Friday, 7 July 2017

Festival: Les Eurockéennes de Belfort

Another of France's biggest festivals is underway this weekend, with the four day long Les
Eurockéennes de Belfort event.

With a scenic location and temperatures expeceted to be in the 30s all weekend, it's the kind of event that British festivals can only aspire to be like.

But are there any decent acts on the bill? Funny you should ask!

It's a four-day long event, with proceedings starting yesterday and continuing until Sunday

Yesterday saw the likes of Iggy Pop, Jain and PNL, Today sees Editors and Gojira, La Femme and HF Thiefaine among the dozens of acts scheduled to perform.

Saturday includes Booba and Justice, as well as Vitalic and Dropkick Murphys.Fishbach and HER are also among the acts.

Sunday features Arcade Fire, Phoenix, Royal Blood and Solange.

Plenty of big names, both French and international, for an event thathas become established as one of Europe's key big summer music events.






Thursday, 6 July 2017

Pierre Henry RIP

So farewell Pierre Henry, whose death was confirmed today aged 89.

A giant of contemporary music of the last 100 years, his ideas pushed the boundaries and tested the possibilities like few have done before or since.

It's facile to call him a pioneer of electronic music, there's much more to his work than just that, but it is true to say that his work blazed a trail for generations to follow. His intellectual weigh ensured that electronic music was taken seriously by the musical establishment, rather than just considered a novelty branch of cinematic sound effects which it could easily have been categorised under.

Henry saw the possibilities that were open to music in the 20th century and explored them with curiosity.


La Ferme Electrique festival

Tomorrow sees one of my favourite small festival events take place, with La Ferme Electrique taking place over July 7 and 8 at Tournan en Brie, in the Seine-et-Marne countryside not far from Paris.

Despite its rural setting, it's just an RER ride from the centre of Paris. Free parking, free camping and a two-day ticket that costs less than 30 euros is pretty enticing.

2017 is the eighth time the festival has been held, and like previous years the event has continued to thrive thanks to its innovative programming and a belief in the value of keeping things small and simple.

La Ferme Electrique is actually held in converted farm buildings, with a bar, restaurant, chip shop and pancake place. Nothing grand, but you can bet it will be perfect.

Getting the opportunity to catch some well-chosen emerging acts in a warm and encouraging environment is usually a much more pleasant experience that catching some well-known faces at a corporate enormo-event.

This year's bill incudes Bryan's Magic Tears, Sheik Anorak, Stratocastors and Le VilleJuif Underground among the acts on the Friday.

Saturday has Do The Dirt, En Attendant Ana, Chinese Army, Daikiri, Housewives and Pogo Car Crash Control and others.

It's a varied line up in terms of musical styles, with plenty of talent there to guarantee two memorable nights.

Sometimes you don't need all the facilities of a luxury Glastonbury yurt, just a meadown in France to pitch your tent, with a tap for water and a stall in the morning where you can buy pastries and coffee. Sounds good to me!




Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The return of MC Solaar

Delighted to see the return of MC Solaar, ten years after the release of any significant new material from the pioneering French rapper.

Solaar was in the early 90s an artist who established rap as a serious genre in France, matching sharp lyrics with sounds that were fresh and funky as hell.

His work also had a resolutely French style, shot through with an urban experience that had more in common with les banlieues than the Bronx, and he charted a path others - many with lesser talents - have since followed.

He was also one of the first French rappers to make a mark in the anglophone world.

Solaar's last album was 2007's Chapitre 7, and the annoucement of a new album follows an unreleased track Sentinel Nord emerged earlier this year.

Solaar's new album is due before the end of the year, and a single is scheuled for August.



Monday, 3 July 2017

La Femme at Main Square Festival

The world's certainly become a smaller place in recent years. Not that long ago an event like Main
Square Festival in Arras would have been something of a secret to an anglophone audience. 

Ignored by the music press, the fact that it attracts big names like Radiohead would have been an oddity, obviously just the bands 'warming up' for the proper festivals in the UK.

Besides, don't those European festivals feature those strange eurobands that no-one's heard of? Some of them don't even perform in English...

Thankfully time's moved on, and not only are some of France's festivals reaching out to an anglophone audience but they're making an effort to be not only televised but available to watch online so you can see for yourself what you're missing. And from watching this kind of coverage, who wouldn't want to go to a music festival like Main Square?

The prices compare favourably with the big ticket prices for UK events, the organisation surpasses many of the UK events, the food and drink are a cut above and the weather is almost always better.

This year's Main Square was a three day event at the cenre of the town that featured Radiohead, others included System of a Down, Biffy Clyro and Rag 'n' Bone Man. For those looking beyond the anglosphere, there were Jain, Thylacine and plenty of others, including La Femme, one of the finest acts operating in France at the moment.

La Femme are playing pretty much every summer festival in France over the summer. Even if you just go to see whatever anglo American acts are on the top of the bill, La Femme strongly make the case that there's more going on in Europe than just waiting for the big acts from over here to play over there.



Orval Carlos Sibelius: Ordre et progrès

A new release by Orval Carlos Sibelius with the album Ordre et  progrès, one of my favourite French
artists.

It's his fifth album, but for the first time his work is in French. His previous releases saw him perform in English.

If there's been a change in language, the music remains a charming take on modern indie psychedelic, if anything with a more electronic edge to this album than on his previous adventures.

I've been a fan since I came across his 2013 Super Forma album, one of the stand out releases in the contemporary French psych sub grenre that seems to have emerged over the past few years.

