Friday, 28 September 2012

Johnny Hallyday: Johnny History 1959-2006

Another major retrospective release by Johnny Hallyday, with the 23 CD box set Johnny History 1959-2006

The collection includes over 400 titles, including career highlights along with rare and unreleased recordings.

The first 14 disc is a collection of 269 songs from throughout his career. A further five discs each take a themed approach to his work - cinema and TV, Rock 'n' Roll, Rhythm and blues, country and blues.

The third part of the collection features unreleased and rare material. One disc is unreleased and rare 1970-79, another from 1980-2003. The final two discs come frmo the archives of Europe 1, one a concert from Grenoble in 1968, recorded to coincide with the Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble in February '68, the final disc being a concert from the Olympia in 1973.

As a collection it's quite an item, although smaller than the 42 disc collection that was released to mark his 50th birthday.

An item like this is quite an investment, and I'm sure there are some who would question its release as one monolithic item.

I'm sure there are fans who would want to get explore his back catalogue without the need for the rarities, and I'm certain there are completists who want the rare and live material and who already have multiple versions of the previously available material.

Meanwhile, some might say it's not complete enough. Where is his most recent material, for example?

But how can you adequately collect the works of an artist like Hallyday? The sheer amount of material he's released over the years could intimidate many from exploring beyond the familiar material, never mind the cash and time it would take to track down the original releases.

Until his record label releases an iPod shuffle with every recording he's released, this looks as good an account of his career as we'll get.

With a new album being recorded in LA at the moment, and live dates scheduled in coming months, there's no sign of Johnny slowing down

The collection, selling for 199 euros, is released on October 22

Sinik: La Plume et le poignard

A new album released this week by Sinik, one of France's top rap artists, entitled La Plume et le poignard.

Sinik has been releasing solo albums since 2005's La Main sur le cœur, and has extablished the kind of reputation that sees him referred to as The French Eminem, although he gives his influences as French rappers like NTM or IAM.

His albums La Main sur le cœur and its follow up Sang Froid were both platinum sellers, Le Toit du Monde selling over 200,000 copies

He's also released a number of 'street albums', collections outwith his official discography.

One strange episode in his career is that his 2007 album Le Toit du Monde includes a collaboration with James Blunt, on the song Je Réalise, which featured Sinik in French and blunt singing English lyrics.

Sinik's last full album was 2009's Ballon d'or, and the new album features collaborations with Alonzo, Kayna Samet and Médine, who I featured earlier in this blog.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Mylène Farmer: Monkey Me album and tour

Details have emerged about the new Mylène Farmer release, the album Monkey Me due to come out on December 3.

There are few singers who have attracted such a mythical status over their career. Farmer isn't, as some would have it, simply a "French Madonna". I've said it before here, she's as much Kate Bush and Lady Gaga as well, to view her in simple terms for an English language audience.

The announcement of a new album, and a tour, was in itself an event on the scale of the release of the latest Apple product.

A small selection of around 50 journalists in France were sent details in a customised brass USB stick annoucing the album and a tour entitled Timeless to take place in autumn 2013.

The album will feature 12 tracks, all by Mylène and long-term collaborator Laurent Boutonnat, and all the songs on the new album, which was recorded this summer, are in French and a mix of uptempo tracks and ballads.

Her last full release was the album Bleu Noir in 2010 and her last tour was in 2009, so the appetite for the new shows is immense.

A single is to be released at the end of October, although the details of the title have not been confirmed.

The tour starts at Bercy on September 7 2013, and tickets go on sale on October 4.

7 September 2013 Paris-Bercy
24 &  25 Septembre Lyon Hall Tony Garnier
1 & 2 October Montpellier Park & Suite Arena
8 & 9 October Nantes Zénith
15 & 16 October Strasbourg Zénith
18 & 19 Octobee Geneva Palexpo Arena
1st November Moscow Olimpiyski
4th November Saint Petersbourg SKK Arena
15 & 16 November Bruxelles Palais des Expositions
20 & 22 November Douai Gayant Expo
26 & 27 November Toulouse Zenith

MYLENE FARMER-TIMELESS 2013 by tsprod-com

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Eiffel: Place de Mon Coeur

I loved the track Place de Mon Coeur by Eiffel when it came out earlier this year, a rich collision of electronica, rock and chanson.

