So when Van Hammersly and I were discussing setting this blog up, of course we knew the main main focus for us would be music. After all we perform & record in several musical groups together, and are also each apart of separate music projects. And when we hang out, we are often playing new (and old) musical discoveries for one another. Yet several weeks into this endeavour and I have yet to post a music related article.
This is a little something I like to call Francofile Friday. It won’t happen every friday, but occasionally, I will post a recommendation of some possibly obscure, possibly not so obscure, French music that you probably (definitely!) want to check out sometime. The obvious ones will appear here from time to time – you know, Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg (oh yes!) and the like. And music from other french speaking countries (Belgium, Congo, etc) will fit here as well.
But for our inaugural post, I would like to introduce you to M.
I do not know much about the man, besides his penchant for styling his hair in the shape of an M, wearing a matching pink suit for his pink guitar, and his tendency to sing in a falsetto that has had more than one person react incredulously to me when I tell them that this is, in fact, a dude we are listening to.
His most prominent foray to the states was his writing/singing of the title tune to the great animated film Triplets Of Bellville. I discovered him on my own trip to Paris with a band I was performing with. (god I love ending sentences with prepositions, but I digress). Qui De Nous Deux was apparently just being released, as his visage was everywhere (this was 2004).
But what M does is play modern guitar based pop music that is sophisticated, stylish, and has a confident, laid back feel. Though it is clearly guitar based, is not overtly filled with massive marshall stacks of distorted guitars.
Qui De Nous Deux’s opener, Mon Ego, introduces the record with fake crowd noises and fuzzed out guitar and almost sounds like, with a bit more muscle and less smooth falsetto, it could be a lost brief Cheap Trick tune. It’s followed by La Bonne Étoille, which opens with stately strings before fading into a great clean guitar shuffle…. punctuated by wurlitzer and some very Django Rheinhardt influenced acoutic guitar, it sets the tone for much of the rest of the album: familiar sounding modern pop, perhaps with shades of bends/ok computer era radiohead, among others, but with these little touches that are, if not all peculiarly french, then distinctly atypical of american pop music.
Other tracks include A Tes Souhaits, which tucks into a basic reggae feel, some great 20s sounding horns and some excellent trippy wah-guitar work. Though it may not seem it from the description, none of it sounds derivative or contrived. The title track opens with some fantastic leads from M as well. Highly recommended if you can find this record. Below are youtube links to the title track and La Bonne Étoille. Enjoy!