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Sunday, January 25, 2009

February Teaser: Fleet Foxes, Ra Ra Riot, Neko Case, The Black Lips

5 Feb The Stranglers

6 Feb The Grammatics
Fleche D'Or

7 Feb Islands( Anti-)
Montreal's Islands play a super catchy brand of slightly funked out indie rock. Compare to Franz Ferdinand, well if they had a violinist like Andrew Bird.
Fleche D'Or

8 Feb Sham69
Sham 69 (UK)
Sham 69 is a highly influential British proto-punk band formed in 1975 in Hersham, England. That’s right they preceded the Sex Pistols. The Velvet Underground’s John Cale produced their first hit single “I Don’t Wanna” in 1977, resulting in a major label contract with Polydor. Their first major studio album Borstal Breakout produced two hit singles, “Angels With Dirty Faces” and “If the Kids are United,” both of which have become legendary as obligatory reprises by countless followers over the past three decades.

Like many rock legends, the drama of breakups and reunions has often landed them at the center of the tabloid entertainment press. The most recent chapter of their breakup drama featured frontman Jimmy Pursey claiming that Sham 69 was breaking up because songwriter/guitarist Dave Parsons and drummer Ian Whitewood left the band. Parsons responded that the band left Pursey, and Parson’s reincarnated band carries on in Paris this month.

The show takes place at the up and coming La Peña Festayre, on the border of the Parc de la Villette (Avenue de Flandres side). It’s actually a Basque restaurant with a good-sized music hall attached (see photos here The recent programming has produced an entertaining nostalgia for the first generation of British punk bands, the true contemporaries of the Sex Pistols, and thus seems to be laying claim to that niche market in Paris. Last month a huge show featuring old French and British punk bands included the UK Subs and The Vibrators. Nothing to sneeze at. Now they bring us Sham 69. Maybe you were always curious about what you might’ve missed back in ’76-79 (whether you were of age or not). Not that this show will perform quantum physics, but some history will no doubt be showcased.
Sham 69, Pogomarto, Les Prouters, Pyranas and stilnox
La Peña Festayre, 32, avenue Corentin Cariou
75019 Paris
Sunday 8 February 2009 at 3:00pm, 6€ !!!

Sham 69 performing their classic “If the Kids Are United”:
La Peña Festayre

10 Feb Bloc Party
Sold out. Check Craig's List Paris and Les Inrocks online forum for scalpers.

13 Feb Djay Indie Eclectique (DIE) at UFO: Special Friday the 13th Soiree

14 Feb Black Lips
Atlanta's Black Lips are an entertaining bunch of nuts known as much for their live antics and getting kicked out of places (even entire countries, like India) for their "vomiting, urinating, nudity, [and] band members kissing" (Wiki) as for their reliable brand of blues punk. Wear your body condom.
la Maroquinerie

16 Feb Woodpigeon
Pt. Ephemere

18 Feb Ra Ra Riot
The buzz is building for this Syracuse, NY band whose violin-tinged indie pop has a rumor of ARcade Fire, but in fact they really sound a bit like Islands, who come to town a week before them.
Fleche D'Or

18 Feb Lordi
Ha ha! Made you look! (For those not in on the joke, these guys were Eurovision champs a couple of years ago)
L'Elysee Montmartre

21 Feb,
Neko Case (Chicago)
American (and Canadian-adopted) alt-country and -rock diva Neko Case has built a considerable following of critics, fans, and perverts over the last decade. She is perhaps the most important female vocalist to appreciate and master country, folk, and punk since Exene Cervenka of pioneering 80s LA legends X.

Case learned her chops in Vancouver, CN punk bands in the mid-nineties while in art school, before launching a successful indie career as a soloist and with her Canadian band The New Pornographers. She signed on to Chicago's burgeoning "insurgent country" scene in 1997 with her luscious Bloodshot Records debut "The Virginian," and settled in Chicago three years later. Case's powerful vocals and feisty sex appeal have won her niche fan and critical attention, landing her regular performances on late night shows like David Letterman and a somewhat tabloid reputation for racy live shows.