The four piece from Bordeaux released their fifth album Foule Monstre earlier this month, and Place de Mon Coeur came out ahead of it as a single.

The acoustic version of the track that was recorded for webzine Le Hiboo is one of those alternative versions of a song that just makes your jaw drop. It stands up every bit as well as the original, albeit in a completely different way.

It ticks all the boxes of a confirmed Francophone's heart. Paris riversides, Eiffel tower, cool people and great music.

It's not just a beautiful musical experience, the way it looks so effortless and spontaneous is breathtaking.

Eiffel are touring France in October, November and December. I expect their shows will be a big bigger than this wonderfully understated performance.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Soma: Nobody Hotter than God.

Another strong new release this week, with the band Soma releasing their second album Nobody Hotter than God.

In their official biography, the band quote John Lennon, according to whom French rock is like English wine, but they maintain that they are the exception that proves the rule.

Soma released their debut album Jewel and The Orchestra in 2010, and they've taken things a bit further with their second, a sharp collection of robust tunes.

The band recorded the new album in just 23 days at Vega studio in Carpentras with producer Bertrand Montandon. The album came after a period of months of intense rehearsal in drummer Thomas's home studio, the band sharpening their material ahead of capturing it in the studio.

It was mixed by Tony Hoffer, who previously worked with the likes of Beck, Suede, Phoenix and the Kook. Hoffer wanted to get involved after hearing their debut album, and given his track record he's certainly got his ears well atuned to what a modern rock band should sound like.

Soma have got dates around France in October, November and December.

To give a flavour of their new release, the band's released a video that sums it up in four minutes.

BB Brunes: Stéréo

A great studio acoustic performance by BB Brunes, marking the release today of their album Long Courrier.

They're playing on Canal+ programme Grand Journal tonight to coincide with the release of the album, their third, which comes out three years after their last, Nico Teen Love.

Meanwhile, the video of an acoustic version of the track Stéréo from the album has emerged, and personally I think the acoustic version really highlights the strength of the song.

Stripped of the studio stylings and sheen, the quiality of the band and their material really shines through.

BB BRunes played at the Fête de l'Humanité in Paris earlier this month, and they've got a handful of dates scheduled in October including a show at the Alhambra in Paris,  and more shows in France and Switzerland next year.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Gojira UK tour dates

A full set of tour dates for the mighty Gojira, the band behind probably the finest rock albums (extreme division) of the year.

While Gojira are an uncompromising bunch, their music is far from as inhospitable as it might seem on first listen to those uninitiated in the ways of the extreme end of the rock spectrum.

L’Enfant Sauvage, the album they released on Roadrunner records earlier this year, is an intelligent and articulate work, the music displaying a sophistication that borders on progressive rock while not losing its power or impact.

They're at the top of their game at the moment and the chance to see them live is not to be passed lightly.

Support on the tour comes from fellow French rock acts Klone and Trepalium, about whom I'll no doubt have more later.

The tour dates are:

Nov 06 GARAGE Glasgow
Nov 07 ACADEMY 2 Manchester
Nov 08 GREAT HALL 2 Cardiff
Nov 10 RESCUE ROOMS Nottingham
Nov 11 KOKO London
Nov 12 SLADE ROOMS Wolverhampton
Nov 14 LEMON GROVE Exeter
Nov 15 MO CLUB Southampton
Nov 16 ACADEMY Oxford

The UK dates are followed by shows in France, and a December gig at the Indian Metal Festival in Bangalore, India

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Hallyday

It's 42 years today since the death of Jimi Hendrix, and he's still relevant enough to be trending on Twitter.

A good enough excuse to link to the video of Jimi and Johnny in 1966, when Hallyday gave Hendrix the support slot for his shows in France and his first shows in the country.

Hendrix has been much mythologised over the years since his death,

Hendrix recorded Hey Joe in '66, Hallyday covered it the following year. While he wasn't the only artist to cover the song befire or after Hendrix, he there's no question Hallyday played a significant part in the Hendrix story.

But as I've said before, Hallyday is more than just a footnore in the biographies of the likes of Hendrix or Page, I'm certain that the artistic respect went both ways.

Just a pity that Hendrix isn't still with us, and that he never recorded with Hallyday.

