Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Yannick Noah: Le même sang.

A new single and clip from Yannick Noah, with the track Le même sang.

It's the latest from the likeable former tennis star, who has since 1990 become better known for his music than for the heights of a world-leading tennis career in the 80s.

The new single follows the release of Ma colère  and On court, the previous two singles from his Combats ordinaires album.

The album reached number one in France when it was released earlier this year.

Noah stirred the ire of the Front National with  Ma colère , and while this song is easy on the ear, it remains an appeal for tolerance in a country wher

Yannick Noah ha dates in Paris in November, playing at the Palais des Sports between November 5 and November 15.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Yann Tiersen: Live in London

A very quick new release by Yann Tiersen this weekend, with a live album of his gig at the Royal Festival Hall in London at the weekend being made available as a CD and download immediately after the show finished.

Tiersen played at the venue on Friday night, and as he was playing the recording was recorded and mixed at Abbey Road studios as it happened.

Obviously it will be a recording in far better sound quality than any phone footage of the show might ever hope to capture.

For all he's an artist most closely associated with film soundtrack work, he's never been shy about performing on stage and presenting what could be seen as quite fragile and beautiful work in a live context.

His Infinity album is certainly a contender for the album of the year as far as this blog is concerned.

His tour continues in October and November, with dates in Europe, North American and South America.

He plays in Paris on October 27 at l'Olympia.

The CD is available to order at this site 

Moodoïd: Deezer Session

A suitably groovy Deezer session by Moodoïd.

The band played in Liverpool over the weekend at the International Festival of Psychedelia along with a few other favourites of this blog such as Orval Carlos Sibelius and Sudden Death of Stars.

The session features Je Suis La Montagne, De La Folie Pur and La Lune.

It's gorgeously filmed and captures the band just following the release of their debut album.

The band have announced an extensive number of live dates across France in October, November and December, and a show in London on October 13.

Friday, 26 September 2014

French acts at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia.

Some great French bands playing in the UK this weekend at the Liverpool International Festival of

Several favourites of this blog take to the stage of the UK's most technicolor two-day event.

Tonight sees Zombie Zombie and Saturday's bill includes Moodoid and Orval Carlos Sibelius, along with Sudden Death of Stars.

All great bands that I have featured extensively over the last few years and months here at Vive Le Roq, and great to see them all playing in the UK again. Hopefully it won't be too long until they play somewhere I can see them easily.

Dzens of other bands play at the event, serving  all manner of fresh sonic madness.

Rennes based Sudden Death of Stars made the track The Break Up available as a free MP3 recently, a track from their All Unrevealed Parts of the Unknown collection that was released earlier this year.

Julien Doré: Chou Wasabi

I forgot to give a mention to the new single Chou Wasabi by Julien Doré when it first came out, so no
 time like the present to catch up.

The track features Doré duetting with Australian singer Micky Green and it was included  on his Løve album, a top five hit in France, which came out in October last year.

Since its release the album has gone double platinum in France, selling over 200,000 copies.
Choux Wasabi is the third single to be released from the collection.

Doré first established himself as an artist when he won the fifth season of TV talent show Nouvelle Star in 2007.

He's since released three albums, each showing that he's a much more interesting artist than his TV heritage might at first suggest.

Doré plays three sold-out shows at the Olympia in Paris on November 15,16 and 17.


Emmanuelle Seigner: Marche à l'ombre

A new album of artists covering the songs of Renaud is due out next month the collection La Bande à
 Renaud 2 following up the success of the previous album.

La Bande à Renaud tribute album came out earlier this year and reached the top of the French album charts, and featured artists such as Coeur de Pirate with a memorable cover of Mistral gagnant,
Nicola Sirkis from Indochine performing Hexagone, as well as Benjamin Biolay, Carla Bruni, Nolwenn Leroy and Grand Corps Malade.

The first tack to emerge in full from the new album is Emmanuelle Seigner singing Marche à l'ombre, the title track of Renaud's 1980 album.

