It seems like we've had nearly a month of warm sunny weather. The apocalypse is surely nigh, Parisnormaliens! Better turn the rock on high, for tomorrow ye shall fry.
Luckily, you'll have no problem doing that this month. The bountiful offerings include Malcolm Middleton (Arab STrap), Slint, Shellac, Built to Spill, Cluster, Rufus Wainwright, 54 nude honeys (Japanese dirty rock), Nashville Pussy (Just plain dirty rock). Ooh, lah, LAH, PN's. Ooh...Lah...Lah.
Drink up! Your glass is empty.
Fleche d’or Monday April 30
Blonde Redhead likes them. Still not convinced? This
Maroquinerie Apr. 30
Howe Gelb CANCELLED (U.S. Thrill Jockey Records).
Nouveau Casino Apr. 30
Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of post-rock/ambient stuff that looks down its bespectacled nose at vocals, but my trip to the Red Sparowes myspace page was a pleasant one. Their latest effort, “Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun
Neurot Recordings” reminds me of a mute My Morning Jacket at times. Plus, I’m a sucker for sampling spring bird sounds.
Here’s what they say about themselves:”With eight songs spread across nearly 62 minutes, Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun is an epic ambient rock record best experienced in its entirety: From the opening bass volley to the closing snare hit, the members of Red Sparowes expertly navigate the hidden vibrations of what seems like a preordained trajectorychiming, weeping, droning; gracefully descending, and then vaulting upwards, booming, scraping the orchestral firmament before spiraling softly into the inevitable comedown.”
May Day, May 1 : Roma Therapy
This show won’t facilitate your May Day vows to cheer on the International Workers of the World, but what better place to be than the Fleche if you have a Roma itch that needs scratching? From a kind of gypsy-tinged 60s soul-garage (The Romanee Counteez) to gypsie-punk-metal (Kultur Shock) and Latin American-Balkan hybrids (Mala Vita), this is bound to be a gypsy fest that will leave a lingering impression.
THE ROMANEE COUNTEEZ (Fr)
Soul / Punk / Psychedelic. Soul / Punk.
KULTUR SHOCK (Us)
”Gypsie on steroids / Punk wedding / Trash rumba.” Produced by former Faith No More bassist (and Kool Arrow owner) Billy Gould and recorded primarily by Jack Endino, Kultura-Diktatura is a natural progression from the band's first two albums. Live In Amerika, which the band released on its own Pacific label, was full of traditional Balkan folk songs, while FUCC the INS, released on Kool Arrow in 2001, found the band moving into more original territory and adding more attitude and aggression into the mix. True to the boundary-crossing nature of the band, Kultura-Diktatura was mixed in
MALA VITA (Holl)
”Powerful melodies from the Balkans, explosive rhythms from Latin America and lyrics straight from the dark Neapolitan alleys, welcome to the world of Mala Vita! These gypsies from the 21st century know how to energetically summarize the world in a nutshell. A new album, a collaboration with Manu Chao’s bassplayer, an Essent Award, nobody can stop this band! The secret of this success? Bring six musicians together with different nationalities and backgrounds, let them blend and the global sounds of Mala Vita will blow out of your speakers.”
DJ TAGADA (Fr)
»BalkansBeats. TA GA DA sont trois syllabes utilisées dans le scat (technique d’improvisation vocal) tzigane.
Le Trabendo May 2 Cold War Kids, (sold out)
They opened for CYHSY a couple of months ago. I guess this means the Kids are all right...
Fleche D’or Friday May 4
LES BREASTFEEDERS (Montréal)
I was always suspicious of French garage rock as stuck in a language hopelessly better suited for the cabaret than for the hop...until I met this bunch. Songs like “funny funiculaire” and “mini jupe et watusi” challenge your determination to stand still and unfazed. Their live performances are legendary for their infectious energy. Suckle the night away.
THE LURIOS (Uk)
Indie / PowerPop / Alternative. The Lurios are two sets of brothers dragged up on the smog-filled streets of Teesside. Captivating audiences with their youthfulness and sheer knack at writing brilliant indie-pop tunes, this four piece are currently crafting more and more songs and seem to be gathering more and more fans along the way, as they play the odd gig and shine the odd bit of lurio-light into the hearts of those that come to see them perform, recently sharing stages with bands such as Little Man Tate, The Fratellis, The Paddingtons and The Enemy.
THE MICHELLES (Uk)
Avatars of the slowcore indie rock movement, Low (Subpop Records) sprouted up in sync with noisy guitar rock in 1993. Their tempo was slow;their volume--low as their name. They got a bit louder as time went on, but their albums, with one major recent exception, have been consistently described as spare, and the vocal harmonies between singer Alan Sparhawk and his wife Mimi Parker distinctively beautiful. However, their markedly up-tempoed and louder 2005 album The Great Destroyer was seen as experimental, which reportedly won new fans and alienated some older ones. Some expected Low to return to their signature minimalist arrangements; in fact, their latest, Guns and Drums, is equally layered, harmonic, and brooding.
Flèche d'Or, May 10
Lo-Fi-Fink and , Showcase
Cafe de la Danse, May 12
Cherrypicked from the brimming Swedish pop scene by none other than the legendary Alan McGee (aka ‘the man who discovered Oasis’), and signed to his Poptones label, Tobias Froberg is another chapter in the emerging folk-rock scene. His second album Somewhere in the City has that ‘happy-sad’ quality to it that hallmarks so much music of these spoilt, consumerist times, but the lightness and optimism is particularly Swedish. CG
Nouveau Casino, May 14
The Scotsman Malcolm Middleton, formerly of Arab Strap, launched a solo career in 2003 received to significant critical acclaim. When the popular Arab Strap disbanded in 2006, Malcolm devoted himself to his solo career. His third effort, the ironically titled A Brighter Beat (Full Time Hobby), is as strong as anything he's released so far. Ephemeral reflections of Belle and Sebastian, Ultravox, and Bright Eyes shimmer on the surface of these songs before disappearing into stranger uses of synthesizer and country electric guitar and Supersuckers-like drumming. The album doesn't drag in the least, even as the lyrics are waving you like a traffic cop through to the graveyard, in "We're all going...": "You're going to die, you're going to die, you're going to die alone." Yahoo! Out like jitterbugging lemmings, well go.
Loney Dear 15/5 , Boule Noire
Jesse Sykes & 15/5 , Européen
Nouveau Casino, May 16
BB is a Norwegian bluesman and master of the 12-string guitar. Winner of several Norwegian grammys. Maybe you'd give him one too? Not normally the kind of material you find on PN, but the dude has some great tatoos, a bizarre pirate's goatee, and like I said, knows his metier. So it ain't Slint, but Slint probably likes it.
La Maroq, May 17 Les Inrocks
For now, see if you can negotiate this frog talk below. Better yet, click the Myspace links. These are upandcomin' Limey bands--indeed, some are well on their way in to the spotlight. It's a lot of catchy pop-rock.
Looks like a nice evening at La Maroq...
THE VIEW (UK)
Ressortir indemnes d'une tournée aux côtés des Babyshambles relève du miracle. The View, eux, ont au contraire profiter de l'occasion pour affiner leur punk déluré et arrogant, surprenant hybride des regrettés Libertines et des jeunes Arctic Monkeys. Originaires de Dryburgh, petiteville écossaise où empoigner une guitare semble être la seule activité possible, les quatre gaillards de The View sont à voir absolument.
C'est à Bexhill-On-Sea, cité balnéaire du Sud anglais, que Mumm-Ra s'est forgé une culture musicale allant des Beach Boys à Sigur Ros, et a développé de véritables envies d'évasion. Pas étonnant donc que cette pop soit aujourd'hui aussi exaltée, se dévoilant, en attendant un album pour mai,lors de concerts épiques, dont on parie qu'ils offriront bientôt à ses auteurs les portes des stades.
THE ENEMY (UK)
C'est bon signe : huit mois seulement auront suffi pour que le célèbre label Stiff Records (maison mère d'Elvis Costello) décide de publier le premier single, 40 days, 40 nights, de The Enemy, nouveau groupe de trois jeunes Anglais de Coventry, situé à mi-chemin entre Oasis et Kasabian. Pas de mauvais jeu de mot : le NME va adorer.
Nouveau Casino, May 18
Seminal Krautrockers/spacerockers--experiments with electronic instruments. Founded in 1970. "Cluster and Neu! founder Michael Rother recorded two albums under the name Harmonia, and as such were joined by Brian Eno for one album, Tracks and Traces (recorded 1976; released 1997). Eno separately worked with Cluster on the albums Cluster & Eno (1977) and After the Heat (1978)."--From Wiki.
La Fleche, May 18
ALEXANDRE VARLET (Fr)
Your handrails:Traces of Nick Drake acoustic; Bauhaus's Peter Murphy for vocals; early Yo La Tengo; clapping hands; "uh-huh"'s and "all right"s--all in one nicely packaged song with a ribbon and a bow for you. Very promising indie frog folk pop.
Or for you francophiles (fans of the dictator Franco): Fraîchement signé sur le label parisien Fargo (Andrew Bird, Neal Casal, Emily Loizeau, Alamo Race Track), Alexandre Varlet a choisi la Flèche d'Or pour son retour aux affaires. Il y interprétera les chansons de "Ciel de Fête", un nouvel album résolument rock, en français, faisant le pont entre chanson d'ici et le rock anglais des années 80, à sortir le 5 juin prochain. Réalisateur du disque, le guitariste et ex-Overhead Nicolas Leroux viendra rejoindre Alexandre ce soir.
La Maroquinerie, May 19
54 Nude Honeys (JP): Soft Porn meets Garage punk with these Japanese Divas who strap on more than guitars. Garage has its musical virtues. But when the genre wants new recruits, it's hard to beat a dominatrix with a guitar( and two of the "honeys" actually have worked as dominatrixes--it's not just a stage persona). Unsurprisingly, most of their recruits are guys. Punkier and unmistakably naughtier than the rest of the puritanical garage genre.
