Snappy Everything: Francophone Finds

Francophone Finds

Assuming that the weather plays ball, Team GDW have plans to make a long-overdue return visit to La belle province later this month, prompting us to look at some of the amazing French language music releases that have landed in our feeds and emails recently. We are featuring a broad selection here today, hence scratching Singles from the header – instead, we have albums, EP’s, singles, and videos. As always, we’ll let the music do the talking and keep our musings short, we promise.

Jimmy Hunt, “Gros-Bec” & “Royaume”

A long-time favorite here at GDW, the music of Saint Nicolas, QC indie-popper Jimmy Hunt first landed on our listening radar when hearing the breakthrough single “Everything Crash” from his 2010 self-titled album. Imagine our surprise just a couple of weeks ago when we saw not one, but two releases from Jimmy – an eight-track feature length album, and a six-track EP. Yes, that’s correct, the unpredictable artist once again surprises with the simultaneous release of “Gros-bec” and “Royaume.”  If we punch the word workaholic into a search engine, will Jimmy’s name appear in the results? It ought to.

Sophia Bel & Thierry Larose, “Dans les marguerites”

Another favorite here at GDW, we’ve tracked the musical journey of Marielleville, QC artist Thierry Larose for a while now, and with this latest duet – a retro-French-pop delight, he once again scores maximum points for musical consistency. This collaboration brings us the discovery of Michigan-born, and Montreal-based bilingual alt-pop artist Sophia Bel, who not only performs, but also directs the accompanying music video. “It was really inspiring to work with Thierry, his attention to detail is quite impressive,” Sophia offers. “Dans les marguerites is an ode to the joy of living in the moment, especially in a world where it’s easy to get trapped in thoughts about the past and the future.” Digging a little deeper into Sophia’s back catalogue, we quickly recall seeing her name as a collaborator on Ariane Moffatt’s reimagined 2022 release of “Aquanaute” (on the track “Point de mire”), with Moffatt reciprocating and adding vocals to “Angles Morts,” a tune found on the 2023 deluxe version of Sophia’s “Anxious Avoidant” album.  Ah, it’s always fun to discover these musical connections.

Miro (ft. Ariane Moffatt), “Quitter la ville”

Hey, talking of Ariane Moffatt, we only recently learned of this latest single release from a couple of months ago; an electronica-pop collaboration with emerging Quebec City based R&B/hip hop artist Miro. As a Chuck Taylor aficionado, fans may recall Miro’s clever usage of his ‘chucks’ as a focal point in his official music video for “Perdu,” selling the narrative of being isolated in the desert by the outpouring of sand from those famous sneakers. Together, Miro and Ariane blend their musical styles perfectly across “Quitter le ville” (“Leaving the city”), and create a convincing throwback to the synth-pop sounds of yesteryear. Is this a 2023 tune, or a 1983 tune – give it a spin, pick out those drum pads and sonic cues, and you be the judge.

Lisa LeBlanc, “Dans l’jus”

Rosaireville, NB Acadian-Canadian artist Lisa LeBlanc recently shared this live music video from her summer appearance at the Francos de Montréal (performing in front of over 45,000 attendees) – which certainly pumps up the anticipation factor for her current international tour to promote the acclaimed 2022 “Chiac Disco”album.  This album featured in many year-end lists, including our own GDW Top 20 Canadian albums compilation, leaving us salivating at the thought of experiencing many of these retro tunes live in concert when Lisa visits our part of the world next month. Of course, we are equally (if not more) excited about Lisa’s late-winter performance at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, with a full symphony orchestra. “When we wrote these songs, we wanted to add orchestration like in the classic disco songs of the 70s,” she recalls. “Antoine Gratton wrote the string arrangements on the album, and now he’s doing the arrangements for the show.” We secured our tickets to see Lisa in both capital cities the moment they went on general sale – and can’t wait to enjoy these events.

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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