Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Murat: Noël à la maison

I'm continuing the festive season for the next few days with some festive French tunes.

Here's a track by Jean-Louis Murat, Noël à la maison. It was later covered by Florent Marchet on his Noël's Songs release that came out in 2011 either as a digital release or with the reissue of his Courchevel album.

The track comes from his Sentiment Nouveau Ep from 1992, and surfaced again on his Face Nord compilation, a collection that was issued by Les Inrocks magazine.

For good measure, and in the Christmas spirit of generosity, here's a live version of Florent Marchet performing the song at the Café de la Dance in 2011.Tthere's no doubt that they're both enchanting versions of a wonderful song.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Jacques Dutronc - La Fille Du Père Noël

Continuing our festive feel for the season with this vintage classic from the king of vintage gallic cool, Jacques Dutronc.

This song originally came out in 1966, and appeared on his eponymous debut album, although it's also known as Les Play-Boys and Et moi, et moi, et moi after its two best known hits. Dutronc's early albums were all eponymous.

It's a hard edged R&B track that stands the test of time well, and you can hear similarities with the likes of David Bowie's Jean Genie which came out a few years later and the kind of riff pioneered by Bo Diddley a few years before.

Dutronc delivers the lyrics with a swaggering cool that makes it all the funnier, with the 60s staging of the song adding to the vintage silliness.

There's another clip online of a later version of the song, with Dutronc performing this song more like Iggy Pop would have done. Not surprisingly, the song stands up well, probably down to the song's garage rock sound.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Magma: The last seven minutes #endoftheworld

With the end of the world due shortly, there's just time left to listen to Magma's epic The Last Seven Minutes.

The track originally appeared on the 1978 ATTAHK album, which marked a more funk informed zeuhl sound, less dark and heavy that its predecessors

This version comes from the DVD Mythes & Légendes vol.3.

Normal service will be resumed shortly if we're spared.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Wall of death: From hell with love

A video for the track From Hell with Love by the band Wall of death.

The song has the strange qualities of a Leonard Cohen song covered by an underground heavy psych band for whom English isn't their native language.

There's a feeling that there's something wonderful here that's just out of reach, and can only be fully understood by repeated listening at a terrifying volume.

The track has a spacy yet driving sound reminiscent of the likes of Hawkwind, although Wall of Death are more focused on condensing their Lemmy-era explorations into precision engineered blasts from the beyond.

Even the video reflects some of the aesthetics of the era, with everything turned up to the maximum yet the central figure remaning detatched and cool.

Wall of Death are a three piece from Paris, namecheck the likes of psych pioneers the 13th Floor elevators, the Electric Prunes to 80s underground local champions The Jesus and Mary chain.

I have a feeling I'll be listening to this band a lot, and I suspect they're an intense live proposition.

The track comes from the band's debut album Main obsession, which was released in October on Born Bad Records.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Hello Bye Bye: Let's live happy waiting for our dying day

With the end of the world expected before the weekend, a good excuse for a the track  Let's live happy waiting for our dying day by Bordeaux band Hello Bye Bye.

The track came out one a six track ep released at the beginning of this month, which includes two parts of this track and a very fine cover of the Pixies classic Where is my Mind.

Hello Bye Bye released their rebut album in 2010 and have played live extensively, developing their sound that sits somewhere in a fertile interzone between electro and rock.

They give credit to the Charlatans, Chemical Brothers and Scorpio Rising era Death in Vegas, and while they don't exactly sound like any of these acts, you can see the connection in the way they fuse sounds together, or as they put it, their inability to choose between speaking to the body and speaking to the heart.

A video for the track  Let's live happy waiting for our dying day is being filmed on Saturday and Sunday. If the world still exists, as the band note...

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Indochine: Memoria

A new video by Indochine, with the release of the track Memoria ahead of the release of their next album.

The song's been about for a few weeks, but the video clip has only just surfaced.

Indochine are something of an alternative rock institution in France, having survived and grown from the new wave scene of the early 80s to an act that not only fill arena sized venues, but continue to release interesting work.

Their debut album came out in 1982, and established a reputation on the strength of their songs and theor live performances. Their 1985 album 3 sold over 750,000 copies.

The band had something of a second wind after the turn of the millennium, with the Paradize album released in 2002. The band marked the 10th anniversary of the release with concerts at le Zénith in Paris.

