Category: World Music

New Video: Monsieur MÂLÂ Releases a Playful Visual for Slinky, Genre-Defying “Koss 5”

French musical collective Monsieur MÂL  — Balthazar Naturel (sax), Robin Antunes (violin/mandolin), Nicholas Vella (keys), Swaéli Mbappé (bass) and Mathieu Edward (drums) —features musicians, who have played with a who’s who list of internationally acclaimed artists including De La Soul, Mayra Andrade, CHASSOL, Ibrahim Maalouf, China Moses and a lengthy list of others. 

Last year, the act released their tropical and summery debut single “Misemo,” a genre-blurring composition centered around a sinuous bass line, soulful horns, twinkling strings and stuttering polyrhythm within an expansive composition. And as the band explained, their debut single encouraged the listener, whoever they may be, that sometimes you just need to dance, and it all go for a little while, at least.

Since then, the act has released a handful singles including “Lunitudine,” “Cor Anglais in E Minor (Op. 3)” that have received attention and airplay from Jazz FM, WorldWide FM, Music is My Sanctuary, Soho Radio, TSF and Le GriGri Radio. Building upon a growing profile, the French collective’s latest single “Koss 5” further establishes their genre blurring sound and approach. Centered around plucked strings, twinkling and arpeggiated keys, skittering drums, the slinky and expansive “Koss 5” features elements of funk, jazz fusion with some Makosa rhythms. As the collective explains the composition is an emotional tribute to Manu Dibango, who some of the band members have played with in the past.

Directed by Stan Amsellem, the recently released video for “Koss 5” features a collection of actors of various age groups playing as the members of the band as kids, as adults and as older adults. In some way, the visual plays to the power of music and creativity, suggesting that as long as one is creative, they’re forever young.

New Video: Combo Chimbita Release a Gorgeous Visual for Meditative “Todos Santos”

Acclaimed Latinx group Combo Chimbita — — Carolina Oliveros (vocals), Prince of Queens (synths, bass), Niño Lento (guitar) and Dilemastronauta — features members of New York-based Colombian folk collective Bulla en el Barrio and is a sort of related side project. Interestingly, the members of Combo Chimbita can trace the origins of their genre-mashing sound, which feature elements of cumbia, electro pop and Afro-futurism, to their experiments with different traditional music styles during their late night residencies at Park Slope, Brooklyn-based club Barbes. Most of that experimentation included explorations between visual identity and improvisational long-form trips that would eventually lead to their self-recorded, 2016 full-length debut El Corridor del Jaguar.

Unsurprisingly, the members of Combo Chimbita have cited Sun Ra’s Afro-futurism as a deep influence on their work and overall aesthetic — with the New York-based Latinx group crafting their own take, one, which they’ve dubbed Tropical Futurism. “The idea that the future doesn’t necessarily have to be this super white Western high-tech Star Wars stuff; that the indigenous ideas and culture of people of color, people of Latin America, can also represent a magical and substantial future,” Combo Chimbita explain. “It’s a vision that maybe a lot of people don’t necessarily think about often. The old and deep knowledge that indigenous people have of the land has been neglected for many years as part of capitalism and colonization.”

2016’s Lily Wen-produced sophomore album Abya Yala found the band further establishing their Afro-futurism-inspired take on cumbia and other traditional Colombian folk styles. Shortly after the release of Abya Yala, the members of Combo Chimbita began to receive attention locally and elsewhere for their live show, led by Oliveros’ powerhouse vocals and commanding stage presence. Eventually, the acclaimed Latinx group caught the attention of ANTI- Records, who signed the band to the label and released their third album 2019’s Ahomale.

Much like countless others, the pandemic wound up putting the act’s plans on an indefinite pause — but they used the time to write a batch of singles, including their latest, the slow-burning “Todos Santos.” Featuring atmospheric synths, skittering beats, a sinuous bass line, hypnotic four-on-the-floor-like drumming, expressive guitars, Afro-Colombian percussion and Oliveros’ yearning vocals, “Todos Santos” finds the act continuing to effortlessly and seamlessly mesh the ancient with the hyper contemporary.

e Mother of all Orishas in Yoruban tradition — and guardian of the ocean, representing home, creation and love. “Todos Santos gave us an opportunity to situate our instruments in such a special place, out in the open near the ocean, with no people around, just listening to the wind and watching the birds,” the band’s Prince of Queens recalls. ““It generated a peaceful & tranquil energy, which reflects our capacity to heal and to forgive, something we often lose sight of through the hustle of day-to-day life.” Dilemastronauta adds “The track’s hypnotic drumming was done in collaboration with Grammy-nominated percussionist Philbert Armenteros, a Cuban-born Babalawo and dear friend to Combo Chimbita who helped us perform this special homage to Yemaya.”

