Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Comportez-vous mal!

Bonjour messieurs et mesdemoiselles, et bienvenu à Wednesdays With Andrew, votre dèstination pour toutes choses punk rock. As some of you may know (and probably most of you don’t), I lived in Toulouse, France for 5 years when I was in middle and high school. This was the era of my life when I was exposed to, and fell in love with, the music and attitude of punk. So for this week’s playlist, I am going to be featuring bands solely from the old country; a land of cheeses, terrible beer, great wine (if you’re into that) and friendly folks. Many of these French bands I listened to and saw live back in the day; many I have just come to discover as I put together the playlist. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do, and remember, comportez-vous mal!

Web player link –

Uncommonmenfrommars – Dead Inside

We start the week with the track Dead Inside, courtesy of one of my favorite bands from high school, Uncommonmenfrommars. Dead Inside is the 2nd track off their 3rd album Scars are Reminders, which was released in 2006 off the Parisian indie label Wagram Music. This album was a departure from their earlier, more carefree sound and signals a maturation of their thematic and musical concepts…but overall still embodies that catchy melodic skate sound that made them national favorites. Three of the 4 guys are brothers, and are actually originally from DC (like me), moved to France at an early age (like me), are super cool (like me), and decided to stay in France and become rock stars (unfortunately not like me). I fondly remember drinking beers with them after a show they played in Toulouse – super chill dudes, and they make phenomenal music.

Bérurier Noir – Vivre Libre ou Mourir

Bérurier Noir is a Parisian punk band that has inspired a huge cult following across France since forming in 1983. From what I hear, their live shows were a weird mélange of circus freak show and anarchy rally (Insane Clown Posse anyone?) Aiming to replicate the style (and success) of the 70s punk movement in the UK, Bérurier Noir wrote songs built off of simple power chord arrangements, street punk chorus chants and lyrics focused on anti-consumerism and disenchantment with the current social order. Their decision to opt for a drum machine over a live drummer created some distinction, and ended up being a staple of their sound throughout their long career.

Ludwig Von 88 – William Kramps le tueur de bouchers

Oh you like drum machines? So do French punk bands from the 80s. A contemporary of Béurier Noir, Ludwig Von 88 focused their sound around fast and hardhitting power chords, drum machine and other electronic instrumentation, dissonant harmonics and nonsensical and often juvenile lyrics. William Kramps le tueur de bouchers features some of that speed and noise, while also rolling in a horn section and syncopated ska guitar riffs.

La Femme – Où va le monde

Up next is Où va le monde by psychedelic krautrock act, La Femme. Born in 2010 in the luxurious tourist haven of Biarritz by leading members Sacha Got and Marlon Magnée, La Femme craftfully blends synthetic pop with punk and surf guitar tones against a backdrop of mesmerizing dual melody lines.  Où va le monde is an enchanting track that sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction. This song is off their sophomore full length, Mystère, released in September of this year on the Born Bad label. Do yourself a favor, and go check out this release – it’s a fun listen.

Les Betteraves – Euh…punk?

Les Betteraves were a party-fueled ska punk band formed by high school buddies Meuh and Kojack in Paris in 1999. Dripping with irreverent humor and heavily rooted in the ska movement of the early and mid 90s, Les Betteraves (DUH alert: it’s a play on words of ‘better halves’) quickly gained a large fan following through constant touring and fun live shows. Their popularity continued to grow even after they broke up in 2003. Euh…punk? is indicative of their breakneck speeds, growling vocals and dedication to the ever-popular ska breakdown bridge.

Guerilla Poubelle – La fin suffira

After Les Betteraves disbanded in 2003, Meuh and Kojack didn’t waste any time putting together a new project…this time in the form of skate/street punk band Guerilla Poubelle. This new group drew from a lot of the speed-driven melodic sounds honed during their time with Les Betteraves, while refining their songwriting depth and breadth, and focusing on more serious topics like environmental stewardship, DIY concepts and breaking free from social norms. La fin suffira is the 2nd track of their debut album, Il faut repeindre le monde…en noir. Annnnnd now….a gif of my main man Zidane’s headbutt felt ‘round the world:

Freygolo – All Is Said and Done

All Is Said and Done is from ska-punk band Freygolo, based in the beautiful town of Nice. I remember after I met them, they asked me to edit some of their lyrics cos their English wasn’t so good; I think I probably made it worse. This is a driving and forceful tune that works to catch you off guard through the use of interweaving reggae hooks. All Is Said and Done comes off Freygolo’s 2004 sophomore release, Time to Drop the Gun, published through the Medside Music label. Freygolo’s first album, Sur(Prize) Fool, is one of my all-time favorites, and I have probably listened to that CD ten thousand times (and it has not yet burst into flames). Woefully, you can’t find Sur(prize) Fool on Spotify, but you can check out some songs on Youtube -   Oh yea and speaking of Nice…fuck violence, fuck guns.

Burning Heads – S.O.S.

S.O.S. comes to us from Orleans punk/hardcore act Burning Heads. Of all the bands on this week’s playlist, Burning Heads probably gained the most popularity here in the U.S., thanks to their breakout album Be One with the Flames, released on Epitaph in 1998. S.O.S is off their following album, Escape, which was released through Victory Records. This record refined their NY-style hardcore sound, while delving into additional influences, from atmospheric ska to pop punk and melodic hardcore. Formed in 1988, Burning Heads is active to this day with their original line-up. They want you to be their friends on facebook! Go do it here:

Noir Désir –L’homme pressé

This cheeky track, translated to ‘The Busy Man’, is from Bourdeaux rock gods Noir Désir; specifically, from their 1996 double-platinum (in France, this means selling over 600,000 copies) 666.667 Club. Noir Désir was a big deal in France (and the rest of Europe) through much of the 80s, 90s and early 00s. They created a distinctive sound, feeding from a lot of genres that were popular at the time, ranging from punk to grunge to funk and even some traditional celtic folk. As well as the fame afforded for being part of a seminal rock band, frontman Bertrand Cantat also found himself in the middle of a sad international conflict when he “accidentally” killed a well-known actress in Lithuania. Oh yeah I guess while we’re at, fuck domestic abuse too.
Seven Hate – Golden Dream

We close out this symphonie fantastique with a staple of the European melodic hardcore scene, Seven Hate. Formed in the picturesque town of Poitiers in the early 90s, Seven Hate liked to make fast, pounding songs dripping with sticky sweet melodies. Golden Dream is off their critically successful 1999 full length, Is this Glen? Although these guys haven’t been super active since 2004, they do get together every once in a while and do limited tours for their ardent fanbase.

Alright, mes amis, that’s a wrap for this week. This is such a small sampling of all the great punk rock tunes that come outta France, so please go explore and find more!  As always, let me know if you have ideas for playlists, song requests, dick pics, etc. Follow me on facebook (and maybe twitter soon? I don’t know). OH and please please please go fucking vote next week. Donald Trump is such a little shit nugget, we really all need to band together and reject this threat to our democracy. Until next week, live long and prosper.


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