Jean Jean.

Although they're on the Firefly stage at the campsite, not quite co-headlining with Ozzy, Guns 'n'Roses and friends, they may just deserve your attention more than some of those more established acts.

Maybe they're post rock, maybe math rock, call it what you will. Their instrumental intensity is not a million miles from the likes of Mogwai. It's an epic sound, and I suspect it won't be long until a sharp-eared film producer uses some of their music in a movie or two.

Their Froidepierre album was released in February, and it's a beautiful thing that deserves repeated listening.

Since its realease they've been playing in the USA with Carpenter Brut, no strangers to this blog, and have had a few dates elsewhere in France.

Following Download on Saturday, they play in London on Sunday at the Portals festival. They're back in the UK on August 19 for a set at the ArcTanGent Festival in Bristol, playing the same day as headliners Shellac.



Thursday, 14 June 2018

Festival: Download Paris

June 15 sees Paris hosting some of the biggest names in rock and metal with the Download Paris festival taking place just outside the city.

The four-day-long event features a total of 72 acts, including headliners Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Foo Fighters and Guns 'n' Roses.

Also on the bill are Ghost, Opeth, The Offspring and Scotland's Alestorm. There's not a whole lot of French presence on the bill, you'll have to look at the small print acts for any evidence of those. Swiss folk metal giants Eluveitie, are about as close as it gets in the major acts.

But such is the nature of a large multinational festival brand.

Download may have its spiritual home at Donington in the English Midlands, but its gradually expanded to other countries. There was a one off Download festival in Glasgow in 2004, but since 2016 it's also been held in France, 2017 saw Spain added, and this year sees four events, Donington, France, Spain and Australia.

The Download Paris event takes place the weekend after the Donington event. In previous years it has been held the same weekend, giving bands the opportunity to play two major events over the weekend and no doubt cutting down on overheads for the organisers.

It's a slightly different bill from last weekend's UK event, but still a line up that would attract a wide variety of rock fans. From those old enough to have seen Ozzy in the 80s and remember when Guns 'n' Roses were good, fans of more underground acts like Opeth, to those keener on more mainstream acts like the Foos.

In its review of last weekend's Donington, the Guardian gave honourable mentions to Ozzy, Manson and Avenged Sevenfold but suggested the three hour set by G 'n' R was a bit much, but awarded four stars out of five to 'metal's biggest party.'

The NME described G 'n' R 's set as 'needlessly lengthy' , with too much needless padding filling up what could have been an incendiary set featuring 'high water marks of hard rock.'

Maybe you need to see it for yourself to judge. Maybe you also need to savour the party atmosphere in a French setting. If so, get to Download France this weekend.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Gaëtan Roussel: Hope live on C à Vous

An appearance on French evening TV show Gaëtan Roussel with a performance of the the title track of his forthcming new solo album Hope.

Roussel, while an established solo artist and songwriter who has written for many successful acts, is also the singer with legendary French band Louise Attaque.

Louise Attaque's self-titled debut album was one of the biggest sellers in French rock history, but the band  essentially split in 2001 following their second album. The members formed two separate bands, with Roussel fronting the band Tarmac.

They came back for a third album in 2005, before again going their separate ways in 2007. This time Gaëtan Roussel became involved in writing for other acts, notably Alain Bashung, before releasing his debut solo album Ginger in 2010.

Louise Attaque came together again, his time as a three-piece, for the 2016 album Anomalie and to play live again, the album winning at Victoires de la Musique award for the best rock album of the year.

While Louise Attaque's history hass been one of stops and starts, Roussel's solo career remains very much on track. His new solo album - his third - follows his 2013 collection Orpailleur,

The album Hope is released on September 14.

Bertrand Cantat cancels remaining tour dates

Former Noir Desir singer Bertrand Cantat has confirmed his tour has finished and he has cancelled the remaining dates.

Cantat was touring on the back of his debut solo album Amor Fati and had played dates across France, including the Zénith in Paris on June 7. His final date was in Brussels with shows in Pau and in his home town of Bordeaux called off.

His return to live performance as a solo artist would always be controversial. Cantat was convicted of killing his partner actress Marie Trintignant in 2003, and while he has many supporters and fans, others cannot forgive him for this.

While he may have served a lengthy prison sentence, there's been a major public argument over whether or not a return to public performance is appropriate. Much of the debate has been over how convicted criminals can resume their place in society following their release, and whether or not a singer and a celebrity should be allowed to remain in a position where he courts public attention.

