2 comments October 26, 2008

Philip Glass

Autumn in Montreal is hallucinatory.

Colours burst and flare: all savage reds and giddy, velvet golds. Achingly blue skies pitch overhead; leaves tip and wheel drunkenly to the ground.

The air is so crisp it hollows out a permanent cavity in your diaphragm. You breathe in and breathe in, but it never feels quite enough and the world spins in glorious, dizzying colour around you, causing a vertiginous elation and a corresponding unspeakable desolation.

Which leads me to Philip Glass.

Philip Glass is autumn in Montreal. Or, at least, his piano solos are...

The most melancholy, sublime, perfect accompaniment to la saison d'automn.

[Philip Glass - Website]

2 comments October 5, 2008

Zero - Les Suicides

You know that whole trend of modern bands mining past decades for their sound (and sometimes even their dress sense) and, as a byproduct, milking the nostalgia factor for all it's worth?

I'm down with that. I am. Milk away, I say.

It's working for me.

Even by saying, "I'm down with that," I'm probably marking myself as aged and decrepit (I'm over 30 for god's sake: utterly irrelevant), but whatever. Holler at your ... girl. And all that.

Because it seems like grunge is working its way back around again, and I'm all for it.

Here is where I need to segue seamlessly into the fact that Noir Désir are one of my all time favourite bands, even though I came to them a decade late, never saw a video until today (thanks YouTube), didn't understand their lyrics at first, and only heard of the tragic story concerning lead singer Bertrand Cantat and his then girlfriend Marie Trintignant fairly recently.

Noir Désir were huge in France in the 90s, but like I said, I caught up with them a decade late.

I guess you could characterise their sound as garage rock (with elements of grunge, or alternative rock), but their oeuvre has a passion, social awareness and immediacy that is rarely as present in the music of their stateside counterparts. (Think: Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, et al. When I revisit their albums now, they still pack a visceral punch, but their incessant self-absorption sets my teeth on edge.)

In another stunning segue (or, if you prefer: non sequitur), this is where Zero come in.

Zero are -- according to their MySpace bio -- a Franco-German rock band, formed in Berlin back in 2001.

They have one demo EP, are now based in Paris and played their first live show in April 2008.

They're very green, and relatively unknown, but on the strength of their single "Les Suicidés", alone, I think they are more than worthy of donning the mantle of Lords (and Lady) of rock français, the coveted spot once occupied by Noir Désir.

Zero are picking up that mantle and running with it, like delirious, naughty children.

There are shades of a harder-edged, darker Karwka in their sound. And a definite whiff of Cobain, too.

Are they a decade too late?

Needless to say, I don't think so.

But then again, what do I know? I'm aged and decrepit.

You can download their tunes over at Jamendo. So get on over and check it out.

[Zero - MySpace] [Zero - Jamendo]