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Monday, June 25, 2007

July, July! Updated

Music, like other things in Paris, should grind down to a halt in mid-July through early August, due to the exodus of Parisians to their vacation spots. Get the good stuff while it's here.
  • Bright Eyes 2/7 Paris, Bataclan Bright Eyes is the backing band for Conor Oberst, the 27-year-old, multi-instrumentalist, indie-folk boy wonder from Omaha, Nebraska (who first caught critical attention at age 14). American Coastal lovers, ignorant global stereotypers, eat your hearts out! Mid-West’s Little Omaha has been indie central in the last few years, built around Oberst’s label Saddle Creek Records and associated with other local and regional acts like Simon Joyner, Tilly and the Wall, Cursive, Lullaby For the Working Class, and The Faint, to name a few. Oberst has shown impressive skills in indie folk song-writing and his vocal style has become semi-legendary (I have a friend who says he can’t stand Oberst because the latter allegedly sounds like he’s always on the verge of crying, which is precisely one of the reasons he appeals to me!). Trying his best to walk in the gargantuan shoes of greatness critics have thrust upon him, comparisons ranging from Neil Young to Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris, Oberst has just released an American epic EP called “Four Winds,” from which you can expect he’ll be playing and also complaining about American foreign policy and the corporate threat to musical creativity. If you’re nice, he might even cry for you.
  • The Bellrays, 2/7 La Maroquinerie
    This Riverside, CA gang is part of the punk-garage-soul move that some bands like The Detroit Cobras have accomplished with prominent female soul vocals. The Bellrays are coming off their sixth album last year, “Have a Little Faith.” Bands like this are always better live. Expect groove thangs to be shakin’ galore.

  • Beirut 3/7 Paris, Trabendo: Magnetic Fields meets Decembrists meets Andrew Bird meets Neutral Milk Hotel. Trumpets, accordians, circus beats bustin' out all over the house: yeah, it's the geek bomb.
  • Iggy and The Stooges 3/7 Paris, Palais des Sports: the spectacle of punk nostalgia; a time when one was young, self-abused with drugs and seething with an irrepressible refusal of the order of things, all accompanied by a soundtrack--sells well today, apparently.

  • Custom Juillet Soiree, Point Ephemere. 3/7.We Smoke Fags, Parka, and Scenario Rock. We Smoke Fags myspace page cheekily describes their music as “The Future Sound of London.” This electro-indie-punk outfit has a lot of repetitive club loops-for-songs with minimal vocals, and on other songs the electro becomes background in a way that seems to have uncorked the musical mojo of Joy Division’s early guitar-electro mix with the vocals of Buzzcock’s Pete Shelley. Two words for this show: Fun Energy (or Go There!).

  • Bat for Lashes (Brighton, UK) 4/7, Nouveau Casino.These four Bright demoiselles offer sweet, if a little trippy, indie rolk, with Joanna Newsom-ish harp strums (well, an auto-harp) that move into kitsch pop refrains with trumpets, piano and clapping loops. Some songs have a distinctive psychedelic aura to them with reedy vocals and harpsichord-imitation keyboards in addition to the harp sound.
  • Gym Class Heroes 9/7, Nouveau Casino. Just when you thought that nothing was coming out of Geneva but fines for jaywalking and littering, here comes hip hop-RnB pop sensation Gym Class Heroes. Oh, wait, they’re from Geneva, New York. A good example of their game is the hit “Clothes off,” a mixing and re-writing Jermaine Stewart’s 80s pop hit: “We don’t have to take our clothes off…we don’t have to party all night…to have a good time, ah no,” which becomes the affirmative: “We HAVE to take our clothes off…We HAVE to party all night….” These guys are full of pomo irony, and are doing well in the MTV circuit. Perhaps their success is unsurprising given their label, Fueled By Ramen, which is proudly boasts the success of Fall Out Boy on their roster. Their 2006 album, “Cruel as Schoolchildren,” won strong reviews for bringing indie pop and hip hop together and with making hip hop fun (as opposed to life-threatening).