Seigner's most recent release was her Distant Lover album that came out earlier this year. She's best known as an actress, having had  long career including films like  Place Vendôme and La Vie En Rose. She's also the wife of director Roman Polanski.

The new album will feature contributions from  Olivia Ruiz, Thomas Dutronc, , Benjamin Siksou, Louane and Emily Loizeau and others , while Nicola Sirkis , Renan Luce, Benjamin Biolay  and Nolwenn Leroy appear again having featured on the first volume.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Yelle: Complètement Fou

The new clip has emerged for the track Complètement Fou by Yelle.

The French electropop trio are set to release the follow-up to their 2011 Disco Safari Club album at the end of this month, and the new track shows that they've certainly been keeping up with things.

The years since might have only seen a handful of releases, but they've been touring - with Katy Perry amongst others - and DJing extensively.

Safari Disco Club was their second album, a follow up to their 2007 debut Pop Up. The band, a trio of GrandMarinier (Jean-Francois Perrier), Tepr (Tanguy Destable) and Yelle (Julie Budet) initially found success with songs like Je Veux Te Voir and A cause des garçons.

The track Bouquet Final emerged over the summer in anticipation of the new album.

Needless to say, the video's an appropriately colourful and visually provocative affair, with giant corn cobs, vogueing and the kind of visuals that feel like an over the top  21st century take on a late 80s dance video.

The band have a number of live dates in support of their album, and play in London on December 2 and Paris on December 16.

Pete Doherty: Culturetheque video interview

There are plenty of musical acts over the years who have take their influences from French literature and culture, from the likes of Bob Dylan and Patti Smith's making reference to Rimbaud to Malcolm McLaren borrowing ideas from the Situationists and the '68 movement, so it's no surprise to see these connections alive and well.

Pete Doherty, member of The Libertines and Babyshambles and sometimes solo artist is one performer who certainly makes the connection with French literature as this brief interview by Culturetheque shows.

Brassens, Genet, Baudelaire and Huysmans all get a mention in the short clip, filmed while he was promoting his From Albion to Shangri-La: Journals and Tour Diaries 2008 - 2013 book in London.

It shouldn't be a surprise though, Doherty lives in Paris and  one of the tracks on Down in Albion was À rebours, taking its title from Huysmans' best known work.

Doherty is probably best known outwith music  as a tabloid news figure in the UK, with his A-list former girlfriend and his well-documented drug issues and problems with the law.  But I've always thought that beneath the fog of celebrity and infamy there's a very interesting  artist who might not get it right every time, but who certainly gets it right more than most do.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Shaka Ponk: Heal Me Kill Me

Another track from Shaka Ponk has been released as a single from their White Pixel Ape album.

Heal Me Kill Me follows previous tracks Story O' my LF, Lucky G1rl  and Wanna Get Free

A new collection from the band is due out before the end of the year, with an album entitled The Black Pixel Ape due to be released on November 3.

Shaka Ponk are touring the arenas of France in October through to December, and play at Bercy in Paris on November 20.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Bagarre: Mourir au club

A great track and appropriately wonderful video for the track Mourir au club by Bagarre.

The track comes from the Paris-based band's debut EP entitled Bonsoir, nous sommes Bagarre, featuring Mourir au club, Nous étions cinq  and L’étrange triangle.

The track's a quality piece of fiery electro rock, imaginative and immediate.

The EP originally emerged in May this year on the Rouge Vinyle label.

Bagarre play in Rennes on September 26 and in Paris on October 25.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Booba: 3G

A strong return for French rap supremo Booba, with the track 3G.

It follows his track OKLM, a number one single in France earlier this year

The backdrop of the unrest in the middle east provides the track with its momentum and gives it an urgency and a gravity that rap music often misses.

Booba's last full album was 2012's Futur, a platinum seller, It's predecessor 2010's  Lunatic gave him a number one in France and a double platinum seller.

He's sold over ten million so far in his solo career, a controversial figure but one whose importance cannot be understated.

