They say everything happens in circles, and that seems particularly visible this March with us virtually back to where we started from a year ago. Ok, maybe not as naive; in 2020 we still held that dumb hope that, if we behaved “well enough,” things would be back to “normal” by summer — note the quotation marks, since both words (like most of the stuff around us) have acquired a brand new meaning in these past few months.
On the other hand, sometimes it feels like 2020 never even happened at all. Time being the weirdly elastic concept it already is, some people keep referring to 2019 as “last year,” which can either be seen as an understandable Freudian slip or an unconscious way to deal with collective trauma. But, worse than that, we’re getting much too accommodated to this new reality — alarmingly so. Come New Music Friday and our inboxes are still flooded with new releases excitingly promoted in apocalypse oblivion, and now even — gasp! — the promise of SUMMER FESTIVALS. Well, in the UK at least.
Cynics, as “all this” might have turned us into (and yes, I’ve decided to go absolutely quotation marks-crazy today), it’s important we hold on to what we got — like Bon Jovi said, it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not. And what we got is amazing people doing amazing music to save us from not-so-amazing times; make sure you give back to them if you can — on Bandcamp, every first Friday of the month is Good Friday.
After two solo EPs (2019’s Smoke The Boat and last year’s Piano, Woman & Bicycle) and a lifetime of playing with Le Villejuif Underground and CIA Débutante, Australian-turned-Parisian Nathan Roche is now releasing his debut album. Suggestively titled Drink Up, Rainforest Sinatra, the LP was recorded last summer between Marseille and Aubagne with Rendez-Vous’ Guillaume Rottier on mixing duties. First single “Gallery Visit” set the tone for what a press release describes as “garage-crooning”, and the whole thing is now up for grabs via label Gone With The Weed’s Bandcamp on both digital and vinyl formats.
Unschooling unveil new single, announce EP
A brand new addition to the Howlin’ Banana Records’ roster, Rouen-based quartet Unschooling will be releasing a 5-track EP titled Random Acts of Total Control on April 16. As a preview, they have unveiled first single “Social Chameleon” (you can check out the video above), an anxious-sounding track that breathes no wave and avant pop like it’s 1982. The EP is up for pre-order (digital-only for now, although a little bird tells me physical copies will be available eventually) via their Bandcamp.
Venus Berry shares video for “Me Quitter”
Hailing from the Grand Est (more specifically, from Strasbourg), art student and composer Anouk Allard aka Venus Berry drew inspiration from “the queer universe, Madonna, and Mylène Farmer” for the visuals of “Me Quitter”, a single from her brand new LP Shibari, which is out now via Flippin’ Freaks/Kalamine Rec/La Souterraine. Featuring obvious references to Stanley Kubrick’s epic period drama Barry Lyndon, “Me Quitter”‘s clip fits the synthetic minimalism of the track like an anachronistic glove. You can check it out above, and order the Shibari cassette here.
Projet Marina preview album with four new tracks
Later this year Nantes-based duo Projet Marina will be releasing their LP Loin Des Dons Celestes via Belfast label New Sinister. As a special preview, they’ve unveiled not one but FOUR tracks that act as a warm-up EP of sorts to the album. Titled Ecce Homo (the name of one of the tracks), this sample is more than enough to excite electro/dark-wave fans around the globe — a mix of early La Femme and Fauve with a slightly goth mannerism. You can stream it now above via Bandcamp, and be sure to keep an eye on the label’s website for more info on the LP release.
Special Friend release debut album Ennemi Commun
In late 2019 Paris-based duo Special Friend put out their debut EP via Howlin Banana/Buddy Records/Gravity Music/Hidden Bay, but then apocalypse hit so it’s only natural they’ve taken over a year to release their first full-length proper. Previewed by “Pastel” and the title-track, Ennemi Commun is a delicious slice of post-Paisley Underground heaven, mixing old-school indie/garage with fuzzy guitars and Erica’s dreamy, evocative vocals. The LP is out now in digital/vinyl formats via Howlin’ Banana and Hidden Bay, and you can get it via Bandcamp.
Before you hit play and like/share/subscribe to the ongoing Bonjour Motherfuckers playlist, a quick suggestion if you’re a comic lover and understand a wee bit of French: Romain Ronzeau’s Les Amants D’Hérouville celebrates the astonishing story of Château d’Hérouville, the legendary ’70s studio that saw the likes of Elton John, David Bowie, T Rex, Iggy Pop, and many more dropping back to lay down some of the most memorable tracks of the decade (century?). Now that you’ve ordered the book you can go and spend the rest of your money on Bandcamp.