Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cherchez Pour L’Emo (Finding Emo) July 24, 2008

I started to write this blog on Bastille Day, but I got hungry and forgot about it. Most Americans could give a shit about Bastille Day (July 14), and I only think of it as a day to engorge oneself in French cuisine.

In NYC there is usually a small outdoor thing going on for Bastille Day. All the Francophiles head down to flex their linguistic muscles, and dolts like me make an appearance just long enough to buy my crepes and run.

Banana crepes with chocolate sauce could only be more awesome if spread across an emaciated, young, rocker boy's hairless chest, but even without the human platter, they rock the 'buds like nothing else.

I have a French surname, as well as French ancestors (duh). I speak, read, and write a decent amount of French, and my favorite food is also FRENCH. I've not been to France, but I've visited French speaking Canada (where my favorite "Scot" in the world lives. I know 6 different Scot/Scotts), and I cringe like a Republican at the threat of Universal Healthcare when I hear the language mispronounced. So yeah, that and the permanently snippy look on my face often gives away this segment of my heritage (we look pissy, but are very warm and friendly, apparently too much so).

I adore French directors (did my thesis on Truffaut for film class), and their products. "Amelie", "The Bride Wore Black", "Un Coeur en Hiver", "Belle De Jour", and "Delicatessen" (brilliantly insane) to name a few.

I thought of these things when I first abandoned this blog, but then weird French stuff kept appearing on my scope, if you will.

One thing was a dream that I was in Provence, where I've never been, and I've never even spoke of. In the dream, I was sporting a gigantic soft taco (not like that) that I had folded in half twice, under my left arm like a portfolio. (I really don't care to know if that means anything - REALLY!)

The following day when I checked my email, there was a Myspace friend request from a band called "Five June" from France. Guess what area? Provence! Freaked my ass out. I kind of dig 'em too; they have that Patti Smith-gets-even-dirtier vibe about them, so I accepted.

France isn't really known for its hot music scene. I mean, in the dance world HELLz yeah - "Daft Punk", "Yelle", "Les Rita Mitsouko", but to my recollection, there's never been a French "Beatles" type of group.

Lots of non-English speaking bands have the quirky thing ("Cibo Matto"), or the dance thing (again "Cibo Matto") but do these countries ever produce bands like "Coldplay," "U2", or "Radiohead"? Meaningful pop music, for lack of better terms.

Does Germany have bands like "Snow Patrol?" Does Italy have its own version of "Death Cab for Cutie"? Or do these countries only generate bands that dress in angry pig costumes, and robot dance to endless computer loops?

Are power chords and piccolo snares not as satisfying as accordions and tubas? Are there any Emo bands in India or China? Are these countries just satisfied with "spectator" status? What is it about the English world that facilitates the above mentioned bands, but is not inherent in the Ukraine?

"Five June" has a garage band sound, so at least that's a step in a different direction from what I have assumed of France. But you know what happens when you assume (oh did I really just type something that lame? Yep).

One band that I really like that sings in English is "Prime STH", who hail from Sweden, which also gave us "PB&J" ("Peter, Bjorn, & John"). Indie rock, but not BIG time pop bands.

If anyone knows of any more, by all means, send them along.

I'm all ears (if only, but then I couldn't type).

Currently listening :
Underneath the Surface
By Prime STH
Release date: 2001-07-10