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NOUVELLE VAGUE

Nouvelle Vague

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    The 80s owed everything to the punk revolution ... and betrayed it time and again.

    ln 76-77, the incredible explosion of English-speaking bands focused the energies of a whole generation of Western youth - rebels ready to pick up a guitar and use it like a weapon. Yet more than punk music itself, it was the creative burst it triggered that radically shaped 80s pop and heralded an unending stream of inspired performers.

    Although we often speak of the British and American golden age of post-punk from 78 to 84, with artists that included Talking Heads, Joy Division, PIL and Devo, France (together with Switzerland and Belgium) joined the movement too. Today, on a new album, the group Nouvelle Vague have paid tribute to this sumptuous "Frenchy" period clothed in the nihilism of punk, along with bitterness fuelled by the economic crisis and, paradoxically, the bewitching spirit of pop.

    lts title, Couleurs sur Paris (Colours on Paris) is based on both a famous postcard collection and Oberkampf's 1981 punk anthem, and reflects the period, which oscillated between elation and despair. Written by artists sometimes known as "the modern young people" and including faux naïf electropop nursery rhymes by Elli & Jacno ("Anne cherchait l'amour", 1979), Lio ("Amoureux solitaires" , 1980) and Etienne Daho ("Week-end à Rome", 1984), along with Lili Drop ("Sur ma mob", 1979) and Taxi Girl ("Je suis déjà parti", 1986), the songs clearly express the hopes and disappointments of the day.

    The sense of melancholy suggested by the disenchanted lyrics of "Déréglée" - performed in 1977 by Marie-France, an icon of Paris nightlife - is even more noticeable on the 1981 hit by The Civils, who cynically sang, "Tonight, they're dying in Chad, but l'm buying my dream Walkman" before taking it to the chorus: "The economic crisis is fantastic, decadence is the right feel".

    The punk shockwave con also be felt in the music of bands who radically shaped French culture and song. Like Rouen, with Les Dogs ("Sandy, Sandy", 1982), every provincial town and city in France began to produce bands at the end of the 70s and the start of the 80s. Wunderbach's 1983 punk pamphlet "Oublions l'Amérique" was a foretaste of what is now called alternative punk, a genre that won acclaim in 1988 with Mano Negra's "Mala Vida". Indochine, French pop legends for the last thirty years, also encouraged the trend in the summer of 1983 with "L'aventurier", after a first single brimming with the spirit of rebellion, "Dizzidence Politik".

    Rita Mitsouko, the duo that emerged from the underground Parisian punk scene of the late 70s, rocketed to stardom in 1984 with "Marcia Baïla". Equally baroque, TC Matic - the first band fronted by Belgian singer Arno - released an ironic, political underground hit in 1983: "Putain, putain". Other artists fuelled a post-punk movement that explored the romanticism of machines and the darkness of new wave, including the cult, much-neglected duo from Nancy, Kas Product ("So Young but so Cold", 1982) and Switzerland's Stephan Eicher, whose "Two People ln A Room" (1985) followed on from "Eisbaer", a hit in a more underground style written with Grauzone in 1981. However, the genre's most influential practitioners were certainly Noir Désir. From their first single in 1987 ("Où veux-tu qu' je r'garde?"), they won mainstream success with their unique fusion of 80s gloom and power rock. Beyond from the meteoric success of Bordeaux's Gamine ("Voilà les anges", 1988) and the subversive spirit of Jad Wio ("Ophélie", 1989), French post-punk reached its climax with the success of Noir Désir, Rita Mitsouko, Stephan Eicher and Manu Chao, whose albums reigned supreme in the 90s French charts. From the underground scene to gold records: the eternal story of pop.

    For the last fifteen years, Nouvelle Vague has been resuscitating, sometimes introducing, dozens of songs from the New Wave and Punk repertoires – some quite well known, others almost forgotten. But the story is far from over.  In response to the 2004 debut album, which became an instant classic, Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux experimented with various musical paths. Many songs are thus recorded. The songs that are relevant to each album's theme are released. But many covers would remain under wraps, while others, although ready for release, were relegated to the vaults. These previously unreleased recordings are featured on "Curiosities".


    Nouvelle Vague

    3

      3 is the third album by the French covers band Nouvelle Vague, initially released 16 June 2009. As with their previous release, the album consists entirely of cover versions, mostly of post-punk and new wave songs from the 1970s and 1980s. Four of the tracks are performed as duets, featuring the song's original vocalist performing alongside one of Nouvelle Vague's female singers.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: 180g white vinyl and includes MP3 download of the album.

      Bossa Nova = Nouvelle Vague = New Wave.
      This transliteration was the starting point for Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux’s unique project, which, by appropriating the punk and post-punk cannon and running it through the Bossa Nova filter, reinvented the cover band genre, revealing new and brilliant talents along the way: Camille, Phoebe Killdeer (whose Fade Out Lines was remixed by The Avener,) Nadeah, Mélanie Pain, and, soon, Liset Alea.

      The gambit paid off, with sales of over one million records over four albums released between 2004 and 2010, and world tours that included stops at venues such as London’s Royal Albert Hall, L.A.’s Hollywood Bowl and Paris’ Olympia. Since 2011, Nouvelle Vague had stopped recording, focusing on an innovative live show created in collaboration with the mythical Jean-Charles de Castelbajac (Ceremony and Dawn of innocence,) and branching out into different projects: Olivier’s Uncovered Queen of the Stone Age, and Marc’s Bristol, along with his Kwaidan label. The time seems right to write a new chapter in the Nouvelle Vague saga: with a new album “I Could Be Happy” and live show, the band and its coterie of female vocalists continue their time travels with a renewed alegria.

      Nouvelle vague by Nouvelle Vague and Some Friends is thus more of a nexus of forthcoming projects: a new album comprised of punk and post punk standards imbued with the inimitable Nouvelle Vague touch, and, for the first time, a bevy of surprising Collin/Libaux which prove that the two producers are more than prodigious arrangers. This album is also the opportunity to gather again the pioneer singers of Nouvelle Vague: Élodie Frégé, Mélanie Pain, Liset Alea, Nadeah and to find other guests as Camille or Clara Luciani.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: A euphoric and heady mix of electronica, indie, downbeat and everything inbetween. Nouvelle vague have always been masters of constructing many disparate elements into a cohesive and bracing whole, and this is no exception. Brimming with groove, and filled with eminently satisfying melodic flourishes.


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