Festival appearances were cancelled, and demonstrations held outside his shows. He was scheduled to play at L'Olympia in Paris, but cancellation by the famous hall's management meant it had to be rearranged to take place at the Zénith instead.

At the show, Cantat railed against the 'intimidations' and 'censorship' that he believes he has faced, and directed his anger against journalists who he believed have something against him.

During his show in Belgium, Cantat suggested he was bringing his musical career to an end and that this would be the last show of the tour.

Cantat confirmed on his Facebook page the cancellation of his forthcoming concerts and the early end of his tour. His statement read: "After 27 concerts in front of 35,500 people, the tour (...) ended last night at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels. We warmly thank such a large audience."

Whether Cantat will resume live performance again is uncertain. Meanwhile, he faces the possibility of more legal action with regard the death of his ex-wife Krisztina Rády who took her own life in 2010. His lawyer denounced a new formal complaint into her death as 'based on lies' ,  and the magistrate at the time did not pursue charges.  But a lawyer who has been looking into the circumstances of Rády's death was invited to submit a formal complaint to investigators for consideration.

Whatever the outcome of events, whether in the courtroom and on the stage, the debate about Bertrand Cantat looks likely to continue.


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

L'Impératrice: Parfum Thérémine

A classy video by L'Impératrice for the track Parfume Thérémine.

Shot in Scotland, it looks like a short promo for a longer film. There's certainly plenty of drama going on here.

It featured originally on the  Odyssée EP from 2015,  their debut album Matahari finally emerging in March this year.

L'Impératrice have a date in Montreal supporting Feu! Chatterton later this month, and follow this with a series of festival dates across France and elsewhere in mainland Europe including Solidays and Garorock.

The first half of the year has already seen them play live extensively, including shows at La Cigale and the Casino de Paris.

Further live dates in France run up to December, with two final dates on January 29 and 30 at L'Olympia in Paris.


Monday, 11 June 2018

Jain: Gangsta's Paradise

I don't know if Coolio ever anticipated a very polite French electro cover of his rap classic from 1995, but there's something very endearing about Jain's cover.

It was recorded for French radio show Boomerang, broadcast on France Inter.

The cover comes just weeks after Jain released a new single, Alright, her first new track since her debut album Zanaka was a massive seller in France, an album that led to a Victoires de la musique award and a massive tour.

She's got a new album due at the end of August, which she says incorporates hip hop and an oriental theme, and has been playing some of the new numbers live.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Jain's the next French act to make inroads in the UK and USA following the success of Christine and the Queens. She's got a strong style and an obvious international appeal, and any French act that can take on an urban piece like this and turn it into something very charming and French flavoured must have a fearless talent.


 

Mylène Farmer: Rolling Stone on TF1

A high profile Saturday night appearance by Mylène Farmer this weekend, as she took to the stage of the La Chanson de l'année programme to perform her recent hit Rolling Stone.

Mylène, probably the biggest music star in France, performed with a team of six dancers in front of the audience at the Arena in Nîmes. The historic amphitheatre makes quite a dramatic backdrop for any spectacle, Farmer as always was keen to make the most of the occasion.

During the performance of the track, which was created along with French producer Feder, her dancers revealed (probably) the title of her next single. Letters on the back of their costumes spelled out "N'oublies pas".

It's a tactic she employed last month when she performed the song at the final of the French edition of The Voice, revealing her forthcoming album is likely to be called Désobéissance. While the title has not been officially confirmed, the new collection is expected to be released in the autumn.

Other performers on the show included Hyphen Hyphen, Louane. Tal and MC Solaar.

The winner of the actual Chanson de l'année award might have been Maria Maria by Kendji Girac, but M ylène made certain her performance was the one that was being talked about afterwards.

 

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Hyphen Hyphen: KND

A new video's been released by Hyphen Hyphen for the track KND, marking the release of their second album HH.

Hyphen Hyphen have been featured on this blog since way back in 2015, and it has been quite something to see HH develop into France's premier electro pop act.

Their Times debut album helped secure them a Victoires de la Musique best newcomer award, no doubt assisted by their relentless touring across all corners of the hexagon.

The new video follows the release of the track Like Boys, the first single from the album which came out at the end of May.

Hyphen Hyphen are set to continue their hyperactive touring schedule, with dates planned from now until January in France, Switzerland and Germany.