Zaz: Paris sera toujours Paris

The clip has emerged for the new Zaz single Paris sera toujours Paris.

It's a modern take on traditional Franch chanson, the kind of song that will warm the hearts of Francophiles around the world,

The video, complete with its English subtitles, certainly suggests its aimed at a wider audience beyond France itself.

Zaz is one of France's biggest selling artists in recent years, and her last collection Recto Verso - released 18 months ago - sold almost half a million copies.

The track comes from her forthcoming third album  which features a selection of old-time covers,  all centred on the theme of Paris.

Paris sera toujours Paris was originally recorded in 1939 by Maurice Chevalier, a singer who throughout his long career sang many songs in praise of the French capital.

The new Zaz album is released on November the tenth.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Festival: Fête de l'Humanité

This weekend sees the Fête de l'Humanité festival take place at the Georges Valbon park in La Courneuve
outside Paris.

While it's a musical festival with some of the biggest names on the bill, it remains an event true to its roots in the left-wing struggle and solidarity.

The festival has been running since 1930, originally as a fundraiser for the L'Humanité Communist party newspaper. To this day it remains one of the principal income sources of the newspaper.

Over the decades some impressive acts have played, from Pink Floyd to The Who and The Stooges, and French acts like Manu Chao, Johnny Hallyday, Jacques Higelin along with Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens and Juliette Greco.

Some of the acts you might see as sympathetic to the party and its cause, others less so. It's always been an event with an open-minded outlook.

This year sees Scorpions, Massive Attack and IAM at the top of the bill, with Alpha Blondy, Les Ogres de Barback and many others playing over the three day event.

The main stage has an area for an audience of 100,000, although many more will attend the event over the weekend.

If the L'Humanité newspaper has a reputation for being dry, serious and wordy, the festival is anything but. It's a lively event, full of interaction and exchanges of ideas with participants from around the world.

 Debates, discussions and ideas are as much part of the event as the bands on the bill.

While the music is a central part of the festival, its central purpose has never been forgotten. It proudly states on its poster: "Pour réinventer la liberté, l'égalité et la fraternité."

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Constance Amiot: Les jours

A video from the song Les jours by Constance Amiot.

The track comes from her 12ème Parallèle album, the  fourth full album from the singer-songwriter.

It's a tastefully mellow acoustic piece, exactly the kind of thing that would appeal to fans of Carla Bruni.

Her debut release was 2003's Whisperwood, and she's released two subsequent collections, Fairytale in 2007 and Once Twice in 2011.

The album was relased in France in July this year and comes out in Canada this week.

She plays at the café de la danse in Paris on October 16.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes: Another 10 acts confirmed

Ten new names have been added to the bill for this year's Transmusicales festival in Rennes.

Acts added include Oso Leone, Islam Chipsy, Dad Rocks!, Courtney Barnett, Eagles Gift, Jeanne Added, Le Zooo, Jambinai, Smoove and Turrell and Boris Brejcha.

It follows the announcement earlier this month of the first ten acts on the bill, with DBFC, Den Sorte Skole, I Me Mine, Lizzo, Meta Meta, Molotov Jukebox, Naked (on drugs), Kate Tempest, Thylacine and Vadou Game.

Another tranche of acts will be confirmed on September 12.

The annual event is a major showcase for acts and the festival's spirit has always had a forward looking  and wide ranging outlook.  

Last year the likes of  Stromae, London Grammar and Moodoïd played,  as did Le Vasco, Public Service Broadcasting and dozens of others.

Events include workshops and conferences, free gigs in the city as well as large-scale festival shows in the Parc Expo on the outskirts of Rennes.

The festival takes  place in Rennes from December 3 -7

Monday, 8 September 2014

Moodoïd: Les chemins de traverse

A new video for Moodoïd's Les chemins de traverse, a track from their recently-released debut Le
Monde Möö.

More suitably strange imagery, with a definite flavour of Chilean-French filmmaker, Alejandro Jodorowsky.

The video was directed by Moodoïd's Pablo Padovani.