Directed by Iván Vernaza, the recently released video for “Todos Santos,” is the second of a series of visuals accompanying news Combo Chimbita material that follows the journey of Colombian sisters in a non-linear storyline that began with
“Mujer Jaguar” The videos were filmed and produced in Cali, Colombia at the beginning of a national uprising that has seen the government respond with violent repression against its citizens. “Mujer Jaguar” followed a young woman, whose fiery presence was connected to the current resistance across Abya Yala. “Todos Santos” is a gorgeously shot, nostalgia-fueled fever dream centered around an interconnected community of women, who guide and love the video’s roaring and passionate protagonist.

e surrounding mountains, we knew this song would be healing, purifying, and hopeful. Those maternal characteristics are something we wanted to evoke through the single and its video, recognizing that the young girl who roared in ‘Mujer Jaguar,’ had a process of learning and unlearning, of guidance and autonomy, which she uses to confront life,” Carolina Oliveros explains in press notes.

New Video: Rising Post Punk Act Menthüll Release a Haunting Visual for Brooding and Cinematic “Profonde Tristesse”

Formed last year, the rising Gatineau, Québec-based indie electronic/goth duo Menthüll –Gabriel and Yseult — have quickly established a retro-futuristic sound that draws equally from New Wave and electro pop paired with lyrics written and sung exclusively in French.

The Hull-based duo’s releases have received praise and accolades globally. Building upon a growing profile in the Francophone music scene and in the global post-punk and goth scenes, Menthüll’s latest single “Profonde tristesse” continues a run of brooding and cinematic material that sounds — to my ears, at least — indebted to John Carpenter soundtracks and the early 4AD Records catalog paired with vocals delivered in a wispy and ethereal French.

Interestingly, the accompanying visual aesthetically reminds a bit of Jorge Elbrecht: the viewer sees a classically-inspired marble bust superimposed in the foreground of a misty forest that gradually burst into a explosive conflagration.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay MUNYA Releases a Gorgeous and Dreamy Visual for Shimmering “Pour Toi”

During the course of 2018 and 2019, I’ve managed to write quite a bit about Québec-born and-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Josie Boivin, the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded recording project and JOVM mainstay act MUNYA.

When Boivin was asked to play at 2017’s Pop Montreal, she had only written one song. Ironically, at the time, Boivin never intended to pursue music full-time; but after playing at the festival, she quickly realized that music was what she was meant to do. So, Boivin quit her day job, moved in with her sister and turned their kitchen into a home recording studio, where she wrote every day. Those recordings would become part of an EP trilogy with each individual EP named after a significant place in Boivin’s life: Her debut North Hatley EP derived its name from one of Boivin’s favorite little Québecois villages. Her second EP, the critically applauded Delmano EP derived its name from Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based bar Hotel Delmano. The third and final EP of the trilogy, Blue Pine derived its name from the Blue Pine Mountains in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

Washed Out-like “Pour Toi” is centered around an aching and unfulfilled longing: The song as Boivin explains is about speaking to a loved one from a distance.

Co-directed by MUNYA and Josh Aldecoa, the recently released, gorgeously shot and surreal dream of a video for “Pour Toi” was shot in Williamsburg, a beautiful, sun-filled apartment and elsewhere. We see the acclaimed Québecois artist chatting on an old red dial tone phone in a variety of places , which manages to emphasize the longing at the center of the song.

New Video: Follow Young French Artist Esther Maud on a Wild Adventure in “Etranger Solitaire”

Esther Maud is an emerging Paris-based multidisciplinary artist: Maud is a photographer, videographer and singer/songwriter, who also designs clothes and draws. As a songwriter, the rising French artist records sketches and snippets of melodies and verses as vice memos, that over time eventually become acapella recorded songs that are often simultaneously melancholy and playful. She then sends them off to producers across French to flesh out.

debut EP Puisque rien ne dure thematically touches upon love, particularly lost love, heartbreak, romantic reunions, longing and so on while seemingly drawing comparisons to the great French chanson singers like Françoise Hardy, Jacquline Taïeb and contemporaries like Claire Laffut and Clara Luciani. Puisque rien ne dure‘s latest single “Etranger solitaire” is a hook driven pop confection centered around the rising French artist’s breathy and coquettish cooing and a slick, dance floor friendly production that — to my ears — reminds me a little bit of Daft Punk. But underneath the song’s breezy exterior is a a sweet and swooning tale of reunited love.