It's also his first release on Born Bad Records following the demise of the Clapping Music label behind his previous albums. Born Bad

 Ordre et  progrès is the kind of album that you enjoy on first listen, but find yourself returning to again and again, and each time finding another subtle layer of meaning, another shade of colour. It's a rich and rewarding release that deserves a great deal of attention.

There's a great video for the track Coupure Générale that emerged a couple of month ago ahead of the release of the album. Like the best music videos, it's a simple idea done well.

This weekend saw Orval Carlos Sibelius play at the Europavo festival in Clermont-Ferrand, hopefully with more live dates to come.

Editorial: July 2017

A fresh month at Vive le roq, with summer very much under way.

Last month saw the festival season in France in full force, with events like Hellfest, We Love Green, Main Square and others being held pretty much every available weekend.

This month sees that trend continue, with events like The Eurockéennes de Belfort, Vieilles Charrues and Les Francofolies de La Rochelle on the immediate horizon and Main Square just coming to a close with a set by Radiohead last night.

There are also a number of interesting releases that we'll be taking a look at.

Things are getting back to normal service here at Vive le roq, and we'll be producing more articles in the forthcoming weeks than we've been managing in the past few months.Thanks for sticking with us.

In the meantime,you can get a hold of me at 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 drop me an email. I'm always keen to hear new things, and relay information about acts I already know and love.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq, although that's prety much just an autofeed when we update with a new article. You can usually find me on my personal Twitter acount quicker, @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

Merci et à bientôt

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Indochine: La vie est belle

A notification from Indochine HQ this week that one of France's biggest rock groups is back in action, with a single, new album and tour on the horizon.

Since the 90s, Indochine have been one of the country's biggest rock acts, with a commercial and artistic credibility that few can equal. It's hard to think of an Anglo equivalent to indochine, the closest would be someone like U2, a post-punk act who went on to fill stadiums, but unlike U2 they never became a parody of what once made them great.

Indochine's last studio album was 2013's Black City Parade, a number one album in France that included the track College Boy, a tarck that showed that even a band that had been around for a few decades was still capable of raising difficult and controversial questions.

Their subsequent tours supporting the album saw them play two shows at the Stade de France, as well as a gig in London. Two live albums, Black City Tour and Black City Concerts documented the dates, both collections reaching the top ten.

So some new materiais quite a big deal, and the band unveiled their new track on prime time French TV show Quotidien avec Yann Barthes.

Their new track La vie est belle come from their forthcoming 13th album, which is due to appear on September 8.

They've confirmed a tour of arenas in France in February 2018, with a show at the Zénith on Paris on February 16 and 17. Tickets go on sale on June 21.


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Phoenix: Goodbye Soleil

A new video by Phoenix, for the track Goodbye Soleil which sees France's favourite feelgood
indie rockers sing in their native tongue as well as English.

It's a classic summer track and continues the retro Euro dance vibe that their previous single J-Boy and the track Ti Amo explored.

These two tracks along with Goodbye Soleil feature on their forthcoming sixth album Ti Amo released next week.

The band's last album was 2013's bankrupt.

Phoenix are playing pretty much every fesival taking place over the summer. They play Glastonbury at the end of this month, and in France they play Les Eurockéennes,  Vieilles Charrues, Musilac and Beauregard in July


Hugo Barriol: On the Road

Only in France could a performer come quite literally from the underground.

Singer songwriter Hugo Barriol would perform at stations in Paris before winning the Métro Music Award, a music prize for accredited performers on the French capital's transport system.

The award proved a first class ticket for Barriol, who was offered appearances on TV reality music shows as a result. He turned down the opportunities, choosing instead to keep his focus on his solo music career.

The Saint Etienne native says that constantly performing his own work to commuters in the corridors below the French capital helped him to discover his own voice.

The Paris Métro is home to hundreds of talented performers every day, playing every variety of music. The accreditation system ensures that the performers are good enough so they won't put the travellers off their journeys.

The song On the Road is the title track of a six-track EP released on June 16, and he performs a free showcase gig at FNAC Les Halles the same day.



Monday, 5 June 2017

Manchester and London

A weekend of events that again juxtaposes terrorism and music in a way that sees, once again, those who would bring us to our knees only succeed in making us rise up onto our feet.

Our thoughts are again with the victims of these atrocities. After the Bataclan we could only hope nothing like that would ever happen again. 

The memorial concert in Manchester, remembering the victims of the horrific suicide bombing was a triumphant, joyous and colourful commemoration and celebration. It acknowledged the tragedy of what had happened, reflected on it respectfully and with humanity, but it was also true to the youthful and colourful heart of pop music.

It was a difficult balancing act, but one that the event organisers managed with style.

Of course, Sunday's show unfolded in the aftermath of another horrific event in London. Saturday night revellers targeted with brutality and death on the streets of the UK's capital.

London and Manchester are great cities, and two of the musical capitals of the world. Bright and bold places in a world that others would like to see slide into fear and darkness. However hard they try, they will fail, and fail again.

Bands are playing the Bataclan again. Manchester and London can take it. The terrorists can be assured that whatever cause they fight for will be long forgotten before the victims are.

Daesh want us to live in fear, but their failure can be heard in the sound of our children singing along to Ariane Grande.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Festival Art Rock, Saint-Brieuc

There's certainly no shortage of music festivals in France this summer, and June sees events taking place pretty much every weekend.

While big ticket events like Hellfest, Solidays and Main Square attract big names and massive crowds, and are becoming well known to the UK festival goer on account of their value for money and somewhat better conditions that their UK equivalent, some of the smaller event are every bit as worthy of investigating.