Moodoïd are playing in the UK later this month at the Liverpool International estival of PSychedelia and next month at the Sebright Arms in London.

I'll have a review of the album here on the blog next weekend.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Review - Zebda: Comme Des Cherokees

A new album by Zebda is something to treasure, and I'm pleased to hear that the new collection by the
Toulouse band - Comme Des Cherokees - lives up to my expectations.

It's their second album since they got back together again in 2011 and it proves that they remain every but as vital as before, and are hopefully back for good.

For a band as politically involved as Zebda, they don't get ideology get in the way of a good tune.
L'Envie kicks the album off in fine upbeat style , A suivre keeps up the pace.

Les Petits Pas has already wormed its way into the ear of anyone whose heard it and if this single came as a shock to those hearing its  70s disco vibe, it  sounds perfectly in context here, there's a celebratory feel to everything here.

But it's not all froth, Zebda have lost none of their punch and retain their smartness  and wit. There's plenty to get your teeth into here.

Zebda remain a band to treasure and this collection sees them at the top of their game.

I can't help but think how great these songs would sound live. If you get the chance to see them, be sure to let me know what I'm missing.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Manon: Ma fabuleuse

There's been a screed of releases by former competitors and winners of France's TV talent shows.

Some are good, some competent, few are remarkable or stand above the ordinary. But I do like this track very much indeed.

Ma fabuleuse is the new single by Manon, who emerged in season three of the French version of The Voice.

She was coached by Jenifer after being picked by three of the four judges in the blind audition round following her version of Stromae's Formidable.

 She went on to perform Sois heureux , originally by Charles-Baptiste and made it to the semi final after bing saved by her coach following covers of Brel's Ne Me Quitte Pas and Brassens' Je me suis fait tout petit.

The new single is a classy piece of modern chanson.

A proper video for the track is expected to be released at the end of the month.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Marble Arch: Antiscript

A great clip for the track Antiscript by Marble Arch.

The track prompts reminiscences of the Jesus and Marychain and Ride. But I reckon its more that Marble Arch are - like the JAMC - paying a tribute to the daydream pop of the 60s than trying to recreate the sound of the 80s underground.

But either way, it's  a sound that is both powerful and affecting, with a video that captures the feel of nostalgia and distance perfectly.

Marble Arch is a solo project of the guitarist with the Rennes band Maria False, who describe themselves as Rock / Shoegaze / Psychédelique band.

Marble Arch released their debut album The Bloom of False in May this year, and the track Antiscript features among the 11 tracks on it.

marble arch - Antiscript. Official video. from Le Razavet Marine on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes: First 10 acts confirmed

Getting to last year's Trans Musicales festival in Rennes in December was one of my musical highlights of last
year, and the first artists have been announced for this year's event.

Last year saw  Stromae, London Grammar and Moodoïd on the bill, as well as the likes of Le Vasco and Public Service Broadcasting.

So far for 2014 they have confirmed DBFC, Den Sorte Skole, I Me Mine, Lizzo, Meta Meta, Molotov Jukebox, Naked (on drugs), Kate Tempest, Thylacine and Vadou Game.

Dozens more will be added to the listing before the event itself, with more to be unveiled on September 9.

The Trans Musicales is a unique opportunity to catch some of the most exciting contemporary acts alongside some more established performers. Since it was first staged in 1979 it has been a showcase for a huge number of innovative acts, from both France and elsewhere.

Preceding the festival itself, some of the acts on the bill tour the west France area from November  13 to November 29

The event itself sees three days of free gigs at the city centre Liberté venue, large scale shows at the Parc Expo outside the city  as well as meetings, workshops, debates and events for schools and community groups.

The festival takes  place in Rennes from December 3 -7

Diesel Only The Brave Wild advert featuring Woodkid

A track by Woodkid has been getting some considerable yet stealthy airplay as the soundtrack for the advert for a new fragrance by Diesel.

Diesel Only The Brave Wild uses the track Iron from Woodkid's The Golden Age album, originally released as his debut single in 2011.