They are at the Olympia in Paris on October 12.


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Festival Fnac Live

More details have emerged of the line up for this summer's Festival Fnac Live in Paris next month.

The event, a series of free shows in front of the Hotel de Ville in the city centre, already confirmed Sting and Shaggy, Petit Biscuit and Feder on the bill, and more names have been added.

Among them are Belgian rapper Angèle, whose Je veux tes yeux featured on this blog in February. She's the sister of  Roméo Elvis, and her debut single from last year, La loi de Murphy, got a huge amount of interest.

Elsewhere, major French electro artist Vitalic takes to the stage as does Ibeyi, the Diaz sisters having made a massive impression at Coachella earlier this summer.

Dominique A, Jeanne Added. and Voyou are among the other acts playing outside or playing inside the Hotel de Ville.

Last year around 90, 000 people attended, and the event has in the past attracted the likes of Christine and the Queens, Julien Doré and Benjamin Biolay, some of the most significant names in French music. Two more acts are expected to be added to the bill later this month.

Festival Fnac Live takes place over July 5, 6 and 7

Feu! Chatterton: L'Oiseau

After being away from things for a few weeks, it's good to catch up with Feu! Chatterton, one of my favourite contemporary French acts.

The band recently released their second album, the follow up to Ici le jour (a tout enseveli)  -  a favourite of this blog - and marked the occasion with a new video for the track L'oiseau, featuring a 70s retro flavour that sees frontman Arthur plagued by a voodoo doll.

They've been playing live across France solidly over the past couple of months in support of the album, and were briefly back in the studio to work on more new material.

They've got a series of festival shows in France over the summer, including Solidays in Paris, Nuits de Fourviere in Lyon and Europavox in Clermont-Ferrand this month. A date in Montreal on June 13 is also in their diary.

But more significantly they're playing Le Zénith in Paris in January, along with gigs in Mets and Brussels. They've already played most of the venues in Paris, but Le Zénith is a big step up for them in terms of capacity.


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Christine and the Queens: Girlfriend (Live at The Biggest Weekend)

"This performance contains very strong language", warns the BBC Radio 1 YouTube feed. Seems a bit harsh, after all she could have just performed in French.

But it's another great platform for Christine in the UK, and while the video might have its audience, it's great to see her in a live context ahead of her tour later this year.

Listening to the song in a live, I'm struck by how the guitars remind me of Serge Gainsbourg's American funk sound, circa Love on the Beat and You're Under Arrest.

I seem to remember Christine in an interview saying how much she loved Gainsbourg's work from that era, describing it as 'very queer'. She's also performed Mon Légionnaire which although more associated with Piaf, was covered memorably on You're Under Arrest.

Experts will also notice one of the dancers rocking double denim, a style Gainsbarre immortalised on his Gainsbourg Live album from 1986.

Audiences in the UK can expect much more of Christine in the near future, with an appearance on Jools Holland in the next few days. I expect what we've seen so far will be just the start of a concerted effort to establish her as France's biggest export to the UK since the Norman conquest.


Bertrand Cantat: Les Pluies Diluviennes

A new video from Bertrand Cantat, with the track Les Pluies Diluviennes the latest from last year's
Amor Fati collection to get a visual treatment.

The debate over Cantat shows no sign of abating whatsoever. He remains a convicted killer, having taken the life of his then girlfriend actress Marie Trintignant in 2003.

He may have served his sentence, but for many there can be no forgiveness for his actions.

Meanwhile, the death of his ex-wife Krisztina Rády in 2010 has also sparked renewed debate over Cantat. Rády, the mother of two children with Cantat, died in the same house Cantat was staying in, and she had complained of suffering mental abuse from him. Magistrates at the time chose not to pursue charges against Cantat, but there are reports that he now faces another legal inquiry into her death after a lawyer spoke to investigators who invited her to file a formal complaint.

According to RFI, Cantat's lawyer denounced this new complaint as 'based on lies.'

Anger over his return as a solo artist has resulted in the cancellation of festival appearances, but he is scheduled to play at the Zénith in Paris on June 7. His fans will give him a warm welcome. Others say his return will be met with a demonstration.


Editorial: June 2018

We're into June, and if I didn't quite live up to my promises in May to get this service back on its feet, this may well be the time for things to get better.

But we're ever optimistic and even have some interesting plans that will hopefully begin to emerge in the near future.

