Café Bizarre — Fabien (vocals), Giles (bass, guitar), Jean-Michel (drums, percussion), Granlu (guitar, bass) and Jean-Marc (guitar) — is a Paris-based indie rock act that can trace its origins back to the 1990s. And since their formation, the Parisian indie rock act have largely been a musician’s musician band, and arguably one of the bigger influences of the indie music scenes of early 90s New York, Hoboken and Chicago.
As the story goes, Mark Ibold, who played bass on a number of Pavement and Sonic Youth albums in the 00s met members of the band in a Lower East Side bar. This chance meeting wound up cementing a deeply rooted 25 year friendship between the Parisian band and the members of Pavement. According to Café Bizarre, Pavement’s “Shoot The Singer” discreetly pays homage to them — but interestingly enough, the band says that the song was originally written the year, as a tribute to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground.
The band’s first recorded output, 1995’s 13 song album Avenue A saw distribution through small shops and then disappeared from public consciousness — until a Télépopmusik fan came across the album on e-Bay. 1997’s four song EP Manipulate Men was originally distributed and sold through their local record store. Much like its predecessor, it disappeared until someone found some copies, 12 years later in a box in the store’s basement.
1998 saw the band’s lineup expanded into a quintet with the addition of a new member. And as the band joke, they continued their musical careers with personal funds and the logistical support of dear and steadfast friends.
1998 saw the band’s lineup expanded into a quintet with the addition of a new member. And as the band joke, they continued their musical careers with personal funds and the logistical support of dear and steadfast friends. A few years later — 2001, to be precise — the Parisian band wrote and recorded a 3 song effort, aptly tired 3 that wasn’t distributed. By 2002, the band went on hiatus with its members spending time raising families and doing responsible, adult things.
In 2011, Café Bizarre released a CD-DVD boxed set of their Fallentfest Music Festival appearance at La Cigale. The following year, the band gave away the live album portion of the CD-DVD boxed sets to fans upon request.
After several attempts at self-production, the band recruited Mattéo Apher to produce the band’s first vinyl record, a 10 song effort released in 2017. The effort found the band blending 90s alt rock influences with loud, guitar-driven anthems. The album is available is also available digitally through Bandcamp.
Earlier this year,. the Parisian indie rock band released a 7 song EP Don’t Swim Tonight My Love , which boldly recalls 90s rock, complete with enormous hooks. The EP’s latest single, EP title track., “Don’t Swim Tonight My Love” is a shimmering rocker centered around Fabien’s plaintive vocals, a propulsive backbeat and a shout-along worthy hook that sonically brings Pablo Honey-era Radiohead and 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind.