Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Made In France

I arrived in France at the tail end of the decade that started so well with punk's productive fall out only to finish with that awful sound of syndrums and other technology that should be banned by the UN. Of course I'm talking about the eighties. My chosen town for the next two years was Toulouse, it was there that I made my first tentative steps in the language of Moliere, it was also there that I started to accustom myself to that strange beast, French rock. I soon stumbled upon an independent local rock station, Radio FMR, that celebrated it's first 25 years last November. The station was and indeed still is a loose collective with the kind of programming that would put your local indie store to shame. At this period the station was based in an old factory and put the space to good use with a bar on the ground floor where I spent some pleasant evenings, but it was the first floor that was of real interest as they had turned it into a small concert hall where I was lucky enough to catch Mega City Four and the New Christs amongst others. It was also there that I was to discover one of the periods best French bands, Les Thugs.

Some what interestingly there is no date on the ticket but I think the event took place in 1989, It was a mini festival featuring four bands from one of France's leading independent labels, Gougnaf, I think the four bands were new to me at the time, but a great time was had by both me and my girlfriend a the gathered masses. Les Rats were a rather straight forward punk band as were Les Sherrifs, as for Parabellum they were more in the NY Dolls / Johnny Thunders mould. The band that literally blew me away was the least visual of the four but did they make some beautiful punk inspired pop / rock. I would break their career into two periods, the eighties when their efforts were on the home and European markets, and the Nineties when world domination was their target thanks to their association with Sub Pop and Alternative Tentacles.
I've chosen four songs from that early period to illustrate why they were so good, I will follow this up sooner or later with another post concerning the nineties. 'Bulgarian Blues' where the vocals were pushed more up front over an incendiary guitar riff, just in case you didn't realise that these boys from Anger were angry and had strong political thoughts that were not to be ignored. is taken from their 1987 mini album 'Electric Troubles' and was the first time they recorded outside France. The song is a fine example of their pounding rhythm, tightly controlled mesmerising guitars, laid back vocals by this I mean down in the mix and their trade mark of church like backing vocals provided by drummer Christophe, who wasted no time with words as his 'aahs' were more than sufficient to fill out the sound. The following year saw the release of the single 'Dirty White Race''I Need You' pays tribute in both subject matter and musical style to the Buzzcocks who were a big influence on the band. 1989's 'Still Hungry / Still Angry' was recorded in London with Ian Burgess producing, and was described in Sounds as being "genuinely unique". It has been difficult for me to chose a track from this album, so I employed the pull one out of the sack method and came up with 'Your Kind Of Freedom', the albums opening cut.
'Electric Troubles', 'Dirty White Race' and 'Sill Hungry / Still Angry' have been compiled together on CD going under the name of 'Still Hangry', a little bit of French word play in the title, and for once I'm pleased to be able to say that such an essential record is still readily available.

wow, this band ROCKS! thanks for the introduction!
Let's just say it's a pleasure. Don't forget this is what music blogging is all about.
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