In the meantime, we've got a lot to cover, and some things to catch up with, so we'll hopefully have quite a lot here over the next few weeks. Thanks for sticking with us.

There were some great events over the past few weeks, with France's summer festival season kicking off with events like We Love Green celebrating some of the country's finest talent - from OrelSan to Charlotte Gainsbourg and Juliette Armanet.

There's been some impressive activity from Christine and the Queens, with the new single attracting a huge amount of attention in France and beyond, the UK getting the chance to see a live performance during the high-profile Biggest Weekend event, the BBC attracting some of the finest acts to perform at festival-sized gigs in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Wales. A performance on the Jools Holland TV show in a few days will only add to this.

France's summer festival season continues unabated over the next few weeks, Solidays and Hellfest are just two of the major events scheduled for the next few weeks.

As always, you can contact us 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 drop me an email. I'm always keen to hear new things, as well as passing on the latest about acts I already know and love.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq, although that's pretty much just an autofeed when we update with a new article. You can usually find me on my personal Twitter account quicker, @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 good folks at Oui Love Music From France for all their hard work introducing French acts to the international audience. John K

Monday, 21 May 2018

Melody's Echo Chamber: Desert Horse

Another track has emerged from the forthcoming - and long awaited - new album from Melody's Echo Chamber.

The video for Desert Horse follows the release of Breathe in, breathe out in April.

The release of the album had been postponed after Melody suffered a serious accident in June 2017 that resulted in her being in hospital for several months.

Her debut album was one of the landmarks of France's recent psychedelic rock scene, the involvement of Kevin Parker from Tame Impala no doubt turning a few sympathetic ears towards the release.

The retro 70s style video for Desert Horse is a lovely and very appropriate accompaniment for the track.

The album Bon Voyage is released on June 15. A special edition on violet coloured vinyl with a colour-in poster and a special phénakisticope (!) insert sounds like the appropriate medium to listen to it on.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Christine and The Queens: Damn, dis-moi / Girlfriend

Finally, some new material from Christine and the Queens ahead of the release of her second album later this year.

If 2014's Chaleur Humaine established her as one of the biggest stars in modern French music, making significant inroads to the UK and US markets too, her follow up collection should cement her position as one of the world's top artists.

It seems that the artist formerly known as Heloïse Letissier has taken a more masculine persona for this release, her stage name shortened to the more androgynous "Chris."

The track features a collaboration with Dâm Funk, who has given it a retro 80s US funk sheen.

There are two versions of the track available, one in French and an English language version. Perhaps this suggests two versions of the album later in the year, who knows.

Take your pick as to which version you prefer...


En Francais:



And the Version Anglaise:

Editorial: May 2018

"Don't call it a comeback", to quote LL Cool J.

I know the VLR blog's been off the air for the best part of a month, and I can only apologise for this. One of the hassles of being a one-man operation is that if I'm ill I don't have any cover to work on the blog.

But now that I'm back on my feet, we can get back to business.

And there's plenty for us to cover. Hopefully we can make up for some of the lost time as well, and mention some of the things that have been going on in our absence too.

Other news? We've got some plans afoot. VLR has been going for a matter of years, and we're keen to take things to a new level and to branch out into other areas. I'll say more as things come together and hopefully this will be quite soon.

As always, you can contact us 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 drop me an email. I'm always keen to hear new things, as well as passing on the latest about acts I already know and love.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq, although that's pretty much just an autofeed when we update with a new article. You can usually find me on my personal Twitter account quicker, @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 good folks at Oui Love Music From France for all their hard work introducing French acts to the international audience.

John K

Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Missing Season - Mall Rats

Always a pleasure to be introduced to something new thanks to this blog, so a follow on Twitter led to me stumbling across The Missing Season.

I'm guessing from their new video they were sprawled across some seats in a shopping mall fast food joint at the time.

The Rennes-based five piece's track really should have been a massive hit in the 90s for some long-forgotten American act, but in the light of the 21st century it sounds like a memory of more innocent and carefree times. Like a message in a bottle that could have been at sea since yesterday, last night, or 20 years ago.

They sound soaked through with decades worth of melodic indie rock, whether 60s west coast or 90s Teenage Fanclub, but don't take their influences too seriously.

I known I'm digressing, but I love the bit in the video where the guitar solo is covered by shots of the band eating burgers. They properly captured the similarities between vintage guitar hero facial gurning and lunchtime snacking.

