Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Feu! Chatterton: Ginger

Delighted to see another new track from Feu! Chatterton emerge ahead of the release of their second album. Ginger following the tracks L'ivresse and Souvenir, both of which emerged towards the end of last year.

Their new album is to be titled L'oiseleur and comes out on March 9.

No video this time, but not a problem. This is a strong release, and will sit well on any album.

Their Ici Le Jour (A Tout Enseveli) debut was one of my favourite releases in recent years, an eloquent work carried off with character and style.

Les Inrocks website, an authority on such matters, described them this week as 'one of the most interesting French groups of their generation', something we could only agree with.

The prospect of a new Feu! Chatterton album really makes me thing that 2018 is quietly shaping up to be a vintage year for French music. It's just one of a number of albums by some of our favourite acts with releases scheduled over the forthcoming weeks. It's a long way from Easter and there are already three or four that I reckon could be pretty significant ready to come out.

Feu! Chatterton are touring extensively across France in March, April and May and play at the Bataclan in Paris on April 9 and 10.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Bagarre: Danser seul (ne suffit pas)

We always enjoy a bit of a Bagarre here, so it was a real pleasure to see a new video from the band emerge over the weekend.

Danser seul (ne suffit pas) is the second track to appear ahead of the release of their debut album in February.

It follows the track Béton armé which was released in November but which we featured here just the other week. We really can sometimes be that lazy.

Like all their previous videos, it's a striking piece of work. Bagarre have really an instinct for matching their brand of smart indie/electro with the absolutely correct video. Humorous, ironic and clever, without trying too hard and unafraid to make themselves look ridiculous, the tone is always absolutely right.

Their debut album Club 12345 is released on February 23, and Bagarre play La Cigale in Paris on April 10.

Dominique A: Toute latitude

A new song with a striking video by Dominique A. Toute latitude is the title track of his forthcoming album, due to be released in March.

The video by Sébastien Laudenbach is one of four that will accompany the album, the other three being released in the run-up to the album's release. The four videos for Toute latitude will fit together to a larger complete video. Laudenbach previously created the award winning animated film La jeune fille sans mains and also created the sleeve for the new album.

Toute latitude is Dominique A's 11th studio album, and it follows Éléor, released in 2015. That album featured the song Au revoir mon amour, a favourite of this blog.

Éléor built on the critical and commercial success of 2012's  Vers Les Lueurs, which saw him picking up the best male artist award at the following year's Victoire de la musique award ceremony.

Despite his long and successful career,  Dominique A is not taking it easy by any means. He said recently that following his tour for Éléor he found himself inspired by contradictory ideas for new sounds and writing. He was drawn towards rhythmic and repetitive versions of older texts, while the electric atmosphere of live performance giving him the opposing desire for melody and acoustic songs.

The consequence of this is that he's now got two albums set to come out in 2018, the first - Toute latitude - a rock album in the spring, the second - La fragilité - a more acoustic set scheduled for the autumn. There will also be two tours corresponding to the different collections.

Dominique A announced the first of these tour dates last month, and has lined up a series of shows around France in March, April and May. He has two special shows in Paris on April 14 and 15, when he plays at la Philharmonie de Paris

 Toute latitude is available from March 9.

Friday, 12 January 2018

French album covers of 2017...what's going on?

Maybe it's just my selective viewing, but there really seems to be something going on with album covers released by French solo artists over the past year or so.

Yeah, I know I'm maybe being selective, but none the less...

French, black and white, moody, solo artist released in 2017. 

Am I missing any from the set?

Bagarre - Béton armé

I missed featuring the new track Béton armé by Bagarre when it was released at the end of November, but there's plenty of reason to feature it and catch up with what they're up to.

The video is every bit as striking as the one they created for Claque-le and the song as memorable as anything they've done.

Their last major release was 2015's Musique du Club EP, a five track collection that featured not only Claque-le but also Le gouffre and Ris Pas. Like their debut Bonsoir nous sommes Bagarre EP from 2014, there's not a bad track on it.

Bagarre finally release their debut album on February 23 on Disques Enterprise, the home of some of France's finest acts including Fishbach, Moodoid and Grand Blanc.

Bagarre tour aross France from March, with a date at La Cigale in Paris on April 10. 

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Laura Cahen: #nightofideas at the IFRU London

A French music event worth getting in your diary if you live in London is an appearance by Laura Cahen at the Institut français du Royaume-Uni at the end of January.

