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.
The French JOVM mainstays long-awaited, third album Paradigmes 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:
- “Cool 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.
The 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.