In warm weather, she is accustomed to stripping down to her bra, an act rumored to have gotten her "blacklisted" from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. The hype has only continued since Playboy magazine voted her "Sexiest Babe of Indie Rock" in 2003. Typical of her artistic integrity and DIY attitude, she refused to pose for the magazine, telling Entertainment Weekly, ""I didn't want to be the girl who posed in Playboy and then—by the way—made some music." She's touring her eighth solo album, Middle Cyclone, set to be relased March 3. Well worth
With NP:
Sat 21 Feb, Nouveau Casino, 19h30, 14,60 euros

23 Feb Skylarkin
Fleche D'Or

25 Feb Fleet Foxes
Fabulous. See my review here.
La Cigale

25 Feb Seasick Steve
La Maroquinerie

26 Feb Thur. M. Ward

M. Ward (Portland, OR; Merge Records)

M. Ward is seven solo albums old now, his first being released on Ow Om Records a decade ago by the multi-talented musician-impresario Howe Gelb. Since then Ward has risen to the gates of the singer-songwriter pantheon, thanks to his poetic flair, husky vocals, and memorable hooks. Known also for his collaborations with other indie favorites, Ward’s appeared on albums with Cat Power and Jenny Lewis, and toured with Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James billed as Monsters of Folk. Last year, he recorded an indie-folk album with actress Zooey Deschanel as She and Him, which landed on a number of critics’ annual top 10 lists. Ward rolls in on the wave of his February release Hold Time.

26 Feb, Café de la Danse, 20h.

26 Feb Friendly Fires, Secret Machines
La Maroquinerie

26 Feb Teenage bottlerocket
La Mecanique Ondulatoire

27 FebJ. Tillman
Fleche D'or

28 Feb The Spinto Band
Pt Ephemere

March 4 Emilie Loizeau

March 5 I am Kloot

March 6 The Datsuns
Pt. Ephemere

Parisnormale's Djay Indie Eclectique Friday 30 Jan. Planete Mars

Expect more 60s garage and psychadelic pearls in this set, rockhounds. 
Bonne fin du weekend!
--Jay Harsin/Djay Indie Eclectique (D.I.E.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pitchfork 500 release party at The Motel

Friday night the Motel was packed. The event was a dj-ed release party for the influential indie music (largely) site Pitchfork's new book The Pitchfork 500: the best 500 songs from punk to the present. The djs were exclusively spinning songs from the 500 list. I heard Sonic Youth's "Daydream Nation" REM's "Radio Free Europe," and Stone Rose's "Waterfall," among other gems. Pitchfork, I'm glad to see you're listening to me. Was Richard Hell and the Voidoids in there?

Though the place was too much sardine city for my tastes, it was full of people into the music, into a particular indie subculture. This was my third or fourth time to the bar,and though I find it a bit on the teen side for this aging hipster, it is a fun place with fairly reasonable drinks (4euro mojitos til 10, then 6 after that; normal beer prices). Of course for some of you readers, the youthfulness factor is a plus. Besides there were a few 30+ veterans, rockin about with their walkers (in their slippers, of course).
Worth checking out the Motel in the future. In fact, you just might find me djing there.
The Motel
8 Passage Josset, 75011 Paris
* Ledru Rollin (0.2 km)
* Faidherbe Chaligny (0.6 km)
* Bréguet-Sabin (0.6 km)
* Voltaire (0.6 km)
Two blocks down rue de Charonne from la Mecanique Ondulatoire.
--Djay Indie Eclectique
p.s. Hey, Pitchfork! Feel free to send me a copy to review. xoxo

Friday, January 09, 2009

What are your favorites of 2008?

A couple of us here chimed in with our top indie albums of 2008. What are yours? What was left out?
Lastly, what do you all think of the Gaslight Anthem? The new Animal Collective?
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

January Calender (IN PROGRESS)

Happy 2009!

Let's party like it's 2009!
The best dance rock, surf, garage, classic punk, et un peu de New Wave. Sonic Youth, Little Richard, Elvis, the Marvelettes, Adam Ant, The Ramones, The Clash, The Cars, The Jam, The Gang of Four, The Raveonettes, the Cure, Midnight Juggernauts, Joy Division, the Detroit Cobras, The Black Keys...
Classic 50s science fiction films projected downstairs (Flying Saucers Attack Earth!), a good-sized dance floor, quality Belgian beers on draft (Delirium Tremens).

William (UK)
Peppy pop-punk-drumming, loud jangly guitars. Methinks this free show is worth the price. Click their name to check them out on myspace.
Mon 12 Jan, Fleche d'Or

Old School British Punk, UK Subs, The Vibratores,etc. See flyer at left. I've never been to this venue, but this might just be the occasion. Some of the bands are legendary, and 10euros for all of them is, well, sooo punk rock.
la Pena Festayre, M. Corentin Cariou
13 Jan

La Maroquinerie, Jan. 15, 20h

Animal Collective
I guess these folks like it here; they return after a good show at the Alhambra in May. 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.
Fri., Jan. 15, Bataclan (get tickets on "spectacles" or digitick

