La Blogothèque Mon, 19 Jan 2015 15:12:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Alt-J: private show in Paris for La Blogo Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:15:39 +0000 Whenever we ask our readers which artists they want us to film again, they all say the same list : Beirut, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Feist and Alt-J.

Well, there is going to be a bunch of happy people because we are teaming up with Arte Concert to set up a private show with Alt-J in secret location in Paris on Thursday, January, 29th.

Just like for our Pocket Parties, there will be a competition on our website to win tickets (we will let you know when soon). We will also, of course, film this very special show and broadcast it later on Arte Concert.


]]> 0
Take Away Blue Thu, 04 Dec 2014 10:04:09 +0000 Is jazz soluble?

The question isn’t even about in what it’s soluble. It’s just about knowing if we could try to offer it up to interpretation, to take melodies from it and then cross them with seemingly permeable genres.

When the Blue Note label contacted us, when we imagined for the first time the possibility of label standards covered by contemporary, “non-jazz” artists, we were immediately excited. Then, very soon after, perplexed and a little worried. The artists we were going to contact – would they have trouble finding inspiration in the songs? Would they succeed in adapting the songs? How could they not be paralyzed by these classics, how could they avoid making a joke of them? How do we interest a listener who is less familiar with these standards without losing purists’ approval? Basically, this genre, which made the malleability of its pieces one of its first principles… is it malleable itself? To what extent?

The solution came very simply. We just needed to not doubt it. We needed to have faith in the classics’ standards, to find their universality in the intimate resonance they have in every artist. Drunken nights spent listening to old albums, scats improvised in the streets like a reminder of the misguided ways of a painful past, an underground jam to bid farewell to musician friends… Talk of Coltrane, Bechet, Art Blakey, Ella Fitzgerald and Lonnie Smith. Seeking out the beauty of a piece or repeating, exhausting its motif in intoxicating, anxious loops.

This is all what Colin Solal Cardo collected when he went to visit these artists, leaving them to embellish their own memories of the classics, on the traces left by those before them. Patrick Watson covered Sidney Bechet’s Summertime, offering up new arrangements in his Montreal studio. Moses Sumney roamed NYC streets humming the melody of Bobby Timmons’ Moanin’. Alex Zang Hungtai (formerly known as Dirty Beaches) made a furious version of Coltrane’s Blue Train in Lisbon with his friend David Maranha and Gabriel Ferrandini.

Finally we have Mondkopf, who used Turning Point as a jumping-off point for a long, epic, harrowing piece that he played for us under the trees. It was a September morning at the Heart of Glass, Heart of Gold festival in a vacation camp in Ardèche. The night before, his set had been canceled due to a torrential downpour that ruined the site. It was nearly noon and it was beautiful out; there was little more to hear than the sounds of the birds. We invited festivalgoers to join us around a regular’s mobile home. On the porch, Paul and Greg played their cover. It was strong. Everyone stayed stunned, hypnotized. The original song was maybe a bit far, drowned underneath crackling layers. But it was in this moment – under the trees and the sun, drowning in this dark yet exciting music – that we realized: whatever the genre, this music is a living material. And we were making a film unlike any other.

Translated by Lauren McCracken

]]> 0
Little May Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:58:21 +0000 Hundreds of steps lead to our position, a concise visual icon of contrapuntal activity leading to vertical arrangement, voice set on voice set on voice in the elegant harmonies of Little May.

The initial scene is familiar, its spectacle predictable, but within the temporary and autonomous channel the three women create, a portal is achieved. Through it walks, of all things, a performance artist in the skin of an extraterrestrial cannibal feline.


Over the course of two songs, the charm exhibited is an easy one to succumb to, wholly and comfortably. These women, at the end of their first excursion outside of an antipodean latitude and principally unaware of the impediments to attention surrounding them, easily won hearts that afternoon and so effortlessly gave substance to the ephemeral qualities brought to the air by the tired end of a long season.

]]> 0
Efterklang, The Last Concert Wed, 19 Nov 2014 08:51:56 +0000 Last winter, Efterklang organized a unique concert, one that was ambitious and bountiful: the band not only came up with the South Denmark Philharmonic Orchestra (Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester) directed by Hans Ek, but also with a women’s choir and a bevy of special guests.

By a coincidence likely provoked by a long friendship, Vincent Moon was in Sønderborg. They invited him to get up on stage and join in on the concert. It was an exceptional moment in which Efterklang gave his compositions an extra breath of life, a rare grandeur. Majestic music spreading its wings like never before, and Moon filming it all from the inside. Try not to shiver while listening to “Cutting Ice to Snow” or the incredible “Porcelæns Parader” at the end. And don’t miss the interlude, when the singer, Casper, strolls around the Alsion Concert Hall and records different musicians improvising, scattered among the audience.

The film is called The Last Concert, but it isn’t really the last one – far from it. We are proud to present this film to you. You can download the audio recording here.

Translated by Lauren McCracken

]]> 0
Lee Fields Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:37:40 +0000 Soul singer is a full-time job. With its little rituals, its necessary discipline: warming up your voice, grasping a new terry towel and lowering your head before entering the stage, lifting your arms when you get to the edge, then screaming and sweating, acting like you’d been dumped in a hotel at daybreak, as if you’d written the song you’re about to sing in the dressing room before the show, as if the tears were fresh.

You do this for 10 years, 15 years… 40 years. And the job becomes a part of you. Ritual becomes routine, and discipline is just there for comfort. You almost wouldn’t need to play anymore, to get dressed, to seek refuge behind the mannerisms required by the profession. You write lyrics on a bit of paper to make sure they’re really there. You do three or four vocal exercises while staring out at the Seine. You keep on your sweatshirt. After all, soul plays on pageantry, but isn’t it, above all, sincere music?

So there you have it: Lee Fields, in track suit and sneakers, standing on the Pont des Arts (still weighed down by its millions of locks), singing as if he’d been dumped there on a bench like an untouchable. Like he’d come for one last chance to touch that lock he’d hung with her. He sings loudly enough to disrupt an interview with a local politician, loudly enough that tourists come little by little to clump around him. He hams it up; it’s no surprise. It’s no longer the job that became part of him, but the essence of soul itself. It’s the last affectation of a genre that always thought one should scream his sorrows.

]]> 0
TEEN Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:50:45 +0000 In the life of a musician in New York, to have found some modest success in your field is to be perpetually absent from the city you spend such labors to survive within.

For new friendships and loves in the boroughs, small signals (the end of the recording process, the excitement of a new booking agent) begin the quick onset of dread, knowing the road calls and that all of the victories you so earnestly wish for your friend will draw them farther and farther away from you in direct proportion to their quantity and quality.

The time spent in the period before these bittersweet departures then, if noted and respected, can be a peaceful and connected sum, one with a potential for easy and accessible meaning.

On the eve of a lengthy cross-country tour with all the likely signs of éclat and acclaim, the women of TEEN gathered in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn to lay to rest the residual summer and engage the uncertainty to come among friends.


TEEN have recently had tragedy strike in San Francisco in the guise of a larceny theft. They have been left with patchwork of borrowed gear to continue their tour and could use some help with the cost of replacement. Head to this link to pitch in if you have it to give.

]]> 0
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

]]> 0
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)

]]> 0
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

]]> 0
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

]]> 0