One such festival is Art Rock, held in Saint-Brieuc in Brittany, a three-day event that begins today.

On the bill are Julien Doré, La Femme, Cassius, Las Aves and Metronomy. Also playing over the weekend are Agar Agar, Radio Elvis, Paradis and dozens of others.

Many of these are acts I've written about extensively on this blog over the years, it's an impressive line up playing at the venues involved across the town over a packed weekend.

Over and above the musical elements, the event includes art exhibitions, dance and art events in venues across the town.

It's the perfect example of a well-considered line up of acts, combining the more established with the developing artists in an event that gives the audience a weekend immersion in some of the best acts that are currently playing in France.


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Benjamin Clementine: Phantom of Aleppoville

Wonderful to hear a new track by the incomparable Benjamin Clementine with the song Phantom of Aleppoville, his first solo release since his debut album.

It's a dramatic and challenging work by an artist who is probably one of the most unique voices to emerge in recent years.

It is not an easy listening experience, there's something of the 21st century Scott Walker in its range and ambition.

It would be easy - and no doubt profitable - for him to slide into delivering fairly safe jazz/soul material, but he's released something that's far more complex and thought provoking instead.

It certainly bears repeated listening, revealing more each time. I'm excited about what might be coming next.

Clementine, who won both a Victoires de la Musique award the Mercury Music Prize in 2015, also recently featured on the recently-released new album by Gorillaz.

He's playing live this month at a number of festivals in mainland Europe, with a set at the We Love Green festival in Paris next week .

He's recently announced details of a UK and European tour, with tickets going on sale from Friday June 2.


Christine and the Queens: Radio 1's Big Weekend

Nice to see Christine and the Queens make an appearance at the Radio 1's Big Weekend event in Hull.

While very much a showcase for the UK's foremost pop music broadcaster, as commercial a proposition as you could imagine from a public service broadcaster, it was reminder of exactly how far Christine and the Queens have come in the past few years.

It was only a few years ago I was reporting on Héloïse Letissier playing at the Great Escape festival in Brighton, one of many French acts hoping to catch the eye and ear of the UK music business and audience. She managed it in a way few could have imagined.

So a performance at an event that celebrates pop at its most popular gives us the chance to reflect that French acts can take a step from success in their home country to widespread recognition in the UK without compromising their art or the very things that make them the unique artists they are.

More artists will hopefully follow. Given the state of the music industry at the moment, where fewer acts are being signed and record companies can take fewer risks, it makes sense for them to take acts that have already achieved a modicum of success in their home countries and develop them for an international audience.

There are plenty of French acts that could easily follow in the synchronised footsteps of Christine and her Queens.


Editorial: June 2017

OK, so I had a month off.

It's been a busy time for me away from writing about French music, and I thought this might be the best way to handle things. It seems to have worked.

I've missed spending the time writing here, and I've missed being across French music as much as I should have been, so I aim to get back to it with the kind of vigour that it deserves.

So this month marks the official return of the blog in a way. More than just a few posts at the beginning of the month or a scattered post or two, but hopefully back to full strength again.

And it's a good time to return.This month sees the festival season kick into high gear, with events in France as varied as Hellfest and We Love Green taking place, while French acts take to the stage at significant festivals here, with acts such as Justice and Phoenix playing Glastonbury later this month.

Elsewhere, Solidays and Main Square festival take place - two of France's biggests music events - along with smaller scale but equally interesting events including Papillons de Nuit and This is Not A Love Song in Nimes.

There's pretty much something on every weekend from now on over summer. We'll be across what's happening, and with more video than ever being made available, hopefully seeing more of the events than ever.

In the meantime, glad to say we are alive and kicking at viveleroq.com.

You can get a hold of me at 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. I'm always keen to hear new things, and relay information about acts I already know and love.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

Merci et à bientôt
 


Friday, 14 April 2017

Printemps Solidaire

A worthwhile event in Paris this weekend, with the Printemps Solidaire event  taking place in the centre of Paris on Sunday April 16.

From 2pm, Place de l'étoile on the Champs-Elysées hosts 30 concerts across ten stages, with a diverse and impressive line up.

Headline acts include The Avener, Patrice and FFF. Elsewhere on the bill are the likes of Flavia Coelho and Gaspard Royant.

It's described as a "manifestation-concerts", organised by Solidarité Sida to draw attention to how international solidarity should be a key theme for the candidates in the presidential election.

They want the event to show optimism, generosity and brotherhood at a time when these seem to be missing.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Jane Birkin: Live on C à vous

Lovely to see Jane Birkin make a live appearance performing on French TV show C à vous at the end of last month.

She covers Gainsbourg's La Chanson de Prévert in an orchestral setting.

The new arrangement comes from her new album Birkin/Gainsbourg: le symphonique, featuring new versions of some of Gainsbourg's classics.

Some were songs originally performed by Birkin, some by Gainsbourg, others written by Gainsbourg for other artists. Some of the songs covered are better known than others, such as Requiem pour un con or Valse de Melody, while there are some lesser-known gems like Exercise en forme de z or Pull Marine.

His work always seems to work well when re-made in a new setting, whether the dub versions of his work that came out a few years ago or Birkin's Arabesque collection, which saw his work performed with a North African flavour.

All reflected well on the source material, the new settings opened them up to a new interpretation of the work.

I've found myself going back to work like the Gainsbourg dub collection and the Arabesque album repeatedly over the years since they came out. I reckon Birkin/Gainsbourg: le symphonique will also stand the test of time.