Laura Cahen's album Nord was released last year, and it confirms her as a distinctive artist, with what Les Inrocks describes as a "a beautiful promise full of melancholic beauty."

Her performance in the historic reading room of the IFRU in London will be followed by a question and answer session.

Cahen is just one of the guests at the event that features international guests from a wide variety of fields, from film maker Ken Loach to astronauts Tim Peak and Thomas Pesquet, amid a large bill of writers, philosophers, scientists and politicians.

The Night of Ideas event takes place on January 25 and is free, but advance booking his required. There's more information here.

Feu! Chatterton: L'ivresse

Another new clip from Feu! Chatterton ahead of the release of their second album,

It follows the track Souvenir, which emerged at the end of November, but L'ivresse has a quite different feel to it.

L'ivresse came out just before the Christmas holiday season, giving everyone plenty of time to experience it over the last couple of weeks.

I'm a huge fan of Feu! Chatterton and the prospect of a new album from them is one of the things to look forward to in 2018.

Feu! Chatterton are touring extensively in March, April and May and play at the Bataclan in Paris on April 9 and 10.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

French flavour at Coachella 2018

The bill for this year's Coachella festival in California sees a noticeable number of French artists this year.

It's a big event, arguably the most prominent music festival in the USA. Given its proximity to LA, it's a major platform for artists aiming to establish themselves in the entertainment industry and to mix with some of the biggest showbiz industry figures.

Remarkably one French act playing this year doesn't really need to establish himself, given that he's already sold more albums than most artists could ever dream of and established and repeatedly broke the world record for concert attendances. But Jean-Michel Jarre has always been a forward-looking artist and has made a career of a pioneering new ideas.

For all his heritage, he's probably aware that many of the well-heeled young Americans won't have heard of him, but given his electronics not only laid the foundations for much of the contemporary music but also continues to push the boundaries and create music every bit as interesting as many younger acts, he should have no trouble convincing the crowd he's a million miles away from a nostalgia act.

French electronics also feature with Carpenter Brut, no strangers to this blog, who play further down the bill on the opening day.

Honorary French artist Benjamin Clementine plays too, Ibeyi are playing in the Sunday and a sharp eye also reveals Petit Biscuit also on stage on day three.

True, none of the French acts have billing over Eminem, Beyoncé or The Weeknd

Coachella festival is held on two weekends, April 13, 14 and 15 and the following weekend April 20, 21 and 22, with the same artists playing each weekend.

Victoires de la Musique 2018 nominations

Details have been released of the nominations for the 2018 Victoires de la Musique awards, the French music awards that can be compared to the Brit awards or the Grammys.

It's a big annual event, a high profile showcase for French music, and it always gets significant media coverage. It also, significantly, focuses on French acts. This year sees the 33rd edition of the Victoires de la Musique awards.

As is all to often the case with this kind of event, there are few surprises, but as always, the breakthough artist and breakthough album categories are the ones that interest this blog the most. Nice to see Fishbach and Petit Biscuit get some recognition. Events and awards like this can give major exposure to developing artists, introducing them to a farn wider audience and help them take their careers to a new level. It wasn't that long ago that Christine and the Queens were playing at small festivals and in nightclub sized venues.

Orelsan leads the nomination, with three mentions - best male artist, best urban album for La fête est finie and best video (or best audiovisual presentation, as it likes to be called by friends) for Basic.

There are two nominations each for Louane (best female artist and best original song) and for BigFlo & Oli (best urban music album and best original song.)

Best male artist
Bernard Lavilliers

Best female artist
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Catherine Ringer

Breakthrough artist
Eddy De Pretto
Gaël Faye

Breakthrough album
Aliose - Comme on respire
Juliette Armanet - Petite amie
Petit biscuit - Présence

Best chanson album
Brigitte - Nues
Albin de la Simone - L'un de nous
MC Solaar - Géopoétique

Best rock album
BB Brunes - Puzzle
Lady Sir - Accidentally Yours
Shaka Ponk - The Evol

Best urban music album
BigFlo & Oli - La vraie vie
Lomepal - Flip
Orelsan - La fête est finie

Best world music album
Amadou et Mariam - La confusion
M - Toumani et Sidiki Diabaté - Lamomali
Oumou Sangare - Mogoya

Best electro album
ALB - Deux
Dominique Dalcan - "empérance
Fakear - Karmaprena

Best concert
Gérard Depardieu - Gérard Depardieu chante Barbara
Julien Doré - & Tour

Best audiovisual creation
Orelsan - Basique (Greg & Lio)
Gauvain Sers - Pourvu (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
The Blaze - Territory (Jonathan et Guillaume Alric)

Best original song
Dommage by BigFlo & Oli
Ton mec by Kyo
Si t'étais là by Louane
Roule by  Soprano

I'll give more on my thoughts about who the likely winners are going to be closer to the actual event.