Their last album La République des Meteors came out in 2009, their subsequent tour saw them playing at the Stade de France in 2010

Indochine release their new album - their 12th - Black City Parade in February 2013. They have also confirmed an extensive series of tour dates in 2013, with shows in February, March and April, and others in October, November and December.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Kavinsky: Protovision

A new track from Kavinsky, with the song Protovision coming out ahead of an album to be released next year.

It's another slice of electro noir, brooding and atmospheric.

Kavinsky's best known for the track Nightcall from the film Drive, and while this doesn't stray a million miles from that track, that's no bad thing by any measure.

Kavinsky's work is reminiscent of the soundtrack work by the likes of Tangerine Dream in the early 80s. Similarly you could imagine the track on an 80s TV show like Miami Vice, a show that was originally to feature Tangerine Dream's music in the titles.

There's a nod to Night Rider and Terminator in the video, and the music has a similar retro futurist feel.

Kavinsk's album Outrun is expected to be released next year.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Grammy Awards - M83: Wait

With the details of the shortlist for this year's Grammy Awards released, it's encouraging to see some French artists in the running.

True, there are 80 categories so statistically it would be more of a surprise if there weren't any, but yet again its good to see some French acts getting recognition in the US.

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming by M83 gets a nomination in the Best Alternative Music Album, up against the likes of Bjork and Tom Waites, not to mention Fiona Apple and Gotye.

Amadou & Mariam get a nomination in the Best World music category for the Folila album. Woodkid get a nomination for best short form video for Run Boy Run.

There are also nominations in the best solo classical vocal category for Nathalie Dessay and in the Best original film soundtrack for Ludovic Bource for The Artist.

Meanwhile, another track by M83 gets an official music video. This time its the track Wait that gets the bog screen attention.

It's a suitably cosmic affair for a band that is, after all, named after an astronomical object listed by 18th century French astronomer Charles Messier, the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy. The music is as epic as it always was, and the 2001: A Space Odyssey style of the video are certainly appropriate.

It's another track from their sixth album Hurry up We're Dreaming, an album that even so long after its original release continues to win over critics and new fans alike.

The winners of the Grammy Awards will be announced at the award ceremony on February 10.

Friday, 7 December 2012

M: Mojo in the Metro

A great clip of M playing at the Jaurès Metro station in Paris.

He spoke about playing at the Metro station, about how it was great to become part of people's everyday lives, and how the metro was symbollic because it was a place where people were going from one place to another, where it's not stylish but where you're really face to face with people without any filter.

It must have been quite an experience to see one of France's biggest stars - and most celebrated live performers - playing in an environment like that.

The performance in the street echoes the official video for the song,featuring as it did Matthieu Chedid and his musicians performing in the streets of Paris with passers by and dancers.

His album ÎL, which featured the track Mojo, was released last month.

Alizée: A cause de l'automne

The video for Alizée's new song A cause de l'automne has emerged, just in time for the golden leaves of autumn to be replaced by the harsh ice and snow of winter.

Not sure why there was such a delay in the video coming out. The video and the song have a strong 60s retro feel, so maybe it just took as long to put these things together as it did back then.

Also strange that the official YouTube posting of the video is restricted to France only, considering she's got a pretty wide international following.

I suppose the issue is that perhaps the record company are keen to ensure she's established as a credible artist, which can't be easy for a singer whose initial celebrity was established on her youth.

A cause de l'automne was originally a song in English titled Never Again,  written by Pete Russell.

Alizée is of course best known as the former protégée of Mylène Farmer. She worked with Farmer and her musical parter Laurent Boutonnat after she won TV talent show Graines de Star in 1999.

Her song Moi...Lolita from was one of the biggest selling singles in France, and unusually for a French language song it reached the top ten in the UK.

Alizée collaborated with Laurent Boutonnat and Mylène Farmer on her first two albums Gourmandises in 2001 and Mes Courants Électriques in 2003.

Alizée's last album, her fourth, entitled Une Enfant Du Siècle, came out in 2010. The album was a more electro-styled collection, it seems that her fifth sees a return to a more song-based style.

Her new album, which sees her working with Jean-Jacques Goldman, BB Brunes and Thomas Boulard had been expected to come out in October, but it now seems that an early 2013 release date is more likely.

French Music Podcast UK: new series

A new series of French Music Podcast UK begins tonight on French Radio London.

Listen online from 8pm GMT or get the podcast here 

The show's been an essential listen, presenter Parris bringing some of the best tunes that are coming from France. There's always a wide mix of styles, from the unsigned to the classics, presented in plain English

Earlier editions of the podcast - going back to 2010 = are also available to listen to at the link above, and if you've not listened in before, be sure to check them out,

Don't forget that the French Music Podcast UK has been nominated for a European Podcast Award 2012 in the 'non-profit' category. You can vote for them until January 2013, so be sure to help give the show the recognition that it deserves.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Mylène Farmer: À l'ombre video

It's taken a few weeks for the video for the new Mylène Farmer single to emerge, but it's been worth the wait.

For an artist like Mylène Farmer, the video is always a big deal. Much of her reputation came from her pioneering work in the medium in her early years, and this video, like those, was directed by long-term collaborator Laurent Boutonnat.

The song emerged at the end of October, and its already crept into the top five in France, and I'm sure that with the video raising its profile along with the release of her long awaited album finally out, there's more than a chance that it will add to her score of 12 number one singles in France.

Her new album Monkey me is released this week, more on that later on the blog this week.

Her Timeless tour dates next year sees her playing to over 300,000 fans, with shows in Moscow and Saint Petersburg setting a record for ticket sales in Russia. Some more dates, the final ones to be added, have been confirmed for September, October and December 2013.

Live: Sébastien Tellier - Blue Tour

The UK gets a taste of Sébastien Tellier's blue wave as he begins a series of dates around the country.

Tellier's been in a messianic mode recently, with his talk of the L’Alliance Bleue movement. It apparently involves the world being transformed into something better, and although he's been vague about what exactly the movement entails, he's refused to compare it to a cult, instead saying that it's a movement based on imagination and tenderness.

His cryptic Blue Messages have continued throughout his extensive tour. Recent pronouncements have included: "Our domain shelters vast spaces of liberty. They are one of the societal forces of L'Alliance Bleue" and "Do not underestimate the power of euphoria."

Meanwhile, his music has taken on an unashamedly epic and grand feel, which will no doubt translate well into the live setting.

Tellier released his My God is Blue album in April, and three singles have been released since then, Pépito Bleu, Cochon Ville and Russian Attractions. Both the Pépito Bleu and the Cochon Ville videos have caused controversy, the first being interpreted as being drug-related, the second for its adult content.

A series of remixes of Russian Attractions and the track Sedulous from the album have been released this week. It features three new versions of Sedulous, by Mickey, Drop The Lime amd Equateur, and the versions of Russian Attractions are by Scratch Massive and the three winners of The Alliance Bleue Remix Contest, La Belle Epoque, Marlin, and Axel Le Baron.

Tellier's live dates in the UK are:

05/12 : O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London
06/12 : Coalition, Brighton
07/12 : The Cockpit Leeds
09/12 : The Arches, Glasgow

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Scott Walker: Pola X

With the release of the new album Bish Bosch by Scott Walker this week, another excuse to reflect on his involvement with French culture.

Walker was involved in the soundtrack for the 1999 Leos Carax movie Pola X, later releasing a CD of his work, along with additional tracks by other artists featured, including Sonic Youth and Smog.

The film starred Guillaume Depardieu, Yekaterina Golubeva and Catherine Deneuve. It was based on a novel by Herman Melville entitled Pierre: or, The Ambiguities, the acronym of which gives the film its title.

It explores the relationship between a man played by Depardieu and his mother, his fiancée and a woman he finds out is his sister.

A longer version of the film, made into three parts and entitled Pierre ou les ambiguïtés was shown on Arte in 2001.

Carax had already established his reputation as one of France's most significant directors with his 1991 film Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. He had already made the films Boy Meets Girl in '84 and bad Blood in '86. His most recent film was 2012's Holy Motors.

Editorial: December 2012

Another month that saw a steady number of visitors to the site again, thousands visiting the site over the last four weeks.

While there might not have been as many posts as I'd have liked, there have been some exceptional releases over the past few weeks, with some of the biggest names in French music getting new material released just ahead of the crucial Christmas market.

M, Johnny Hallyday, Nolwenn Leroy and Françoise Hardy, not to mention Mylène Farmer have all been filling the racks of the local music store and flooding the download pipes of iTunes. Or something like that.

There are more releases due in the next few weeks, before things go a bit quiet for the final week of the year.I'll also be getting my thoughts together to determine which release gets the much coveted Vive le roq album of the year award.

Anyway, thanks again to those who have been in touch, I can be contacted on johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, and you can follow vive le roq on twitter at @viveleroq

Until next time,

Merci et à bientôt