posted on January 11, 2010 18:00
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.)
As 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':