Eagles of Death Metal
This is one of my favorite bands of the last couple years. Somewhere between the Ramones and the Flamin' Groovies, a bit of garage glam, a bit of White Stripes--this bunch cranks out some extremely catchy yet pretty hard rockin ditties. Too bad it's already sold out. Perhaps Craig's list Paris for tickets. Or just show up at the door. Someone always needs to get rid of a ticket.
Tues, Jan. 27 20h

This is about a few French bands that have been extremely influenced by some great Japanese bands. Could be interesting, especially if you're bored with a lot of the other French bands.
Sun, Jan. 25

Of Montreal(Athens, GA)
For a full review of this fantastic band, see my BEST 10 Indie Albums of 2008 review. I rank their recent album at #10. P.S. They are supposed to be absolutely wild live.
31 Jan, Bataclan

Black Lips (Atlanta), Ponytail
The Black Lips describe themselves as "flower punk," since they like noisy, rockin' guitars, but also the psychadelic elements of late 60s "Nuggets" garage. Plus, from Wiki: "The Black Lips have a reputation for crazy live shows that have included vomiting, urinating, nudity, band members kissing, fireworks, a chicken, and flaming guitars. The frequency of the group's outrageous stage antics has declined, as they claim to have matured "a little bit"." See the video below. Sounds like fun, no? Meetup for Happy hour shots before at Cafe Charbon? Speak up, speak up!
14 Feb,La Maroquinerie

Friendly Fires (UK), La Maroquinerie, 26 FEB.
Friendly Fires's 2008 eponymous debut appeared on several critics' Best of 2008 lists. They can be seen as part of what I call the New New Wave, of indie electro-pop-rock, that revives New Wave synth riffs and disco beats, and lays some 90s-ish indie guitar rock on them. It's catchy stuff, to be sure. For fans of the Ting Tings,the Sounds,etc.

Feb. 25, la Cigale (See flyer at left) (FOR REVIEW, SEE MY BEST INDIE ALBUMS OF 2008 POST)


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Jayson Harsin's/Djay Indie Eclectique's Top 10 Indie Albums of 2008

(first published on Blogcritics Magazine)
1. My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges (ATO Records)
As with several of my top picks for 2008, MMJ demonstrates a virtuosity of generic flexibility, vocally and instrumentally weaving threads of classic country twang, disco, new wave electropop, 90s indie guitar rock, jam band, and, minimally, southern rock. The only major genre from the last thirty years that I hardly hear at all is punk (perhaps with the exception of “Remnants”). The lyrics aren’t transparent, but neither are they clichÈ. Songs creep like lava and then spring like cats.

“Evil Urges” gives you a Bee Gees-esque falsetto and disco-rock combined with bridges to a southern rock anthem. “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream” reminds one of Air’s, well, airy electropop mixed with gentle harmonies that build into slightly harder guitar flourishes. “Highly Suspicious” features a “State of Shock” bass line and Prince-like (or Michael Jackson) yawps. “I’m Amazed” is perhaps the most southern rock type number as James belts out the vocals with a rumor of Alabama. “Thank You Too!,” is a kind of twangier late 70s early 80s Bee Gees, even Air Supply (yes, sue me) vocal. “Sec Walkin” is seventies country and disco, a pedal steel guitar and a wailing Jim James.”Two Halves” vocals recall the Stones and Nick Lowe, while the music recalls the power pop of The Jayhawks.”Look at You” is a far twangier, somewhat precious ballad. “Librarian” is delicate even if spritely guitar plucking and crooning. “Aluminium Park” has a driving piano rock to it that is clearly indebted to Springsteen. “Remnants” sounds as if it were composed after listening to Foo Fighters and Guided By Voices back to back. “Smokin from Shootin” is some twanged early 80s soft pop riff (can you recognize it?) with an outstandingly patient crescendo. “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2” serves up spacey keyboards worthy of OMD, complemented by the eerie jangle of a surf guitar, and a disco drum out of Blondie (for a psychedelic disco aura overall), combining into an eight-minute tour de force. Space-twang-jam-disco-rock? I’m not sure, but there’s a lot to like.

2. She&HimVolume One (Double Six Records). An ironically pretentious title from a star duo that met on a movie set, this album shows masterful songwriting that supply crosses multiple genres, including classic country, pop and soul. She is actress Zooey Deschanel (a phenomenon which gives a listener pause). Him is indie cult singer/songwriter M. Ward. The idiosyncratic folk arrangements and vocal style that have made Ward a cult fave are largely tamed to a supporting role on this album. The star is Deschanel whose wonderfully sweet and naÔve voice transports listeners back to Loretta Lynn and Petula Clark hits crackling in and out of AM radio range. Case in point: beautiful country pop reprise of the Beatles’ “Should have known better than a boy like you.” Miss this at your own musical-self-development peril.

3. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwa) Another largely acoustic gem this past year. Justin Vernon goes into the Wisconsin woods to “rout all that was not life and reduce it to its lowest terms,” and like Thoreau, emerges with something spare, haunting, and profound. Like fellow indie Americana torchbearers Fleet Foxes, Vernon sometimes resembles his 90s forebear Palace and their lead singer Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy), and before them, perhaps even Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Acoustic guitar dominates, but moving horn complements and vocal harmonies also lace the album and Vernon’s peculiar and slightly doleful falsetto. Lyrically? “When your money's gone/And you're drunk as hell/On your back with your racks as the stacks as your load/In the back and the racks and the stacks are your load.” Indeed.

4. Fleet floxes, Fleet Foxes (Subpop): This Seattle quintet seduced critics near and far with a tremendous first album sampling multiple genres of folk, country, and pop in a highly textured sound. While every instrumental detail is essential, that sound is ultimately one that privileges vocals, and songwriter Robin Pecknold’s acapella harmonies are as goosebump-worthy as the varied landscapes and emotions the rich lyrics evoke. Again, Crosby, Stills, Nash and (certainly) Young haunt this music. In a song like “Your Protector” or “Blue Ridge Mountains” one has the sense of riding on the range, faint poundings of native American drums and howling wolves in the distance; stopping to light a fire; grabbling one’s guitar. Bon Iver, you are not alone.

5. Alejandro Escovedo, Real Animal (Back Porch). Like former fellow Bloodshot artists Jon Langford and the Waco Brothers, Alejandro Escovedo’s musical rite of passage was in 80s punk. Unlike aforementioned genre-benders, Escovedo negotiated his punk legacy by cultivating a sensitive songwriter side heavily indebted to a discovery of honkytonk and outlaw country, while inevitably retaining hist Tex-Mex roots, ably shifting from song to song something more resembling his early years with the True Believers and the Nuns. His struggle with Hepatitus-C has only enhanced his songwriting content and his existential if sometimes very personal psychic musings. 2008’s Real Animal shows him at his best, giving us Bo Diddley and Iggy Pop reminiscent anthems like “Chip n Tony” and the title track “Real as an Animal,” swinging country blues like “People (We’re Only Gonna Live So Long),” and tender, violin-buffered ballads like “Slow Down.”

6. Okkervil River, The Stand Ins (Jagjaguwar)—already established as orchestral popsmiths with their last album, The Stage Names (itself a staple on last year’s “best of” lists), OR met the pressure for a solid followup. One of a handful of artists that can plumb the various depths of human experience in their lyrics and meet that effort note for note in their instrumental compositions. “La, la, las” meet horns, tambourines, nimble piano, and Strokes-like syncopated pop chords—perfect with your morning coffee, or meditations from the bridge.

7. Conor Oberst , Conor Oberst (Merge). Oberst, otherwise known as the wunderkind behind the hugely successful indie act Bright Eyes, has released his first solo effort in thirteen years. It is a powerfully poetic, heavily acoustic, and frequently poppy chef d’oeuvre.Take “Milkthistle,” a song based around the figure of apostrophe, where the poet addresses an inanimate object as if it could respond. Having addressed the milkthistle, he moves on: “Newspaper, newspaper/Can’t take any more/You’re here every morning/Waitin’ at my door/I’m just trying to kiss you/But you stab my eyes/Make me blue forever/Like an Allen Sky.” And yet he shows an emotional and intellectual maturity in this one verse. Spare him the accusations of naivetÈ: “And I’m not pretending/That it’s all okay/Just let me have my coffee/Before you take the day away.” More than a few of us can relate to that hardship of concern and exasperation, but could never formulate it so well. Clearly one of the brightest figures in contemporary indie songwriting.

8. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular (Red Ink). It wouldn’t be far off to speak of a new New Wave, a generation that has studied and appreciated the synth-pop pioneers of the 80s and the flourishes of 70s glam and classic rock and built upon them with the hindsight of 90s indie rock-pop. Beautiful melodies and hooks, almost all imminently danceable and drenched in a not too pretentious irony. “I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw I'm in the prime of my life./ Let's make some music, make some money, find some models for wives” (“Time to Pretend”). Vanwyngarden and Glasser, with the virtuoso production guidance of Mercury Rev’s Dave Fridmann, have a stellar first effort. Oh the pressure of great beginnings.

