Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Christine and the Queens: New album and tour

Some great news from the Christine and the Queens damp today, with confirmation of a new album later this year along with the announcement of live dates including shows in the USA as well as Paris and London.

Her second album must be one of the most anticipated French releases in recent years given the immense success of Chaleur Humaine, one of the landmark albums of recent years.

A final date has not yet been confirmed for the release, but an exectuve for her record company has described it as "sounding fantastically good, it's going to be slightly different."

There are four live shows scheduled for later this year, with LA on October 27, New York on October 31 and the Eventim Apollo in London on November 20. She plays at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris on December 18.

I'd be very surprised if the shows are not accompanied by a considerable amount of promotion on TV and in the media, and I suspect these four gigs come ahead of a fuller schedule of live dates in 2019.

Tickets for her forthcoming shows go on sale on Monday.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Julien Clerc: À vous jusqu'à la fin du monde clip

Love this clip from Julien Clerc for his song À vous jusqu'à la fin du monde.

Featuring actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, it starts with the feel of a serious French domestic drama  before moving into surreal comedy.

The video is the work of director Michel Gondry, who has made videos for the White Stripes, Bjork and Beck. He began his film career with music videos before going on to direct films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (where he won an Oscar), Be Kind, Rewind and The Science of Sleep.

The song's a modern pastiche of 60s/70s French pop that is perfect for the veteran chanteur, who has in his long career performed a good many of the more serious French classics.

Clerc's album A nos amours was released in October last year, his 24th studio collection. Produced by Calogero, it features collaborations with Maxime Le Forestier, Vianney, Brigitte Fontaine and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi's sister Carla Bruni. The album's already been met with considerable success, with the songs  Je t'aime etc and On attendait Noël finding an audience still wanting Clerc's brand of chanson.

Clerc's touring to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of his career, following three sold-out shows at l'Olympia in Paris last weekend with three concerts at the Salle Playel starting tonight (March 16, 17 and 18) before continuing around the country until July.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Paris Music Festival 2018

Tomorrow sees the Paris Music Festival get underway, an event across the French capital that sees some well-chosen acts play some of the city's most interesting venues.

The event sees the organisers of France's Record Store Day work alongside the Mairie de Paris, with the intention of creating an event that puts Paris at the heart of international musical creativity. It's as much a showcase for the city as it is for the actual artists playing.

And some of the venues being played are very interesting indeed. With churches, museums and cultural centres hosting events, there are some very interesting and unique live experiences ahead.

Among them, two shows at the archeological crypt on the Ile de la Cité on March 15 and 16 featuring Chapelier Fou and Lenparrot look particularly interesting.

There's some striking footage of Fishbach playing there last year, perhaps not a venue for the claustrophobic, but one with no shortage of history.

There's a wide variety of names taking part, including Yuksek,Yan Wagner and Arnaud Rebotini as well as Barbagallo and Frànçois Atlas.

The Paris Music Festival takes place over March 15, 16 and 17 with ticket prices for each show held down to a very reasonable ten euros.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Mylène Farmer: New album details

Mylène Farmer's spoken in a rare interview, confirming her plans for a new album later this year and another single ahead of it following up her recent release Rolling Stone.

She spoke on TF1's JT programme on Sunday night, where she was on to discuss her new film Ghostland.

She confirmed the new album can be expected in the autumn, with another track emerging beforehand. She's currently working on the album and wasn't able to confirm the final release date yet.

Rolling Stone, a track that saw her work with French DJ Feder, gave her another number one single in a career that's seen her establish a record that few other artists seem likely to match.

Mylène attended the premier of the film in Paris last night alongside others in the cast of the film and its director. It goes on general release in France from tomorrow, March 14.

With Mylène probably now the biggest living French music star, a new album's a kind of a big deal. Farmer's new collection comes three years after Interstellaires and as there was no tour to support that release, fans are hoping that 2019 will see her again take to the stage of the arenas and stadiums around France and beyond.

Indochine: Un été français

A new single from Indochine one of France's most successful rock acts, with a video that gives a breathtaking view of Paris from a vantage point from the roof of the Grande Arche de la Défense on the outskirts of the city.

For all the Grande Arche is one of the capital's most recognisable landmarks, the viewing deck of the 110m tall structure was closed to the public for a number of years. La Défense was constructed as a home for many of France's top businesses and a place where international companies could build their office spaces on the edge of Paris.

The video makes the most of the area's modern strangeness, with its obvious nods towards both the Beatles on the roof of Abbey Road or U2's Where the Streets Have No Name video.

You can't help but wonder what those performances might have looked like if the same drone filming technology had been available in those days. And if they'd had more fireworks.

The song itself is a powerful piece that features on the recent Indochine album 13, Nicola Sirkis inspired by events in the 2017 election that saw the Front National through to the second round of the presidential elections.

Indochine are in the middle of a massive tour with arena dates ahead of outdoor shows this summer, and a second round of shows later in the year including two nights at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris on November 16 and 17.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Orelsan: Défaite de famille

A new single from Orelsan, the third from his  La fête est finie album, one of last year's most significant releases.

Like its predecessors  Tout va bien and Basique it features a striking video, this time with the rapper starring as members of his own extended family. The video was directed by Orelsan himself.

It's a nice piece of film for the post-YouTube and Instagram audience, clever and funny while casually playing with the conventions of film making. It reminds me of some of Stromae's groundbreaking work. I expect it won't be long until we see a UK or US act 'influenced' by this piece.

Orelsan's track La Pluie, a duet with Stromae, has also been picking up significant airplay in recent weeks, but Défaite de famille was the track to get released as a single.

Orelsan picked up three awards at the Victoires de la Musique last month for La fête est finie, and its sales in Fracne have merited triple platinum status, but there's probably a lot more commercial life yet in this album.

Madame Monsieur: Mercy video

The more-anticipated-than usual video for the song representing France in this year's Eurovision Song Content has been released.

The track Mercy by Madame Monsieur was the winner of Destination Eurovision on France 2 in January.  Emilie and Jean-Karl's song has a flavour of the electronic tinged indie folk that proved massively popular for artists like Lilly Wood.

The song - a surprisingly decent piece given the usual quality of Eurovision entries, regardless of country - takes a very human stance over the plight of refugees who find themselves in danger on the seas.

The video takes the streets of Paris, Rome and London as the location. Rather than simply representing what goes on at sea, it helps contextualise the situation of the refugees in the cities of Europe. Without being political, it takes a strong humanitarian stance, like the song itself.

France's place in the final of the contest is already guaranteed due to the country's central role in the support of Eurovision.

Will a song solve the crisis in the seas of the Med? Probably not. But will it raise awareness of those who help save the lives of those at risk and of the desperate stories that have driven people to take those risks? Hopefully.

If it achieves this, even to a small degree, it's already a winner in my books.

Eurovision 2018 is being held on May 12 is Lisbon.