Rodeo Massacre (FR/SWD): The fine line between garage and pop--Hives meets Housemartins. Melodic and energetic--just the second wind you needed when you committed to going out after a long day at the office or in the books.
La Maroquinerie, May 22
Do Make Say Think
A fair dose of Canadian post-rock this month at La Maroq thanks to DMST. What does one say? It's indie guitar rock, with tempo changes galore, and horns.
Bataclan, May 24
That album is the very reason for a European tour after a 16-year hiatus. In 2005, ATP's Barry Hogan established the Don't Look Back series allowing artists the opportunity to perform live their recordings that have had a significant impact on music. So he’s resurrected Slint to begin in
Le Bataclan, May 25
Of Montreal and Syd Matters
Of Montreal has mainly been the baby of talented Athens, GA native Kevin Barnes. The "group" has had such a personnel turnover that it has almost always been Barnes' solo project with revolving backups. Critics are mostly agreed that OM has been mostly fantastic. Here's what Allmusic.com critic Jason Ankeny says about Barnes's recent effort: "He moved to Norway with his wife in order to have their baby there. Deprived of familliar touchstones, Barnes fell into a deep depression and, upon returning to the States, things went progressively downhill. He and his wife separated for a time and she returned to her family in Norway with their new daughter. Through the emotional turmoil, Barnes concocted what was to be his darkest, most personal and most ambitious album Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? in 2007."
Ankeny's colleague, Scott McClintock appropriately calls this album a "grower." After all the light pop of earlier Of Montreal albums, this one is decidedly darker and all about Barnes's split with his wife. The songwriting is said to challenge the listener, but the experience is ultimately rewarding...after several careful listens. Better start listening now if you're planning on being capable of appreciating the concert.
p.s. Syd Matters ain't no singer-songwriter to sneeze at--for a Frenchie. His lyrics are superior to most French singer-songwriters who go anglais, and yet I'd say there's sometimes something lacking to those lyrics. I shant parade them for shame's sake here. Listen and you'll see what I mean.
tickets? click here
Le Bataclan May 26
Following two days on the heels of legendary post-rock gang Slint whose first album he produced, Steve Albini, rides into Paris on a donkey to fans waving palm leaves, with his band Shellac in tow.
Shellac is Steve Albini (guitar/vocals), Todd Trainer (drums), and Bob Weston (bass guitar). Albini and Weston are recording engineers of great stature, Albini being one of the most legendary recording engineers of the independent scene. A
Le Point Ephemere, May 29
Band of Horses
I've always said they sounded like My Morning Jacket. But who cares! They're great anyway.
Seeing as how they're playing at the Bataclan, perhaps Wilco are bigger bigshots in Paris than I had realized. They've been experimenting, and moving beyond the twangy country-punk of leader Jeff Tweedy's excellent first band, Uncle Tupelo, ever since the fabulous album one: A.M.
This experimentation is exactly what some fans love about them. Others have abandoned them after album two or three. I lean closer to the latter group. Their latest is Sky Blue Sky (nonesuch Records), and I've only listened to one track on MYspace, which seemed extremely Dylanesque.
Who knows? Might be worth the trip to bogus FNAC for your ticketmaster-like transaction. JH
La Maroquinerie, May 30
BUILT TO SPILL w/ Camper Van Beethoven
A huge concert, to be sure, parisnormalien ladies and gents. Built to Spill would be enough. But with Camper Van B??? Wow.
The Idaho natives BTS were one of the biggest indie rock bands of the 90s. Lead singer Doug Martsch, heavily influenced by the guitar work of Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis, went through considerable personnel changes before landing a stable core in the late 90s. Often compared to Pavement, BTS's/Marsch's complicated guitar arrangements and non-traditional yet poppy song structures made them stand above the pack of Sonic Youth, Pavement, and Slint imitators. They churned out a number of successful albums before slowing down around 2000. 2006's You in Reverse was a kind of comeback album that impressed many critics, some saying it was the best yet from this gargantuan indie band.
And Camper V. B.!
Holy Heart failure, Batman! This is the original outfit marshalled by David Lowery that later produced CRACKER, the indie band that crossed over and had a couple of huge hits in the 90s such as "Low." Nice to see all these 80s and 90s outfits refusing to give in to the cultural pressure of rock as a young man's thang, while at the same time not becoming Rolling Stones and R.E.M. "please shoot me and put me out of your misery" caricatures.
They formed in 1985, cousins--that's right: 22 moons ago! (actually I don't know jack about moon phases, so sorry moonologists). As Denise Sullivan of allmusic has noted, their merging of punk, ska, and world musics was unprecedented at that time. Bands like Kulturshock, Gogol Bordello, Les Hurlements de Leo, Devotchka, and Animal Collective are their legacy. Jonathon Segel's violin/fiddle and mandolin on some songs gave them a twang unheard of in other indie bands of the time. They switched from genre to genre or mixed from song to song. Many of you may know them from Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine, which features their song "Take the Skinheads Bowling." They haven't released anything new in a few years, but they seem to enjoy touring from time to time, and who knows? Maybe they have something new on the burner. Bound to be extremely entertaining en tout cas mes amis! Jh