How ecstatically did you celebrate leaving 2020 behind? Did you ask for the quick return of live shows as the clock struck 12? There’s never been such a big collective desire to turn the page and start anew, but even if things won’t magically change overnight, remember to be grateful for being here, alive and well(-ish), ready to witness the next great Aquarian age. After all, the most-awaited festival headliner of 2021 is clearly shaping up to be the Vaccines.
But Brexit also happened, and if you’ve been following the news you know how shitty this ‘deal’ is for the future of live music. So, if you live in the UK, please consider signing this petition asking for the parliament to negotiate a free cultural work permit that allows for the artists to play in the EU without needing a working visa. Although way past its initial 100,000 goal now, the more signatures it collects the heavier the pressure for a decent solution that doesn’t kill an already insanely fragile industry.
As a final note, and for those of you whose new year’s resolutions included reading more books, a suggestion: Jeremy Allen’s new book on Serge Gainsbourg Relax Baby Be Cool is coming out next month via Jawbone, and it’s looking très bien indeed. Needless to say, please consider buying it from your local bookshop instead of one of those soul-stealing capitalist giants.
And now, on with our first bijou selection of 2021!
Music On Hold announce debut album, share first single “Bread”
If you were in need of artists delivering feel-good anthems for 2021, then Music On Hold is the answer to your prayers. Recently signed to legendary Born Bad Records, the Parisian trio has just shared their debut single “Bread”, a pop-lifting tune that serves as a preview of their debut LP 30 Minutes Of…, due out in early February. A genuine treat for 80s synth pop lovers, “Bread” is an exciting premiere for a band that promisingly describes itself as “you, me and everyone else in the same bathtub giving each other sensual back rubs before slipping into silk dragon kimonos.” Keep an eye on their Bandcamp for more info.
Hobby release self-titled EP
A full year after having released a split EP with… err… themselves as previous moniker Deaf Parade, Paris-based Hobby are back with a proper release filled with jangly 90s indie nostalgia. Comprised of four tracks, the self-titled EP oscillates between pop-grunge and hypnotic garage with a touch of Pixies in the Kim Deal-like backing vocals (provided by Special Friend’s Erica). Hobby is out now in vinyl and digital via Toulousian label Hidden Bay Records, but if you’re a cassette addict you should head over to rds rec hh’s Bandcamp for your fix.
Mansfield.TYA unveil video for “Auf Wiedersehen”
Julia Lanoë aka Rebeka Warrior has been pretty busy these past few years. After having joined forces with legendary producer Vitalic to release Niemand, the debut LP of their project Kompromat, she has now resurrected her partnership with Carla Pallone for a new Mansfield.TYA album that is due out in February via her own recently-created imprint Warriorecords. The first taster of Monument Ordinaire is “Auf Wiedersehen”, an electro-pop marvel whose Nicolas Medy-directed video, appropriately filmed at the Royaumont abbey, unashamedly goes for a certain Name Of The Rose aesthetic. Check out the clip above, and head over to the Diggers Factory website to pre-order the LP.
Gloria share video for “You Had It All”
It’s been four years since Gloria gifted us with their excellent debut In Excelsis Stereo, and even though their 2018 mini LP Oidophon Echorama helped us cope with the inevitable hangover, their recently-announced sophomore album Sabbat Matters is one of the records we’re looking forward to the most next spring. The newest single from the forthcoming LP is “You Had It All”, which remains faithful to the group’s 60s throwback trademark both musically and visually—an influence guitarist Alexis openly assumes, saying the clip represents “a requiem for the band’s strange fixation with the era.” Check it out above.
30 artists unite in compilation For Beirut
Although it was released last November, the compilation For Beirut has been gradually gaining momentum as the artists share their individual contributions. Featuring the likes of Rubin Steiner, Acid Arab, Breakbot, and Dimitri From Paris, the album was initially put together to help Decks on the Beach co-founder Olivier, who lost his house in Beirut’s explosion last August, and soon expanded to fund Baytna Baytak, an NGO committed to rebuild people’s houses in the Lebanese city. You can buy the digital album for 10 euro, but for 30 more you also get a stunning, limited edition poster by illustrator Raphaelle Macaron.
New year also means new Bonjour Motherfuckers playlist, which you can check out below and follow/like/show some love. The previous season remains available here, and all editions of the column can be revisited here.