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.