Birkin plays live in Paris on April 12 at the Auditorium de Radio France, with a show in Warsaw on April 19 and another in Monaco on May 11.


Julien Doré: Sublime & Silence

A session track by Julien Doré with a version of the song Sublime and Silence for the Belgian based site Bruxelles ma belle.

Julien Doré released his & album in autumn last year and has recemtly embarked on a massive arena tour of France and surrounding areas including three sold-out nights at the Zénith in Paris in May.

Doré has worked hard to establish himself as one of France's most interesting popular artists, from having won a TV talent show to going on to release a catalogue of material that sees him have little in common with the manufactured pop stars these shows produce. While astonishingly popular, he remains an interesting artist with a distinctive vision.

His & album continued to build on his artistic reputation, and his popularity saw it reach number one in the French charts, a higher position even than his 2013 L0ve album managed, even with its double platinum sales since its release.

He recently announced a final show of the tour at Bercy in Paris on December 15


Monday, 10 April 2017

Feist performs Leonard Cohen at Juno Awards

A wonderful and emotional perfomance by Feist at Canada's Juno Awards as she took to the stage with a version of Leonard Cohen's hey that aint no way to say goodbye.

The ceremony is the Canadian equivalent of the Brit Awards or the Grammys.

Cohen, who died in November, won the award for Album of the Year and Artist of the year, following the release of his final album, You want it darker.

Cohen is of course no stranger to the Juno awards, having won many through the course of his long career.

It was impressive to see Canada's prime minister take to the stage to pay tribute to Cohen, a man he knew personally.

Justin Trudeau, is such a natural on the stage that if the politics game fails to work out for him he could probably consider a career as a  TV presenter. Or perhaps not.


Deezer France April playlist

I came across a playlist for Deezer France compiled by RFI, with their favourites for April to enjoy. It's too good not to share.

It's a diverse bunch of tunes, covering quite a variety of genres and styles, from African sounds to chanson, pop to electro.

It's got a French flavour, but with the widest possible definition.

There are a few that you might be familiar with, alongside many that you won't have heard yet.

There are a few of this blog's favourites of the moment present as they should be, including Kid Francescoli, Jacques and Fishbach.

The playlist runs for just over two hours, so if you're looking for a solid soundtrack for your afternoon it's well worth some of your time.

Friday, 7 April 2017

BB Brunes: Eclair éclair

A return for French rock four piece BB Brunes, with the release of their new single Eclair éclair.

The track comes from the band's fourth album, which is due out in September 2017.

It follows the release of Long Courrier in 2012, which like their two previous albums a top ten hit in France and the song Coups et Blessures giving them a significant hit single.

Since then singer Adrien Gallo has embarked on a solo career with his album Gemini in 2014, and he's written songs for artists like Alizée, Vanessa Paradis and Yelle.

They're touring from early 2018 but have three shows lined up in Paris before then in September, where the band will play each of their previous three albums each night.

Les Vieilles Canailles: Vieille Canaille

If French radio station Radio Nostalgie created a supergroup, it would probably be a lot like Les Vieilles Canailles.

Featuring Johnny Hallyday, Jacques Dutronc and Eddy Mitchell, as heritage acts go, it's hard to imagine anything bigger for a French audience. Unless of course Renaud were to make it a four piece.

There's a massive market for this kind of thing in France as every sold-out arena and stadium date on every Johnny Hallyday tour testifies.

The trio originally came together under the Vieilles Canailles name for a series of concerts at Bercy in Paris in 2014, with a set list incorporating some of the biggests hits originally performed by each artist. Some songs they would all perform on, some would be duets and each had two solo numbers.

The new clip comes ahead of their summer tour, which sees the old rascals set out on a series of 17 shows in France, Switzerland and Belgium in June and July.

A gig at Bercy on June 24 has already sold out and a second show the following night has been added.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Daprinski: Le Dernier Homme

A wonderful release by Daprinski, with the Serge Gainsbourg/Jean-Claude Vannier flavoured Le Dernier Homme featuring on his Chorégraphies de l'ordinaire debut album release.

The album came out at the end of March, following on from two previous releases, 2013's five track Le corps D'un homme and his George Michael single.

He makes a sophisticated sound, influenced deeply by the classics of French chanson but also with a flavour of American soul, a rich blend that feels new but is also steeped in the kind of classic material you've known and loved for years.

I know some might feel like it's a bit too close in style to that classic Gainsbourg sound, but let's not forget that for many Gainsbourg in the early to mid 70s was the very definition of classy French music, and for many of us outside France it was only a recent musical discovery. We're still catching up with a French style from decades ago, and we urgently need more of it for the 21st century. Daprinski sounds like the guy who's got what we are looking for.

There's a video for Le Dernier Homme due shortly. It's the kind of cinematic music that cries out for appropriate visuals. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with and hopefully posting it here.


Fishbach: Un Autre Que Moi

A new video by Fishbach, with a memorable and filmic clip for the track Un Autre Que Moi.

Fishbach is one of France's most acclaimed acts at the moment following the release of her À ta merci debut album earlier this year. Les Inrocks have described 25 year old Flora Fishbach as one of the heroes of the new French music scene

There's a nod to France Gall's '80s hit Ella elle l'a in this song, although there are darker undercurrents at work here. I've little doubt she's set to become the next significant artist to emerge from France.

She's on Disques Enterprise records, home to some of this blog's favourites including Bagarre, Grand Blanc and Moodoid.

There's a chance to see Fishbach live in the UK next month, as she plays alongside KillASon and Fauna Twin at Birthdays in Dalston on May 17, for the second club night organised by Oui Love.