French artist flying above the French seaside, hanging out with her best girlfriend and and a group of people attempting a Tik Tok-styled dance on the beach.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays La Femme’s Hazy and Nostalgic Ode to Young Love

Parisian psych pop act and longtime JOVM mainstays  La Femme — currently, founding members Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée, along with Sam Lefévre, Noé Delmas, Cleémence Quélennec, Clara Luiciani, Jane Peynot, Marilou Chollet and Lucas Nunez Ritter — was founded back in 2010, and the then-completely unknown band had managed to hoodwink the French music industry by lining up a DIY Stateside tour with only $3,000 euros and their debut, that year’s  Le Podium #1 EP.

After playing 20 gigs across the States, the members of La Femme returned to their native France with immense interest from the Parisian music scene. “The industry was like, ‘What the fuck? They have an EP out and they are touring in the US and we don’t know them?” Marlon Magnée told The Guardian. “So the buzz began to start. When we came back to France, it was red carpet. Fucking DIY.” 

2013’s critically applauded and commercially successful full-length debut Psycho Tropical Berlin found the Parisian JOVM mainstays making a wild, creative and sonic left turn incorporating motorik grooves and synths to the mix — while eventually landing a Victoires de la Musique Award. Building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile, La Feme’s sophomore album, 2016’s Mystére to praise by Sound Opinions, The Line of Best Fit, The Guardian, AllMusic, BrooklynVegan and a lengthy list of others. 

was released earlier this year through the band’s own Disque Pointu and distributed through IDOL. In the lead up to the album’s release, I managed to write about four of the album’s singles:

ool Colorado,” a cool yet bombastic single that seemed indebted to Scott Walker and Ennio Morricone soundtracks while being an “ode to the San Francisco of the 70s — and to Colorado, the first American state to legalize cannabis. 
Disconnexion,” a surreal what-the-fuck fever dream centered around pulsating Giorgio Moroder-like motorik grooves, a fiery banjo solo, atmospheric electronics, twinkling synth arpeggios, a philosophic soliloquy delivered in a dry, academic French and operatic caterwauling. 
“Foutre le Bordel,” a breakneck freak out that meshed Freedom of Choice-era DEVO and Giorgio Moroder with ’77 punk rock nihilism. 
“Le Jardin,” an achingly sad lullaby written and sung in Spanish — the band’s first song in Spanish. Inspired by a trip to Spain that the band took a few years ago, the song as the band explains “is a kind of an old-school slow dance, which underlines how fate random and fragile. The moments we go through, sometimes very sudden, from shadows to light, and vice-versa.”

Paradigmes’ ninth (!) and latest single, “Pasadena” is a slow-burning and woozy ballad featuring a vocoder’ed intro and centered around thumping, reverb-drenched beats, atmospheric synths, twinkling keys and alternating boy-girl vocals that as a whole sounds like a narcotic-induced haze. Written as a informal response to “Septembre,” a song off their sophomore album that was about the entire school world, “Pasadena” finds “Sepetmbre’s main character as a teenager, and is about budding school-age romances, primarily their seemingly carefree nature, their eventual difficulties and the weight of peer pressure. The song manages to make references to situations that are familiar to many of us, because we’ve all experienced them in some fashion — the swooning passion of new, young love; the bitter taste of heartbreak; the difficulties in moving forward and the like.

he recently released video for “Pasadena” is a hazy fever dream full of aching nostalgia for the meet cutes in Chemistry class days — but seen through the perspective of an adult, who seems to miss how simple things seemed. The band explains that for the first time in their decade-plus history, they made videos for each of Paradigmes’ 15 songs with the intent of creating a full-length movie, which they hope to release next fall.

New Video: Rising French Artist Carole Cettolin Releases a Thoughtful Ode to Living in the Moment

Carole Cettolin is a Paris-born and-based singer/songwriter, whose career started in earnest with the her acclaimed, solo recording project Et Maxence. And with Et Maxence, Cettolin wins the 2010 Crédit Mutuel Young Talent Revelation Award in the French song category. Cettolin catches the attention of Edith Fambuena, who produces material off her Et Maxence debut EP. And with a growing profile, Cettolin eventually winds up opening for the likes of La Grande Sophie and Sia.

