La Blogothèque Fri, 10 Oct 2014 12:56:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sivu – Better man than he Tue, 07 Oct 2014 13:33:53 +0000 It’s sometimes enough to leave a man with his song. To put him in front of an endless landscape, a golden sky and tall grass swept by the same wind that rumbles in your ears. To not give him the comfort of a guitar, of a second voice. Just, in the distance, four brass pieces that will caress the melody like distant waves – powerful, slow, undisturbed.

He’s looking far away, without looking anywhere in particular. Sivu is alone with his song, before it even starts. We’ve rarely seen someone seem so occupied with his music, like he was singing for a person who hides behind his shoulder, for an absence too heavy to bear, that he needs infinite cliffs, surrounding emptiness, in order to walk around in circles, to stay alone with what he’s singing.

He transformed us into a phantom audience. We didn’t exist anymore, neither us, nor the brass. There was this sea, this sky and this boy on top of it who watches the tall grass. And who sings a song that’s more beautiful because it’s naked, swept by the wind.

Translated by Lauren McCracken

]]> 0
Amen Dunes Tue, 07 Oct 2014 10:49:46 +0000 I remember having read that Damon McMahon responded plainly, ”I’ve had many lives” in an interview when asked about his past. His atypical path in life makes it seem, however, like he’s lived through incredible things, especially during hard years spent in China.

But, let’s face it – this character is miles away from the annoying stereotypical adventurer who brags about his experiences. No, Damon McMahon is not in the business of showing off. With this guy, like in his songs, there’s a mix of simplicity and amazement, but also an underlying wisdom that knows how to keep you listening.

The practice of the Take Away Show is, in this case, the perfect reveal – in the photographic sense of the word. By dissolving the gloss of production, by stripping the songs of all effects, we capture the very essence of Amen Dunes’ compositions: folk songs with impressive maturity. And as universal as can be, like in the title of their latest album, Love.

There’s not much to add to this video. Of course, you can choose to look for some hidden meaning or masked mysticism when the echos of Damon’s voice resonate with the outline of the Notre Dame. Or simply let yourself be quiet and as untroubled as we were there, on that Sunday afternoon.

Amen Dunes will perform at the Heart of Gold, Heart of Glass festival on September 19 and 20 at The Chabada in Angers, as part of Levitation France.
For Parisians, there’ll be a concert at Point Ephémère on November 25.

Amen Dunes – Love (LP), available at Sacred Bones/Differ-ant


Translated by Lauren McCracken

]]> 0
Benjamin Booker Tue, 07 Oct 2014 10:43:19 +0000 Benjamin had on a sweater that was a little big for him, a tee shirt with a nibbled collar and a disarming smile of delight and sincerity, one of a kid ready to discover anything and poised for silliness, for adventure. Max was calmer and never put down his drumsticks. They arrived a little late and, while we were getting to know each other and setting up the microphones in an isolated café, we knew that the yard sale where we wanted to play was in the middle of packing up.

In fact, as soon as we showed up on the little suburban street next door, there was nothing left but a couple odd stands and, all over, abandoned objects that a team of garbage collectors was lazily gathering and throwing into a big rolling dumpster. We don’t know anymore who started it all, if it was Benjamin or the head garbage collector. But we had hardly said what we could do when we saw the musician scale the dumpster, try to stand up and start to play.


We talk often, when it comes to Take Away shows, about artists that we have to push to play outside of their comfort zones. No need for that with Benjamin. He was eager from the start to tackle an unfamiliar environment. He’s a kid with crazy energy, a kid with the voice of an old veteran, a voice that’s carried a thousand pains but that asks for more, ready to play, wherever it is.


Translated by Lauren McCracken

]]> 0
Protomartyr @ Route du rock Mon, 06 Oct 2014 09:39:37 +0000 I’m not sure he said hello to us, I wouldn’t even know if he was there when we greeted the others. I didn’t really make note of him until a little later, when we were hanging a little amp to the guitarist’s belt, and trying to fix the drummer’s snare: he was there, not far, with his slightly oversized blazer and his black glasses, walking in circles in the Britanny mud, speaking to no one.

