Posts Tagged ‘French Garage’

The Villejuif Underground

The road to Villejuif’s last record came via a long since obscured and by now largely forgotten indie out of Australia by Camperdown and Out. The band’s lone Popfrenzy LP was a slacker joyride lead by the unfussed grizzle of Nathan Roche. It was a brief candle that was snuffed by circumstance when Roche jumped ship on Australia and headed for France. Once there, though, he cobbled a crew of shoestring slingers that injected the original Camperdown spirit with a dose of Beat Happening clatter and even more leathered laconic sneer. Roche, in his compulsion for geographical puns, dubbed the band Le Villejuif Underground, after the Parisian neighborhood they called home, but the band echoes more than a little of the aloof indignance of their more famous VU forbears.

Though, it must be said, Villejuif is far from Avant and hardly Art Rock. The band is the aural embodiment of a duct taped bass and a Korg with a stuck key. They’re dirt rock and loving it. The sophomore album only embraces this aesthetic further – celebrating backpacking trips, haunted castles, scenes and subscenes all with the mumbled grace of a Stereopathic-era Beck four gins deep. There’s a sense that The Villejuif Underground are both excellent and terrible party guests – they crack effortless jokes and know everyone in the room, but come morning there are limes in the toilet tank and at least one of them wore your slippers home after pelting onlookers with their own shoes from the balcony.

There’s a hipswung grace to When Will The Flies in Dauville Drop?. Roche is convening at the corner of Vaudeville and Bowery (circa ’77) – a poet laureate for the torn t-shirt all-nighters among us. The album burns quick, but the smoke lingers long into the next morning, stuck like hangover cottonmoth to the wrinkles of your brain. With their second LP, the band proves its more than just a whim and already outpacing Camperdown’s legacy.



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Le Villejuif Underground – “Villejuif Underground”

After one of my favorite LPs of the year, Nathan Roche and his mottly band are back with a new single for France’s Born Bad records and in true fashion they extend their self-homage even further by writing a theme song for themselves and their namesake neighborhood. Full of roustabouts at best, the band paints the Paris neighborhood as a welcoming embrace for artists like themselves. The song’s rambling, untethered style fits the video well, a barrage of images smudged with a scattershot regard for cohesion. The song accompanies three others on a new EP out for the label and continues the band’s and Roche’s own seemingly charmed and chaotic existence.



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Wild Raccoon

Another release from the French underground, must be something in the water this week. Wild Raccoon is the nom de noise of Raton Sauvage, who performs as a one man unit, adopting the setup and actually quite a bit of the sound of early Ty Segall records. Sauvage bashes it out with stripped drums keeping time over ragged guitar that’s primed to peel the paint from any room. He augments things slightly on record and the sound winds up bigger than his man with mic and a plan ambitions in the live setting. There’s a bit of psych float oozing in on opener “Sasquatch Arms,” some acoustic tumble on “Half 01,” but in general think back to a young Segall bashing out the blood on his eponymous LP, Horn of the Unicorn and Lemons. In some ways its nice to roll down memory lane, even if that lane’s been well worn and left in the dust by most of the garage crew these days. What transpires is a release that’s fun but so familiar it leaves you checking the tags on the tracks and page on the calendar to see if you are indeed listening to something from ’08 or have perhaps slipped back in time altogether. And that’s probably giving a bit too much credit Ty’s way too. He didn’t invent the rickety bash of garage tracks, he just brought it to the world’s feet in a nice catchy package. In that regard, Sauvage is having fun and so too can you, as long as expectations are set and saddled and your lo-fi love is still in tact.





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