Best Albums of 2017
selected by Gil Colinmaire

PinkNoColor <BR> “Sweet Meteorite”

“Sweet Meteorite”

On their new LP, PinkNoColor create a retro-futuristic fusion of the most energetic styles British pop music has offered us during the last 30 years.

They go from indie dance punk and electroclash – the very Bloc Partyesque and Ladytronesque single “I Follow” – to synthrock and new wave, like on the stadium anthem “Don’t Lose Control” that Depeche Mode would not dismiss.

♪♫ Listen: “I Follow” + album stream

PinkNoColor on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, www.

Superpoze <BR> “For We The Living”

“For We The Living”

Inspired by natural disasters, Gabriel Legeleux’s new album “For We The Living” released as Superpoze feels surprisingly serene and quiet.

It takes the listener from the rising electronic post-rock opener “Signal” to the gently powerful “Thousand Exploding Suns” and ambient closer “The Importance Of Natural Disasters”.

„For We The Living”, as its name suggests, seems more inclined to see life and wild beauty in those frightening events.

♪♫ Listen: “Thousand Exploding Suns” + album stream

Superpoze on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Booba <BR> “Trône”


With such an album title, we could have thought that Booba, one of French rap’s leaders, would be as arrogant as usual but he actually has published some of his most vulnerable and melodic tracks yet – while still using coarse punchlines and strong autotune.

It’s not surprising that the rising Belgian rapper Damso, who shares production similarities with Booba and is featured on the latter’s track “113”, has declared that the (impressively subtle and complex) hook of “Friday” was his favorite from Trône.

But we’re also pleased to see the beautiful 2016 single “DKR” included as a bonus track.

♪♫ Listen: “DKR” + album stream

Booba on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Garçon d’Argent <BR> “Enfants du Paradis” EP

Garçon d’Argent
“Enfants du Paradis” EP

It’s during his many concerts in Paris this year that we discovered Garçon d’Argent’s new songs, some of which finally ending up on this new EP.

Florian Cheheb is a fascinating showman straight from the 80s, whose dance moves and hip-swaying are as engaging as his music. Accompanied by Pablo Padovani on synth (member of Moodoïd and Melody’s Echo Chamber), he sings like a glam crooner on a mix of well-produced electro-pop and new wave, recalling the famous French singer Etienne Daho and Lou Reed’s captivating vocal timbre.

And if we can regret a little the more club-oriented and sidechained beat of the first single “Enfants du Paradis”, compared to the hypnotic live versions of the song, it’s still one of the best French songs of the year so far. An indellible pop hook, both catchy and atmostpheric.

And the fact that “Ville de l’Amour” – another standout track from his shows – hasn’t been included on the EP makes us hope that something more will be soon released.

♪♫ Listen: “Enfants du Paradis” + album stream

Garçon d’Argent on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Black Bones <BR> “Kili Kili”

Black Bones
“Kili Kili”

Ex-singer of the Bewitched Hands Anthonin Ternant, who had released a fantastic solo EP under his Angel moniker last year, is back with his new band Black Bones.

If he hasn’t left the emotion of his folk project, „Kili Kili” is nonetheless more euphoric and the tears it could make you shed would rather be the result of the music’s joy than melancholy.

Black Bones’ songs have a touching sense of hippie generosity and uninhibited craziness, similar to I’m From Barcelona, that will make you want to dance with them in circle, like on the catchy disco rock single “Deathco” and the quirky “I’m Gay”.

And it’s even more irresistible in concert.

♪♫ Listen: “Deathco” + album stream

Black Bones on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Puzupuzu <BR> “Boro d’Enjaillement” EP

“Boro d’Enjaillement” EP

Puzupuzu is responsible for one of the highlights from last year’s Highlife Recordings compilation “Chimique”, the smooth and gently rhythmic “The Eyes”, that we praised in our 2016 albums list.

The leader of the Vapeur crew confirms his talent with his first EP “Boro d’Enjaillement”, maitaining his hypnotic combination of energetic drums samples and atmospheric layers of synth. The first two tracks are nonetheless surprising, revisiting ghetto house and world music with a kind of minimal techno approach (“Wembaa”) or Four Tet-like groovy breakbeats (“Café”).

