La Blogothèque Fri, 31 Oct 2014 13:52:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Liars – Mask Maker Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:31:53 +0000 Picture a gigantic warehouse; above you the ceiling reaches excessive heights, below you the ground is still soaked from the hundreds of ice-filled polystyrene crates that were there just hours before. Imagine a barely tolerable fishy odor and a humid cold that chills your bones. In the middle of it all, place an immense silhouette in a white coat, gesticulating, masked, in this empty and menacing space. Then throw in a drone, a weird voice and a harrowing rhythm. And there you go: Liars, alone in the Rungis fish market.

We couldn’t have dreamed of a better location for our latest Empty Space: the band’s sound seemed to bounce off every nook of the depot; Angus’s freaky voice slid infinitely along the poles in this room of absurd dimensions, and the music was everywhere, carried by a surreal metallic reverb.

There was something fascinating in the way Liars played, repeating over and over the same lurching movements. Something disturbing in the repetitive convulsion of “Mask Maker”, its mad loops of cold beats that went so well with the polar temperature of the place. The feeling of being seized, practically swallowed whole by the sound, hypnotized by the tribal dance to which Angus gave himself. Transforming a plain, empty hangar into a temple of mystical ceremony.

As terrifying as it may seem, Angus’s mask – recognized easily among a thousand others for those who’ve already seen Liars on the stage – has something strangely reassuring about it: the dozens of colorful wool strings that make it are the same that your grandma used to knit that kind of ugly sweater you only wear in the privacy of your own home on long winter nights. A paradox in the image of the group, who’s capable of making some of the most frightening music there is, while being the kindest, the most patient, and the most resistant to cold of all the bands we’ve met – do we need to tell you that Angus wasn’t even wearing a shirt under his coat?

When “Mask Maker” rang out one final time in the Pavillon des Marées, the arresting stench of fish was but a vague memory – one that our nostrils eventually got used to. The dance of the Styrofoam boxes began again, the last pieces of wool were swept from the floor. Rungis never sleeps. Liars neither, it seems.

Translation by Lauren McCracken

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Treasure Island Music Festival 2014 Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:32:23 +0000 Treasure Island sits halfway between two very different cities, San Francisco and Oakland, in San Francisco Bay. It’s got a fairy tale name and offers gorgeous views of the city, but is also home to undocumented amounts of radioactive waste. It can be blazingly hot during the day; hot enough that people will squish single-file into the shadows of palm trees for a little shade. But as soon as the sun starts to set, the wind picks up and your teeth start to chatter. Like the island itself, the Treasure Island Music Festival, now in its eighth year, can be a bit bipolar. On Saturday, the crowds danced; on Sunday they rocked. They met performers with either lukewarm ambivalence, or ecstatic uproar. The sound could be crystal clear, a perfect mix of vocals and drums that flew across the island, or a perplexing mess (one that left Janelle Monáe unaware that her vocals were only coming through her monitors, even as thousands of fans were waving her to stop). It’s a festival that embodies West Coast tranquility: legions of concertgoers snoozing on blankets– yet in the blink of an eye you may find yourself surrounded by seething hordes, and then the festival is in full swing.


Saturday’s lineup was heavy on grooves, both those that turned fans into lethargic zombies, like XXYYXX, and made them dance like a 400 watt current was running through their bodies, like Zedd and Jungle, whose Talking Heads meets gospel tunes were received with much love. MØ found brilliant middle ground between the two, energizing her sun-scorched fans with her alternately raspy and fluid voice that surged forward on a sea of rumbling, pinging, pounding percussion. Wearing an eye patch, she danced like a crazed marionette doll, never standing still for more than a moment.

Karen Marie Ørsted (MØ) MØ (photo: Jason Paladino)


Yet it was the two acts that bookended Saturday’s lineup that proved to be both most captivating, and most separate from the dance-heavy vibes. The festival began at high noon with San Francisco’s psych-pop group Painted Palms, one of only two Bay Area bands on the bill (more on the other later). As early arrivals started to find comfortable spots in the trees and the limited shade, Painted Palms treated fans to cuts from their recent record Forever. The project of cousins Chris Prudhomme and Reese Donohue, the lineup now includes the jazz-trained drummer Shaun Lowecki and bassist Patrick Jeffords. Arpeggiated keyboards snaked back and forth across the speakers as Prudhomme’s voice arced high above on tracks like “Hypnotic.” Lowecki pummeled the drums in open-handed style, his slicked-back hair flying everywhere, while Donohue added thunderous cloudbursts of noise, finding a balance between Animal Collective’s sonic wilderness and 60s pop. Even without a huge crowd, the set was a big moment for Donohue, who told me with a big smile, “I used to sell beer in a concession stand during the festival… It’s so cool to be on the other side now.”