She's also at the Great Escape festival in Brighton, a significant showcase for emerging talent hoping to make a mark on the UK market.

Fishbach also plays La Cigale in Paris on May 4 having sold out a show at the same venue in March.

Kid Francescoli: Les Vitrines

A new video by Kid Francescoli for the track Les Vitrines.

The features on the duo's Play me Again album and its a wonderful piece of sophisticated electro pop.

Their new album follows their 2013 collection With Julia, which first saw Mathieu Hocine from Marseille work with New York singer Julia Minkin.

I've featured Kid Francescoli a couple of times before on this blog, when their last album was released and when I saw them in Rennes in 2014 performing as part of the Bars en Trans festival at the 1988 Live Club with H Burns and Animali.

I described them at the time as "Effortlessly modern with the kind of electronics that French artists have always done so well" and it's great to see them live up to their promise and go on to well-deserved wider recognition.

Kid Francescoli have a bunch of live dates in their diary for the next few months, beginning with a show at the Printemps de Bourges festival later this month with dates until June and a show confirmed for le trianon in Paris in November.



Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Juliette Armanet: Monte le Son session featuring I feel it coming (The Weeknd cover)

A lovely 'VF' cover version of I feel it coming by The Weeknd by Juliette Armanet.

The song, the original of which was a massive hit in France as it was pretty much everywhere else,  takes on a laid back jazzy feel at her hands.

The performance comes from France 4's Monte le son TV show, where in the same session she also performs L’Amour en Solitaire and Alexandre.

 The original of I feel it coming was a collaboration with Daft Punk, from The Weeknd's Starboy album that was released last year. Daft Punk also collaborated on the album's title track, a US Billboard chart number one single.

Juliette Armanet releases her debut album, to be entitled  Petite Amie, on April 7.




Black M: Comme toi

A new song being promoted from Black M's Eternel insatisfait album, with the track Comme toi features a guest appearance by Shakira on the track and in the video.

Eternel insatisfait, the Sexion d'assaut member's second solo album which came out in October last year, has already been a massive seller reaching number two in the French charts.

The collection has already delivered a number of singles, including A l'Ouest from February last year up to the more recent French Kiss and the track Tout ce qu'il faut.

His 2014 debut solo album Les yeux plus grosse que le monde - a triple platinum seller- established him as one of France's biggest commercial rap stars.

Black M has live dates later this month with shows at arenas throughout France until May, and more shows later in the year including one at Bercy in Paris on December 2.

Editorial: April 2017

OK, so March wasn't the best month for this blog. Again, other important things imposed on my time
and attention. It's been quite a time, but hopefully things have settled into a new rhythm and we can get back to doing what we're best at here.

Apologies, again,  and thanks for sticking with us. 

March was a busy month for French music, with the release by Saez of his new triple (!) album a high point. I reckon Saez is one of the finest singer songwriters around at the moment, taking French chanson and rock to somewhere interesting. With this new collection and his Manifeste project his artistic ambition is at its peak. An early contender for album of the year.

His tour is  now under way and another album is scheduled for later this year.

Elsewhere, Frànçois and The Atlas Mountains have begun their tour in support of their Solide Mirage album, another very strong collection that goes some way to suggest 2017 will be every bit as significant a year for French music as 2016.

April also sees the Printemps de Bourges festival take place, marking the start of the French festival season with a bill that includes some well-selected established acts like Renaud and Placebo along with Frànçois and The Atlas Mountains, as well as some acts that are favourites of this blog including Barbagallo, Her and  Carpenter Brut.

You can get a hold of me at 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. I'm always keen to hear new things, and relay information about acts I already know and love.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

Merci et à bientôt

John K

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Bon anniversaire - we are seven!

March 16, a full seven years ago, we began this blog. It's been quite a journey since then, with
 thousands of posts, some great tunes, videos and experiences.

So it's our birthday, but we're having a low-key one this year.  yeah, I know, Forgive us. Theres' a lot of other things going on that have been a distraction.

Maybe I'll blog about it, although perhaps better if I spare you.

In the meantime we'll hopefully have more posts before too long, however little we manage to post at the moment it's worth remembering that in our first year I only managed a total of 24 posts. Over the space of a whole year.

That's the kind of content I'd aim to do in a regular month. With the wind behind us, the amount we'd manage in a couple of weeks.

So bear with us during this quiet-ish time here. Thanks for dropping by and here's to the future.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Oui Love club night in London

A chance to catch four great French acts live in London tonight, with Juveniles, Bantam Lyons,
Sônge and DBFC.

They feature in the first of the new Oui Love club nights at Birthdays in Dalston.

The show features a pretty fine cross section of fresh French talent: Parisian psych-tronica s DBFC, the R&B sounds of Sônge, 80s influenced synth pop from Juveniles and the indie rock of Bantam Lyons.

Oui Love is the new branding of the French Bureau Export in London, the good folks who work hard to promote some of France's finest acts in the UK.

The event's being held at Birthdays in Dalston 33-35 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8 and kicks off at 7.30pm.


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Editorial: March 2017

 Can we forget February? Not been the best month for this blog by any means, but other important
things have been imposing on my time and attention.

Apologies, and thanks for sticking with us. Hopefully we'll have this sorted out before too long and we'll be back to business as usual.

March sees plenty of activity across French music world, with some excellent new releases and live activity.

Personally I'm waiting with impatience for the next release by Damien Saez, due out on March 10.

Three new tracks have already emerged, Bonnie, Rue d'la soif and an out take Château de brume.  His tour gets under way this month, following his shows at the Bataclan in December last year.