The rest of the EP slowly derivates to footwork music at its purest form – even more than his last year’s single – following the path of Chicago pioneers like DJ Rashad, as on the deep “Corruption” or the raw closer “Fxxdwxrk”.

♪♫ Listen: “Café” + album stream

Puzupuzu on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook.

Folamour <BR> “Umami”


The DJ from Lyon made „Umami” (“Delicious” in Japanese) in honor of the land of the rising sun’s culture.

Gravitating around house roots, the album incorporates smooth disco-funk grooves (“Y’all Right”) and jazzy oldschool hip hop beats reminiscent of J Dilla productions (“Petit Prince du Macadam”, “Kickflipin’ That Stuff”).

“Umami” only aims at making your soul vibrate. And it works.

♪♫ Listen: “Devoted to U” + album stream

Folamour on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Keep Dancing Inc <BR> “Initial Public Offering” EP

Keep Dancing Inc
“Initial Public Offering” EP

By mixing some cheesy aesthetics from the ‘80s with modern dance rock, Keep Dancing Inc’s music reveals its beauty in a delicate balance between melancholic nostalgia and dancefloor euphoria.

“Initial Public Offering” recalls some of the freshest bands in the game: Phoenix’ rhythms and italo disco grooves (“Rhum & Ginger Magic”, “Interested ?”), or The Drums’ sunny new wave (“Fix Me Now”).

♪♫ Listen: “Rhum & Ginger Magic” + album stream

Keep Dancing Inc on Facebook, Twitter.

Etienne Daho <BR> “Blitz”

Etienne Daho

Living now in London near the old apartment of Syd Barrett, one of his first idols, Etienne Daho celebrates life on his 11th studio album. Entitled “Blitz”, in reference to the Nazi bombing offensive against Britain, his new project is a reaction to the last upheavals that happened in the country, from Brexit to terrorist attacks.

But also to a more personal one: a peritonitis which almost cost him his life during summer 2013, becoming the subject of the first single “Les Flocons de l’Eté”: “Tout est blanc. Tout Givré. Survivant. Tout flingué. C’est l’hiver en été.” Which means: “Everything’s white. All frosted. Survivor. Everything’s fucked up. It’s winter in summer.” Blitz’ sound also reflects British music culture, extending Daho’s usual electropop to psychedelic rock influenced by The Velvet Underground and early Pink Floyd (“Voodoo Voodoo”, “The Deep End”…).

Even more surprisingly, he nearly adopts a 90’s american grunge and stoner stance on “Après le Blitz”, “Les cordages de la nuit”’s hook and above all the sublime opener “Les Filles du Canyon”, laying his stellar and powerfully-reverbed vocals on massive guitar riffs and epic drums. “Blitz” is definitely the heaviest Daho’s LP but the singer hasn’t lost his ability to make us daydream though.

♪♫ Listen: “Les Flocons de l’Eté” + album stream

Etienne Daho on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Various Artists <BR> “Musique Ambiante Française Vol. 1”

Various Artists
“Musique Ambiante Française Vol. 1”

With this compilation, the Tigersushi label proves that France has no reason to be ashamed of its ambient scene, which unfortunately receives little media coverage in comparison to other electronic genres.

Even the artists who usually operate at faster tempos are succeeding well: the techno couple Essaie Pas immerses us into layers of gloomy industrial synths, Cosmic Neman from Zombie Zombie goes from percussive rhythms to meditative landscapes and Mondkopf leaves his agressive beats aside to create one of the most fragile and sublime tracks of the LP.

And of course, we’re also pleased to hear a new song by the young duo Glass, already accustomed to delicate softness.

♪♫ Listen: “The Call” + album stream

Tigersushi on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Zombie Zombie <BR> “Livity”

Zombie Zombie

On their fourth album „Livity”, Zombie Zombie takes us into the jungle, making us experience shamanic trance with exotic percussions and mental electronic loops that grow in strength.

