by Eric Bensel
In 2018, we presented a list of 10 French rock bands who deserved your immediate attention. The Hexagon has so many other great musicians that we thought it was time to highlight some of them as well. Below therefore is a list of 10 more French groups whom we recommend for your record collection.
For more than a decade, Decibelles played a brand of pop punk that didn’t dilute either half of the genre — the pop sensibilities were infectious and the punk growling and authentic. The Lyon trio has recently disbanded and reformed — with an additional member — under the name Irnini Mons.
Standout track: “Yeux Secs“
In the hands of St. Brieuc’s Dewaere, noisy indie punk sounds not only dangerous and immediate in the fashion of The Jesus Lizard but also artistic and significant in the vein of Nirvana. The vocals from Australian Maxwell Farrington (who also collaborates with Le Superhomard) alternate, with neither sarcasm nor amateurism, between smooth crooning and fierce screaming.
Standout track: “Budapest“
ELECTRIC RETRO SPECTRUM
Dark tones inhabit the music of noisy grunge trio Electric Retro Spectrum. And yet these Parisians play with a joyous abandon that beautifully counteracts the doom.
Standout track: “Front Line“
ÉQUIPE DE FOOT
This guitar-drums duo from Bordeaux (pictured above) plays their gigs wearing the jersey of the French national football (read: soccer) team — hence the band name Équipe de Foot. Gimmicks aside, the group produces majestic garage punk that can send shivers down the spine. Red card for tripping!
Standout track: “Fireworks“
Live Review: Paris, May 28, 2019
Paris’ Juniore manage to update 60s-era dream pop without sounding as if their tracks were plucked from the lethargic soundtrack of a grainy French film. Instead, their music bops and bounces with a fresh vigor. Anna Jean, daughter to Nobel-winning author J.M.G. Le Clézio, sings with an airy, confident nonchalance that should make Beach House and Stereolab coo with envy.
Standout track: “Magnifique“
With only 10 minutes of recorded output currently to their name, Kumusta have established themselves as one of the most promising hardcore bands in France. In only 4 tracks of rough yet razor-sharp rock, the Rouen quartet has taken its place as France’s gritty answer to IDLES.
Standout track: “Poor“
MIA VITA VIOLENTA
Their name may be drawn from the title of a Blonde Redhead record from the mid-90s, but Mia Vita Violenta bear no sonic resemblance to the art rock heroes. Sure, they inhabit the same indie rock realm as the NYC legends but with a thicker sound bordering on math-y post-rock à la Rodan.
Standout track: “Grey Seas“
While straight hardcore may be as old as the Flag is Black, MSS FRNCE do it so well, with such joie-de-vomir that they sound implausibly fresh. Their songs are short bursts of fury executed so flawlessly you can forgive the elbow to your temple from the center of the mosh pit.
Standout track: “Pas la peine“
Live review: Paris, April 28, 2020
In an illustrious line of psychedelic shamans beginning with Jimi Hendrix, and passing through Hawkwind and Earthless, Toulouse trio Slift embodies space metal in the same way acid embodies transcendence. With a flair for the dramatic, Slift radiate sweeping sci-fi opuses that incite fist-pumping as much as they inspire awe.
Standout track: “Ummon“
Live review: Paris, March 13, 2020
Just two songs clocking in at 30+ minutes represent Spelterini’s entire production to date. But what a heady 30 minutes they are. The experimental, all-instrumental quartet explores repetitive Swans-inspired ambient indie kraut drone — a fascinating listen that keeps your ears constantly on the edge of their proverbial seat.
Standout track: “Pergélisol“
Also worth a spin: Caribou Bâtard, Decasia, Poutre, Le Villejuif Underground