The Missing Season release their sixth album, entitled Frequency, on April 27 on Howlin' Banana Records in collaboration with Les Disques Normal, a Rennes based label who have been friends of this blog for quite a few years.

They've got live dates ahead in May, with a show in Rennes on May 3, at the Olympic Café in Paris on May 4 and in Nantes on May 5.


Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Charlotte Gainsbourg: BBC Radio 6 Music live session

Charlotte Gainsbourg was in London at the end of March for a live show at the Village Underground, a rare UK show in support of last year's Rest album, an outstanding release that was a highlight of 2017 and rightly saw her pick up a Victoires de la Musique award for best female artist.

Her show in London saw a five star review on the Independent website and for the Guardian newspaper, praise indeed from the UK media.

While she was in London she made her debut for radio station BBC 6 Music's Live Room for a session.

She spoke to Lauren Laverne and performed a couple of tracks.

Charlotte is still touring, with a series of dates in Japan, followed by some festival shows including Les Printemps de Bourges on April 26 and Primavera in Barcelona at the beginning of June.


Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Melody's Echo Chamber: Breathe In/Breathe Out

Is there any more welcome news than the return of Melody's Echo Chamber?

Melody Prochet was one of the leading lights in France's contemporary psychedelic pop scene, but since the release of her 2012 debut album and its subsequent commercial and critical praise, she's had serious health issues that prevented her from pursuing her career with the same energy that's seen some of her contemporaries go on to widespread recognition.

So it's lovely to see that her new album finally scheduled for release in June.

It's entitled Bon Voyage, and a video for the track Breathe In/Breathe Out has been released ahead of the album.

She's described the video as "a little animated fable that resonates greatly with the record" and it's a lovely retro flavoured animation.

The track Cross My Heart came our last year, shortly before an accident derailed plans for live dates and the release of the album last year. Prior to that Shirim emerged in 2014 as a one-off single.

Hopefully we'll see more of Melody in coming months, and while the album's been longer than it should have been, I'm pretty sure it will be worth the wait.



Oui Love La Féline live in London

If you're in London, it's well worth getting to the attest Oui Love event taking place tomorrow night that sees three French acts perform in the UK capital at Birthdays in Dalston.

Top of the bill is La Féline, one of France's most significant emerging female artists whose 2017 album Triomphe has recently been released in the UK, and been met with the same critical acclaim that it deserved on its release in France.

The likes of Mojo and Clash have praised her, Mojo noting that "some of the most innovative and progressive pop is being made away from the English-speaking world." Something we've been noting here for years!

She's no stranger to the UK, having played at the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni in London in December, which saw her making an unexpected performance on BBC Radio in recognition of Johnny Hallyday who died that day.

Her gig that night saw her perform with an iconic French musician of a very different sort, Laetitia Sadier, formerly of Stereolab.

We'll be hearing more from La Féline in 2018 I suspect. Hopefully more UK dates are being considered. In the meantime, a great opportunity to see one of France's finest up close in London.

Also on the bill are Juniore and Keep Dancing Inc, two other acts well deserving of your attention and the priceless opportunity to tell folks in France that you saw one of the biggest stars of 2020 when she played a show in a small venue in London.


Moodoïd: Miss Smith video

A new video by Moodoïd is always a cause for celebration here.

Pablo Padovani and his team have never ceased to surprise us, from their debut release onwards. Whether explicitly psychedelic rock or exotically flavoured disco, there's always something interesting going on here.

So to the new track Miss Smith, another surprise turn, which remains infused with the weirdness we love but with a polished edge that makes it an possible commercial proposition while losing none of the charm that makes Moodoid interesting.

I don't reckon Moodoïd will remain a cult French act much longer. It can only be a matter of time until they're being mentioned as 2018's serious breakthough artist

Incidentally, I can't help but admire the video. Shot in California it's absolutely first class.

Moodoïd recently confirmed their new album will be called Cité Champagne, and is due to be released in June. To say a follow up to 2014's Le Monde Moo is awaited impatiently is an understatement. We're already counting the days.

Before then, Moodoïd have a number of free live dates across France from the middle of April, under the Societé Ricard Live Music banner with Isaac Delusion and Mnnqns. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the brand's involvement in live music sponsorship in France.

They play at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris with Catherine Ringer and Mnnqns on April 12.