Together, it seems as if it was a perfect mix between Battles’ epicness and Factory Floor’s hypnotic skills.

♪♫ Listen: “Livity” + album stream

Zombie Zombie on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram.

Musique Chienne <BR> “La Maison de Billy”

Musique Chienne
“La Maison de Billy”

Sarah Louise Barbett, better known as Musique Chienne (“Doggy Music” in French), published a lot of cryptic electronic tracks on her Soundcloud during last years, some of which – like the fantastic “Papillon de Nuit” – have been included on her tape “Etre en Vie”.

Cultivating the art of irony and kitsch by using cheesy synths sounds, absurd songs titles and funny self-made visuals about domestic animals, parks and daily life actions, those charming and addictive instrumentals – not so far from Aphex Twin’s obscure demo ballads, also revealed on Soundcloud – were the first step towards her new album’s exprimentations.

Without abandoning the spirit of those old records, “La Maison de Billy” expands it to new depths by incorporating more (quirky) vocals, instruments and house influences, like on “Cocktail de Voix” or the opener “Billy’s House” whose title is indeed a pun between the album’s name and the music genre.

♪♫ Listen: “Youki” + album stream

Musique Chienne on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Phoenix <BR> “Ti Amo”

“Ti Amo”

Since the release of „It’s Never Been Like That in” 2006 and above all their breakthrough „Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” three years later, the band from Versailles has become one of the biggest French bands. Their new album sounds a bit like the last one, „Bankrupt!”, seeing them shifting from „Wolfgang’s” hybride indie rock to a even more distinct electronic and danceable baroque style.

The fact that „Ti Amo” takes its inspirations from Italian culture makes perfect sense, considering that the band has always incorporated italo disco sounds and some sort of sunny and sweet melancholia into their music.

And even if it doesn’t top the songwriting level and catchiness of their 2009’s masterpiece, „Ti Amo” is nonetheless full of creative melodies and moments of pure emotion like on the standout tracks “Fior Di Latte”, “Tuttifrutti” and “Role Model”. Whatever they do, Phoenix can’t help but make us want to dance and feel good.

♪♫ Listen: “J-Boy” + album stream

Phoenix on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

De La Montagne <BR> “VOSTFR” EP

De La Montagne

Effortlessly cool, De La Montagne’s tracks never fall into the boring clichés of its influences.

The electronic production is truly smooth and effective, the 80’s funky bass lines sound by no means generic and above all, their humoristic sugary pop isn’t just a trend-following process but really creates the effect it intends to achieve : being fresh, fun and addictive.

The impressive closers “Tabasse” and “Wav To Mp3” hit hard.

♪♫ Listen: “Tabasse” + album stream

De La Montagne on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Poni Hoax <BR> “Tropical Suite”

Poni Hoax
“Tropical Suite”

On their fourth album, Poni Hoax digest all their influences in a kind of progressive rock way. In their hands, post-punk urgency and danceable funk-rock have never sounded so grandiloquent.

The voice is cold ( “The Music Never Dies” moves from 80’s gothic verses to an exciting Interpol-like chorus) but the instrumentations aspire to something less introspective: “All the girls” is adorned with folkloric asian music imitation, “I Never Knew You Were You” recalls the most extravangant years of David Bowie…

If sometimes it can feels a bit too much, at other times, everything matches perfectly like on the hypnotic “Belladonna” which contains the most beautiful vocal effect of Tropical Suite.

♪♫ Listen: “The Music Never Dies” + album stream

Poni Hoax on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Garciaphone <BR> “Dreameater”


With the same kind of matt drum sounds, haunting murmurs and resonating guitar chords as in Phil Elverum’s projects (The Microphones, Mount Eerie), Garciaphone manages to make soft ballads sound powerful and instantly enjoyable from a melodic point of view.

You might find it hard to get the piano lines of “Every Song of Sorrow is New” or the choruses of “A Hole in the Universe” and “Oh Sleepless World” out of your head.

