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