ger/songwriter to pursue a new, synth-based sound — under her own name. The end result will be Cettolin’s official debut, the five-song EP A Boy, which is slated for a Fall 2021 release. Thematically, the EP’s material touches upon reconnecting with one’s inner child, haunting images and stubborn ghosts. The EP’s latest single is the breezy pop song “Tant que le temps est radieux.” Centered around glinting synth arpeggios, shimmering strings, thumping beats and Cettolin’s yearning vocals, the song is a bit hedonistic while reminding the listener to cherish every moment of life –and those, who are dear to us. But underneath the breeziness is a melancholy awareness that nothing is guaranteed.

hovin, the recently released video for “Tant que le temps est radieux” features a collection of women, who are over 45. Cettolin explains that this was done on purpose: in French media, women over 45 are largely ignored — despite the fact that half of France’s women are 45 and over. According to the French singer/songwriter, it’s necessary to combat sexist and agist stereotypes linked to child-rearing. Each woman in the club is full of joie de vivre and dances to the music — without concern about how others may think or view them. You see them enjoying themselves and their lives, and their joy is infectious. Certainly, in these women you may see yourself or someone you know and love.

New Audio: Emerging French Artist Esther Maud Releases an Infectious Bop

photographer, videographer and singer/songwriter, who also designs clothes and draws. As a songwriter, the rising French artist records sketches and snippets of melodies and verses as vice memos, that over time eventually become acapella recorded songs that are often simultaneously melancholy and playful. She then sends them off to producers across French to flesh out.

Maud’s debut EP Puisque rien ne dure thematically touches upon love, particularly lost love, heartbreak, romantic reunions, longing and so on while seemingly drawing comparisons to the great French chanson singers like Françoise Hardy, Jacquline Taïeb and contemporaries like Claire Laffut and Clara Luciani. Puisque rien ne dure’s latest single “Etranger solitaire” is a hook driven pop confection centered around the rising French artist’s breathy and coquettish cooing and a slick, dance floor friendly production that — to my ears — reminds me a little bit of Daft Punk. But underneath the song’s breezy exterior is a a sweet and swooning tale of reunited love.

New Audio: French Pop Duo Toxiq Release a Club Banging Take on an 80s French Smash Hit

Toxiq is an emerging French electro pop act featuring two long-term friends: Les Matchboxx’s Claire Deligny and Yul, a producer who specializes in a subtle yet percussive sound. Their collaborative project together draws from their 20+ year friendship and the years they’ve spent dancing, eating and crying together. Because of the pandemic, the project’s earliest batches of material were written and recorded at a distance — both physical and temporal.

Building upon a growing profile in the Francophone music world, the duo’s latest single finds the tackling Bernard Lavillers’ 1983 hit “Idées Noires” with Catherine Ringer. Interestingly, the Toxiq version of the song retains the alternating boy-girl verses and melody of the original but paired with an infectious, club banging production centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, and tweeter and woofer rocking beats.

New Video: Paris’ Ligne Quatre Releases a Feverish and Nightmarish Visual for Woozy “A Trois”

Deriving their name from one of the busiest lines of the Paris subway system, Ligne Quartre, which starts in the Porte de Clignancourt section towards the north, passes through the the heart of the city and ends in the Mairie de Montrouge section, just outside its limits, the rising Paris-based hip-hop collective — Dr. Lulu, Pif Au Mic, Koco and Exil — are inspired by  Nepal, Sopico, NTM, Saian Supa Crew, Pablo Servigne and the films of Wong Kar-wai and Jim Jarmusch. Interestingly, the individual members of the French hip-hop collective can trace both the origins of their careers and the collective to over a decade ago: Koco and Dr. Lulu started rapping about a decade ago in Rouen while Pic Auc and Exil started rapping in Brittany.

Bonding over their mutual inspirations, the act eventually moved in together, living in an 18th century home, off the Chateau Rouge stop of Ligne Quatre. Last year, the collective released their debut EP Arrent Demande, which featured, the Jurassic 5-like “Trop de Temps.” Thematically, the EP touched upon lost loves, failure, global warming and a series of other concerns.

Building upon a growing profile, the act’s follow-up, sophomore six-song EP is slated for an early September release. In the meantime, the forthcoming EP’s first single “A Trois” features each of the collective’s emcees spitting effortlessly dexterous and densely worded French over an uneasy and woozy production centered around skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling trap beats, a looped, plucked guitar figure and rumbling low end paired with an enormous hook.

Directed by Le Labo — Lucas Le Roux, Elsa Milovanovic and Yann Omnés — the recently released visual for “A Trois” is a gorgeously shot yet surreal fever dream that finds Ligne Quatre’s three emcees seemingly lost in an unforgiving terrain that they all try to desperately escape, only to be trapped. Their hell is constant, infinite and renders each of them small and vulnerable.