Painted Palms Chris Prudhomme, Shaun Lowecki, Reese Donohue and Patrick Jeffords of Painted Palms (photo: Jason Paladino)


Hours later, fans were packing the field for Outkast and the temperature had dropped drastically. The city skyline, just a vague blur during the day, became a maze of lights. As St. Lucia played the last of their infectious dance-pop, across the island the crowds began to roar. Despite reports that the reunion tour has been lackluster (an argument bolstered by André’s recent claim in the New York Times, “I really don’t actually get anything from performing”), Andre and Big Boi had the crowd in the palm of their hand from the intro to ‘B.O.B.’ There’s nothing more awkward than when someone says, “Put your hands in the air!” and no one does. There’s not much more triumphant at a festival when someone yells, “Put your hands in the air!” and suddenly the stage is lost in a sea of arms.


Sunday found the laptops mostly replaced by guitars, sometimes sneaking into the most unexpected places. While opening act Cathedrals’ recent self-titled EP is heavy on synthesizers, guitarist Johnny Hwin blasted the crowd with blistering distortion and murmuring effects. Even though this was the San Francisco group’s first festival, vocalist Brodie Jenkins prowled the enormous stage like she had been doing it for years. The stage-wide video feed behind her wasn’t even needed: she can already give a performance that feels larger than life.

Cathedrals Brodie Jenkins and Johnny Hwin of Cathedrals (photo: Jason Paladino)


Bleached and the Growlers brought a heavy dose of surf rock to the afternoon; the former blending echo-y vocals into the mix and the latter creating a glorious carnival of merriment featuring hype man DMTina, who surfed into the crowd on a guitar case. Bleach-blonde singer Brooks Nielsen performed like an arthritic scarecrow, with one hand on his heart, reminding us that theatrics aside, he wasn’t completely joking around. Later, the New Pornographers played cuts from Brill Bruisers with impeccable precision, yet they could have benefitted from a bit of those theatrics; you couldn’t help but feel that A.C. Newman and co. would have rather been doing their taxes. Sunday also featured stellar performances from TV on the Radio, Chet Faker and Icelandic crooner Asgeir. TVOTR’s Tunde Adibimpe howled through classics like ‘Young Liars’ and ‘Wolf Like Me’ with unexpected urgency; mixing in a handful of new tracks that sounded more like Fleetwood Mac than Return to Cookie Mountain. Chet Faker provided the perfect sunset soundtrack, the frantic Ferris wheel next to the stage slowing down as the pulsing bass filled the entire island, prompting one guy halfway across the festival grounds to exclaim “YES!” so loudly that his girlfriend had to restrain him. Asgeir played a set full of small-scale grandeur in various shades of Bon Iver; his cover of Nirvana’s “Heart-shaped Box” was perfectly weird and unexpected.

Chet Faker Chet Faker (photo: Jason Paladino)


Yet nothing came close to the fervor of alt-J. Even though they weren’t last on the bill, it was clear that this was their night. Having taken the summer off from festivals, the four-piece seemed just as giddy as their army of adoring fans to bring This is All Yours to the big stage. Thom Green’s snare rang out like the crack of a rifle, adding depth to songs that felt a bit flimsy on the new record. Guitars chimed with perfect clarity, and Joe Newman sang pitch perfect; allowing the crowd to take over a couple of times, but not too much. At the end of their hour-long set, with the final churning chorus of ‘Breezeblocks,’ Treasure Island hit its euphoric peak. For that beautiful moment, all of the festival’s polarities evaporated, and everyone was finally on the same page.

Photos by Jason Paladino (@jason_paladin0)

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The Olms Tue, 28 Oct 2014 09:52:55 +0000 The hotel is flashy and brand new with a kind of exhaustingly ostentatious décor; brilliant whites, purple velvets, burnished blacks, slick servers. The clientele there seems borrowed; we don’t really know who’s actually sleeping and drinking there and who’s not. Except maybe Chubby Cheeks over there, dressed like a distant cousin of Willy Wonka; a thick, round mustache, a top hat and a long, heavy cape he won’t remove, even for a second. He’s with his sweetheart, an adorable cougar and former mistress of rock stars – someone our mothers only ever dreamed of being – and his sidekick, who never takes off the dark glasses that cover half his face.


