The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

14
Various Artists 'Dublin's Unsigned, the Best Of'
A review of the compilation album 'Dublin's unsigned: the best of' Review Snapshot: "Dublin's unsigned: Best of" showcases the raw talent of Dublin music's under...

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11

Exactly five years ago today, your blogger arrived in France to take up the position of CLUAS Foreign Correspondent (Paris).

In a scene similar to the opening credits of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air', we arrived outside Chateau French Letter, official residence of the CLUAS F.C. (P.), all our hopes and dreams packed into one small case. Our remit: report on the best of French pop, rock and electronica, all the while swanning around Paris thanks to the lavish CLUAS Foreign Correspondent Expense Account.

At first we could get away with submitting a leisurely monthly column, a mere distraction. But then blogging was invented. The CLUAS gaffer, a man with his finger on the technology pulse and a rectal thermometer just to be sure, decided that this new-fangled medium was just the thing for increasing productivity and guaranteeing return on investment. And so French Letter became a fast-acting, high-performance blog.

Your correspondent went along with this idea, figuring that we'd get a few months' worth of posts at best. Almost three years and over 250 posts later, we're still at it.

Alternative music doesn't have as wide an audience in France as in Ireland or the UK. No homegrown indie act would ever break into the mainstream or enjoy broadsheet ubiquity the way Florence And The Machine and The XX did in Britain last year. Hip indie bands from America play smaller venues in Paris than they would in London or Dublin, and mostly to indie-kid ex-pats like your correspondent - last November a double-bill of The Antlers and Cymbals Eat Guitars played to a three-quarters-full venue that each would have filled alone in Ireland. UK acts get greater exposure here because the Paris music press pays close attention to the London scene; the aforementioned Florence and XX will play large halls here very soon. A Libertines concert in Paris in 2003 spawned a whole movement of 'babyrockers' in thrall to London punk n'lager attitude.

Today's French music scene has split along linguistic lines. It's only a slight generalisation to say that alternative, artistically ambitious acts sing in English and mainstream or artistically conservative acts sing self-consciously poetic or socially-aware lyrics in French. To an outsider it seems that French people value lyrics over melody - consequentially a lot of French-language rock music is literally monotonous and tuneless. (Listen to Louise Attaque or Mickey 3D, two popular French bands, and then try to whistle one of their songs.)

Young French bands influenced by melodic UK or US indie-pop (such as the bands featured in this blog) usually write and sing in English. As well as escaping the weight of French lyric-writing's demands for overwrought, politicised verbosity there's also the obvious fact of English having a wider international appeal. In France, English is the language of ambition - and of cultural hipness. The excellent new evening show of popular indie station Le Mouv' is presented by Laura Leishman, a brash Canadian who speaks almost as much English as French on air. (Irish music fans will recognise how female Canadian indie DJs are de rigueur for indie radio stations.) Any day now, your correspondent is going to become extraordinarily hip and sought-after in Paris.

But then, Paris really isn't a musical city any more. Air, Phoenix, Daft Punk and Michel Gondry - the entire vanguard of French alternative pop culture - all come from Versailles. (It's no coincidence that Sofia Coppola, the partner of Phoenix singer Thomas Mars, made an indie-pop biopic of Versailles-based cake promoter Marie Antoinette.) Regional capitals like Bordeaux and Clermont-Ferrand have healthy music scenes that seem to thrive by being far from fashion-conscious Paris. And France's two hippest music festivals, Les Transmusicales and La Route du Rock, take place in the geographically isolated Rennes-Saint Malo area.

In short, there are plenty of great French bands - you just have to look very hard for them and expect them to be singing in English.

Anyway, enough of the sociological analysis - we're supposed to be celebrating! To Paris and France, thanks for five incredible years and the promise of more good times to come. Here's our fellow well-read, rugby-loving Francophile Neil Hannon with his most celebrated song about France:


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11

Unless the Dutch city of Groningen has disappeared under snow and ice (which is quite likely this weather) the annual Eurosonic music conference and showcase will take place this week (14-16 January). Something of a European equivalent to America's SXSW, Eurosonic features a festival of new and emerging acts from around the continent. It's an opportunity for record companies and festival promoters to go shopping for new talent to fill their rosters.

Eurosonic was created in collaboration with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), makers of Eurovision, and national broadcasters can send acts to Groningen. So, 2FM has picked a strong Irish contingent - Delorentos, And So I Watch You From Afar, Villagers and Imelda May. However, the UK delegation is particularly awesome this year: The XX, Marina And The Diamonds and The Leisure Society are among Her Majesty's pop acts crossing the North Sea this week.

As for other European acts you might know, Annie was due to play but the Norwegian pop princess has cancelled her appearance. But we see that Icelandic electro group FM Belfast and Swiss chanteuse Sophie Hunger will be there - both are very good.

What about France? Well, ten acts will make the short trip north-east to the Netherlands. We've already told you about three of them - Pony Pony Run Run, Clara Clara and Yeti Lane. As well as being excellent, all three happen to be English-named trios making indie-pop tinted with electronica. (Our regular readers know this blog's tastes by now.)

SliimyAs for the others, The Popopopops are also an indie-pop band but not a very good one - and they have that awful, unpronounceable name. The eejits. Jamaica are also a trio but play grunge-rock; Xavier de Rosnay from Justice is currently producing their debut album. If you ever wondered what Janis Joplin would have sounded like in French, then check out the hoarse blues-rock of Izia. La Caravane Passe have an eclectic and good-time mix of Balkan and folk sounds. Turzi are at the trance/psychedelic end of the dance spectrum. And Soma make unremarkable English-style indie rock.

That leaves us with one more Eurosonic-bound French act to tell you about: that's him in the photo (right).

To answer the questions we posed at the top of the page: Sliimy (rhyming with 'Timmy' and 'Jimmy') is the nom de pop of a young Frenchman called Yanis Sahraoui. From the city of Saint Etienne, he looks like a cross between Mika and Prince and sounds like a cross between Mika and Lily Allen - dayglo, theatrical pop delivered in the manner of a drama-school kid.

Sliimy became something of an internet sensation in 2008 with his home-made version of Britney Spears' 'Womaniser', which was spotted by - ta-dah! - Perez Hilton. After raving about it on his blog and Twitter, Hilton signed Sliimy as the first act on his Perezcious record label. (In Europe, Sliimy is brought to you by Warner.)

The French don't really do daytime-airplay chart pop. So, when we say that Sliimy's first record, 'Paint Your Face', was the best French mainstream pop album of 2009 we're damning it with faint praise. His voice is relatively weak and unremarkable - to our ears his vocals sound a bit low in the mix. Still, the fun and colour of this record is hard to dislike.

Here's the first single from Sliimy's album - 'Wake Up':


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07

The country covered in snow and ice, lakes and canals frozen over, schools closed by ministerial decree - for you back in the E.I.R.E. this cold spell is fairly hardcore.

It's chilly enough here in Paris too, but us Seine-siders can always duck into the metro and get home without slipping or freezing. These are days for Alpine specialties like the raclette - melted cheese on meat and potatoes, cooked communally on the dinner table with a special hot-plate/grill appliance. Yum yum - or as the French say, miam miam!

From the Alps we hop over to the Himalayas - for a topical reference to the Abominable Snowman!

Yeti Lane (right) are a trio from Paris - Ben, Charlie and Loic. They were formerly in a band with a fourth Frenchperson, a lady called Cyann, which was imaginatively called Cyann & Ben. (We presume Charlie and Loic were out of the room during the naming process.)

Cyann & Ben made swooshy, synthy space-rock that strained to sound all epic and sweeping. But Yeti Lane are more to our taste - the threesome make melodic, charming alt-rock. Vintage keyboards bubble up every now and then to give their sound a Grandaddy-esque vibe, and we reckon they have a more-than-passing acquaintance with the first Velvet Undereground record. These are all excellent reference points, of course - Yeti Lane are very likeable indeed.

Their eponymous first album comes out this month, and they'll also be at Eurosonic in the Netherlands next week. Check out some fine tunes at Yeti Lane's MySpace page. We like this one a lot - 'Lonesome George':


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05

It's 2010! For your information, the French are calling it a futuristic-sounding deux mille dix (two thousand and ten) and not vingt-dix (twenty-ten).

Anyway, here's the first French band to pop up their heads in the new decade, like a flower pushing up through the winter snow. (It's bbbloody fffreezing here in Paris.)

Clara Clara (right) share the repetitive naming policy of other French Letter favourites like Pony Pony Run Run and Birdy Nam Nam. They're a trio from Lyon whose drummer, François Virot, released two albums of likeable indie-folk-tronica in recent years. (He's the one on the right, looking sweaty.)

However, Clara Clara  - François Virot, Charles Virot on bass and Amélie Lambert on keyboards - sound more dynamic and urgent. They call their sound 'post-hardcore' and that stands for heavy distortion plus frenetic rhythms plus shouty vocals. For example: the band's second album, with no title confirmed yet, will be released in February, and first track 'Paper Crowns' is a tense stand-off between cold-blooded Kraftwerk-y electronica and chaotic indie-rock squalling. Somehow, what could have been a big old mess is really quite catchy and charming.

We suspect that Clara Clara will be very successful in 2010. They'll be at the Eurosonic festival next week, then the winter edition of La Route du Rock in Saint Malo in February alongside the likes of The XX, Local Natives, The Tallest Man On Earth and Clues. A European tour is pencilled in for April - no news of an Irish date yet. And in November they're hitting the west coast of the United States. If the album is any way decent then they'll be in all the right places during the year to get it noticed.

You can hear 'Paper Crowns' on Clara Clara's MySpace page - at the time of writing it's the only track posted. Their 2008 first album is streaming here and you could also check out François Virot's MySpace page for his solo stuff. Here's a video promoting the band's forthcoming album, featuring an early version of 'Paper Crowns' and a glimpse of what their live show looks like:

 


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01

A review of the 'Twilight Saga: New Moon Music' soundtrack

Twilight Saga, New Moon MusicReview Snapshot: An album that would most likely be passed over by many because of the film it comes from, this soundtrack is an extremely pleasant surprise. With tracks from Death Cab for Cutie, Thom Yorke, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Grizzly Bear (to name a few), this soundtrack is for fans of music, not just fans of the Twilight extravaganza.

The Cluas Verdict? 7 out of 10

Full Review:
This album is a complete surprise for many of us with preconceived notions about the Twilight franchise. The mentions of "sparkling" vampires and teen love are the subject of many a jeer from those above such nonsense, so when someone says: "the soundtrack for New Moon is actually quite good", it's fair enough to be a more than a little disbelieving.

The opening track, and theme tune to the movie, is "Meet me on the Equinox" by Death Cab for Cutie. The song, having been written for a vampire romance, is a tale of love - "Let me lay beside you darling / Let me be your man" - but also warns ominously that "everything ends".

The album continues to impress with second track "Friends" by Band of Skulls, a somewhat more upbeat track, and "Hearing Damage" by Thom Yorke.

Thom Yorke on a Twilight soundtrack? Yes, it is quite remarkable, and this previously unreleased song is somewhat different from his usual, possibly in the hopes to appeal to a wider audience. Perhaps the many teenage girls that will buy this soundtrack? Abandoning irregular time signatures and strange effects, Yorke opts instead for a more subtle approach and the result is a haunting, low pitched piece with the ability to resonate with any listener.

Then, we arrive at track four: Lykke Li's "Possibility". There's a possibility that this is my personal favourite song on the album (cheesy pun definitely intended). The repeated crashing of piano chords, and her echoing vocals tell the tale of love's end, a similar story to the opening track. An extremely emotional song, "Possibility" could leave you with shivers - assuming you have a heart.

The album continues with a song from The Killers, which is much like the rest of their work, and will be liked by fans of the band. "Satellite Heart" by Anya Marina is a beautifully simple acoustic, and definitely worth more than one listen.
The entire album is extremely well done, particularly when you consider the film it comes from. However, the first half definitely overshadows the second, and after Muse's "I Belong To You" (which, quite frankly, left me a little cold), the album seems to drift away. It is saved by the fact that Bon Iver and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club both contribute a song, and there is of course "No Sound But The Wind" by Editors, which is wonderfully epic.

Unfortunately, they simply had to throw in a bit of an instrumental piece at the end, to remind us that this did, in fact, come from a film about teenage vampires. On the subject of "The Meadow", well, if you have the CD, don't bother listening to this bit of orchestral nonsense. If you download the album? Delete it.

Aoife Kiely


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01

 I went to see Sam Taylor-Wood’s highly anticipated directorial debut in ‘Nowhere Boy’, a film depicting the teenage years of John Lennon..

In my infinite wisdom I overestimated the time the trailers would be on, so missed the first minute of the film, much to my annoyance. Set in Liverpool in the late 50s Lennon (Aaron Johnson) is torn between two very influential women in his life - his Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas), who he lived with since childhood and his mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), who lived around the corner with her other children. His Aunt Mimi is a staunch, strict middle class woman with upper class aspirations. It’s noticeable that while Scouse accents are of course prevalent in the film Lennon’s Aunt Mimi never speaks with one. His mother Julia is a fun loving, creative and vivacious woman.


Having already read various books about Lennon’s life from many different angles I found it hard at times to not think “that never happened!” and “that character wasn’t really like that!” In which case I found it hard to judge it on the merits of a film of its own, and to not compare it to factual accounts of certain events. But about 20 minutes into the film all of that was forgotten.


At times the way Lennon’s relationship with his mother Julia was portrayed was a bit odd, it appeared to be more like a boyfriend - girlfriend relationship, exchanging admiring glances and kissing each other a lot which are usually reserved for such relationships.

The scenes were mesmerising, at times it felt like I was actually in Liverpool in the 50s. I was expecting ’Ferry Cross the Mersey’ to start playing at any given moment, even though it wasn’t released til the mid 60s! The acting was flawless, never did it feel like the emotion was slipping and everything was very believable, it was a brilliant performance by everyone involved. The only issue I have is, again, the creepy way Lennon’s relationship with his mother was portrayed.



The film ends just before Lennon sets off for Hamburg with the Beatles, and, well, we all know what happened after that. I’ve seen many films concerning the Beatles and John Lennon, some terrible (Chapter 27 comes to mind) and some brilliant. And Nowhere Boy is definitely at the top of the list for brilliance. In short, Nowhere Boy is a film you’ll regret not seeing, especially if you’re a John Lennon fan.


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30
Channel One 'Sound To Light'
A review of the album 'Sound To Light' by Channel One Review Snapshot: The intriguing and likeable blend of electronica and shoegazing by this Dublin quartet will attract listeners from al...

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30

Before we look back on the last decade in French music, let's jump back a further ten years and look at Ireland. 
 
At the outset of the 1990s, Irish music seemed to rule the world. U2 and My Bloody Valentine's respective 1991 albums, 'Achtung Baby' and 'Loveless', loomed over mainstream and alternative rock. A few years later The Cranberries found huge success in America and mainland Europe while a wave of northern bands - Ash, The Divine Comedy, Therapy? - cracked the UK charts. By 2000, though, our main music exports were boybands to Britain and since then only Damien Rice has made any significant international impact.
 
French music in the 2000s follows a similar trajectory - starting high but petering out. Daft Punk and Air went into the new decade as figureheads of something called 'Le French Touch' - a mix in varying proportions of indie attitude and dancefloor sensibility. Their first albums of the '00s consolidated their position. In particular, Daft Punk's 2001 record, 'Discovery', has been hugely influential since its release - if only for putting vocoders and distortion onto daytime radio hits.
 
Since then, Air have descended into self-parody and Daft Punk have yet to follow up their underwhelming 2005 album 'Human After All'. But Phoenix have built a steady fanbase in north America without (yet) breaking into the mainstream consciousness, while Justice have also found relative success in the States. And the likes of Birdy Nam Nam and General Elektriks have the potential to find a substantial worldwide audience. It beats Irish boybands and insipid balladeers, that's for sure.
 
Here's our choice of the best French music of the last decade. (We know that Rachid Taha was born in Algeria - he moved to France when he was ten so growing up in the country surely counts for something.) Some of these albums and songs are known internationally, others aren't. Would a similar list for Irish music in 2000-09 be just as strong as this?
 
