Usé - Couleur Brique

Couleur Brique, third album released by Born Bad for one-man-operation Usé, opens with a coughing fit spurting on a piano, while a guitar gently dies in the back of a hangar. The connoisseur will rekindle fond memories of his underground hit “ampheta-amphéta- amphétamine”, this time to warn us about the “chef d’é, chef d’é, chef d’é-tat”. We won’t know what he had to spit about to the president, but he’s got some left on his trousers.

Usé literally punches songs, beating the snare drum to celebrate a lover that bites and claws. It’s mostly about boy-meets-girl and tough love in these seven romances that taste like beer chasing uppers, and end up in the back of a van.

Praise be, to the melodic effort, supported by layers of sharp and bitter synths, and a straightforward vocal performance. It’s a ride in forsaken land, beer in hand, documenting horny guys at the fun fair, late evenings in a shabby pub, and dirty sheets. Here and there, when least expected, flashes of unpretentious drunken wisdom hit the spot.

The record is fueled by the broken drummer’s energy, but also a verified writing effort. Those songs will be sung, bonded in the wastelands, to fight against buzzkill.

Once active in local politics, Nicolas Belvalette settled down for acting, recently starring in “Tout fout le camp” where he plays his own role. But he’s at his best on his turf, small rooms and scroungy festivals, where the great romantic weirdo spits on his tits, crawling under a raving audience. You’ll have to buy the record if you want to get the lyrics, because at a gig, it’s hard to follow when you’re busy figuring out whether it’s sweat, piss or beer that’s connecting you to your neighbor.

A fine collection of autumn tunes to get wasted, start a bar fight with new friends, and fall asleep on the counter with no shame.

LP / CD / Digital Album

Posted on September 22nd, 2022 under Releases, ,

Usé - Selflic

It’s always kind of the same: the guy gets on stage – provided that there is one – looking like a lanky jackal, with a sweater or two on, and without notice he starts hitting on a jumble of cymbals stacked on tattered guitars, wedged between two ancient synths. After a few minutes, he ends up shirtless and everything disappears, crumbled and pulverized: the show, the music, the people around you, the stage – if there was one – and you find yourself in a hand-to-hand combat: the struggle of Man against the machine, the New Age of Metal, the big final crash.

What matters then is not what this guy is doing, but the faith he’s putting in it. And what he puts in it is nothing less than his whole life, messily arranged in a large pile of hypnogenic patterns, primitive words, barking, anti-theft alarms, control losses, infernal nights. Then everyone’s free to pull the string that suits them in this huge panic – punk, indus, soundtrack to a urban crime film of the year 3000: as if being so harsh, fierce, and vital was not enough, Usé’s music also leaves you the choice – an incredible luxury at a time when anything’s spoon-shed to the point of having storytelling and opinions delivered turnkey, 100% validated and ready to consume.

In fact, the music of Nicolas Belvalette (the man behind Usé, who can also be seen in Headwar, Les Morts Vont Bien, Sultan Solitude, Roberto Succo and about 125 other simultaneous projects) could have contented itself with live performance, where it seems to be reaching its full potential. In view of such firepower, what more could we expect from a record, other than an inevitable disappointment? Well, in fact it’s just the opposite: his first album Chien d’la casse had proven it, and Selflic definitely confirms it.

Martial pianos, mongoloid harpsichords, rural techno, social horror: this new record contains all it takes to writhe, sweat, shudder, pant, stagger, pick yourself up, crawl, howl, faint, get up and pick yourself up again – in short, to have fun. We’ll spare you the truisms about “stepping out of his comfort zone”, about the “darkened atmosphere” or a “chiaroscuro self-portrait”: Selflic is a perfect digest of what Usé was, is, and will probably be for a long time: a terrific machine to crush time and bullshit, to invoke the essential precepts of fire and fury. And that’s all you need to know. The rest is just noise.

LP / CD / Digital Album

Posted on August 27th, 2018 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, ,