With just over a week to go until Bastille Day (I know, can you wait?) and M83 hogging the honorary title of ‘French band du jour’, there’s no better time to look at some of the new musical stylings emerging from our continental neighbours.
Having just two people to their name doesn’t stop Hannah’s Emmanuelle A and Laurent T (formerly of M83) from making a lot of noise. Released just over a month ago, their debut album, ‘People In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear‘, offers up everything from frenetic power-pop to a more subdued, harmony-heavy folk sound. Fresh and energetic, fans of bands like Phoenix, Of Montreal and The Shins should take note.
Watch video: Hannah – Over and Out.
If ever there’s a demand for a “How To Be A Hipster” handbook, Joséphine de la Baume could write it. Model, actress, and wife of one Mark Ronson, she’s now teamed up with her brother, Alexandre, in this Parisian electro-pop outfit. From the more ethereal sounds of Nuthouse to the off-key indie stylings of The Party, their songs are fun, quirky and catchy: they’re not going to change the world, but they will cheer it up. Produced by Bjork’s button-pusher, Nellee Hooper, their debut album ‘In Wonder’ is out on 23 July.
Watch video: Singtank – The Party
According to their own profile, this Paris-based electro duo dish out neat slices of “bitchy Goth house”. I can’t argue with that, mainly because I have no idea what that even means. Whatever you want to call it, Edimbourg’s sound is dark, moody, sometimes raw, sometimes unnerving: basically, it’s too easy not to draw comparisons with The XX. Definitely one to listen to after dark. Free downloads available through their Facebook.
Watch video: Wdimbourg – Pretty Woman
In terms of band loyalties, Ghislain Fracapane could be described as a bit of a commitment-phobe, playing with three other groups as well as spearheading this eclectic troupe of musicians from Rennes. With no less than ten members in his ranks, Fracapane specialises in delivering what he calls “orchestral pop”, influenced by the likes of The Beach Boys, Efterklang and Sufjan Stevens. Mermonte’s self-titled debut is a bright, creative and slightly dreamy offering – a handy antidote to the damp anti-climax we’ve come to know as summer.
Watch video: Mermonte – Oups
These five chaps from Paris claim to have developed a sound that’s “perfectly balanced” between R.E.M., The Smiths, and The National. In reality, they’re not that depressing. Mixed by (the inescapable) M83′s former producer, Antoine Gaillet, their debut album, ‘Fortify Your Innocence’, hit the shelves in April. They may not hold back on the sentimentality or romantic idealism, but they serve it against a backdrop of warm harmonies and rich melodies which gives their sound a cheery, charming, West Coast kind of feel. You can listen to the album here.
Watch video: Erevan Tusk – Cassidy
Although born in France, Timothée Régnier (aka Rover) has spent much of his life on the road, living in Switzerland, the Philippines, Lebanon and even going to school in New York with two-fifths of The Strokes at one point. Vagabond as he may be, his sound is very much rooted in the music of the sixties, with influences like Bowie, The Beatles and Dylan shining through. Intense, dark but still soulful (just like his voice), his self-titled album feels both retro and modern at the same time. You can listen to his album here.
Watch vidoe: Rover - Aqualust
Hailing from Nice, Hyphen Hyphen are four art students with, to be honest, pretty stupid names (Santa, Puss, Line, and Zak) who happen to make pretty clever music. Atmospheric, heavy on the edgy beats and crammed with synth, they owe a lot to the Foals/Klaxons school of electro. ‘Wild Union’, their second EP, saw its release in May: while there are some cracks in the surface and Santa’s vocals may not be to everyone’s taste, it makes for an interesting listen and shows signs of good things to come.
Watch video: Hyphen Hyphen – Major Tom