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Saturday, April 26, 2008

May Day, May Day: Holy Shit!

Holy Mother of Jesus is this month stacked.

Hot Picks of the Month (and a youtube glance):
Jonathan Richman


Willie Nelson

Forward Russia!

Of Montreal (May 8 Pt. Ephemere)

Animal Collective


DJay Eclectique, of course (Parisnormale/ Indie dj JH)

The Fratellis

See below for details...

PORTISHEAD: Touring their new album, after an 11-year wait. Talk about foreplay! It's getting good reviews, and is all over the map genre-wise.
5-6 May, Zénith

Jonathan Richman (U.S.)
The man is an underground music legend, and some of his songs are college rock anthems. Witness “I was Dancing at A Lesbian Bar,” “Pablo Picasso (was never called an asshole),” and our locally beloved “Give Paris One More Chance.” A staple in the NYC proto-punk scene in 1970 with his band The Modern Lovers, he moved between quirky auteur rock and off-beat folk (but has been hailed “The Godfather of Punk,” His influence is obvious in those who have covered him, including the Sex Pistols, John Cale, and David Bowie. In 1998 he climbed out of the cult shadows for a showcase in the hit film Something About Mary. He pulls huge tour audiences whether he’s peddling a new album or not. His oddball charisma, in addition to his timeless jewels, always make a memorable show.
Wed May 7, Nouveau Casino, 23,10 euros

Come to L'Orange Mec after J. Richman for:
DJAY ECLECTIQUE:Parisnormale's/'s Djay
Wed May 7, 9pm-1h30am, free. L'Orange Mecanique , 72bis rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud,
11th. M°Parmentier.
For those who like dj-ing that showcases multiple genres, at once cutting edge and steeped in tradition, Gogoparis/Parisnormale Djay spins an eclectic mix of 20th and 21st century cross-genre oddities and gems from Hoagie Carmichael to Of Montreal, Joe Jackson to the Klaxons, Johnny Cash to the Clash, MC5 to The Hives, France Gall to the New York Dolls, Chuck Berry to Deltron 3030. Indie, Garage, Surf, Lounge, low-fi, electronica, punk, power pop, indie rap... Get there early.
Si vous aimez le mélange des genres, entre oldies et nouvelles vagues, J & C proposent un cocktail éclectique de curiosités et de bijoux des 20e et 21e siècles: de Hoagie Carmichael à Of Montreal, de Wanda Jackson aux Klaxons, de Johnny Cash aux Clash, de MC5 à The Hives, de France Gall aux New York Dolls. Indie, Garage, Surf, Lounge, low-fi, electronica, punk, power pop... Mieux vaut arriver tôt.
FRI 7 May, 9pm-1h30am, free.
L'Orange Mecanique, 72bis rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud,
11th. M°Parmentier.

Of Montreal
Of Montreal has mainly been the baby of talented Athens, GA native Kevin Barnes. Critics are mostly agreed that OM has been mostly fantastic. "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." Dark lyrically, but hardly in tempo. Energetic, synth-ful Indie Pop at its best.
Thur 8 May, Point Ephemere

Dirty Projectors
Nu-Jazz weird pop. It's the rage. And of course they're from Brooklyn. If you want to keep your cutting edge razor sharp, better get your tickets for this one. Too bad about the overlap with Of Montreal.
Thur 8 May, Nouveau Casino

Black Acid
Psychedelic Garage Rock from NYC. Um umm good.
Fri 9 May, Nouveau Casino

These weenies started out as brilliantly mischievous punks in 1984 but evolved into what are arguably alternative rock’s most talented but rascally musicians. They embarked on a series of tongue-in-cheek cross-genre concept-albums, from prog rock to country and Philly soul, all the while improving their chops. They landed a major label deal with Elektra in ’92 (lasting ‘til 2001), but while singles like "Push th' Little Daisies" surprisingly broke the top-ten in Australia and albums like White Pepper hit 121 on Billboard’s albums, they have been far too witty and controversial for a mass audience. So they march onward, unstoppably. Are you worthy?
May 11, La Maroquinerie, 20euros

Broken Social Scene
This Toronto "baroque pop" collective (experimental indie, chamber-ish, vocal distortions, but usually melodic and measured, instead of dissonant and frenetic) formed in 1999 and are widely beloved by cutting edge music enthusiasts. At the center of the group are Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew, who like all the other members of the collective are part of other bands and solo projects. In 2006 they won the prestigious Canadian Juno music award for best alternative album of the year, for their eponymous album. These super-not-quite-superstars are well worth your sous.
Wed 14 May, 7h30pm ELYSEE-MONTMARTRE (tickets from FNAC)