And here we find the Olms, a surreal and colorful apparition in the Parisian autumn. We didn’t imagine they’d be like this – who could’ve? It’s not so much that they seem like they’ve coming from another era, when being in a rock band meant always putting on your stage face; staying faithful to your costume even in everyday life. It’s more about their songs, which are perfect pop vignettes straight out of 1960s California, with just the right dose of psychedelia. It’s all the more confusing that the duo’s carefully-planned get-up doesn’t come with any attitude attached; actually, they’re adorable. Pete Yorn is open and talkative, J.D. King is approachable and quiet. They’ll go along with the game, accepting to play a bit all over: in the metro, in front of the Opéra Garner, in the street, in the elevator… in a bedroom where Pete Yorn’s happy to ham it up for the poor little rich boy, all alone in his luxury suite. It’s the surrealist vision of J.D. King, who doesn’t speak; who’s next to the window, looking ghostly, the personification of his associate’s nostalgia.

Translated by Lauren McCracken

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Fat White Family Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:32:19 +0000 August 2014, Fort St. Père, Saint-Malo. While festivalgoers were pogoing and head banging in masses at the Thee Oh Sees concert, we followed the four Londoners of Fat White Family all the way to the bottom of a dark, muddy field. There we found their shabby van; they climbed right in, beating its gross floor with their muddy feet. “It’s our home,” they told us.

We didn’t have time to set up their microphones, let alone wait for things to quiet down on the big stage. They popped open another round of beers. They rubbed the three strings they still had on their guitar. They sang, shouted, one song, then a second, then a third.


They’re the bad boys who’ve decided to never look back. They sing as they live, as they drink, as if their lives depended on it but would still never assign it such importance. They’re pure, in the moment, with so much of this kind of “I don’t care” attitude that it becomes more than just an attitude. As Aelred’s camera comes closer to the guitarist, who’s staring back with his affected pose and his little punk tuft of hair, we feel like were watching an Enfants du rock report about the Violent Femmes in a temporary recreation of bygone days.

Fat White Family burns the candle at both ends and bites it in the middle. They’ll jam in the middle of a festival on a broken guitar – and then they’ll hurl it into the mud after playing their last song. And then they’ll go take a piss, the Thee Oh Sees still making just as much noise. They don’t care; they’ll be even stronger, even punker when it’s their turn to get up on the stage.

Translated by Lauren McCracken

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Watch Pitchfork Music festival Paris live Mon, 27 Oct 2014 14:49:39 +0000 Here we go again! We are super excited to announce that we are filming Pitchfork Music festival Paris this year.

Thursday, October 30 to Saturday, November 1, our cameras will film both of the festival’s stages to broadcast live shows of Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai, Four Tet, Perfect Pussy, Caribou, Chvrches, Jungle, Future Islands, St. Vincent, Foxygen, Tune-Yards, Notwist, Son Lux, D.D. Dumbo, Ought and many more.

You will be able to watch the live streams and replays on CultureBox starting Thursday.

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Fictonian – Double Negative Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:41:39 +0000 We know nothing about Fictonian. We have but a single photo of him, taken from afar, and until now we’d only heard one of his pieces, “Full Circle Influence” – slow, repetitive and intoxicating; like a timeworn mantra on which layers and motifs come to accumulate. A piece rich enough to spark our curiosity, in any case.

We won’t know any more about him. But today we can hear a second song from the young man (whom we know is English). It’s called “Double Negative” and it’s softer, lighter and more melancholic all at the same time. It resembles a thousand other songs just like it, the last descendant of a long line of bittersweet tears, sung by sad boys who think they’re all alone. A dynasty of melancholy of which we’ll never tire.

We’re happy to have you listen to it and, as a bonus, to show you the charming Post-It video clip that goes along with it, directed by a creative teenager.

Translated by Lauren McCracken

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Tsutomu Satachi Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:01:42 +0000 His voice is delicate. His guitar style tight. His songs minimalist. Physically, Tsutomu Satachi is completely spare; not a single thing sticks out of place. Faced with an entity built so infinitesimally, it would be easy for us to miss him, to continue our commotion while he knits skillfully around us. There’s no doubt that for many passengers that morning, Tsutomu went unnoticed, tossed about by the tumult of the metro.