  • Guitar Wolf 9/7 La Maroquinerie. Another night of dueling kickass shows. Spectacular Japanese garage punkers with distinctively banshee vocals. Like their soft-porn garage compatriots 54 Nude Honeys, they are a sight to behold. Behold!
  • RJD2 10/7 Paris, Maroquinerie,

    One of underground hip hop’s most successful producers in recent years beginning with his first Def Jux release in 2002, “Dead Ringer,” RJD2 became bored with sampling. He caused a stir, saying the hip hop he’d been producing was “moron music.” Now, he said he wanted to quit sampling others’ primary works, and, instead, be the one making music that future producers would sample. His bold 2007 release “The Third Hand” was terrifyingly awaited by many critics, who now remain split on its merits. The album has been described as “breezy soul tracks with pop structures, chill vocals and a grab bag of flourishes recalling everything from McCartney to Prince.” Worth the 18 euros just to see him scratch his ass on stage. The piano-driven tracks faintly remind one of Joe Pernice’s pop style. While it’s poppy, it’s not for top-40 lotus eaters, either. In any case, this is a man of great musical vision and probably worth the18 simoleons, as Boss Hogg would put it, just to say you’ve seen the guy scratch his ass on stage.

  • Soulsavers (UK) feat. American Mark Lanegan (of Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age), 11/7, Nouveau Casino.
    Soulsavers are an English production and remix duo Rich Machin and Ian Glover who contract out their vocals. Their new album "It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land" (V2 records) features the gritty vocals of Mark Lanegan on eight of the album’s eleven tracks. The album also offers cameo appearances by Will Oldham, PW Long & Jimi Goodwin (Doves). The sound is often spare, somewhat dreamy, occasionally foreboding, and very textured. Makes sense that these guys have had some recent success writing soundtracks for films. Fans of the cerebral recording, worth your attention.

  • Animal Collective 17 & 18/7 Paris, Maroquinerie: description to follow. This one shouldn't be missed.
  • Jay Jay Pistolet (UK). 11/7 INdie folk singer who recalls Bright Eyes and perhaps a male version of Mary Lou Lord. Songs are heady, witty, and straight-up catchy. Also playing: Limousine, New Pretoria, The Do.

  • Sailor No Youth (UK) Fleche D’Or 12/7 and 14/7: New wave is back with a vengeance in this contemporary musical maelstrom where past fads and phases collide and collaborate. The Brit scene that led the way in the post-punk transition of 1978-79 is doing it again. One of the latest torchbearers is Sailor No Youth, who like the English Beat and Madness, incorporate ska/reggae beats into synth-driven pop, garage and glam rock (depending on the song) amid the fluttering female vocals of the mysterious LJ. Also playing: Mintzkov, The Dodos, the Van Jets.

  • THE THIRST (Uk) 14/7 La Fleche d’Or. Some press kits are worth quoting: “Meet brothers Mensah and Kwame Cofi-Agyeman. Teenage tearaways growing up in Brixton, south London. Younger brother Mensah finds escape from the temptations of city life by experimenting. But while his peers experiment with drugs, gang culture and petty crime, he finds inspiration a cheap electric guitar bought for him by his parents. His brother borrows some cash and buys a bass, and the core of The Thirst is born. Completing the line up are primary school friend and rhythm guitarist Mark Lenihan, and cheeky drummer Marcus Harris.” Jimmi Hendrixx meets ska. Uh, this is hot. Also playing Sailor No Youth; Sheraff; The Hellboys.

  • AmanceR [cap R intended] (UK) Fleche D’Or 16/7 AmanAcer are coming to Paris after recent local and national sold out support slots with The Twang, The Paddingtons, Brakes, My Luminaries, Reverend and The Makers.

  • Apero Tsigane , Le Divan du Monde: 20/7 : If you’re diggin’ the gypsy music craze these days, check this. Free entry. 19h.

  • Soiree Tribute to the Velvet Underground, Fleche d’Or, 24/7: Once again, organized by Morning Star, this time on the legendary VU, the band that originally sold a handful of records, but launched a 1000 followers and burned the boites de disco. Yumm.

  • Andy Yorke (UK)/Taxitaxi (Sweden)/Thisisthekit, Le Divan du Monde 25/7: Excellent lineup featuring Andy Yorke, ex-vocalist for The Unbelievable Truth and better known to some as the brother of indie-gone-gold Radiohead singer Tom Yorke. Andy is not to be overlooked with his own extremely layered low-fi pop and velvety vocals. Taxitaxi are a couple of wunderkindren from Sweden, teenagers playing sweet, textured piano-driven folk.Thisisthekit offer soulful indie-folk, or Jonathon Richman meets Nick Drake with vocal harmonies instead of solo tweetering.

And here's a little gift for you sent compliments of my friend Dave:

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Formerly "Parisnormale: Paris Rocks"