INROCKS INDIE CLUB (Lightspeed Champion, Glasvegas, These New Puritans, Koko Van Napoo): 15 May, Maroquinerie

LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION: 15 May, Maroquinerie

The 75-year old is as much an American icon as James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and fellow musician-singers Elvis, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash or Bruce Springsteen. Not mainstream Nashville country at all. Not ‘Michael Row Your Boat Ashore’ folk by any means. But his peculiar plume and voice have made songs like ‘Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain’, ‘Angel Flying Too Close To the Ground’, and ‘Crazy’ timeless and precious. His advocacy of cannabis hasn’t hurt his popularity any, either. Willie's concerts, no matter how huge, seem to leave you feeling like you were invited over to his back patio for burgers and Lone Star brew. JH

Forward Russia!
This Ironic funk-punk Leeds quartet pogo-ed their way into millions of UK music-loving hearts just three years ago when debut single "Nine" sold out in a week (note playful communist numbering of songs forcing you to engage the distinguishing characteristics of the song instead of reducing it to its title). After similar success with their first album, their challenging follow up "Life Processes" was released last month. Unlike their first album, all its songs don't immediately send you to the pogo stick, but they are nevertheless well-crafted, often building patiently then exploding, your limbs tingling as singer Woodhall wails and whirls. Their last Paris concert was one of the most mesmerizingly energetic concerts I'd ever seen (review here
Sat, May 17, 8pm, Nouveau Casino
(sadly, this was just cancelled; watch for their return)

Willard Grant Conspiracy (L.A.) and Howe Gelb (Tucson)
Originally formed in 1995, WGC is a musical collective of over 30 revolving members, with founder and Cash-like vocalist Robert Fisher being the only permanent member. This concert will feature members of the Walkabouts and Green&Red. Sublimely Dark, ruminating, indie Americana ballads from WGC bring acoustic guitar arrangements together with horns, strings, keyboards, and tambourines. They're joined by the infinitely talented keyboard wizard (and polyinstrumentalist) Howe Gelb (of Giant Sand). Excellent lineup at the Nouveau Casino. For fans of Giant Sand, Lambchop, John Cale, and Sufjan Stevens.
May 19, 8pm Nouveau Casino, 22euros

Calling Popaholics. They're all the rage these days. I can't quite figure out why. But then again, I like Ween and Jonathan Richman.
Mon 19 May, Trabendo

Explosions in the Sky
Post-rock from Texas. Post-rock rebelled against early 90s guitar rock, re-privileging the strings, horns, and other orchestral accoutrements of lounge and 70s Bacharac-esque baroque arrangements--with no irony whatsoever. For lovers of, you know, Tortoise, Broken Social Scene, maybe Lambchop.
Tues 20 May, Elysee Montmartre

FESTIVAL SUPER! MON AMOUR (avec Animal Collective, Crystal Castles, El Guincho): 22-27 May, various venues

Crystal Castles
The Trabendo's having a good month with Vampire Weekend, this bunch, and Tunng. CC is an electro band's name if I've ever heard one. Not to be misled; these synth- and sample-loving Toronto duo get commissioned to sample for The Klaxons and Bloc Party. Too electro thrash pour moi, but for those with more liberal tastes, check it. Part of the great Super Mon Amour! festival.
Thur 22 May, Le Trabendo, 19h30, 23euros (fnac)

Animal Collective (NYC)
Almost impossible to classify, psych-folk or synth-pop, sometimes danceable, other times just ponderable, this New-York based group of musicians are nothing if not playfully experimental. Strange, strange, unpredictable sounds come out of their speakers. Is it African tribal dance, Woody Guthrie, and bubble gum pop meets electronica? I don't know, but it's sure as hell captivating.
24 May, Theatre de l’Alhambra

Often discussed as part of the folktronica movement that true to its name uses electronic stuff to complement traditional folk sounds/instruments, this UK band pushes the envelope still farther by incorporating "instruments" little known in Western indie circles: sea shells, for example. Their brand has not gone unnoticed, as their music was featured on the American teen TV drama the O.C. Who says musical styles are doomed to repeat? For those who'd like to see Animal Collective smoke more weed.
Tues 27 May, Le Trabendo