The song a stirring and powerful number, making it an ideal choice for a striking advertising campaign.

Its been used in advertising campaign's before, being used for an Assassin's Creed game, and the song reached the top 30 in France as a single.

The fragrance, meanwhile,  features grapefruit, citronella, black pepper, nutmeg, geranium, lavender, coconut, cedarwood and vetiver.

The advert features French model and actor Willy Cartier who has previously featured in campaigns by Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld and Jean-Paul Gautier.

Diesel describes the kind of person using the fragrance: "From all the pores of his skin, he knows how vegetation breathes, saturated with humidity and heavy scents, or shadowy mists. He can run like the wind, sniff out thunder and lightning and feel like a total child of nature. 

"An intrepid tamer of time, he fills streets and roads with his power that was born in faraway forests. Little by little he rebalances with nature and plant life, concrete and wood, the craziness of the city and the sense of wildlife. He puts harmony back into place."

With the Christmas market, a key time for the sale of fragrances , we can expect to hear a great deal more Woodkid during the advertising breaks on the TV in the coming months.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Moodoïd playlist

Moodoïd have been featured in this month's Q magazine, one of the UK's longest running music magazines, and gave a playlist of some songs that they recommended.

You can read the full article here http://www.qthemusic.com/4927/artist-playlist-moodoids-songs-in-le-style-francais/

It's great to see one of France's most impressive exports of the moment getting this kind of attention in the anglophone press.

There are also some pretty good tunes in their playlist, it's well worth a listen.

Moodoïd album Le Monde Möö gets a UK release this week.

Meanwhile Moodoïd have confirmed that they are returning to the UK for a live show next month, and will play in London at the Sebright Arms on October 13th.

Zaz: Paris sera toujours Paris

A new single has been announced by Zaz, with a version of the song Paris sera toujours Paris.

The song was originally recorded by Maurice Chevalier in 1939, and comes ahead of her new album which features her covers of old songs that pay tribute to Paris.

The new album comes 18 months after the release of Recto verso, and both it and her self-titled debut have been massive sellers in France.   Recto verso has sold over  half a million copies since its release.

Songs like Je Veux and On Ira have established her as a major star with a likeable jazz-infused take on French chanson.

Other songs reported as being on the album alongside  Paris sera toujours Paris include Yves Montand's A Paris, Les Champs Elysées by Joe Dassin, Sous le Ciel de Paris by Edith Piaf and Paris Canaille by Léo Ferré.

Production duties for some of the songs on the new album fell to Quincy Jones, one of America's most legendary producers. His previous work includes the likes of Michael Jackson's Thriller.

The new single comes out on September 12, and the new album is released on November the tenth.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Johnny Hallyday: Regarde-nous

The French summer recess is officially over, with the release of a new single by Johnny Hallyday.

Regarde-nous comes from his forthcoming new album, his 49th studio collection.

The album was recorded in the USA with producer Don Was, who has had his own musical career with Was (not Was) and established himself as one of the USA's top producers with his work with the likes of Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.

Johnny's last studio album was 2012 L'Attente, and he's released a couple of live albums since then, with 2013's On Stage documenting his 2012 tour, and his Born Rocker Tour collection which covered his two 70th birthday concerts at Bercy and the Théâtre de Paris that took place on June 16 2013.

Having been listening to a lot of vintage Hallyday recently - such as the The Sound, The Fury collection of his EP tracks from 1960 and 1961 - it makes for an interesting comparison.

The album, to be entitled Rester vivant comes out on November 17.

Lilly Wood and the Prick

While it has been hugely encouraging to see acts like David Guetta and Daft Punk conquer the international
music scene, it's great to see another French act making a significant chart impact in the UK, even more so when the act in question has the kind of name that would normally not even get them mentioned on the radio, never mind played.

There's no way round it, Lilly Wood and the Prick probably have the ugliest name in music, especially to anglophone ears, but that's not stopped the French indie folk act from reaching the heights of the UK charts with Prayer in C.