We don’t hold it against them. The first time I met Tsutomu in Tokyo, I wasn’t really expecting much. It’s easy to dismiss something we assume to be insignificant. And yet, the first night that I heard him sing his songs, I felt instantly that something special was happening. The crowd quickly quieted down, trying to get as much as they could of every tiny detail, of the fragility of the man. Myself, I was struck by these songs – seamless in their simplicity, so particular in their execution, precise and rough at the same time.

Later, he made me listen to the album – his first recorded solo – full of pearls, eight of them. A soft and enveloping caress that takes its time, a repetition of motifs that plunges us into fantasy. So we forgave him his rough accent and the confined sound of his very small apartment – the one, in fact, where he recorded the album. If you listen to it closely, you can even hear a car pass by on that little Tokyo street, on the other side of the world.

Tsutomu’s music is fragile like that. And yet, upon meeting the everyday noise of the metro, surrounded by French salarymen from North Paris, he sneaks fearlessly among the sonorous masses of our city. His musical passages linger on, leaving time for the elements to cool off, and allowing him to naturally proclaim his melodic moment without ever forcing anything. Between the sounds of imminent departures, of rush hour and of the gulls’ excitement in wintry capital air, Tsutomu lets himself slide along mysteriously with the current to distill his wisely chosen notes.

God knows that culture shock must have had an impact on this isolated Japanese man, a fan of Tenniscoats. But the ambling is natural, slow and tranquil. You have to be in this state of mind to capture the simple poetry of the moment. You have to listen to hear where this trip takes us. You either take the time to appreciate it or let that time pass you by; find something else to excite you – another brighter, more colorful spectacle. It would be your loss.


The album The Beginning was made available on iTunes on October 9, 2014. For more info on Tsutomu at his music, click here.

Translated by Lauren McCracken

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Weyes Blood – Some Winters (video) Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:33:38 +0000 Behind Weyes Blood there’s Natalie Mering, whom we’ve already seen on guitar with Jackie-O-Motherfucker and in Ariel Pink’s choruses. After a quick visit with Not Not Fun, we see her return again to Mexican Summer with The Innocents, which drops October 20. The New Yorker traded in her ghostly bricolages for polished harmonies full of ornamentation, leaning sometimes toward the likes of Anne Briggs and Vashti Bunyan, but also toward this part of British folklore where it’s completely conceivable to burn people as an offering to the gods.

Today we offer up this preview clip of “Some Winters,” directed by Winston Holmes Case (who’s also worked with Perfume Genius, Wolf Eyes and Tonstartssbandht). It’s a question of living in the forest, chopping wood, making fire and petting wolf-dogs; that which approaches no more and no less the idea that we can make our own happiness, all things considered.

Weyes Blood – The Innocents (released October 20 by Mexican Summer/Differ-Ant)

Translated by Lauren McCracken

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Rodrigo y Gabriela Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:22:25 +0000 They hadn’t seen each other for six months. They seemed excited to meet again. Happy to be there, among the stalls of the Marché des Enfants Rouges, despite the cold.

Gabriela asked us for a glass of hot water. Then a second. Then a third. We thought she was drinking a lot of tea. It was just for warming up her hands, which were frozen and frankly not quite ready to show off their dexterity.

Rodrigo y Gabriela: two souls, but more specifically four acrobatic hands, twenty phalanxes that fly with frightening speed over the strings of their guitars.

We wanted to put them face-to-face, very close to one another, these two who are so often only side-by-side. We wanted to see the looks of the people passing by or having lunch, flabbergasted by Rodrigo and Gabriela’s fingers. We also wanted to hear their voices, something rare. We got two blissful smiles. Five if you count our own.

Translated by Lauren McCracken

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Sébastien Tellier Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:07:49 +0000 There’s always a certain absurdity to getting into an empty stadium, finding yourself alone and surrounded by immensity and silence in a place so usually full of life and noise and movement. The feeling of grandeur almost flattens you; it’s hard to not feel overwhelmed by somewhere like this, no matter what you’re trying to do.

Sébastien Tellier seems to have not had this problem, or at least, seems like he cleared it up in seconds as he traipsed lightly across the grass of Charléty Stadium one grey Friday morning to play a track from his new album, L’Aventura.

Sébastien took over in the best way possible: making the stadium almost intimate while we struggled to even count the number of seats it contained. Filling the void with the melancholy “L’Adulte,” and giving life back to “L’Amour et la violence” in the barest way there is, in the bleachers of one of the stadium’s indoor courts, while the rebounds of balls bouncing echoed just a few steps away from him.

Translated by Lauren McCracken

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