Tag Archives: Paris

New Automne: La Parole

Video: Automne – “La Parole”

Studio version from Maison-mère, out now on bandcamp.

New video from the coolest group in Paris!

I’ve mentioned before that Automne’s guitarist, Perry Leopard, is a friend of mine. In fact, we had the opportunity to hang out in real life a couple weeks ago. I was in town with my family and he was preparing for a performance of his well-received tribute to the songs of Kurt Weill: MeanWeill, Berlin to Broadway (via Paris…). We met for dinner at a charming restaurant in the 10th around the corner from Gare du Nord.

Perry’s always got a bunch of fires in the oven, from his bluesy Caballeros Simpáticos to the earthy punk of les Spasmes, the man is a connoisseur and provocateur of rock and roll.

The latest project is a series of videos with Automne. Perry told me, “Early this year, we went to the Chapiteau Raj’ganawak, in St-Denis, just outside Paris, to record live videos of two songs from our last EP, Maison-mère, and another song that we didn’t have a recording of. Joining us were two musician friends, Brisa Roché singing, and Aurore Daniel playing cello.”

Automne says, “I wrote ‘La Parole’ after having seen an interview with Adèle Haenel on Mediapart where she spoke about the harassment she suffered at the hands of the director with whom she did her first film as a young girl. It was then that I became conscious of the impact of liberating speech to advance society and the metoo movement in France. That new energy made me want to say something, too. This song is a hymn to women speaking freely. For the videos, I wanted an unusual location, where we could get a warm, acoustic sound. We had played at the Chapiteau Raj’ganawak for our EP release, so I wanted to pay homage to them.”

The place was established and is run by Camille Brisson, whom the band admires.

Continue reading New Automne: La Parole

New Titus Andronicus video: An Anomaly

Video: Titus Andronicus – “An Anomaly”

Directed by Patrick Stickles. From The Will to Live, out September 30 on Merge.

Patrick Stickles can seem like a pretty serious fellow. Intellectually ambitious to the point of being heavy. But then when you’re least expecting it, he goes to Paris and throws down the funk bone! His moves — especially during the guitar solo — will assure you that Stickles doesn’t take himself that seriously after all. His groove is like your uncle at the wedding reception who’s been enjoying the open bar and is really getting into that one Lady Gaga song.

The lyrics, on the other hand, aren’t as silly as the video.

It was God that made our bodies but the devil made our brains
And we revel in our autonomy as we drive ourselves insane
They say God can make no error so it must have been his plan
To create a world of terror by the instruments of man.

Whoa. Heavy, right?

Stickles talked to Rolling Stone about the song:

The titular anomaly is that the natural world is quite a violent place. If these dogs didn’t have guardians providing them food, what would they do? They would go kill a rabbit or something. They don’t mean any harm, it’s not evil. That’s just the way it is. In the same way that, dare I say, the Covid-19 virus is not an evil thing. That’s not to say I’m a fan of it, we shouldn’t try to protect it. But it’s a living organism, it has the will to live, and it’s going to do whatever it takes to prosper.

Much of the time the will to live is translated into the physical world in some form of violence or brutality. This is true of humans, but at a certain point, humans stopped being part of the natural world — they weren’t in the food chain anymore. So this violence ceases to have utility. But it seems to me that those impulses haven’t gone away, even though we don’t need them anymore. That’s translated into more advanced, effective, and atrocious forms of violence, up to and including the atom bomb. That’s fairly anomalous, isn’t it? There’s nothing natural about the atom bomb, or a self replicating nanobot that will eat the Earth. That’s evil in a way that a dog eating a rabbit is not. If the Devil is real, that’s it.

While you’re reading that, feel free to open another browser window so you can see him dancing in your peripheral vision. It balances out nicely.

Stickles is clearly a complex guy: thoughtful but still goofy. I like that in a person. And in an artist. It’s also amusing that he’s totally embracing the Big Dumb Rock sound of Def Leppard and Boston. Still sounds like Titus Andronicus, of course, but passing through a Rockman X100.