Of course, there are always the questoins. What would Hendrix be like if he was still alive today? Playing stadiums and touring still?

Who knows, but what's for certain is that there's not been anyone who has been able to match him since his death.

Jimi Hendrix et Johnny à Paris en 1966. by Tushratta

Monday, 17 September 2012

Saez: Messina

A new album released today by Damien Saez, his seventh collection entitled Messina.

The album is a triple album, the three discs entitles Les échoués, Sur les quais and Messine.

Saez is no stranger to the triple album, his 2008 collection Varsovie - L'Alhambra - Paris spreading over three discs

His last release was J'accuse, which came out in 2010, a top three album in France despite the controversy over the album sleeve (a naked woman in heels in a supermarket trolley) which saw posters advertising the album banned.

The new collection sees Saez focussing on the musical arrangement of the work, the first disc featuring both rock and acoustic backing with pino and strings, the second is more rock orientated, while the third disc is more classical, with instrumental tracks.

In August, two tracks Betty and Les fils d'Artaud were made available as free downloads from  his website, a third track Messine appeared as a free download at the weekend.

The track Ma Petite Couturière was made available in 2010, and it now appears on the second disc of this new collection

Saez has tour dates in November and December across France supporting the album, most of these are already sold out.

Saez is already planning to release a second album this year, with Miami expected to come out in early December. More live dates are planned for March, April and May next year.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Claude François: J'attendrais

With the release of the film Cloclo on DVD, I though it a reasonable excuse for a clip of Claude François, in this instance his Version Française of I'll be there.

The song was Reach Out (I'll Be There) in English, a Holland–Dozier–Holland song recorded by The Four Tops for Motown records in 1966. It was one of the band's biggest hits, and was a number one in the UK.

The clip was from a January 1967 edition of he Sacha Show, a variety programme hosted by entertainer Sacha Distel.

Cloco remains a hugely popular figure in France, his music figuring regularly on nostalgia radio stions. He's remembered with affection, his massive output of songs over his career as well as their success probably both playing a part.

For the French listener his versions of the songs remain the definitive versions, the reverse of the experience of the English speaking listener, who'll always find them falling short of their original.

But that's not to say they lack charm. His songs remain interesting artefacts from an era when tastes were different and the world was a smaller place.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

BB Brunes: Coups et blessures

A video for the recent track Coups et blessures by BB Brunes, a hugely influential French band in recent years.

The new track is an edgy modern rock number, not a million miles from the likes of Phoenix or The Strokes, and it comes ahead of the release of their third album later this month.

Their previous albums Blonde comme moi and Nico Teen Love from 2007 and 2009 established the band as one of France's most credible contemporary rock acts, with the songs, the swagger and style that any modern UK or US rock band would kill for.

The band's singer Adrien Gallo spoke in a recent article about how the band were moving towards a more pop and less acoustic style. He said that the band had matured  and their style had changed, with keyboards now playing a part in their sound.

Their new album Long Courrier is released in France on September 24.

The band play the Fête de l'Humanité at the weekend.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Emily Loizeau: Vole le Chagrin des Oiseaux

An amazing video and equally beautiful track Vole le Chagrin des Oiseaux by Emily Loizeau.

The track comes from her album Mothers & Tygers, released today, the video is by Nicolas Mongin, the illustrations by Paula Castro.

It's her third album, her debut L'autre bout du monde coming out in 2006 its follow-up Pays sauvage in 2009.

The content of the new album makes reference throughout to mystic English poet William Blake, whose work she encountered in her childhood, Loizeau being part English on her mother's side.

Some of the songs use quotes form his work, four are musical adaptations of his poems, some in French others in the original English.

She told La Nouvelle Obs in an interview that the album was written in her home in the Cévennes, where she can enjoy the space and silence, adding that the album was recorded in conditions that were at the same time epic and magical, in the heart of winter in sunshire with temperatures of -15.

Emily Loizeau playes some dates in France next month, and tours the country until March next year.

Friday, 7 September 2012

-M- : Mojo

Some new material from -M-, the artist also known as Matthieu Chedid.

The track Mojo surfaced ahead of a new album due out later this year.

While his last full album was 2009's Mister Mystère, he's been far from idle, with last year seeing the release of the Un monstre à Paris soundtrack, the hit single La Seine with Vanessa Paradis and the work with Johnny Hallyday on his Jamais Seul album.

