Many parallels could be made between these ‘unprecedented times’ and other apocalyptic occurrences: there’s that story about the band that kept playing on as the Titanic sank, or the two young soldiers slow dancing together at the end of Pasolini’s Salò, after having witnessed the atrocities depicted in the film for days on end.
As music soundtracks our collective despair, it also makes it somewhat more bearable. By allowing us to either project our deepest fears and anxieties onto a song and letting them play out in a psychodramatic process of sorts, or through enjoying the delights of momentary escapism altogether, music is what’s been keeping us sane(-ish) for the past year. But it also provides us with a sense of normality and hope: getting to experience everything live again, surrounded by friends and/or other kindred spirits, is the white flag vision we’ve all been clinging to — an apparently insignificant carrot at the end of a stick that only appears to get longer with each day that passes.
But enough with the depressive discourse; there’s loads of amazing stuff popping out from every corner of this god-forsaken world, and France is no exception. Baguettes are still being pulled out of the oven, fromages still stink deliciously, and artists still share their art — often with a vengeance. Also, Bandcamp Fridays are back! So if you’re reading this on the day it was published, that’s another reason to consider supporting your favourite artists by buying their music directly from them.
Les Clopes release new album DEU
It might be a bit of a cliché, but the truth is that coldwave always sounds better in the winter – especially if it’s as depressive and despair-ridden as this. Nantes-based Les Clopes (French slang for ‘cigarettes’) couldn’t have chosen a better time to gift us their new album DEU, a perfect soundtrack to dance our own self-pity away. Featuring 10 tracks with titles as suggestive as “Épidémie”, “Kamikazes”, “Chienne de Vie” (“tough life”), or “Nos villes ressemblent à des cimetières” (“our cities look like graveyards”), DEU will be your faithful companion throughout curfew or lockdown. Stream it via the label’s Bandcamp.
Soleil Bleu unveil new single and video “Alma Page”
They’ve been casually dropping a single here and there for four years now, but duo Soleil Bleu seem to be at last getting ready for a proper lengthier release. With their newest track and video “Alma Page”, Arthur Jacquin and Lou Lesage (whose 2011 English-sung solo album Under My Bed, despite being a personal favourite, remains an undiscovered gem) announce an EP that is due out sometime this year. Fans of BB, Jane B, all the Bs, rejoice! — this is the stuff your wildest French fantasies are made of. Take a look at the film-shot clip above.
Maxwell Farrington teams up with Le SuperHomard for cover of Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”
If you’re not tired of all the WWII/2021 metaphors and parallels yet, then this might be just the right thing for you. Le SuperHomard have teamed-up (distanced and safely, we hope) with Australia-born, Toulouse-based musician Maxwell Farrington for a gorgeous cover of Vera Lynn’s classic song “We’ll Meet Again”. Yes, The Byrds have done it before, but their take is actually pretty sweet—and so is the video, a superb animation by Cyril Cucūmber that you can see above. Let’s hope we can indeed meet them again soon, preferably on stage.
Amour Courtois covers Testpattern’s “Souvenir Glacé”
Another gorgeous cover to brighten up your dark cold lonely winter. This one comes from Joseph Sainderichin aka Amour Courtois, ahead of the physical release of his debut EP Chansons Rêvées (due out in the spring via Beagle Records). “Souvenir Glacé”, from Japanese synthpop duo Testpattern’s 1982 LP Après Midi, is reprised by Sainderichin in that tender and tragic manner French electro has long mastered — not that it is radically different from the original, but that bass line? An absolute killer. Check it out via the label’s Bandcamp above.
Dombrance shares Make America Dance Again EP
One of the most appropriate releases to celebrate the end of four disgraceful years at the White House is Dombrance‘s new five-track release Make America Dance Again. The EP, now available to stream via most digital platforms, follows the French producer’s great tradition of naming tracks after politicians: opening with “Biden”, it also features “AOC”, “Obama”, “Kanye West”, and “Trump” — plus a great illustration of the first four kicking Donnie Boy in the butt. Neo-French Touch at its best with cherry-topping political commentary, what’s not to love?
Yes, we’ve gathered a taster of all these releases (and more) in a single Spotify playlist for you—although you really should be buying directly from the artists/labels’ Bandcamp whenever possible. Stream/subscribe/show some love below.