God damn!

Titus Andronicus: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Phoenix video: “Tonight” (ft. Ezra Koenig)

Video: Phoenix – “Tonight” (ft. Ezra Koenig)

Directed by Oscar Boyson. From Alpha Zulu, out November 4.

Am I just getting old or have all the years before 2020 become a hazy blur? I remember when “Oxford Comma” and “Lisztomania” were new and exciting (and I still love those songs), but the time since then has all blended together. Well, leave it to Phoenix and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig to make it seem like it was only yesterday.

Not sure what exactly Koenig brings to the table here, since I’m sure Thomas Mars could’ve sung those parts himself and we’d barely notice the difference. But he certainly makes the video more fun with a split-screen showing him checking out the least Japanese parts of Tokyo while Mars and his band navigate the streets and puddles of Paris.

Let’s roll!

New Hallelujah The Hills video: God Is So Lonely Tonight

Video: Hallelujah The Hills – “God Is So Lonely Tonight”

Single out now.

Watch Ryan Walsh galivant around Paris in the video for the brand new Hills song, “God Is So Lonely Tonight.” This one has a chorus that sounds like it was written expressly to be shouted by a bunch of sweaty people in a club, raising their drinks and spilling all over their neighbors. If you’re in the Boston area you might get the chance to test out that theory because the band is playing some shows: one tomorrow (September 10) at the Jamaica Plain Music Festival and then on October 8 at the Lilypad in Cambridge with Cassie Berman. If you go, report back on whether my shout-along prediction comes true!

You’d like to spend time with your loved ones
There’s big problems that you really oughta to solve
But he needs your prayers more than you need yours answered
You know that God is so lonely tonight.

Still no official news on a full-length follow-up to 2019’s I’m You, but if the latest singles are representative it’s going to be worth the wait.

Hallelujah the Hills: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Automne video: La Désirante

Video: Automne – “La Désirante”

Texte : Mathilde Tixier. Musique : Automne. Réalisation : Joséphine Lajeat. Effets spéciaux : Juan Sebastian Sotelo. Étalonnage : David Haddad. Une production ATPD.

Shortly after we posted Marika Hackman’s latest video, my friend in Paris messaged me that his band Automne had just completed a video for a new song that dealt with the same subject matter. And here it is!

Even if your francais is as mal as mine you can still figure out what Automne is singing about. The video is a little racy, but they’re French so what do you expect? Ooh la la.

Automne: web, facebook, youtube, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Automne video: Pendant Que Les Champs Brulent

Video: Automne – “Pendant Que Les Champs Brûlent”

Single out now on ATPD Records.

Niagara’s “Pendant Que Les Champs Brûlent” was a big single in France in 1990. The duo were offered an American deal, but they refused to record English-language versions of their songs so they never got signed over here. (Note: This is not the same Niagara who sang with Detroit’s Destroy All Monsters.)

Automne’s cover is more upbeat and seems to bring out a bit of playful sixties yé-yé that’s missing from the moodier synthpop original. Can’t you imagine girls in mini dresses frugging to this?

While the fields burn
I am waiting for my tears to come,
And when the field dances
May nothing ever reach me.

The video was shot on an island in the Marne River, southeast of Paris, where the band rehearses. Guitarist Perry Leopard tells me, “The island has no bridges, so we have to take a row boat any time we’re packing up gear to play out of town!”

If you’re curious about that little push-button synth contraption, it’s a Pocket Piano built by Critter and Guitari but no longer available. This is the company that designed the Septavox synthesizer specifically for Third Man Records.

Automne: web, facebook, youtube, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Automne video: Pendant Que Les Champs Brulent

New Automne video: Soeurs de Coeur

Video: Automne – “Sœurs de cœur”

Directed by Joséphine Lajeat. From the Automne EP, due March 23.

Paris has style. I mean, come on. Look at this video. Who has house parties where everybody is so elegant and chic? Not in a trendy or pretentious or stuffy way, but just totally stylish. Wine, pistachios, tarot cards, chaises longues, cigarettes… So damn cool.

