Month: September, 2013

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust

yep, one of the best bands ever still breathes, despite a few ups and downs in its ECG. at least, it seems that its members will not rest until they produced the best possible music.

whereas Thurston Moore spoiled us a few months ago with the excellent first album of Chelsea Light Moving, how pampered we are, for Kim Gordon has just released with Bill Nace the first album of their project Body/Head, entitled Coming Apart.

not to mention that mr. Ranaldo will show his nose again in october, alongside Steve Shelley! not content with having released a great solo album last year (the fantastic Between the Times and the Tides), Sonic Youth’s guitarist brought Sonic Youth’s drummer, Alan Licht and Tim Luntzel round to his cause.

and here we are! Last Night On Earth by Lee Ranaldo and the Dust will be released via Matador next month. you may even delight your ears right now by clicking on the cover (thank you, New Noise!).

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by the way, did anyone hear bout a possible Sonic Youth’s official split? not that i know of, so there’s no harm in dreaming of a family gathering in the next years. christmas isn’t that far, is it?!

Jean Jean

along the french noise-rock riviera, a band called Jean Jean introduces itself using (more or less) the following words:

Jean Jean is currently hitting the road in France and abroad, and will be pleased to blow your ears.

such a delicious invitation deserves careful thought.
especially when a band has such a name. in the gaulish tongue, Jean Jean (e.g. JeanJean or Jean-Jean) can be an affectionate nickname given to a frog called Jean, but it also refers to a birdbrain batrachian. we may be entitled to wonder whether the band wants to be taken seriously, but there’s actually no question about it.

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because Jean Jean is an earsplitting-noise band that juggles brilliantly with math-rock, post-rock and electro symphonies which occasionally graze on delicious stoner paths. described as a bearded and bespectacled trio made of Sébastien Torregrossa (guitar), Édouard Lebrun (drums) and Jean Mass (keyboards), Jean Jean was born in 2010 and released two opuses so far, the 2010 eponymous EP, and more recently 2013’s Symmetry published by Head Records.

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Jean Jean’s music will for sure ravish your ears, for the massive guitar sessions turn sometimes into some joyful (and gentle) dancing tune (Coquin l’éléphant). however be ready to go through some exquisite refreshing noise experience.
Symmetry mixes melancholic post-rock ideals with hawkish guitars and poppish tones (Love), innocent and cheerful melodies adopting some metal-like uttered words (Laser John). Jean Jean’s surprising joviality is also to be found in Vacherro or Fresher (from the EP), songs which are far away from the math-rock sphere or post-rock pigeonhole. Wonder Bras is a monument of electro and tropicana rock (as they call it) and may invite you to dance here and there, without knowing exactly why.

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the most enjoyable thing about Jean Jean is that they can’t be put in a little box, for most of the existing boxes are to small for them. they have so much to offer, fantastic tunes, exhilarating guitars, perky melodies and some underlying sense of humour. if you need to be convinced about it, just lend an attentive ear (and eye) to Love.


notice that Jean Jean’s music is better served loud (by clicking on the covers to listen to the albums).

the reason why (3)

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Savages

sometimes, music slaps you in the face with a certain kind of exhilarating rage that knocks you out without warning. the emotion is so intensely violent that it’s almost impossible to put words on it.

when the first notes of Savages‘ music pierced the frog’s ears at last Berlin Festival, its brain and body responded with an excitation level close to the upper level of the Richter scale.

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the stage introduces four ladies dressed in black in the company of a basic rock set comprising an electric guitar (Gemma Thompson), a bass (Ayse Hassan) and drums (Fay Milton). and right at the front, Jehnny Beth (vocals) paces the stage up and down, addresses the audience straight in the eye – dispensing her words under the form of a manifesto with the same artefacts a priest would use in his sunday sermon. an intensity, earnestness and intelligence emanate from the lyrics which are, alas, almost impossible to apprehend due to the second-class sound of the Pitchfork stage. the way Jehnny Beth yelps and articulates shows clearly she has a message to deliver, as the band’s website gives it to understand a bit later:

SAVAGES’ INTENTION IS TO CREATE A SOUND, INDESTRUCTIBLE, MUSICALLY SOLID, WRITTEN FOR THE STAGE AND DESIGNED WITH ENOUGH NUANCES TO PROVIDE A WIDE RANGE OF EMOTIONS. SAVAGES ARE A SELF-AFFIRMING VOICE TO HELP EXPERIENCE OUR GIRLFRIENDS DIFFERENTLY, OUR HUSBANDS, OUR JOBS, OUR EROTIC LIFE, AND THE PLACE MUSIC OCCUPIES INTO OUR LIVES. SAVAGES’ SONGS AIM TO REMIND US THAT HUMAN BEINGS HAVEN’T EVOLVED SO MUCH, THAT MUSIC CAN STILL BE STRAIGHT TO THE POINT, EFFICIENT AND EXCITING.

meaningful and critical, Savages’ lyrics make Jehnny Beth’s (impressive) presence impossible to miss. but those very words couldn’t show their worth without the stunning support of the three other band’s members. any anurans able to enjoy post-punk will for sure experience a brisk addiction to Gemma Thompson’s distorted guitar, which conveys some frantic fury and striking brutality. whereas Jassan’s bass and Milton’s drums prepare a peerless ground for most of the feverish pieces, Thompson’s guitar discharges rage-smouldering sounds along with , which answer perfectly, sublimate and sometimes overtake, Beth’s interpretation. but this isn’t a simple rage demonstration, this is a proper cantilever providing Savages with blooming jolts and burning heartbeats.


Savages’ music doesn’t show off, it’s raw and gut-wrenching. it’s hard to believe that the band has just released their very first album Silence Yourself this year. they appear (and mean) to be an accomplished and self-confident band. during the 1-hour gig, they hardly have time to take a gulp of air, even though Beth addresses the audience once again before the final song, showing suddenly a less serious and dramatic face. fantastic, this is just fantastic.

this first gig was a tremendous experience, and i just wish you the very same killing escapade very soon. give it a try right now, with this (again) great KEXP session.