The 2018 Victoires de la Musique ceremony takes place at la Seine Musicale on Friday February 9.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

France Gall tribute

If the closing weeks of 2017 were dominated by the death of Johnny Hallyday, it's sad that 2018 begins with news of the death of another legend of French music.

France Gall lost her battle with cancer at the weekend at the age of 70.

France Gall began her career as the icon of 60s yéyé style, but unlike many of her contemporaries she went on to have a career that lasted for decades.

Gall was, like many female singers in both France and elsewhere, measured according to the men who collaborated with her. Whether Serge Gainsbourg or Michel Berger it was presumed that she was acting on behalf of the greater - male - talent. The music industry has always had this kind of sexism, and it was if anything more prevalent during France Gall's early career.

But perhaps without France Gall, Gainsbourg would not have reached the creative peaks he did in the late 60s, the Eurovision win with Poupée de cire, poupée de son establishing the international reputation of Gainsbourg as a composer every bit as much as it established France Gall as a singer. It's worth remembering that it was France Gall herself who chose the song from a shortlist presented to her.

It's easy to see why she remains best known for her work in the 60s, as she pretty much established the template for generations of French female stars. Her songs were sweet, but also subversive and smarter than they first seemed. And she wasn't afraid of new or controversial ideas.

Her work in the 1970s with her husband Michel Berger, which whom she worked until his death in 1992, established her as a more mature artist. While perhaps her work wasn't as edgy as some of her earlier songs, many of her songs from this period have gone on to be standards in France.

Her involvement in Berger's musical Starmania would give her even greater acclaim in France. The rock opera was a huge success in the French speaking world, and later singles like Résiste and Ella elle l'a proving that she was an artist that wasn't tied to one particular decade.

While she essentially retired in the late 90s, France Gall remained visible with high profile albums of cover versions and the musical theatre show Résiste featuring her songs.

She was a unique artist whose talent helped give French music its unique style.

DJ Pone - Highways (feat. Jaw)

A new video for the track Highways by DJ Pone, featuring an appearance by Oxmo Puccino.

The track comes from an EP of four remixes of Highways, featuring versions of the track by Skyway, as well as by Apollo Noir, Ughett and Irene Dressel.

It originally featured on his Radiant album which came out in late 2016.  It's a striking and haunting piece of work, with the cinematic video reflecting this nicely.

DJ Pone plays at la Maroquinerie in Paris on February 10.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Charlie Hebdo anniversary

Last year I wrote about the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo killings, one of the far too many acts on infamy that have taken place in France in recent times.

At the time it was hard to imagine a worse series of events, with workers killed for upholding the right to speak without restraint, and that others fell protecting them.

Since then we have had other, darker, days and the Charlie Hebdo killings now seem to have been the opening act of a long-running tragedy that still has not ended.

But we remember that Charlie Hebdo has continued, and how those who wished it snuffed out failed utterly.

Presidents, politicians and worthies from around the world paid tribute to names that were perhaps only well known in the French counter culture, and an act that was intended to silence us resulted in voices raised like never before.

If we are not out of the darkness yet, the strange victory of Charlie Hebdo reminds us that we can show that darkness that it is us who hold the lights.

Editorial: January 2018

Welcome back, and it's good to be here. If 2017 wasn't a peak year for this blog, we're starting 2018 with good intentions and hopefully we can get things back on track.

There's much to report in the world of French music during our festive break, and more to look forward to in forthcoming weeks.

For a year that saw fewer posts than previous years, it was heartening to see December 2017 having the highest number of visitors we have ever had. By quite a margin. Thanks for coming and we really are grateful.

Things will get busier here in 2018, so if you've been one of our new visitors, I hope you find reason to visit again.

As always, you can contact us 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 pretty much just an autofeed when we update with a new article. You can usually find me on my personal Twitter account 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.

Thanks as always to the good folks at Oui Love Music From France .

Merci et à bientôt,

John K