My thanks to my friends at La Bulle Sonore Records for keeping me in the loop…
I have covered music from continental Europe and Latin America, from Mexico to Russia, Iceland to Germany, and there is something to be said about hailing from a nation that is not suffocating from the weight of all its musical trends, and that in one word is perspective. Hailing from non-English speaking nations seemingly gives artists more exposure in the breath of music to listen to; at the same time there is the space to write music for the sake of writing music that has solid craftsmanship and not just to fit into some trend. And this can easily be said about Young Michelin. Hailing from France (and singing in their mother tongue), they join the rank of indie artists generating music that at once pays homage to the past but also pushes forward towards the future with urgency and relevance.
Releasing an eponymous EP of four tracks (8 May 2010), this is a perfect example of the French indie scene at its best. Like most of the Western World, Young Michelin takes cues from the 80s, but unlike so many of the bands doing this, you would be pressed to pinpoint a specific influence. They steer clear from sounding derivative; there is no rehash here. Instead, what you get is sometimes airy, sometimes gritty punk/electro influenced pop music. “Je Suis Fatigue” [“I’m Tired”] is a trippy, sometime litely kitschy, song, the plays a balancing act between docile guitar arrangements, a gritty rift, and electronic elements. What makes the song really work is the fact that it does not stick to any one mold, but rather constantly shifting its musical references. “Elle M’Oubliera” [“She’ll Forget Me”] is laced with crisp guitars, catchy arrangement, and a beat that is reminiscent of the thriving power of late 70s post-punk.
“Obscene” is definitely a study in contradictions. The music is definitely punk/post-punk influenced, with vocals that are more reminiscent of early British synthpop. The song is the most emotive on the EP, and the darkest. “Teen Whistle” closes out the EP, and is the most surprising song in the collection. The song has a slow buildup, opening with a simple beat and bass line, crisp guitar playing follows, and then subtle keys in the background. And when you are lounging comfortable in what you think will be the airiest experience, the beat drops and the vocals come in, and you are sucked into the broodiness of it all. All I could think when I first heard this song was, “Wow.”
Head over to Young Michelin's MySpace site, take a listen, and if you are drawn in as much as I am, head over to the La Bulle Sonore Records site and download the album.
1. Je Suis Fatigue
2. Elle M’Oubliera
4. Teen Whistle
Keep up with Young Michelin at their homepage, MySpace, and Facebook.
If you are free on 8 May 2010 and happen to be in Paris, you may want to head out to the Point Ephémère to catch La Bulle Sonore Records Firth Birthday Party. The Wave and Young Michelin will be performing, as well as DJs Tod Brownies and Cosensation.