Full disclosure: Autumne’s guitarist, Perry Leopard, is a friend. I’ve hung out with him in divy little bars in outer arrondissements far off the tourist track. We’ve listened to his pals play blues and jazz to an audience of a dozen locals drinking 1664s. We also went and saw the remains of the MC5 together at the Élysée Montmartre. Perry’s a great guy, an Alabama native who’s called Paris home for many years, and a fine connoisseur of rock and roll.

And now, he’s involved in a new project with classically trained Parisian cellist Automne Lajeat. They’ve been woodshedding and playing gigs together for about a year along with drummer Thomas Gromb and guitarist David Haddad. They’re planning on recording a full-length album to be released early next year.

My français is très rusty so Perry helped translate the lyrics for me. The chorus (“à mes potes, à mes copines, à mes sanguines, à mes sœurs de cœur”) roughly means “to my homies, to my blood sisters.” And “sanguines” has a double entendre: a “sanguin” is someone who easily gets carried away.

“Sœurs de cœur” is a celebration of friendship, and the video features our women friends, who are poets, theater technicians, photographers, musicians, and painters. The director, Joséphine Lajeat, is Automne’s younger sister, and she and her director of photography, Joanna Cognard, have been a movie-making team for a while. They made Automne’s previous videos for “Lovecrafter” (words are a Patti Smith poem) and “Nedjma.” Their most recent film of their own is a short called Pouce, in which Automne and I have bit parts.

Even if you can’t understand the words, you get the feel of what Automne is singing about. She sounds brave and defiant. The song is arranged beautifully: subtle but dramatic with brooding cello and gnarly guitars and spooky background vocals, building up to the climax: “Aux optimistes, aux féministes!”

Automne: web, facebook, youtube.

Continue reading New Automne video: Soeurs de Coeur

Alejandro Escovedo in Paris: Crazy Horse With a Chamber Quartet

Alejandro Escovedo in ParisAlejandro Escovedo and his string quintet at the Java

Paris, June 6, 2007

Alejandro Escovedo is a rock and roll fan, the kind that believes that rock and roll is big enough to encompass any kind of music one loves and is inspired by. Over the course of a 90-minute concert in Paris on June 6, he cited the Velvet Underground (who clearly hold the place of honor in his personal Pantheon), the Stooges, Mott the Hoople, the Buffalo Springfield, the New York Dolls, the Rascals and the Sir Douglas Quintet. For good measure, in a preshow interview, he added Texas songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore as well as composers Bartok and Satie to the mix of references that explain his music.

The show took place at the Java in eastern Paris, an old dance hall that is used by local concert promoter Karel Beer. Beer, too, is a music lover and puts on mostly acoustic shows by musicians that otherwise would not find a venue in the French capital – songwriting legends like Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, rock veterans like Richard Thompson or Robyn Hitchcock, and new talents like Tift Merritt.

Continue reading Alejandro Escovedo in Paris: Crazy Horse With a Chamber Quartet

Patti Smith: A Beacon in the City of Lights

Photography © Sue Rynski, 2005. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.According to GloNo’s unofficial eye on the street in Paris and rock and roll photographer extraordinaire Sue Rynski (we use that adjective because (1) it sounds [and, well, essentially is] French and (2) Rynski hails from Detroit but now has her domicile [note our evident fluentness in a language we can’t speak]), while there were performances in eight cities around the globe with actors, musicians and others of a blovating nature holding forth on a subject upon which they have a tenuous grasp at best (i.e., poverty in Africa), there was an event of a different nature held in Paris: the seventh Solidays AIDS benefit. Rynski notes that the three-day event not only had music on three stages, but that in addition to the music, there were “villages” at the venue where people could learn about the subject that continues to be so devistating. Clearly, a novel concept in this age of “let’s pretend we really understand international finance before we move on to something else that catches our fancy.”

Continue reading Patti Smith: A Beacon in the City of Lights