Elsewhere, a new title is on the horizon from the band Her, a release by La Terre Tremble and several others that we're looking forward to over the next few weeks.

Live, there are dates by Vitalic around the UK, a tour by Gojira around the country and Francois and the Atlas Mountain begin their tour at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, this blog marks its birthday this month. How many years have we been here...? Wow!

There's no shortage of things happening. Hopefully this time in around four weeks we'll be looking back at a full month wort of posts.

You can get a hold of me at 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. I'm always keen to hear new things, and relay information about acts I already know and love.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

Merci et à bientôt

John K

Monday, 27 February 2017

Magma et le Mëtalïk Orkestraah on France 3

A TV report on France 3 about the mighty Magma, in particular their recent shows at the Olympia in
Paris earlier this month.

For their two gigs on February 2 and 3, the band were accompanied by a group of young musicians under the name Magma et le Mëtalïk Orkestraah for a unique series of performances.

The young musicians were students of Didier Locksood, the jazz violinist who himself played with magma in the 1970s. His career also saw him play with Pierre Moerlen's Gong as well as a lengthy discography of solo works covering jazz and jazz rock.

There's some brief footage of magma performing, both vintage and present day, confirming if there could be any doubt, that they remain today every bit as breathtaking a live proposition as they did then.

It would be ideal if more of the Olympia gig was made public, but the band said they would not be releasing recordings of the shows or video footage, probably balancing up the expense makes things more difficult that they used to be.

A few clips have appeared online, but it would be nice to get more full-length live Magma. Still, with a double DVD of their Emehntehtt-Re trilogie released at the end of January, there's no shortage of new Magma material so far this year.

Meanwhile, live dates around France and Switzerland in march will be well worth catchnig if you have the opportunity.



magma

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Gojira: The Cell

A new single released by the mighty Gojira, a French act who have in recent years become one of the world's most respected metal acts.

The Cell comes from Magma, their sixth album, a release that dominated their genre last year.

Gojira were nominated for two Grammy awards, and while they may have lost out to other acts, a double nomination for a French act in two of the most high profile - and most competitive - categories is quite an achievement.

The four piece were up for Best Metal Performance for their track Silvera - which went to Megadeth's Dystopia - and best rock album, which went to Cage the Elephant.

The album reached the top 30 in the UK following its release last year and was one of 2016's most significant metal releases, getting that increasingly rare combination of artistic respect from critics as well as commercial success.

The band are set to tour the UK next month, having performed in arenas around the country in November and December last year supporting Alter Bridge.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Victoires de la Musique 2017 winners

Friday night saw the big annual showcase for French music held at the Zénith in Paris and screened
around the country.

This year's big winner was Jain, who picked up two awards, best female artist and best video for Makeba.

Her live performance of the song Makeba was perhaps the highlight of the show.

Jain had been nominated in the breakthrough album category last year, but lost out to Louane's Chamber 12 collection. It might not be the same kind of award collection that Christine and the Queens picked up over the past couple of years, but it will certainly do her a lot of good as she aims to conquer the English speaking market in 2017.

Elsewhere, I was delighted to see the return of Renaud rewarded with a best male artist award, but particularly pleased to see Radio Elvis win the breakthrough album category for Les Conquêtes.

Elsewhere, best rock album award went to Louise Attaque, the best electronic or dance album went to Kungs.

Vianney's Je m'en vais was the best original song of the year, Benjamin Biolay picked up the best chanson album for Palermo Hollywood. Best breakthrough act was LEJ.



JAIN "Makeba"

Friday, 10 February 2017

Victoires de la Musique 2017

Tonight's a big night for the French music industry , with this year's Victoires de la Musique winners being unveiled in Paris.

The Zénith hosts the 32nd Victoires award ceremony and it's shown on France 2.

Of those on the verious shortlists, this year I'd like to see wins from Jain, Acid Arab, Jean-Michel Jarre, La Femme, Julien Doré, Radio Elvis and Minuit.

It would be something special if Renaud picked up best male artist.

It remains a massive high profile showcase for France's musical talent, whether established artists and emerging acts. many of the shortlisted acts will be performing and there should be some memorable clips.

Hopefully many will be made available o an international audience, I'll be watching attentively.



Editorial: February 2017

If you're a regular here, and I hope that you are, you'll have noticed there's not been much on the blog for the last couple of weeks.

I can only apologise, but other things have unexpectedly taken up much of the time that I would normally give to Vive le Roq. The blog is very much a one-man operation and I'm afraid these things can sometimes happen.

It's been frustrating, but bear with us and we'll be back to normal as soon as we possibly can.

There have been a huge number of new releases I've not had time to write about, along with many other interesting developments in the French music world that I've not been able to reflect.

Fingers crossed I'll be able to catch up over the next few weeks and get things back on an even keel.

Thanks for your support.

John K

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Festival: Le Printemps de Bourges

The Le Printemps de Bourges festival pretty much marks the start of the French festival season for
the year.

 It's also such a well-curated event that is gives a pretty good indication  of the acts to watch over the coming months.

Some 30 of the acts on this years bill emerged last month, and the organisers have now revealed the final names.

Already announced were big names Jain, Placebo, Vianney, Renaud, Soprano et Boulevard des Airs as well as Fakear, Talisco, Vitalic, Yuksek and Mr Oizo.

Added to the listings are dozens of acts including François & The Atlas Mountains, Fishbach and Agar-Agar, along with Her, Paradis, Cléa Vincent and Juliette Armanet.