♪♫ Listen: “A Hole in the Universe” + album stream

Garciaphone on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Camille <BR> “OUÏ”


Faithful to the onomatopoeias that made her famous during “Le Fil” era – her second album, met with critical and public acclaim 12 years ago – Camille’s new project takes its name from a pun between “Oui” (“Yes”) and “l’Ouïe” (“Hearing”).

The contrasts between powerful tribal rhythms, jerky alliterations and warm instrumentations, banging and whispering all at once, make it sound like a gentle and warm chimney fire suddenly crunching a wood log. At times, we are softly shaken by energic percussions (“Lasso”, “Twin” or the very Celtic “Les Loups”) that hesitate between organic and synthetic. At other times, we let ourselves be carried by magnificent flights of orchestrations, like on the sublime singles “Fontaine de Lait” and “Seeds”, deeply resonating on an emotional level.

“OUÏ” is the sound of the wilderness : the opposite of manichaeism – neither cruel nor kind, simply pure and natural.

♪♫ Listen: “Fontaine de Lait” + album stream

Camille on Soundcloud, Facebook, www.

Posterboy Machine <BR> “TEMPLE SUD” EP

Posterboy Machine

Born under the cold and grey skies of Alsace Lorraine, Posterboy Machine’s wintry new wave has been one of the best french promises of the last decade, constantly crafting addictive hooks (“We Like it”, “Roland Garros”, “Teenage Complex”, “Jungle Love”…) and ridiculous but charming lyrics (“France Glamour et Baraque à Frites” – literally “France Glamour and French-Fry Truck”).

Their old-fashioned 80’s beatboxes and synth sounds have often been associated with ironic beauf behavior (french slang for the caricature of the tasteless rural inhabitant), faked casualness and lo-fi amateurism, defining all together a cohesive body of work. But with their wonderfully produced new EP, they reconcile themselves a bit with seriousness while managing to still have fun, making their music even more emotive and smile-inducing, as on the beautiful closer “Romance Disco”.

„TEMPLE SUD” is both the continuation of their crazy early stages and a look toward a more ambitious future. And whatever this future is made of (a new LP ?), we hope it will bring them the success they’ve always deserved.

♪♫ Listen: “Punch Coco” + album stream

Posterboy Machine on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook.

Charlotte Gainsbourg <BR> “Rest”

Charlotte Gainsbourg

After having collaborated with Air, Beck and many others, Charlotte Gainsbourg once again surrounds herself with big names from the french and international scenes, such as McCartney, SebastiAn and Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo (Daft Punk), on the title track. She even plays the childhood lover of the genius Blood Orange’s Devonté Hynes in the video for the wonderful „Deadly Valentine”.

But we couldn’t have imagined with these first two singles, that one of the main influences of „Rest” would have simply be Charlotte’s parents. Her voice on „Ring-a-Ring O’Roses”, “Kate” or “I’m a Lie”, with their beautiful groove, is plunged into hypnotic orchestrations, in a similar way Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s duets did.

♪♫ Listen: “Deadly Valentine” + album stream

Charlotte Gainsbourg on Facebook, Twitter.

Maud Geffray <BR> “Polaar”

Maud Geffray

Maud Geffray, half of the duo Scratch Massive, composed „Polaar” during a travel in Northern Finland. Her journey through the nocturnal Lapland landscapes resulted in a Scandinavian-influenced synthpop album, flirting at the same time with some other dark-oriented electronic genres.

With her ethereal vocalises that could often be mistaken for Grimes’ distant echoed voice, like on the sublime „Goodbye Yesterday”, Maud manages to unify all her inspirations under the electro-goth banner: danceable techno and rave music („Ice Teens”, the Crystal Castles-like „High Side”), bass music („Voices From The Sky”), cold wave („Standing by my door”) or even slow post-dubstep and witch house on the haunting „Sick Of Love”.

Although the artist could easily let herself be submerged by all these heavy atmospheres and fall into caricature, she smartly alleviates her songs with luminous pop melodies and a clever production allowing enough space for the music to breathe, as reflected in the title track’s violins and the charming duet „In Your Eyes” with Flavien Berger.

♪♫ Listen: “Polaar” + album stream

Maud Geffray on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook.