Saturday, 30 November 2013

Chic Gamine: Closer

Canadian act Chic Gamine are one of the varied acts playing at this year's Rencontres Trans
Musicales de Rennes event next week.

The band make jazzy harmonies sound effortless, and while they may at first seem to be a modern take of the classic 60s girl group, there's much more to them than simply being a retro act.

They have been around since 2007 when singers Ariane Jean, Andrina Turenne and Annick Bremault recruited drummer Sacha Daoud and fourth singer Alexa Dirks.

Their self-titled debut was released in 2008 in Canada, which won a Juno Award for Best Roots Album the following year. A second Canadian album was released in 2010, with a second Juno nomination, also for Roots Album of the Year.

Their album Closer was released in March this year, their first release in the USA, and the band played at SXSW festival in Texas earlier in 2013.

While their style might seem at odds with some of the more contemporary acts in the bill, the charm of their vocals will certainly win them admirers.

Catherine Ringer: Plaza Francia

Nice to hear about the return to the stage by ex Les Rita Mitsouko singer Catherine Ringer.

She's playing a couple of live dates with members of the Franco-Argentinian group Gotan Project.

The trio,  under the name Plaza Francia, are staging shows in Sannois and in Clermont-Ferrand.

Plaza Francia is an actual public space in Buenos Aires, Gotan Project being a band very much at the forefront of taking traditional Argentinian-influenced music into the 21st by combining tango and latin grooves with modern electronica.

Ringer was half of the Les Rita Mitsouko with her partner Frédéric Chichin until his death in 2007. Since then she has worked as a solo artist

She recently performed a version of the Charles Trenet song Je Chante on a France Inter radio show marking the centenary of the birth of the legendary French singer/songwriter.

She toured extensively following the release of her last album, Ring 'n' Roll in 2011. This new project hopefully marks the beginning of a new stage in her career.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Acid Arab: Berberian Wedding

Another look ahead to next week's Les Transmusicales de Rennes festival, with the act Acid Arab.

Using the framework of modern electronica, the French act takes the sounds of north Africa into a new dimension.

Acid Arab consists of DJs Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho, whose mission is to take eastern music from North Africa, the middle east, Egypt, Turkey and India and blend it with modern electronic sound and purpose it for the dancefloor.

Previosuly a band like this might have been filed under 'world music' and have only found a  small but dedicated audience, but the international appeal of electronic music catapults them into a much wider context.

Recently they even played Tel Aviv, showing that music really doesn't have any borders.

Their dabut album Acid Arab Collections was released earlier this month, and features songs by Omar Souleyman, pilooski, étienne Jaumet, Professor Genius, Renart and others.

Ben L'Oncle Soul: Hallelujah !!! (J'Ai Tant Besoin De Toi)

A great slice of retro soul stylings from Ben L'Oncle Soul, with the clip for the track Hallelujah !!! (J'Ai Tant
Besoin De Toi).

Strange how it's such a convincing take on the classic sound that you hardly notice that it's actually in French on first listen.

The artist known to friends and family as Benjamin Duterde released his debut self-titled album in 2010.

That album saw him nominated for an armful of awards, wining the  Revelation Scène award at the Victoires de la Musique awards in 2011.

He followed up his debut with a live album and DVD entitled Live Paris in 2011.

He is no stranger to the UK, having appeared on Later with Jools Holland in 2011.

He's got a series of live dates across Europe lined up, including a show in London on December the fourth.

Johnny Hallyday: Born Rocker Tour

A clip from the new Johnny Hallyday live collection has been released to promote the release of Johnny
Hallyday's Born Rocker Tour DVD and CD.

The release commemorates his shows this summer that marked his 70th birthday. Hallyday played a show at Paris Bercy, part of a short tour, on the say of his birthday, and also a more intimate show at the much smaller Théâtre de Paris later the same night.

The standard edition is two DVDs of the Bercy show with a CD of the two bonus songs, a Blu Ray has the Bercy show, a collector edition has the Bercy show on DVD and CD as well as the bonus tracks and four live tracks from the Théâtre de Paris gig.

The deluxe edition of 3 DVDs and 3 CDs  features audio and video of the Bercy gig as well as of the Theatre de Paris show, and a couple of unreleased studio tracks.

This year has already seen a Johnny Hallyday live release, with the On Stage double CD (Three discs if you include the bonus three track disc.)

However, the new release differs significantly in that Born Rocker Tour is essentially a video release with the audio of the shows more of an add-on.

On Stage was  an audio release without a DVD, although there was certainly a demand for footage of shows like his historic gigs in the USA, London and elsewhere.

Also, On Stage was a document of a tour, with songs from venues across France  and Geneva, this new release focuses on one particular gig, or at least on one particular day.

There's plenty for fans of Johnny to listen to on this new collection.

Johnny's got some dates in Asia in December, with gigs  in Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hong Kong before Christmas.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Joris Delacroix: Air France

Over the next few days I'll be featuring some of the artists who are playing at the  Rencontres Trans
Musicales de Rennes event in France next month, a gathering of some of the best new and more established aritsts from France and beyond.

 Joris Delacroix, a DJ and producer from Montpellier works in electronica that moves a dancefloor without compromising its sophistication.

He's been active for a few years, working originally in a club in Montpellier his own material attracting attention of the likes of Roger Sanchez.

His debut album Room with View was released in 2011 on Woh Lab.

His track Air France been around for a while, featuring as it did on that album, but the new video gives it (quite literally) a breath of fresh air.

Organising the choreography in a wind tunnel no doubt posed a special set of challenges for the video director.

It would be interesting - if unlikely - to see folk attempt some of the moves on the dancefloor.

The five track Air France EP is released in full on December 2.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Dub Inc: Il Faut Qu'on Ose

A video for an acoustic live version of the track Il Faut Qu'on Ose, a track from the Paradise album by
Saint-Étienne reggae act Dub Inc.

Reggae has always been the most inclusive of musical styles, adapting constantly and fitting perfectly with other music genres. Rap and a very French accordion sound are incorporated here effortlessly.

It's very much part of Dub Inc's open minded attitude, a band that performs in French, English, Arabic and  Kabyle, a regional language from Algeria.

Dub Inc have been around since 1997 and have released five studio albums,  Diversité in 2003, Dans le décor  in 2005 and Afrikya  in 2008.

The act became known as Dub Inc from 2006, and under this name they've released  Hors contrôle - their most commercially successful release so far - in 2010 and their most recent Paradise in October this year.

They've built up a huge following principally on account of their live shows, and have become one of Europe's leading reggae acts on their own terms, releasing their material themselves without much involvement of traditional media.

Dub Inc are on tour in France at the moment, with a date at the Zénith in Paris on December 20.

Woodkid: Volcano

Woodkid is currently undertaking live dates around France and elsewhere, having played recent shows in
both London and Paris while backed with an orchestra.

But one interesting development is the appearance in his live shows of two new numbers, Volcano and Go, and decent video of the track Volcano has emerged from his Paris show at the Zénith arena on November the fifth.

It's as epic a track as you might hope for,  with martial techno beats interwoven with an almost classical soundscape.

Strange that I should feature Laibach on the blog last week as  this track certainly puts me in mind of the Slovenian band's musical vision.

Woodkid's debut album The Golden Age was released earlier this year, and after his current sat of dates end in December, he's back on the road in France and Germany from February next year with the first show at the Zénith in Paris on February 7.

Whether there will actually be a follow-up to the Golden Age remains uncertain as Yoann Lemoine has said that he doesn't see his Woodkid project continuing beyond 2015. Already an established music video director, he has spoken about his desire to direct films.

However, the strength of the new material suggests that, at least for now,  Woodkid is very much alive and well.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Zaz: Live in London

French singer-songwriter Zaz plays in London tonight, following a debut UK album release.

She played in the UK over the summer, witha  show at the Scala in London as well as a number of sessions. She'd earlier played at the Royal Albert Hall supporting Cara Emerald.

Her 2010 debut album Zaz was a number one in France, and her studio follow-up, this year's Recto Verso has been one of 2013's biggest selling albums in France, with over 200,000 copies sold so far.

A special edition of the album was released earlier this month, with a 28 minute documentary and nine bonus tracks.

The UK market got a different release, with the album Zazi being released in September, a 12 track collection featuring tracks from her two studio  releases so fat.

Zaz plays at Heaven in London, and her tour continues with dates in mainland Europe including two sold-out nights at the Casino de Paris at the beginning of December.

Christine and the Queens: The Loving Cup

A new video for the track The Loving Cup by Christine and the Queens.

The song is the opening number of their Nuit 17 à 52 EP, their third, which was released in June this year.

A video for the track Nuit 17 à 52 was also released in June.

Christine posted on Facebook that she wrote the song after seeing the film Paris is Burning. The 1990 documentary by Jennie Livingston focussed on the New York gay scene of the mid to late 1980s, involving drag events, fashion and voguing.

It examined issues of gender, race and social class, bringing  an insight into marginalised communities facing racism, homophobia and aids.

The film went on to win a number of awards including the 1991 Grand Jury documentay prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and the 1991 Teddy awaqrd for Best Documentary at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Christine and the Queens are supporting Gaetan Roussel for a number of dates in France in December, including a show at Le Trianon in Paris on December 3.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Carla Bruni: J'arrive à toi.

 A new clip for by Carla Bruni for the track J'arrive à toi.

The song is the opening track of her latest album, her fourth,  Little French Song which was released in March this year.
To these ears it's the best track on the album to have been released as a single so far, following as it does Chez Keith et Anita, Mon Raymond and Le Penguin.
The Little French Songs collection gets a re-issue next week with four bonus songs including a duet with Julien Clerc.
She plays at the Casino de Paris on November 22, 23 and 24, and returns to the French capital for  a show at l'Olympia on March 11.

Monday, 18 November 2013

-M- Il(s) release and private concert

The artist known as -M- plays a special concert in Paris tonight at the Bus Palladium venue to mark the release of his new live collection îl(s).

-M- has been touring extensively across France and beyond following the release of his îl album last year, and the new collection, which is both a CD and DVD documents his live show.

His most recent studio collection came out in November last year, and îl has produced hit songs like Mojo and Baia.

However, he's marking the occasion with a special low-key show in the capital, and while tickets might be hard to get, a live streaming of the gig means more people should be able to enjoy the spectacle.

-M- is due to play in Paris in December 12, 13 and 14 at the Palais Omnisport de Paris Bercy.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Laibach: Love on the Beat

An interesting cover of Serge Gainsbourg's Love on the Beat.

The original was the title track of Gainsbourg's 1984 album, his penultimate studio collection before his death in 1991.

Laibach are an industrial band from Slovenia, who have released many interesting and provocative works since they were formed in then-Yugoslavia in 1980. They're part of a wider Slovenian art organisation Neue Slowenische Kunst that incorporates design, theatre and art.

They fell foul of the communist regime by mocking their totalitarian tendencies by apparently adopting them themselves, to a point of ridicule.

Since then they established themselves in western Europe,  their commercially successful releases including covers of the Beatles album Let it Be, and an album of versions of the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil.

Their 2006 album Volk saw them perform versions of National Anthems, including a memorable version of the French national anthem.

They have been a huge influence on German band Rammstein and remain one of the few  bands involved in the 80s industrial  music scene who continue to release interesting material.

The cover or Love on the Beat was recorded live at a gig the band performed at the Tate Modern gallery in London in 2012.

It features on  a new four track EP entitles S, and a new album entitled Spectre is to be released in February next year.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Russian Police Choir: Get Lucky

There have been a million different versions this song, or so it seems, but there's always time for one more.

Just as the joke's getting a bit stale, it seems that it's reached the centre of Moscow where the police choir, when not imposing law and order upon the good people of city, enjoy a decent song as much as any of us.

So while they may look like the bad guys in the James Bond films, it seems that the Russian boys in blue enjoy the same things we do after all.

Not that it should be seen in any way as an attempt to distract the western media from accusations that the Russian authorities employ strong-arm tactics against their minorities or against those like Pussy Riot who mock them. That would just be cynical.

Instead, we should just enjoy the evident joie de vivre being expressed in way you'd never see the bad guy's henchmen in a Bond film behave.

11 November: Armistice Day

The memorial to the Free French Forces in Greenock, Inverclyde Scotland.

Picture by Dave Souza, taken from Wikipedia.

Friday, 8 November 2013

David Bowie: I'd Rather Be High - Louis Vuitton advert

No sooner do I feature an advert on the blog than another pops up that merits attention.

This time it's David Bowie appearing in and featuring his song I'd Rather be High in a promo for French luxury brand Louis Vuitton.

The video features US model  Arizona Muse who has previously featured in campaigns for Louis Vuitton as well as brands like Yves Saint Laurent and Prada.

The song originally appeared on Bowie's The Next Day album, which was released in March this year.

A new deluxe edition of the album has just surfaced, which features bonus edition tracks, a Japanese exclusive track and four new songs, along with a DVD of four promo videos.

The advert is directed by Romain Gavras, who directed the controversial Stress music video for Justice as well as their long-form documentary A Cross the Universe. He's also worked for SImian Mobile Disco, M.I.A and  Kanye West & Jay-Z.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Citroen DS3 advert - Discobitch: C'est Beau La Bourgeoisie

Another high profile French advert, this time for the Citroen DS3 car, using a piece of French music to
soundtrack the campaign.

The track is C'est Beau La Bourgeoisie, a piece of punky electro by Discobitch, a music project by Kylian Mash and Laurent Konrad.

The song was originally released in 2008 and reached number two in France and was also a hit in Belgium, Switzerland and Germany.

Kylian Mash has since worked with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Flo Rida and Timbaland and in 2010 founded his own record label Most Wanted Music.

 Laurent Konrad has since remixed artists like Moby and in 2009 produced the song Ça m'énerve by Helmut Fritz, a song that reached number one in France and was nominated for a  Victoires de la musique award in 2010 in the Best Original Song of the Year category.

Gerald De Palmas: Je me souviens de tout

A new video for a track for Gérald De Palmas' forthcoming album that's due out next week.

The song Je me souviens de tout follows the single Serait-il that emerged this summer, both featuring on the forthcoming album entitled De Palmas.

The album followed three years of touring by De Palmas, and he says he approached the recording of this new album from a new angle, taking a live approach to the recording as opposed to looking at his live performance and studio performances as two separate and distinct things.

Earlier this year he spoke about how he's now convinced that the energy of the band when they perform live allows him to sing with more intensity, and he is ten times as motivated as he would be singing alone at  a microphone.

De Palmas may seem an unlikely skateboarder, but the video has a nostalgic and melancholic feel that's certainly appropriate for the song.

De Palmas has an extensive schedule of tour dates with some shows in December and more from at the begining of 2014, across France and in Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

 He has scheduled two concerts in Paris next year, with a show at La Cigale on February 13 and another at L'Olympia on May 27.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Jack et la Mechanique du coeur

A trailer for what looks like an interesting French animated film, Jack et la La Mécanique du Cœur.

The film, set in 19th century Edinburgh and probably to be called The boy with the cuckoo-clock heart in English, is based on the concept album and subsequent comic book La Mécanique du Cœur by French band Dionysios, the book written by the singer Mathias Malzieu.

Amongst those involved in the film is producer Luc Besson, one of France's best-known names in commercial cinema, along with directors Stéphane Berla - who directed the band's promo films - and Mathias Malzieu.

The movie is set to be released in 3D and features the vocal talents of  Mathias Malzieu along with the likes of Jean Rochefort, Rossy de Palma and Olivia Ruiz.

The unmistakeable voice of Grand Corps Malade can also be heard.

The film had been scheduled for last year, but problems with the film company led to delays.

It is set for release on Feb 5 2014, and certainly looks like one of the highlights of early 2014.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Johnny Hallyday: Un Jour l'Amour Te Trouvera

There's a new single released by Johnny Hallyday today, the previously unreleased track Un Jour l'Amour Te

The song sounds very much along the lines of his November 2012 l'Attente album and is the kind of powerful ballad that France's national rocker does so well.

