Tour De France – La Saint Valentin

It’s not been a deliberate ploy but Sonic Breakfast has been encouraging a fair bit of croissant-munching this past month. Yep, fine bands with links to France have been featured quite regularly because I’ve been impressed by the music they’ve produced, 

Tour De France are a duo from Los Angeles that I’ve been in recent contact with. Their pretty unique thing is that they sing all of their stuff in French – a sort of electronic punk with exclusively French lyrics. Singer Bernadette is initially from Bordeaux and is now apparently Leonard Cohen’s French language coach. Sam, initially from New York, produces.

Their third album is being released this year. It’s definitely worth spending some time digging into their back catalogue if you’ve got a spare few hours. 

But, just in case you haven’t and you want a quick fix of Tour De France, here’s a lyric video of their recent release, La Saint Valentin. It’s got a simple melody that ambles along with pleasant urgency. But beware – it’s also got a melody that digs into your head. You might well be humming this as you traipse around shopping centres later today. 

With customary tardiness, Sonic Breakfast encourages you to celebrate St Valentines Day over a month after it’s passed. But I’m not sure that matters. For those of us lucky enough to be in love, everyday is a celebration, right? 

 

 

The Liminanas – Garden Of Love

Many years ago now, I caught a flight to Perpignan. It was a ‘make or break’ holiday for a relationship which, in truth, was already broken. There were four of us and we’d hired a large tent on a posh campsite to keep us cool for a couple of weeks. 

The South of France was sweltering under unprecedented levels of heat. My young son (for he was one of us) flagged even though he wore a hat and drank lots of water. In truth, I didn’t fare much better, although I was drinking wine and beer rather than water. It wasn’t the best holiday ever though the green of the campsite, endlessly watered grass, sticks in my memory still.

The Liminanas are from Perpignan. Marie and Lionel have just released a video for their song ‘Garden Of Love’, the first track to be released from their forthcoming album, Malamore. Significantly perhaps, this track features Peter Hook doing his bass thing. Hooky also offers up some mumbling backing vocals to add to the atmosphere. 

I love it. There’s a definite Serge Gainsbourg thing going on within. It’s got a seductive edge, a dreamy breeze and a shimmering, sunny centre. As lips, glossed with bright red lipstick, mouth the words, other images from the ‘Garden Of Love’ flicker in and out of view. 

Commenting on the forthcoming album, The Liminanas say, “The main idea is a story with a start and an end, which can be linked even if they exist in different universes. Everything here is about love stories – thwarted love, aborted passions, funny or dramatic.”

The campsite could have been my garden. It wasn’t but I’m pleased to tell that story of aborted love. 

 

 

Liverpool Sound City – Erotic Market

A week today, I’ll be heading to Liverpool for Sound City. I went last year and had an absolute ball. It was my first festival of an epic summer in which I reviewed eighteen for eFestivals. This summer won’t be quite as crazy but it’s still going to be busy.

 There are hundreds of bands that play over the Sound City weekend (Thursday to Saturday). It’s pure bliss for a new music fanatic to have such quantity and quality across 25 venues in one city – though agonising to deal with the clashes. Many of these acts harbour ambitions to be the next big thing – and some will actually break through. Picking which ones is a task that I’m not going to indulge in – my ears aren’t tuned that way – but you could stick a pin in the donkey’s arse (or a map of Liverpool) and quality would bounce back at you from whatever of the city venues you found yourself in.

In the build up to next Thursday, I plan to write about a few of the acts who have caught my eye – this won’t be your Kodaline, Clean Bandit, Hold Steady or Jagwar Ma’s who, whilst exciting live, are more known than most. This’ll be the acts that really might have otherwise passed you by. It won’t be a daily feature – for I’ve also got a Micah P Hinson gig to preview and another Leicester showcase to feature – it’s more of a finger into the bag of sherbet.

Erotic Market are the first act to be playing at Nation on Thursday evening. They take to the stage at 8PM. I’m not a Liverpool local but I understand that Nation is a club, a big warehouse like shed that’s home to the ‘Cream’ nightclubbing brand. It’s a new venue for Liverpool Sound City.

Erotic Market are a French duo formed in May 2012 by Marine Pellegrini and Lucas Garnier. Both musicians for more than 10 years, they perfected their skills in contemporary jazz bands and a first joint venture, N’Relax.

A few weeks ago, I was sent a preview of their forthcoming album, ‘Blahblahrians’.  It’s a chewy meat of a record. You’ve got to masticate away at the gristle to get to the tenderness. I’m not entirely sure that I’m there yet. The obvious comparison to draw is to M.I.A. but to do so potentially limits the scope of this record. On first listen, one song merges into another with little respite – but, on further investigation, the subtleties, intelligence and humour start to come to the fore. With titles like ‘retro retardo’, ‘I want to be some booty’, ‘Clitacasm’ and ‘Weird arabic stuff’, it’s worth perservering with. I’ve got no doubt that these are tunes that take on a whole new angle when played live – which is why Erotic Market are high on my schedule.

 Still need convincing?  I’ll end with a couple of extracts from their press release. Surely something is lost in translation here? Or perhaps it’s not? 