The Fratellis
Hot glam-injected pop-rock from Glasgow, though their sound can change from chamber harmonies to driving rock within the same song. Great citations of T-Rex (indeed, they do a fantastic cover of "Solid Gold Easy Action" from the Hot Fuzz soundtrack). Their debut album set the UK charts aflame, and their much awaited sophomore effort, Here We Stand, hits the UK next month. Strech your neck before the show, as the music is irresistibly head-bobble-able. Shame about the overlap with MGMT.
28 May, Point Ephemere

This Brooklyn psychadelic-tinged synth-rock group is getting huge. And why shouldn't they? Their January release, Oracular Spectacular, lives up to its title's pretensions. Produced by the venerable Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips), the album boasts beaming keyboards and poppish off-beats that gained him entry to the pantheon of indie producers. And hear the critics purr. These guys have been writing witty songs, and producing great electroclash since their college days at Wesleyan, but this album is a landmark. A welcome end to a stellar musical month in Paris.
28 May, Cigale

Chan Marshall is a prima donna, but a sufferable one. Her odd voice, equal parts of grit and velvet, like a high-end high alcohol-content whiskey, gave us stellar albums like Moonpix, The Covers Record, and The Greatest; and songs like "Nude as the News," "Hate," and reprises like Uncle Tupelo's "Moonshiner." She recently came out with another impressive covers album, Jukebox in January. She was long the troubled artiste maudite, marked by the Vh1-worthy bouts with booze and drugs that brought her to what she called a "psychotic breakdown" in 2006. She claims to have taken the sober road these days. Still, some say her live performance is as Cat Powerful as ever.
1 June, Olympia

Festival Villette Sonique
An electro-pop festival at Parc de la Villette. Excellent line up. See full program by clicking here.

3-8 June, La Villette

DEVO (Festival Vilette Sonique):
The great anti-rock, electro-pop pioneers of the 80s are back. Synth-soaked hits like "Whip It" and "Girl U Want" put them at the spear's head for American New Wave sounds, while their critique of "classic rock" masculinity and its cultural context (see their 1978 debut Q:Are We Not Men? A: We are Devo) has been important to a whole generation of global post-punk artists and fans.
With Marvin (expensive, but could be once in a lifetime).
Tues 3 June, 8pm Grand Halle, Parc de la Villette

The Futureheads
While they're last album was not thoroughly dazzling, their cover of Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" packed a surfeit of it. This is great post-punk power pop, reminiscent of The Only Ones.
5 June, Le Trabendo

Mission of Burma and Shellac
Yes, Belinda Carlisle, heaven really is a place on earth. This show brings one of (THE, according to many) the most influential post-punk bands in the world (Mission of Burma) together with one of the most influential experimental noisy guitar acts and legendary producers of the 90s (Shellac and Steve Albini).

The Boston band Mission of Burma no doubt influenced their showmates with their at the time new jagged guitars and rhythms in classics like "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" (as Hermann Goering used to say), "Max Ernst, and "Class War." They openly committed themselves to building additions onto the purposely basic punk edifice, with a kind of choppy guitar style reminiscent of Leeds post-punk trailblazers The Gang of Four but with more complicated time signatures, chord progressions, and overall noisiness (in some songs more than others, to be sure). Forming in 1979 and disbanding in 1983, MoB reunited in 2002 and toured to big American and European audiences with Bob Weston of Shellac on the mixing boards. Since then they've been lauded with critical praise and have produced two studio albums.

Seen as central to the "math rock" and "noise rock" movements of the 90s, which reacted against "straight up" punk-influenced guitar rock of the late 80s and early 90s, Shellac went for minimalist but loud crackling guitars, bass and drums, in odd time signatures, with repetitive measures lending themselves to head-banging or sharp body-lunging dancing in place, and heavily sarcastic lyrics often delivered in speak-sing (try "Squirrel Song" on myspace).
Sat 7 May, 8pm, Parc de la Villette, 25€ (FNAC or Parc dlV)

RADIOHEAD: 9-10 Jun, Bercy

MIKA: 4 July, Parc des Princes

BECK: 7 July, Olympia



Rock en Seine: August 28-29 (Boulogne): I'm not a big fan of the rock festivals these days, but some of you may be interested in some of the artists playing. See their link.

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Formerly "Parisnormale: Paris Rocks"