February was a particularly cruel month for music, especially in the francophone world. On the 17th, we learned of the death of beloved French-born German-based Françoise Cactus, one-half of the electropop duo Stereo Total. Their latest album Ah! Quel Cinéma! was released in 2019, and even though we had no major news after that we pretty much assumed it was because of the pandemic and subsequent impossibility of adequately promoting the LP. Stereo Total were instrumental in the anglo-decentralisation of pop, and a major influence to many DIY electrowave/twee-punk acts that blossomed during the early noughties. Françoise will be sorely missed, and our thoughts go to her family and friends.
A week later, a less tragic yet equally shocking news story took the electronic world by storm: Daft Punk are no more. It’s not like they’d been super active in these past few years, but their secretive modus operandi somehow kept on feeding our wishful thinking, and we never ceased to entertain the possibility of a new release, or even a tour. They announced it via a video titled “Epilogue”, in which they use footage from 2006 film Electroma depicting the self-destruction of both robots; enigmatically (as per usual), no further explanation was given besides a confirmation of the breakup from their publicist. And the saddest part is we couldn’t even go clubbing to mourn our collective loss; personally, I blasted out their hits throughout the evening—no proper Parisian would ever ask you to turn Daft Punk down.
And now comes the part where I tell you to dry your tears because life goes on, etc. Hey, it’s been tough. But music will always be there for you no matter what, and even way after we’ve all disappeared from the face of the earth: it’s a forever gift to the universe. So if you’re done with re-listening to Stereo Total and Daft Punk’s full discographies (as you should be doing), here’s a bunch of new stuff for you to wrap your ears around.
Princesse unveil debut single “Petites Morsures”
“No money, no label, no producer, no manager: our first single, our first video, yolo.” This is how French trio Princesse present “Petites Morsures”, their synth-soft self-released debut track. Described as “sexy sensible” by the band themselves, the song is illustrated by a video that gathers a couple of photos lead singer Anthony took during the second lockdown.”Petites Morsures” is now streaming on most digital platforms, and you can check out the song’s visuals above. There’s also a great mix the band recently put together for Pigalle Paris Radio; you can catch the replay here via the station’s mixcloud.
Veik announce new album Surrounding Structures
After having released four-track EP Vocationnal Exploration and Insight Kit in late 2019 (which the band describes as a “critical reinterpretation of the career test designed by John L. Holland in 1977”), Caen-based three-piece Veik are now prepping an LP that should see the light of day in April via Fuzz Club. Surrounding Structures is previewed by “Difficult Machinery”, a kraut/post-punk track whose vocals oscillate between Joy Division and early Sétima Legião. You can check it out via Bandcamp, where you’ll also be able to pre-order the album (digital-only, for now).
Lala &ce releases debut LP Everything Tasteful
A breath of fresh air in the French rap scene, Lala &ce just put out her much-anticipated first LP proper Everything Tasteful in January. Ex-member of the Lyon-based Collectif 667 with Jorrdee, the French-Ivorian musician has first ventured solo with Serena Williams-inspired track “Serena”, later released as part of her 2019 mixtape Le Son D’Après. Mixing old-school and trap in a unique way, Everything Tasteful is an essential listen to fully grasp the new roads being carved within the genre outside the anglophone universe. It’s now available in full via most streaming services.
DYE CRAP share video for new single “My Shits”
It’s true that West Coast-flavoured French garage often tends to sound a bit self-parodic, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less enjoyable. Rouen-based DYE CRAP‘s new track “My Shits” and its video embody this caricatural portrait of skate-heaven sunny California in an endearing way, and provide a short and sweet introduction to the band’s self-titled new album, which is due out on April 30 via Kids are Lo-fi, Le Cèpe, and Time Room Records. It might be impossible to tell if their references are a joke or dead serious, but who cares? “My Shits” is worth a replay or two just the same.
Bacchantes release self-titled album
Their collective cry in the beginning of “Aride” may be slightly reminiscent of Melissa Auf Der Maur’s in “Followed The Waves”, but Bacchantes sound way more pagan and esoteric than the former Hole member. Having put out a couple of demos and live recordings in these past few years, the French four-piece have now released their debut LP proper, a collection of 10 tracks that will transport you to the enchanted forests of medieval Europe. Raw, poetic, and ritualistic, Bacchantes’ musical witchcraft is as binding as a love spell, and it’s now up for compulsive consumption via their Bandcamp.
Before I remind you of the ongoing ever-growing ever-loving Bonjour Motherfuckers playlist (and of its older sister), remember both Gloria and Wendy Martinez have albums coming out this month: Gloria’s Sabbat Matters (Outré/Le Pop Club/Howlin’ Banana) is out today, and Wendy Martinez will release her gorgeous debut EP La Chevauchée Electrique (Le Pop Club/Belka) later in the month. Also today is Bandcamp Friday, so I will now shut up and let you do your shopping.