9. Raveonettes, Lust, Lust, Lust (Vice) This Danish duo is critically loved and hated. Their sound is extremely reminiscent of the wall-of-sound demigods like the Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and Mercury Rev, with definite nods to the trailblazing Velvet Underground. Yet, I would argue they inject a kind of driving pop melody in that tradition that sets it slightly apart. Besides, some critics torpedoed The Strokes fabulous first album for being too much a derivative pastiche of Television, The Gang of Four, and others. Yet it was catchy as hell, something Television certainly never pulled off. The Raveonettes are very good at what they do, and this album knows how to bring the fuzz to a precipice and drop it off into a “Dead Sound” canyon. Not all good albums have to consist of multi-instrumentalists mastering multiple genres on one album. There are greater things in musical heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt in your criteria of bricolage.

10. Of Montreal, Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl). In my opinion not as stunning as 2007’s Hissing Fauna the Destroyer (depression at a broken marriage had ne’er been so rocket-fueled), the follow up Skeletal Lamping is still good enough to make a best of 2008—a clear testament to the genius of singer-songwriter, wild entertainer Kevin Barnes. SL is wild. Songs threaten to explode from a structure, even while all parts of his songs are heavily structured pop sequences. “Wicked Wisdom,” for example begins with a kind of accelerated synth riff recalling Bowie’s 1980 classic “Fashion,” then moves into something like contemporary R&B, only to move into some bizarre jackbooted rhythm to erratic electronic background and a harpsichord spraying notes like an out of tune wind chime. A number like “For Our Elegant Caste” puts upbeat falsetto soul-disco vocals over clapping-hand rhythms and synth riffs that recall Hot Chip (if only this were as simple!), until la-la-las and a drum machine fade it out. WTF? Barnes is one of a kind. He can levitate you musically and lyrically , cut the cable on your elevator, or build a dance fire under your ass—all in one song.

Very Honorable Mention
Los Campesinos, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed. Smart twee was never so given to slam-dancing.
The Black Keys, Attack and Release (Nonesuch) Stripped down bluesy psychadelic rock, between Hendrixx and Jon Spencer.
Wolf Parade, At Mount Zoomer (Subpop) Lush, elaborate arrangements, seductively dark.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Saturday Jan. 10: Djay Indie Eclectique

Djay Indie Eclectique returns to the fabulous new rock bar the UFO. Great belgian beers on draft. Plenty of room to hang out upstairs and downstairs, and with a dancefloor in the basement. Come to hear the best danceable garage, classic punk, indie rock, surf, rocknroll, soul and new wave.


Chris Pavoni's Top 10 of 2008

Top Ten Indie Records of 2008
by Chris Pavoni
  1. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Undeniably the best record of ’08. End to end a solid and diverse contribution to the indie-folk scene. The range and upper register of Justin Vernon’s voice is truly remarkable.

  1. TV on the Radio – Dear Science

Plays like a soundtrack. Universal and ambivalent. These cats from Brooklyn have really hit the mark with Dear Science.

  1. White Williams – Smoke

Sweet and savory. Repeated listens release of multitude of depth and layers. Smoke is an eerily playful debut for this up and comer.

  1. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

Stunning and beautiful. These Seattleites are at the forefront of a reemerging scene. This self-titled record is both nostalgic and evocative. I feel like cell phones and hydrogen fuelled cars are merely futuristic concepts in some George Orwell novel when this record plays.

  1. Wolf Parade – At Mt. Zoomer

A brilliant answer to 2005’s “Apologies To The Queen Mary”. This album was structured so that there would be no definitive singles but rather one collaborative whole that gains strength and diversity as it progresses. This record is an alluring myriad of unparalleled sound.

  1. Okkervil RiverThe Stand In’s

Diversity is really the paramount to this Austin band’s success. Rich folk roots coupled with Motown brass and post-punk bass lines not to mention a subtle infusion of pop make for a unique and formidable retort to 2007’s “The Stage Names.”

  1. The Dodo’s – Visiter

Most certainly one of ’08’s quiet surprises. A strong sophomore release for these young San Franciscans. Visiter is both lyrically and musically refreshing.

  1. The Black Keys – Attack & Release

Akron, Ohio’s finest heartland blues-rock duo coupled with Danger Mouse produce some pretty weighty results with Attack & Release. The Keys have really expanded their sound on this record.

  1. Ratatat – LP3

Electro-rock has a new plateau to conquer. Expect to hear the sonically rich samples of these beats on various records for years to come. LP3 is a headbanger.

  1. Blitzen Trapper – Furr

An eclectic and electric mix of glam-rock versus alt-country with a touch of classic ‘60’s songwriting Furr is a well-polished and inviting Sub-Pop debut.

--Chris Pavoni currently lives in Paris and has worked in the Canadian Indie Music Scene.

Formerly "Parisnormale: Paris Rocks"