I was probably thinking something like “that Protomartyr’s manager looks like a jerk”, until Henri slid a mic under his shirt, making me realise with this little ritual gesture that this guy was actually the singer of the band.

Joe Casey’s apparent coldness and his reserved, haughty manners, were as troubling before the filming as it were precious during it. When, in the ditches of Fort St Père, Protomartyr embarked upon its rigorous and minimalist post-punk, his little smile, his raised eyebrow, his plain voice were strangely giving flesh and life to a music that would’ve undoubtedly been too dry without it. Even the way he removed himself from the others at the end of the first piece, without saying anything, suddenly had a crazy style.

And it’s not easy to keep an attitude in the swampy ditches, drowned in the rain from the night before, which had transformed Route du Rock’s entire site into a vast fishy mud puddle. Encrusted up to our knees, with heavy footsteps, we climbed up to the big stage, forced to stay at the back, and tried to make more noise than the spreader busy covering the puddle under a straw rug. The machine was relentless, the music just as much. It was a beautiful encounter.

]]> 0
Oh ! Tiger Mountain Mon, 06 Oct 2014 09:35:21 +0000 Oh, you could have resented us, Mathieu. Imagine, the first time we filmed you, the camera that we used still recorded on videotape. We remember it because a few days later we recorded another video on top of it, losing forever these songs we had recorded in a wooden orthodox church, hidden down in a garden in the 19th arrondissement.

And maybe you did resent us, for never having published the videos from that soirée where you had opened for Elysian Fields’ Pocket Party. But you never told us. You never gave us that feeling, ever. When we met again last spring, under the cover of a patio, you had that same smile I always knew, the same little laughs of a child, those wrinkled and clever eyes, ready to welcome anything that came their way, to take what they could and give to whoever would receive it. And to sing, obviously.

The approach maybe seemed a little too obvious, but Colin and I had something to fix. And to do that, we wanted to try to reproduce what we’d erased. We put you, again, in a church. St Merry, the same where we had filmed Charles Bradley a few months earlier, where Julien – the man with the keys – is always ready to welcome us. Especially, strangely, when it rains.

It was empty, like a church on a weekday. There was a careful vicar and 2 or 3 discreet zealots that we believed would be used to it – street performers with long curls, like those of their Christ, coming there to sing a tune during their prayers.

And we played this game, played you up to be like Christ, crowned you with a halo of pale light, cut your profile in a window. Because we would’ve liked if the Jesus of our childhood was named Mathieu, if there was malice behind its benevolence, if he sang like he was coming out of the bayou and drinking nothing but old whiskeys, if he was a humble prophet with nothing more than wonderful songs to share. It is we who are happy, finally, to be able to share one of yours. Thank you for forgiving us, little prophet.

]]> 0
Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:40:53 +0000 We had already filmed Vincent Segal and Piers Faccini many times, separately. Filming them together before the release of Songs of Time Lost, their first collaborative album, was an obvious choice.

We followed them to the Cévennes Mountains. There, in an ideal setting far from Paris, from its constant noise and dense crowds, we left them to it: that bond, whether it’s human or musical, makes moments you don’t need to stage. The jumble of their faces and instruments is a symbol of an album made by four hands, of two obsessed musicians.


Piers Faccini and Vincent Segal will perform in concert at Bouffes du Nord in Paris on September 30. All the dates of their French tour can be found here.


Translated by Lauren McCracken

]]> 0
Tobias Jesso Jr Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:37:00 +0000 At first, I had only seen one photo of him. A tall, thin guy against a white wall with too many curls on his head. He was buried at the bottom of one of a million “Top 25 Artists to Watch” lists online, I don’t even know which website. It was January. I clicked.

