Vox Low

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. This is the inscription seen on Dante’s Gates of Hell; but these are also the opening words of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho – scrawled in red-blood lettering on the side of a building full of yuppies dressed in Armani. All the themes are there: pop occultism, the Passion of the Christ, and a synthetic view of the world, here’s what this Vox Low record is about.

An outline of Vox Low’s history: some Parisian disco and punk fans who took their shot as Think Twice during that hysterical period of Parisian ‘French Touch’ in the early 2000s. This movement, then marketed as an unprecedented musical revolution in the country of baguettes and saucissons, turned out to be no more than a bling swindle worthy of Christophe Rocancourt : whatever you do, the bourgeoisie will always get by fine in the end. In spite of its sound credentials, Think Twice’s music did not find any resonance at the time.

2018, times have changed: who feels like having fun yet? Jacques Chirac is losing his marbles, bedridden in a mansion in the 6th arrondissement of Paris behind heavy velvet curtains; Daft Punk are hiding baldness under motorcycle helmets, and everybody now listens to music on their Bluetooth devices by way of monthly digital subscriptions. Enough with right-wing hedonist disco, let’s put our Donna Summer records away – not in the mood anymore – and dig out Éliphas Lévi’s big black book: Can, The Fall, or Peter Gabriel-era Genesis.

This is a time for punk urgency, for depressed minimal Krautrock, for the great shamanic hypnosis. This bunch of greasers from the Porte de St Ouen area now perform as Vox Low, with Jean-Christophe Couderc (vocals and synth) and Benoît Raymond (legendary bass guitar, guitar, synth), later joined by Mathieu Autin (infernal drums and voodoo percussions) and Guillaume Léglise (savage SG guitar, synths as well) for setting up live performances. Indeed for Vox Low, stage performance is a founding act. It even has to do with pure ceremony, which quickly brought the band its cult aura. Seeing the combo on stage is an act of faith, a celebration of dark forces. Far from lazy live performances on Ableton, Vox Low is like an acid-house version of the Jesus & Mary Chain on stage.

LP / CD / Digital Album

Posted on February 27th, 2018 under Releases, ,

Frustration - Empires Of Shame

Frustration is now this fully grown-up lion that has no intention of ending up as a bedside rug. The grouches that you only hear when the press hands them a megaphone, and that would be disarmed if their MacBook were taken away from them are still talking about the good old days. The king of the jungle is back to restore its order, reminding tourists that coming here as a casual observer is not an option, because this is no ordinary regional park. The great history of rock can take a hike because our softened nerves are yearning to be tense one last time, our voices get lost, and we want more of those poor attempts at stagediving if only we can see Frustration one more electrify a crowd like they did at the latest Villette Sonique, with their social-class comrades of Sleaford Mods. And this, is the only reason why we agree to give in to music, this intrusive thing that never asks for our advice. The rest is just a background noise of conceited babbling saturating the feed of our souls. Bollocks, basically.

LP / CD / Digital Album

Posted on December 11th, 2016 under Releases, ,

Usé - Chien d'la Casse

“Usé”, his solo project since 2011, releases today an album on Born Bad, Chien de la casse. On the cover, a dusty van stands in the half-light of an abandoned barn, with a pack of dogs hastily gathered : nothing here is made-up. Yet, the colors are warm, the mood is relaxed. No pity party here. We almost envy the guy at the centre of the picture, who is lucky enough to spend his days indulging in the child-like pleasure of hitting anything the hardest you can, in a pristine environment solely surrounded by animals. Usé’s music is like that free party that we’ve looked for in this pitch-dark night, in the heart of the forest, led by the thumping noise coming from the ground : wild and aggressive, yet welcoming and touching in its bareness. You surrender to the mighty power of the trance, embrace the regressive pleasure of the drums wreaking havoc, the flimsy jingles, the texts rhythmic as a Dada poem. The heck with tomorrow, when the day will rise, because right now everything shivers with a frenzy that feels like life itself, and you won’t find this anywhere else.

There are seven tracks on Chien de la casse, duly introduced by the spiteful grunts of a pissed-off mongrel, most likely a Cerberus guarding the trailer of a meth dealer in Indiana. Over the course of six tracks, Usé sounds as though he is writing an ode to break-ins in garbage dumps with the sole purpose of banging on rusty cans until they burst. Only “Sous mes draps” echoes like a sad nursery rhyme, but leaves the realm of social realism to wander on the foggy heights of a fairground horror flick. “C’est si lisse” concludes the album with a fire alarm and some human barking, in an atmosphere of a black mass saturated with backward tapes : the dream ends up in chaos, it’s almost day. Actual violence begins. I’ll see you next week at the squat.

Vinyl LP / Digipak CD / Digital Album

Posted on July 30th, 2016 under Releases, ,