Founded back in 2010, 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 — managed to completely hoodwink the French music industry by lining up a DIY Stateside tour as a then unknown band, with only $3,000 Euros and their debut EP, that year’s Le Podium #1.
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 krautrock and synths to the mix. The album eventually earned a Victoires de la Musique Award. Building upon a rapidly growing national and international profile, La Femme’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 last year through the band’s own Disque Pointu and distributed through IDOL. And over the course of 2021, I managed to write about five of the album’s nine — that’s right, nine! — released singles:
- “Cool Colorado,” a coolly 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 fragile and random fate is.
- “Pasadena,” a slow-burning, woozy ballad that sounds — and feels — like a narcotic-induced haze. Written as an informal response and continuation of the story told in “Septembre,” off the band’s sophomore album, “Pasadena” features the main character of “Septembre” as a teenager. And as a result, the song is about budding romances — primarily their seemingly carefree nature at the time, their eventual difficulties and confusions, and the weight of peer pressure.
So far, 2022 has been very busy for the Paris-based JOVM mainstays: Back in April, La Femme released Paradigmes: Le Film, a full-length film co-directed by the band’s Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée and Aymeric Bergada du Cadet that highlights the band’s humor and creativity while being primarily centered around Paradigmes‘ material. (You can watch it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8Wnil2ipf0)
The also released an exclusive, vinyl Record Store Day edition of Paradigmes, Paradigmes: suppléments, a deluxe edition of their critically applauded third album. Along with the Record Store Day exclusive vinyl release of Paradigmes: suppléments, the band released yet another single off Paradigmes, the album closing track “Tu T’en Lasses,” a slow-burning and atmospheric fever dream, centered around skittering beats, glistening synths and a distorted yet mournful horn solo paired with dreamily delivered vocals.
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Paradigmes, La Femme announced the release of a limited collection of NFTs made from the original frames used for the animated video for “Foutre le Bordel.” The NFTs were released by by Ballad(r), an NFT launchpad for artists and institutions in the music industry. These unique digital works of art included a unique audio track made from stems of the original song and unlocked exclusive content and numerous real-life perks for each lucky NFT holder.
During the JOVM mainstays’ time touring across Latin America and Spain, the band wrote their first song entirely in Spanish, “Le Jardin,” which appeared on the aforementioned Paradigmes. “Le Jardin” led the band down the path to write Teatro Lucido. Deriving its name from a mythic theater, where the band has played many times while touring in Mexico, the album, which is slated for a November 4, 2022 release will be their first album with lyrics written and sung entirely in Spanish. Teatro Lucido will also be the first of a planned thematic series of albums that the band calls Collection Odyssèe.
The album is informed by their adventures in Seville, Granada, Madrid, Mexico City, Cuautepec, Padul — all of which hold important places in their hearts, because they had a ton of laughs, joys, tears and disappointments in each. The album also reportedly draws from a number of different inspirations including Spain’s Semana Santa — or holy week; pasodoble, reggaeton, Brazilian and Andalusian rhythms., classical guitars and 80s Movida among others. Much like their previous releases, the members of French JOVM mainstays wrote, composed and produced the album entirely by themselves, while inviting numerous female vocalists to participate in the process.
Now, as you may recall just before the JOVM mainstays last North American tour, La Femme shared “Sacatela.” Inspired by their tours across South American and Spain, “Sacatela” is a Tropicalia-take on psych pop featuring shuffling Latin rhythms and lyrics sung entirely in Spanish paired with an infectious call-and-response vocal-led hook.
Directed by Ilan Zerrouki and starring Itziar Guardamino Sanchez, Marlon Magnée, Sacha Got, Ysé Grospiron, Samantha Quealy, Sam Lefèvre, Daniel Barda and Francesco Mocchia Di Coggiola, the accompanying visual for “Sacatela” was shot in Nice, France and is a breezy, stylish blast of seemingly carefree, easy-going summer, full of frolicking at the beach, rooftop parties and the like. But things quickly go hilariously wrong with some of the video’s cast getting violently ill. As the band explains the video is about unacknowledged desires and un-pursued dreams, which is also called “sacatelaism.”