There was also a Victoires de la musique award for Best concert in 2011.

Chedid is a huge figure in the French music scene, and his album is much anticipated not just because of his previous success, but because he seems to be in recent years to be at the top of his game.

The song came out without warning, premiered on Oui FM There's a proper video due out shortly, a few previews have appeared online.

The new album, his sixth, is expected in November. He's also expected to tour in 2013.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Rétro: Noir Desir and Alain Bashung - Volontaire

I can't think why I've not featured this track before, featuring as it does two the talants of two of my favourite French acts combined, Noir Desir and Alain Bashung.

Add to this it was co-written by Serge Gainsbourg and you've got a round-up of several of the biggest names ever in French music combined in one track.

The song originally apepared on Bashung's 1982 album Play Blessures, his collaborative collection with Gainsbourg. The album was was a far from a success commercially or critically on its release, its apparent overall bleakness contrasting with the massive commercial success he had recently enjoyed with Gaby oh Gaby

However, with the passage of time it has become regarded as one of his most significant works. I'm not surprised.

The collaboration with Noir Desir came with his 2000 album Climax, which saw him re-vist some of his earlier work and re-record the songs.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Saez: Jeunesse lève-toi

An older song by Damien Saez, dating from December 2007. The track Jeunesse lève-toi came out ahead of his triple album collection Varsovie - L'Alhambra - Paris that came out the following year.

The song was written during the presidential elections, and is an acoustic number like the others in the collection.

Up until this point his work had been predominately alternative rock, and this work reflected a more intimate style, the three albums inspired by the break-up with his Polish girlfriend.

The first two discs were influenced by classic French chanson artists like Brel, Ferré and Brassens. Jeunesse lève-toi came from Paris, the third disc, which was also available as a seperate album.

Saez was nominated for a Victoires de la musique award for Varsovie - L'Alhambra - Paris the following year, in the best pop/rock album of the year category, the award going to Arthur H for L'Homme du Monde.

He's released a couple of albums since, both a return to a rock music. A Lovers Prayer from 2009 was a collection of songs in English, and his most recent release was 2010's J'Accuse.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Khaled: C'est La Vie

The title track by Khaled from his new album C'est La Vie, released today.

While one of North Africa's most popular musical exports, it's been a while since Khaled had the success he once had, but this track gave his career a welcome boost over the summer, no doubt in part due to its summer feelgood vibe.

The track was produced by RedOne, the international producer who's worked with the likes of Lady Gaga and Mylene Farmer and some of the biggest names in the current pop scene.

While at first it may seem a strange pairing, it's easy to forget that RedOne is originally from Morocco, not a million miles from Khaled's native Algeria.

C'est La Vie gave Khaled a top 20 hit in France, and while to these ears at least it maybe goes too close to a generic eurodance hit, it can't be a bad thing for a new generation to be introduced to one of the most distinctive voices and artistic ambassadors of North Africa.

One thing that I can't help but notice is how Khaled is now looking more the eledr statesman than angry young man. Still, he's obviously got his ear to the ground and keeping an open mind in terms of his music, and it certainly seems to be paying off for him in terms of revitalising his career.

Editorial: September 2012

We're into August already, with La Rentrée well and truly kicking in after a long hot summer. If only...

Anyway, on to September, and new releases begin to appear again with their usual frequency and there's also quite a few new things that I've been listening to over the past few weeks to digest and get something down in something approximating proper writing.

Statistically there was a slight fall off in number of visitors to the site last month, but given that the population of France was on holiday (?) I'd like to think that was the reason. Although probably the traffic for some of the long tail articles reducing over time might have been more likely.

I also didn't get quite as many articles on as I might have liked. Again I'd like to blame France for being on holiday, the hot weather, the days at the beach, the long lunches...

OK, so I'll get my headphones on and get back to work.

thanks as always to those who have been in touch, from record companies to promoters and artists, it's always a real pleasure to hear from you.

In the meantime, as always, I can be contacted at johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, with the AT and DOT substituted with the appropriate punctuation.

The blog's also on Twitter ( @viveleroq ) where you can follow us and keep up to date with the latest articles as they appear.

Merci et à bientôt