I came to a YouTube page; there was a picture of a kid in pajamas, and with it a song that was a little worn around the edges, one where the movement had left dust here and there; a little patina, an old breath. A piano, a voice, and this song that could have been everything, a demo from 40 years ago that would never have seen the light, a timidly recorded ballad, one that was never heard by the ears to which it was promised. Tons of names came to mind, of all the boys who, over the decades, had known how to make their voices hold the delicate balance of a minor chord. John, Harry, Elton… That the song had been written by a modern kid or taken out of the cellar of an old record store, what mattered after all, it was obvious, regardless of the story that we wanted to stick. The name of the song was “Just A Dream.” After listening to it a hundred times, I posted it on the Blogo’s Facebook.

A few months later I received an email from an American contact, who asked me who was in charge of the Blogo’s Facebook. He wanted to know who wrote this post about Tobias. Explained to me that the boy was signed by True Panther, that he lives in Vancouver, that we have to film him. He’ll be in Los Angeles in a few days – do we have someone there?

Yes, Arturo’s there. Quickly we started looking for a piano and reviewing pretentious villas. Everything was too white and too bright – before we stumbled upon this bar. This dark bar, with no more than necessary, a place that’s stayed true to its essence, lit by some neon and by a meager light coming through thick glass blocks. This bar where, other than a flat television, everything sits a little like it was 10, or 20, or 30 years ago; where the two old men at the counter couldn’t tell you how many years they’ve been coming, every afternoon.

It was in this place – softly lit, the dust cleaned away, the sound muffled – that Tobias, with his curls and his faces, sang his ageless songs. And it was as you see it. A timeless moment you can associate with whatever sticks the best for you, with these intouchable melodies. They filled the walls. They’re going to last a long time, that’s for sure.


Translated by Lauren McCracken

]]> 0
EMA Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:54:43 +0000 In a plant store constructed to look like a jungle, in a neighborhood constructed to look like a metropolis, Erika M. Anderson dons fingerless gloves and tunes a borrowed acoustic to wade through the awkward terrain of a electric song gone acoustic. It is not without its efforts. EMA songs demand noise, a tape or a loop of feedback, an antagonistic crowd, a partially blown speaker. What we are faced with is an under grown nursery with a tame babble of afternoon traffic and a void.

Erika muscles through, finds a focus and delivers two songs meant for the clamor but transmitted through the green veneer of a Potemkin grove.

]]> 0
Watch Alt-J live at Casino de Paris on Monday Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:04:07 +0000 On Monday, Alt-J will be at Casino de Paris. Good news, we will too!

We will indeed film the band for their first show in Paris since the release of This is All Yours.

The concert will be broadcasted by Arte Concert from 9pm French time (8pm UK time/3pm EDT/12pm PDT). From Paris to your sofa.


]]> 0
Jack White at Château de Fontainebleau Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:56:50 +0000 Walking through the Fontainebleau castle’s grandeur, the privilege of being alone in this place steeped in history was not lost on any of us, nor was the honor of watching Jack White sat in a corner, casually playing on his old guitar.

The June afternoon went by too quickly and left us feeling that what just happened wasn’t real life. That Jack never really walked through the heavy door of the Saint-Saturnin Chapel. That his voice, so wonderfully familiar, and yet so intimidating at the same time, never really echoed against the stained-glass windows. His and Lillie Mae’s boots never treaded upon the stairs to the rooftop of the castle, and their eyes never gazed upon the astonishing alignment of its formal French gardens while singing an amazing strip down version of “Entitlement.”


All this could have been a dream if “The Same Boy You’ve Always Known” hadn’t then lingered, haunting the chapel long after Jack White’s departure.

The bells began to ring as we were leaving, pulsating through our every fibre and signalling the end to a day we still weren’t entirely sure happened. With their vibrations still lingering through our bones, we gave a collective last look over what had, only moments prior, been the scene of the most surreal Take Away Show we’ve ever done. As we closed the chapel doors and walked away, I swear I could hear Jack’s footsteps behind us.


German friends, the Take Away Show is also on Dailymotion.

Translated with help from Mandy.

]]> 0