And now, we take a breather. It’s not that things are super perfect (were they ever?), but the simple fact of not having to live in a country led by a far-right president does put everything else in perspective. Macron’s reelection isn’t exactly the best of news either (I think most people abroad underestimate how much the French hate him), and it’s likely we’ll be seeing a lot more protests and divisiveness in the near future; but when we look at the other option, it still feels like paradise.
In sadder news, the legendary rock club Bus Palladium has finally breathed its last breath with a party to end all parties that took place last month, coincidentally (or not) on what would have been Serge Gainsbourg’s 94th birthday. The delightful show conducted by MC extraordinaire Nicolas Ullmann gathered a few well-known faces, like Les Rita Mitousko’s Catherine Ringer, who sang a couple of hits from the duo, or Brigitte’s Aurélie Saada, who sat at the piano for a tearjerker rendition of “Palladium.” However, nobody really knows exactly when they’re supposed to stop everything and let the bulldozers tear the place down; so I’ve actually been there since the party for a final (is it final-final, though?) goodbye, a last chance to exist within those walls who’ve seen Dali, Mick Jagger, the Beatles, and many other famous faces. Gentrification is a very heartbreaking thing.
But the month of May always rings as magical in France. Could it be the definite setting of spring? The terraces filled to the brink with both locals and tourists (which are unfortunately back in force) willing to pay 4 euros for a poor excuse for an espresso? Or the lingering smell of gun powder from a revolution that started and stopped over 50 years ago? Whatever the case, our brand new collection of fresh music will—as it always does—provide the most perfect of soundtracks.
Deviant Disco release Christophe tribute
It’s already been two years since the world lost French singer Christophe, but Paris-based collective Deviant Disco vows not to let his genius go uncelebrated, releasing a compilation titled Christophe, de Jour comme de Nuit that gathers 11 reworks of his songs by the likes of Lisa Li-Lund, A Boy Called Vidal, Charles Baptiste, and Liset Alea, among many others. A fitting tribute to one of the main voices of French chanson, now up for grabs via Deviant Disco’s bandcamp on both vinyl and digital formats.
Breakbot unveils Remedy EP
Although his most recent LP Still Waters dates back from 2016, Thibaut Berland aka Breakbot hasn’t exactly been idle music-wise—in fact, his 2020 single “Be Mine Tonight” ft. Delafleur was an instant favourite of ours. He has now returned with a four-track EP titled Remedy which he has recorded with producer Irfane, an exhilarating piece of French electro that is both retro and futuristic. You can check the EP out in full via Bandcamp above, where you’ll also be able to purchase it in digital and vinyl formats; it’s out now via Ed Banger Records.
Dombrance announces debut album République Électronique
If you’re still unfamiliar with Dombrance, shame on you. Not only was he responsible for some of the best Instagram lives during lockdown, but he keeps provided us with a continuous outpouring of addictive dance floor tunes titled after famous politicians. In fact, he couldn’t have chosen a better year for releasing his debut LP: République Électronique is due out on May 27th, a full month after the second round of the French presidential election. “For a France that dances” is his slogan; I for once know who I’d vote for. Check out single “De Gaulle” above.
Born Bad Records release Les Calamités anthology
If you’re a fan of the Bangles, The Go-Go’s, The Primitives, and other brilliant 80s new wave/power pop acts, you’re in for a major treat. Born Bad Records has once again proved they’re doing the lord’s work with the release of the definite anthology of French band Les Calamités, an 18-track LP titled Encore ! 1983-1987 that includes hits such as “Toutes les nuits,” “Je suis une calamité,” or “Vélomoteur.” The compilation is now available in digital, CD, and vinyl formats via the label’s bandcamp.
Baston share new single and video “Zodiac”
Back in 2019 Baston released their debut LP Primates, but then the apocalypse hit so they were never able to promote the album quite as it deserved. Now they’re back with a brand new full-length titled La Martyre, which they are previewing with the excellent single “Zodiac.” Halfway between ’70s German psychedelia and contemporary British post-punk, the track serves as the perfect introduction to the forthcoming album and comes with an accompanying video put together with footage “from the internet.” Check it out above; La Martyre is due out in May via Howlin Banana.
Hopefully you’ve been keeping busy going to all the shows you’ve missed over the past two years, and also buying music and merch directly from the artists whenever possible. But if you need any further inspiration for the French bit, you can check out our sampler below.