In case you hadn’t heard, there was a festival that did go ahead this Summer: the 11th edition of Rock In The Barn took place in September, with acts like Dombrance, This Is The Kit, Bryan’s Magic Tears, Warmduscher, and many others making a crowd of about 1500 people momentarily forget about the shitshow 2020 has been in terms of live music so far (doesn’t look like it’s getting any better in the coming months either). For two whole days (yes, camping was involved!) the apocalyptic global scenario seemed like a distant nightmare in a small farm in Normandie; if you want to know more about how the festival came about, here’s an interview (in French) that my dear friend Nicolas Jarzynski did with the organisers for Gonzaï magazine.
For the rest of us craving this sort of experience but having to make do with the odd life-stream, there’s a lot of new releases coming out this fall to get us psyched about the possibility of a return to touring life in 2021 — this, of course, if enough venues survive until then. But let’s not get depressed just yet; dive into this fresh bouquet of French selections, and whenever possible don’t forget to support the artists by buying their music directly to them.
La Femme return with new track “Paradigme”
Despite its overall reputation, 2020 has also had its fine moments: one of those is the much-awaited return of La Femme, who had been laying relatively low release-wise since their 2016 album Mystère. “Paradigme” is an exciting vital sign that follows their unique “strange wave” tradition and sees them teaming-up with frequent collaborator Clara Luciani, who is joined by Ariane Gaudeaux and Alma Jodorowski on vocal duties. Check out the video above; “Paradigme” is now available in most streaming platforms.
Paper Tapes unveils first single “In The Heat”
Géographie’s most recent signing is Cyril Angleys aka Paper Tapes, a Lyon-born Paris-based musician better known as a member of Brace! Brace! who is now venturing solo with a debut EP, Homecoming, due out on October 9. The first taster is this vibrant synthpop tune “In The Heat”, which sees Angleys assuming his various influences: from Stereolab to Air, from Todd Rundgren to 70s film scores, “In The Heat” is simultaneously evocative and down-to-earth. You can stream it above via the label’s Soundcloud.
Sahara share new single and video “Gris Climatique”
Another notable new signing is Sahara‘s partnership with Le Gospel, Adrien Durand’s love child that started out as a magazine (fingers crossed it’ll survive these “unprecedented times”) and has since then expanded to include children’s books and cassette releases. “Gris Climatique” sets the tone for the first of three musical releases the band is putting out in the coming months. It’s an intense song and video that is “definitely political,” and that emerges as a perfect example of their own description of their sound: “it seems like a french Blonderedhead [sic] is making love to King Crimson in Brazil.” Keep an eye on Le Gospel’s site for more info.
Born Bad Record announces previously unreleased Bruno Leys EP
Better late than never, that’s for sure — but having to wait 50 years for your EP to finally see the light of day seems a bit much. That’s what happened to Bruno Leys, who in 1969 recorded four tracks for an EP that, had things gone according to plan, would have been released on French label La Compagnie. But a series of unfortunate events resulted in its cancellation, and only an extremely rare promo 7” containing “Maintenant je suis un voyou” and “Galaxie” was released at the time. Born Bad Records is now making the original EP available in both vinyl and digital; the amazing cover art comes from Elzo Durt.
The Drama Kings release new EP, Batcave
Almost a year after the recordings took place in a studio in Toulouse, The Drama Kings‘ new EP is now finally ready for public consumption. Led by single “Hate Train Blues” (first released in the Spring and whose clip you can watch here) and featuring artwork by Jeremie Lamart, the Paris-based trio’s new offering is an hypnotic take on dark psychedelia with a garage touch—a perfect sonic blend that frustrates by the immediate impossibility of enjoying it live. You can stream Batcave in full via The Drama Kings’ Bandcamp.
As per usual, if you happened to stumble upon this fresh bouquet of new French music the day it was published, be sure to head over to Bandcamp to buy your favourite tunes as the money will go to the artists in its entirety. Check out the playlist below for more shopping inspo. Previous editions of Bonjour Motherfuckers can be found here.