Grasping Erotic Market music is like that strange, penetrating dream of unknown music which is, each time, neither quite the same one nor a different one. It’s like saying again that beauty is always strange and is the magnificent essence of genuineness. It’s the odd, elusive feeling of remembering those tunes without knowing them at all, recognizing the vigorous rock garage music, the bright triturations of electro, the groove of hiphop…’

‘Erotic Market is a go fast. A racing car that designs its own routes, spinning past illogical scenery, between sensual, suggestive eroticism and a clearcut, flashy market. A space where we can feel in turn fully within and without this world. An allegory of contemporary life that often tosses us from the one to the other end.’ 

 I prefer to call it a chewy meat. 

Eurovision – part deux

I am still alive but I might need a bodyguard. Yesterday’s Eurovision post was delivered at great risk to my own personal safety. Much maligned in the U.K., we can get away with pithy comments about the contest. Our collective arrogance swells because we’ve given the world the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin and One Direction! I will not be surprised if a price is already on my head from one of the former Soviet bloc countries that takes this a tad more seriously. 

Ruth Lorenzo is representing Spain in the contest. She once came fifth in the U.K’s X factor, largely because (as far as I could tell) men of a certain age and disposition were attracted to her Mediterranean charms and ample cleavage. Ruth is hoping to use that link to get ‘douze points from us’ in Copenhagen in May. She won’t be getting my vote though. Ruth once appeared at a Leicester City Football club fans village thing in advance of a friendly against Real Madrid. She mimed to a backing tape for one and a half songs before the local talent of Jersey Budd and The James Lewis Band blew her off the stage. One of her bodyguards knocked me over in her rush to get away. 

Do excuse my wittering. There are songs to review.

 

10. Estonia – Tanja – Amazing

This is far from amazing. In fact, all it is good for is a game of ‘count the clichéd lyric’. Tanja sings about how amazing it is to be weightless over the top of an Eurodisco pop track, produced in a bedroom. I bet Tanja is a bit chubby. 

 

11. Spain – Ruth Lorenzo – Dancing In The Rain

See above. It gets points in my book for being the first song I’ve reviewed so far to not be completely in English. The first Spanish verse sounds exotic and sexy but then the English begins and we learn that ‘life gets you every time’. Thanks for that Ruth. It’s pedestrian and procession like. Watch out for her bouncers.

 

12. Finland – Softengine – Something Better

In truth, I was hoping for Something Better. This is on the rock spectrum and sounds like it’s sung by somebody who makes a better living in a Frank Turner tribute band. The best that I can say about this is if I heard it a million times I still wouldn’t recognise it.

 

13. France – Twin Twin – Moustache

Can we go back to the piano ballads of yesterday please? This is French disco rap pap. The chorus bursts into English when Twin Twin tell us that they ‘wanna have a moustache‘. One that’ll do well in the gay Eurovision circles no doubt.

 

14. United Kingdom – Molly – Children Of The Universe

Yeah – we cheer collectively much like we do at the start of the football World Cup. We know that we have no chance of winning even though we buy our slot in the final. I’m sure that Molly Smitten-Downes (from Leicestershire) will give us 110% and she’ll sing her heart out.

 She’s supported Jake Bugg, Tinie Tempah and Basshunter so she’s learnt from the best. And Dean Jackson is her biggest fan. In truth, the song isn’t too bad. It begins very Lana Del Ray and I like the poetry of ‘I’ve been tired of this thinking, so I drowned it out by drinking‘. But, it quickly descends into lyrical nonsense as we learn that we’re ‘children of the universe, dancing on the edge of time.‘ Still, better than most though. 

PS – I realise the picture isn’t Molly!!

 

15. Georgia – The Shin And Mariko – Three Minutes To Earth

Sometimes Eurovision throws up something so bewildering and quirky that you can’t help but delight in it. Georgia’s entry is one of those. Beginning with a yodel that transforms into a vocal warble, this tune seems to be about a skydiving. It tries to be acoustic prog-folk over some classical guitar noodlings. Then, it calls on Bowie’s ‘Starman’ before the realisation hits that this parachute isn’t opening and we’re about to crash and die. Delightful.

 

16. Greece – Freaky Fortune Feat. Risky Kid – Rise Up

Risky Kid is a rapper. On the evidence of this offering, he should change his name to Safe Young Man. This dose of trumpet-led Euro pop swings along without really going anywhere. 

 

17. Hungary – Andras Kallay-Saunders – Running

This is horrible which probably means that it’s a favourite to win. More bland ’emotive’ Euro rock pop as Andras tells us all about a girl who is facing up to some pretty difficult times. ‘She keeps on running, running, running from this crazy life’, we’re told. And we weep at the magnitude of it all. 

 

18. Ireland – Can-Linn (feat Kasey Smith) – Heartbeat

What? No Jedward? It’s a travesty. In their place, we don’t even get that old soak, Johnny Logan. Instead Can-Linn do their best to sound like every other bland AOR track in this years Eurovision – except this has a bit of Celtic Fiddle to distinguish it from the rest. It won’t win. How many Eurovision songs have been called ‘Heartbeat’ in previous years I wonder? 

 

And, with that Day 2 of my Eurovision Easter egging draws to a close. Tomorrow will have some true highlights. Mum’s gone to Iceland and come back with a quirky punk gem whilst Latvia will be having a cake fight with Belarus. 

The two songs to highlight by video today again pick themselves. I have to support local girl, Molly… and The Shin and Mariko from Georgia is a madness that deserves extra prominence.