True, the '...and the Prick' part of their name has been removed from the act's UK marketing to spare the blushes of the apparently more prudish UK listeners, and that seems to have  made the difference. The song's been a massive hit across Europe - not always a guarantee that the UK will follow  - and Lilly Wood and the Prick are more than just an act with one hit song to their name.

Lilly Wood and the Prick features vocalist Nili Hadida and guitarist Benjamin Cotto who have been working together since 2006. A 2008 cover of the Santogold track L E S Artistes attracted some attention an led to a release of the track Water Ran on alternative folk collection Folk and Proud alongside the likes of Belle and Sebastian, Rufus Wainwright and Devendra Banhart.

Lilly Wood & The Prick - L.E.S. Artistes (session RendezVousCreation n° 20) from Nicolas Esposito on Vimeo.

An EP was to emerge the following year, entitled  Lilly Who and the What?, a six track release that featured both L E S Artistes  and Water Ran. Another track was Down the Drain, which would later feature on their debut album and become their first chart success in France a couple of years later.

They signed to Cinq7 records for their debut album,  the Invincible Friends collection that was released in 2010. The album included Down the Drain, a certain song entitled Prayer in C that would make something of an impression in a few years time.

Invincible Friends made a massive impression critically and commercially, leading to a nomination for a  Victoires de la Musique award for the public breakthrough act in 2011, where they won against competition from acts like Ben l'Oncle Soul, Camélia Jordana and Zaz.

They also performed at the show, one of the major music events in France, performing Down the Drain. By this point, the band had established themselves as not only as a strong live act - Hadida and Cotto having brought in additional musicians to bring a new dimension to their live performance - but also as a serious commercial proposition with artistic integrity.

Their debut album would be reissued in 2011 with a number of additional tracks, including  L.E.S. Artistes and This is a Love Song.

2012 saw the release of their second album, The Fight, which saw a number of singles, with Middle of the Night their first, showing that while their roots may be in alternative folk, they had no fear of embracing more contemporary sounds.

Where I Want To Be (California) followed it, a track which again manages to combine a very contemporary production sound with a great song.

The Fight would reach the top twenty in France, a higher position than their debut managed, the release of a total of four singles giving it a high profile and a long commercial lifespan.

None of the singles would be a huge chart success, but they showed that Lilly Wood was an act with considerable reserves of talent and an act with more that one album's worth of first rate material.

But while the songs from The Fight consolidated the success of Invincible Friends, it would be a remix of a track from the debut album that would put them in the international league.  Prayer in C combined the melancholic feel of the original with a glossy finish that made it both club and radio friendly, German producer Robin Schulz giving it a light re-working rather than a complete re-working, keeping the song intact but adding a sheen to it.

It will be interesting to see what they do next. A new album is likely in 2015, but what's certain is that Lilly Wood and the Prick have become France's most successful international breakthough act in 2014, and that success is well deserved.

Editorial: September 2014

September sees the French holiday lull that was August swept aside, with a rush of releases that continues
from now until December.

To satrt with a new single from Johnny Hallyday released today, ahead of a new album. Also releases coming up by the hotly-tipped Feu! Chatterton, a new album by Louis Bertignac and new releases by The Do and Yelle as wel by the end of the month.

Also today sees the UK release of Moodoid's Le Monde Möö after it came out in France a couple of weeks ago. I'll review it here in a couple of days.

Moodoid play at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia at the end of the month, with VLR favourites Zombie Zombie, Sudden Death of Stars and Orval Carlos Sibelius also on the bill among many other stange and interesting artists.

September also sees Yann Tiersen playing in London, following on from the release of his infinity album, one of this year's key releases.

All this with the success of Lilly Wood in the UK charts, with a song going straight in at number one, means it remains an exciting time for French music.

So plenty to keep us busy over the next few weeks.

 As always, I can be contacted on 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 get in touch.

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

Thanks again to the French Music Office in London and to the Institut francais in London for their help and encouragement.

Merci et à bientôt

John K