Albums (click on a title to listen to the album on Deezer where possible)
 
1. Daft Punk 'Discovery'
2. Air 'The Virgin Suicides'
3. Phoenix 'Alphabetical'
4. Sebastien Tellier 'Politics'
5. Saint Germain 'Tourist'
6. Emily Loizeau 'L'Autre Bout Du Monde'
7. Rachid Taha 'Tékitoi'
8. Herman Dune 'Giant'
9. Justice ''
10. Cocoon 'My Friends All Died In A Plane Crash'
 
Songs 
(click on a title to watch the video)
 
1. Vanessa And The O's 'Bagatelle'
2. Sebastien Tellier 'La Ritournelle'

3. Amel Bent 'Ma Philosophie'
4. M83 'Kim & Jessie'
5. Alizée 'Moi Lolita'
6. Justice 'D.A.N.C.E.'
7. Daft Punk 'One More Time'
8. Air 'Playground Love'
9. Camille 'Ta Douleur'
10. Cassius 'Toop Toop'

Not for the first or last time on this blog, here's the gloriously catchy 'Bagatelle' by Vanessa And The O's, featuring the jangly guitar of former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha:


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28

Didn't we do this only twelve months ago? 2009 flew. And now we're facing into 2010, which feels a bit freaky - shouldn't we be living in space and wearing jetpacks by now?

It's been a mixed year in French alternative music, as we'll explain below. Still, we've found plenty of great new acts during the past twelve months - hopefully you like some or all of what's been featured here this year. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed and commented during the year - all your feedback, tips and suggestions have been greatly appreciated. And if you only just read, thanks for that too.

So, time to make our annual choice of what we liked during the past calendar year. There's a winner of the Palme d'Or (right) in competition this time around - how will she fare in this, the equivalent award race for French music?

Albums
A disappointing year for long-players in France. Well-known names brought out average records that seemed to settle for consolidation. Hand on heart, only our top two are at Champions League standard - but the others are still worth a listen and genuinely enjoyable despite their modest achievements. (Click on an artist name to visit their MySpace page.)
 
1. General Elektriks 'Good City For Dreamers'
Bursting with a spirit of fun and adventure, the second album by Franco-Irishman Herve Salters is a hugely enjoyable blend of loose funkiness and tight electronica, flavoured with jazzy progressions and Beatles-y pop hooks. At once eclectic and accessible, it should be an international success in 2010.

2. Birdy Nam Nam 'Manual For Successful Rioting'
The best French electronic album of the year owes a lot to German audio engineering - the clinical beeps and blips, control-freak loops and robotic voices patented by the mighty Kraftwerk. Like their Teutonic peers, the Gallic turntable foursome put humanity and wit into the machinery. A different experience to their live show, but no worse for that.

3. Kim 'Mary Lee Doo'
Our reigning champion returns for a podium finish in 2009. Kim Stanislaus Giani here flavours his '80s-style electro-pop with '60s and '70s references (dig the Fleetwood Mac bassline on 'Solenn') to create an agreeably romantic and wistful vibe.
 
4. Pony Pony Run Run 'You Need Pony Pony Run Run'
... and you need to change your band name! This Nantes trio's dancefloor-friendly indie-pop did the Phoenix thing better than Phoenix in 2009. A pity, then, that no one outside France will ever take seriously a band with such a terrible name.

5. Flairs 'Sweat Symphony'
Perhaps not better than Prince, as Lionel Flairs claims in this album's key track. Still, it's funky, catchy electro-pop that’ll have you grinning and grinding and perspiring.

6. Yuksek 'Away From The Sea'
Down-the-line floorfillers from the new boy wonder of le French touch. Could this be the last hurrah of a tired genre?

7. Get Back Guinozzi! 'Carpet Madness'
Another awful band name to scupper a likeable record of lo-fi indie pop with a touch of reggae rhythm. Any idea what their name refers to?

8. Diving With Andy 'Sugar Sugar'
And yet another nightmare from the baptism font! Juliette Pacquereau's low, melancholic croon complements a charming '60s Gallic pop flashback.

9. Emilie Simon 'The Big Machine'
Ms Simon's previous album hinted at a love of Kate Bush but this record feels like a full-on homage to the great woman - a similar style of piano-based pop songs with hints of showtunes and classical training to them, served on a bed of modern and retro electronica. You probably need to be a Kate fan to like this album - but then, you really should be a  Kate fan anyway.

10. Etienne Jaumet 'Night Music'
The electronic side project from a Breton indie rocker - cool and thoughtful, conjuring up the atmosphere its title suggests.
 
(You might also like: Phoenix 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix'; Charlotte Gainsbourg 'IRM'; Emily Loizeau 'Pays Sauvage'; Sliimy 'Paint Your Face'; Miss Kittin and The Hacker 'Two'; Revolver 'Music For A While')
 
NOT Album of the Year: Plastiscines 'About Love'
What's the French for 'second album syndrome'? After a cracking debut, the all-girl punk-poppers lose their personality, wit and charm by churning out formulaic alt-rock on this follow-up. The lack of imagination and individuality in this album is quite depressing.
 
Roll of honour - albums
2009 - General Elektriks 'Good City For Dreamers'
2008 - Kim 'Don Lee Doo'
2007 - Dionysos 'Le Mecanique Du Coeur'
2006 - Emily Loizeau 'L'Autre Bout Du Monde'
2005 - Camille 'Le Fil'

Songs
Here's where the real action is happening - new acts in provincial cities posting brilliant tracks on the internet. If even half of them release albums next year then 2010 will be a classic for French pop. That said, you might know our winner, even if it's only from further up the page...
 
1. General Elektriks 'Raid The Radio'
It's the double for Herve Salters with this joyous track. You can dance to it tonight; you can whistle it tomorrow - isn't that what a perfect pop record should be?

2. Mataharie 'O Oak' 
A girl with a high, haunting voice sings an enigmatic semi-electro song: another Kate Bush fan for sure. From a promotion-only four-song disc where all four songs are outstanding - this duo from Annecy have the potential for a magnificent album in 2010.

3. Pony Pony Run Run 'Hey You'
Like its parent album, a track that takes the lead from Phoenix - danceable indie-pop shot through with wistful romanticism.

4. Andromakers 'Electricity'
Two girls from Aix-en-Provence who are gradually building up a large following in France with their glacial Au Revoir Simone-style electro-pop: like Mataharie, another pair who should go on to greater things in this coming year.

5. Lunamira 'Quietly Burning'
Okay, so they mightn't really be a lovey-dovey boy-girl duo the way their online presence suggests. But this gorgeous little pop song is as smouldering and romantic as its title. If ever you have a slow set at your indie disco, this is the one.

6. Phoenix '1901'
'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix' turned out to be a disappointment: this brilliant single and its successor, 'Lisztomania', were the only exciting tracks on it. '1901' is quintessential Phoenix - it seems to go nowhere but by the end you've been smitten.

7. Kap Bambino 'Bluescreen'
Slightly lost on an album of Crystal Castles-style techno-banging, this track is a throwback to post-punk new wave synth-pop, with a thudding bassline, icy keyboard parts and actual singing from irritating shouter Caroline Martial.

8. The Sophia Lorenians 'Locomotion' 
A fabulous bit of retro-tastic '70s soul-pop: falsetto crooning, shimmering guitar shards and a hint of Philly strings. 
 
9. Underground Railroad 'Pick The Ghost'
Following on from their fine 2008 album 'Sticks And Stones', the UK-based trio returned with an EP of more top-quality Sonic Youth/JMC-esque indieness.

10. Charlotte Gainsbourg 'Vanities'
Our favourite Palme d'Or-winning neighbour served up a mixed bag of an album this year. The Beatles-y feel-good numbers felt laboured but this cold and distant track showed that Serge's daughter still has her pop wits about her. Next time around, she should head to Scandinavia in mid-winter and make a full album like this: the frostiness suits her.
 
(You might also like: Kim 'Solenn'; Chicros 'What's New Today On TV?'; The Wendy Darlings 'Suffer Girl'; Flairs 'Truckers Delight'; Freddy McQuinn 'Chasing Rainbows'; Diving With Andy 'Merry Dance')

NOT Song of the Year: Charlotte Gainsbourg 'IRM'
Palme d'Or? Damn poor! A tuneless and self-indulgent 'Tomorrow Never Knows'-style dirge that had us panicking - had the ultra-cool Ms Gainsbourg made a bags of her new album? Fortunately, the rest of Charlotte's Beck-collaboration was better than this awful title track.  

Roll of honour - songs
2009 - General Elektriks 'Raid The Radio'
2008 - M83 'Kim & Jessie'
2007 - Pravda 'Body Addict'
2006 - Vanessa And The O's 'Bagatelle'
2005 - Camille 'Ta Douleur'

So there we are: General Elektriks is our grand champion this year. Here's the new official video for 'Raid The Radio':


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Nuggets from our archive

2007 - REM live in the Olympia, by Michael O'Hara. Possibly the definitive review of any of REM's performances during their 2007 Olympia residency. Even the official REM website linked to it.