The track was one of two recorded by Hallyday in Los Angeles in September this year, and it will appear as one of two new studio tracks on his Born Rocker Tour collection, due out on November 25.

Hallyday celebrated his 70th birthday over the summer with a short French tour including a sold-out show at Bercy in Paris on his birthday, and a second intimate show the same night at the  théâtre de Paris.

 The new collection, in its various formats, collects these two shows. The standard edition is two DVDs of the Bercy show with a CD of the two bonus songs, a Blu Ray has the Bercy show, a collector edition has the Bercy show on DVD and CD as well as the bonus tracks and four live tracks from the théâtre de Paris gig. Meanwhile, a deluxe edition features 3 DVDs and 3CDs, with the Bercy gig in DVD and audio, the  théâtre de Paris show in DVD and audio, along with the two studio tracks.

Plenty for Johnny's fans for Christmas this year by the looks of things.

Bertrand Cantat - Détroit: Null & Void

Another track has emerged ahead of the release of the new album by Détroit, the duo featuring former Noir
Désir singer Bertrand Cantat.

Previously the track Droit Dans le Soleil emerged at the end of September, but this is a far more rock-flavoured offering.

Cantat spoke at length to Les Inrocks last month, breaking a silence of ten years, in an interview that saw him speak about the killing of his partner Marie Trintignant, his subsequent time in prison and how he has become for some a symbol of domestic violence against women.

He described his guilt and remorse for what he did, and he also spoke about the suicide of his former partner, and mother of his children in 2010.

While his killing of Trintignant dominated the interview, he also spoke about the end of Noir Désir, in their day probably the best band in France. He said that in their latter days his involvement with the band became for him another sort of prison.

Meanwhile, his forthcoming release was described as 'crippling', a difficult release that saw him confront his demons, question and analyse everything.

The debate continues, but what's certain is that the Détroit release looks set to be one of the most discussed music releases of the year.

The album by Détroit, entitled Horizons, is released on November 18.

Friday, 1 November 2013

We Were Evergreen: Chromosomes

French indie favourites We Were Evergreen are apeparing the soundtrack of the newly released film Fonzy.

The movie, directed by Isabelle Doval and starring José Garcia is a remake of the Quebecois film entitled Starbuck which came out in 2011.

In it, the main male character, aged 42, discovers that 20 years after providing a sperm sample under the pseudonym Fonzy, he has been the biological father of 533 children.

An English language version, entitled Delivery Man, is expected later this year starring VInce Vaughn.

The soundtrack features some of the tracks form the band's debut EP Leeway that was releases earlier this year, and also includes the new track Chromosomes.

We Were Evergreen are touring the UK in November supporting Villagers.

Editorial: November 2013

Despite my best efforts I didn't manage as many posts in October as I would have liked, mostly due to struggling manfully with man flu this past week.

Still, it gave me a chance to listen to some great music,

But it has been a good month none the less, plenty to report here and some great stuff to listen to over the past few weeks.

October was also one of the busiest months we've had in terms of visitors this year. Thanks for dropping by if it's your first time.

I've been reading quite a few music biographies these past few weeks, currently reading Morrissey's Autobiography having just finished the excellent In Search of Manu Chao by Peter Culshaw.

I can't recommend it enough, and while I've been a fan of Chao for years, it inspired me to fill the holes in my collection of his back catalogue, and I've really enjoyed listening to Mano Negra again. Still sounding great after all these years.

Culshaw makes the
point that at one stage Mano Negra could have been as big as U2. That would certainly have been an interesting turn of events.  Chao would have made a much more interesting representative at the G8 meetings than Bono could ever be.

there are some more interesting releases ahead this month, another busy month in the run up to the festive seasons including releases by -M-, Sexion d'assaut and Grand Corps Malade, as well as UK shows by Jane Birkin and Woodkid.

As always, I can be contacted on johnkilbrideAThotmailDOTcom, with the appropriate punctuation where you'd expect it to be.

We're also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

Thanks again are due to the various record companies and promoters who have been in touch, and  thanks as always to the Institut francais in London and the French Music Office in London for help and encouragement.

Merci et à bientôt

John K