Covering hip hop, electro , indie and rock and all combinations of these, it's an event that casts a wide net and hauls in an interesting catch.

 Le Printemps de Bourges runs from April 18 to 23.


Jane Birkin: Academy Award nomination for film

This year there are no French entries in the Best Foreign Film category for this year's Academy Awards, but a  film featuring Jane Birkin has been nominated for an Oscar.

La femme et le TGV is on the short list for Best Live Action Short Film.

Birkin has the leading role in the 2016 short, by Swiss director Timo von Gunten, playing Elise, a woman whose daily routine for 30 years includes waving at the TGV train that passes her house. Her life changes when she finds a letter from the driver.

The 30 minute film has been described as light and enchanting, bringing to mind work like Chocolat or Amélie.

Birkin's film career stretches back to 1965, with roles in key British films of that era including Blowup,  meeting partner Serge Gainsbourg on the filming of the movie Slogan in 1969.

She's gone on to star in dozens of French and English language films in subsequent decades, with directors including Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, Bertrand Tavernier and Alain Resnais, as well as Gainsbourg and her later partner Jacques Doillon.

Elsewhere in the Oscars, Isabelle Huppert is in the Best Actress category for the film Elle.

The 89th Academy Awards are held on 26 February 2017.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Carpenter Brut: UK Tour

Carpenter Brut begin a short run of UK dates with a show in Glasgow tonight.

The music a blend of rock, 80s electro, video nasty soundtracks. In short, there's much to love there. Hollywood should green light a raft of films just for the purpose of using Carpenter Brut in the soundtrack.

The Trilogy album from 2015 which compiles his three previous EPs was repressed on vinyl recently, but has already sold out . Another pressing is expected later this year.

The tour sees Carpenter Brut, in the form of Franck Hueso with a guitarist and drummer, play Milton Keynes, Bristol, Manchester, and London and then on to Dublin in Ireland.

After this, they'er  off to North America for an extensive series of dates in March.

Carpenter Brut are also on the bill for the Download festival in Paris on June.


Friday, 13 January 2017

Vitalic: Use it or Lose it

A new track by Vitalic, with the release of the track Use it or Lose it being released

It's the second track to emerge from his forthcoming album Voyager which comes out on January 20.

It's his fourth album

Use it or Lose it  follows the the track  Waiting For The Stars which came out in October last year.

Vitalic has just begun a tour, with shows in France this month and across Europe in February before coming to the  UK in March with dates in Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow and London.

He's back to mainland Europe after, with shows including a night at the Olympia in Paris on March 23.


Thursday, 12 January 2017

Fránçois and the Atlas Mountains: Grand Dérèglement

A new video by the very wonderful Fránçois and the Atlas Mountains ahead of the band's new album.

The track Grand Dérèglement sees the band continue their work combining indie music with north
African sounds.

It's as unique as it is enjoyable. they sound like no one else and are instantly recognisable.

The band achieved a significant breakthrough with the 2012 album E Volo Love, their last album was 2014's Piano Ombre.

The new album from Fránçois and the Atlas Mountains entitled Solide Mirage is expected on March 3 and they've got live dates across the UK.


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Victoires de la Musique 2017

The early months of the year are very much award season,l and no sooner are the Golden Globe awards over in Hollywood out of the way than details of the big event in the French music awards calendar emerge.

The shortlist for this year's Victoires de la Musique award has been published, with some interesting possibilities among the nominations.

Best male artist sees Benjamin Biolay, Vincent Delerm and Renaud, while best female artist features Imany, Jain and Véronique Sanson.

Breakthrough album features work by Amir, Claudio Capeo and Radio Elvis while the live breakthrough list includes Broken Back, LEJ and Minuit.

Chanson album has Julien Doré, Christophe Maé and Benjamin Biolay and best rock album features Louise Attaque, La Femme and Mickey 3D

The urban music album shortlist has Georgio, Jul and Kool Shen, while the world music category includes Acid Arab, Calypso Rose and Rokia Traore.

The best electronic or dance music album category has Electronica 2 by Jean-Michel Jarre, Layers by Kungs and Woman by Justice.

There are four tracks in the best original song category, A kele nta by MHD, Et je l'appelle encore by Véronique Sanson, J'ai cherché by Amir and Je m'en vais by Vianney.

The concert or show category has Jain, Ibrahim Maalouf and Nekfeu.

Best video features Coward by Yael Nain, Makeba by Jain and The Missing by Cassius.

So no Christine and the Queens or Johnhny Hallyday this year, a few previous winners possibly back for more and a few interesting nominations.

I'll have a think over the next few weeks about who I reckon will pick up the trophies. I'll probably, as in previous years, get it mostly wrong...

The 32nd Victoires de la Musique ceremony is held on February 10.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Renaud: Hyper Cacher

A track from Renaud's album from last year, with a song that pays tribute to the victims of the Hyper
Cacher killings in Paris on January 9 2015.


The album, a thoughtful collection from Renaud shot through with his usual humour, was according to SNEP the biggest selling album in France in 2016.

It was a remarkable return to form for an artist who many would have written off years ago.

The track Héloïse has recently been released as a single, and his tour continues at venues around France and beyond from January 11 with dates confirmed until September.


Ray Lema and Laurent De Wilde: Acoustic session

A new edition of Acoustic, the music show on TV5Monde with a session in the studio by Ray Lema
and Laurent De Wilde.

It follows the release of the duo's album Riddles, an album that saw them working together for the first time, having known each others for 25 years.

Lema and De Wilde have worked across a wide cross section of music, from jazz to world music and orchestral, and they've brought their skills and experience to create something that isn't easy to categorise

On his website Ray Lema says: "This project is more than an encounter. It’s a journey."

The session features four tracks; Liane et Banian, Fantani, Congo Rag, Edward K  and Montecristo as well as an interview with Sébastien Folin.


Saturday, 7 January 2017

We are (still) Charlie

Today we remember the Charlie Hebdo killings, an event that while profoundly shocking was to be only the first act of a tragedy that seems not to have concluded yet.

We remember the 12 victims, those who were doing their jobs when they fell, whether journalist, cartoonist, building worker or police officer.

We also remember that this act of terrorism was intended to snuff out the diversity of our culture, to silence forever voices that disagree with a minority of extremists.

And we remember how they failed.

We remember how the names of the victims were championed, how until then obscure counter-culture heroes like Cabu, Tignus and Wolinski became household names. We remember how the killing of a Muslim police officer brought communities together in mutual respect.

And we remember how communities across the world stood side by side.

It was a dark day in 2015, and there have been dark times since. But we remember that an act that was intended to bring us to our knees brought us to our feet, standing together like never before.

Frédéric Boisseau, Franck Brinsolaro, Cabu, Elsa Cayat, Charb,Philippe Honoré, Bernard Maris, Ahmed Merabet, Moustapha Ourrad, Michel Renaud, Tignous, Wolinski.


Friday, 6 January 2017

Part Time Friends - Here We Are: Citroën C3 advert

A new advertising campaign for Citroën on the TV in the UK, featuring music by French act Part Time Friends, with an English language version of their track Here We Are.

Part Time Friends have been around since 2009, and are a Paris-based duo of Pauline Lopez de Ayora and Florent Biolchini.

They describe their music as West Coast American Pop/Scottish Folk. Appropriate given that it looks like some of the advert was shot here in Glasgow.

It's always good to see a French product being advertised with a French music soundtrack. I know some would criticise it as overly commercial, but I reckon it reflects well on both the product and the act, helping the artist get some play in the UK while also helping the reputation of Citroën for being at the cutting edge.

But above all, it's always a real pleasure to hear some dreamy French pop in an unexpected context.

The song features on Part Time Friends 2016 album Fingers Crossed.



Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Julien Doré: La Javanaise

A new clip from Julien Doré, with a memorable Japanese language cover of the Serge Gainsbourg song La Javanaise.

The release comes ahead of some Japanese dates from Julien Doré, whose album entitled "&" was one of last year's most interesting releases, as well as a significant commercial success.

Gainsbourg's song was one of his early successes, originally written for Juliette Greco and released in 1963 by both Greco and Gainsbourg.

In the years since it's also been covered by Jane Birkin and Iggy Pop, while Mick Harvey recorded an English language versions.

Julien Doré has an extensive tour across France from the end of February, with dates at the Zénith arenas around the country starting with a show in Amiens on the 23rd. He plays in Paris on May 10 and 11.


French acts at Coachella 2017

The bill for this year's Coachella festival has been unveiled, and like previous years the high-profile event in
California again features some key French acts.

You might have to look in the small print below Radiohead, Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar, but a quick investigation will find Kungs, Brodinski and PNL. All three are, of course,  massive in France and elsewhere.

Coachella is the kind of event that has helped many French acts make a serious impression in the USA, from opening doors to further touring or TV appearances to establishing them as artists in what is a potentially massive market. The Coachella audience tends to be the kind of informed and educated crowd with an interest in developing acts, even ones that are well established outside the USA.

Given the budgets that the entertainment industry now operate with, it's much less likely that American TV and film companies, promoters and record companies will head over to France to have a look around for acts they can work with. Coachella brings them to their doorstep.

It acted as a significant showcase for Christine and the Queens, as well as Stromae, two acts that used an appearance at Coachella to showcase the kind of talent that has been recognised in France and elsewhere in Europe.

Meanwhile, Justice - rightly - take a place near the top of the bill on the closing day of the festival.

Coachella takes place in California over two weekends, April 14, 15 and 16 and April 21, 22 and 23.


Editorial: January 2017

A new year, with a time to reflect on a memorable 12 months in French music and no doubt another busy twelve months ahead of us.

2016 saw Christine and the Queens achieve the kind of success they've enjoyed in France in the UK,  no small achievement for an artist as uncompromising and as unique as Helioise Letissier.

2017 already sees some fine releases scheduled, and a diary full of festivals and events beginning to fill up. Meanwhile, other French acts are getting a great deal of visibility beyond the hexagon, with Jainngetting some serious promotion in the UK and PNL getting a  showcase gig at Coachella in the US over the summer.

While the shadow of atrocities hung over much of 2016, from Charlie Hebdo to the Bataclan to Nice, 2017 has its own set of challenges ahead with an election and the inevitable consequences of that. While this is by no means a political blog, the music world does not operate in a vacuum, and events on the wider stage have repercussions on our small corner of French culture.

New year resolutions? More posts in 2017, that's for sure. Things have made it more difficult than usual to post as regularly as we would have liked towards the end of last year. But we're more than optimistic that we're back at full strength.

The last 12 months have seen a massive upturn in the number of visitors to the blog, so this year our aim is to give our visitors the kind of content that they deserve.

You can get a hold of me at 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. I'm always keen to hear new things, and relay information about acts I already know and love.

The blog is also on Twitter as @viveleroq or you can find me at @karnag

If you're around Facebook, remember to like the French Music Podcast UK page, where you can get regular updates with both fresh and vintage French music.

Thanks as always 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