Occur Goes Global - The Music of France

The land of l’amor, of Gainsbourg (Serge and Charlotte), of Daft Punk and Madeon, and of Jim Morrison’s eternal resting place. France is now more than ever a sanctuary of music. When terrorists shot up the Bataclan night club in 2015, they took the lives of dozens of Eagles of Death Metal fans, but they could not take away the spirit and community. As we discuss five of our favorite up-and-coming French musicians, we remember those who died in the name of art.



Peeking out from behind the Tame Impala drum kit, Julien Barbagallo takes the psych-pop of his main gig and smoothens it out. On his 2016 solo album, Grand Chien, he employs a soft tenor as a cobblestone road back to his home in Toulouse. It’s a surprising turn for a skins man who can blast with the best of them— here he opts for a subtle electronic touch on tracks such as “Moitie de Moi.” Grand Chien came at a fruitful time for the Tame Impala family, as touring bassist Cameron Avery is preparing his solo debut, Rice Dreams, Pipe Dreams, for release in March 2017. (Thanks, Pitchfork, for the additional info.) Lead image courtesy Sony Music.


Matthieu Faubourg

Mr. Faubourg, you don’t have to ask us to “Please, Stay,” as your current single suggests. With the chiming hi-hat, ghostly vocals and sexy bass, we’ll be listening to you for a long time. It seems you came out of nowhere and are now basking in the acclaim of major outlets such as Red Bull Music Academy. His French house style is the product of growing up on U2, Jimi Hendrix and the U.K. garage scene. His beats are posh and enthralling.


Waverly Lies North

Our bad for not jumping onboard with these “symphonic metal” mavens earlier because they shred and know how to tell a story. Their 2016 album, Revelation of the Sunstone, sounds like Game of Thrones meets Thor, with powerhouse singer Ani Arzumanyan leading the charge. If you like your riffs blazing and your female vocals nice and ballsy, Waverly Lies North is right up your alley. (Thanks to Female Metal Bands for the suggestion!)


Agua Roja

Speaking of angelic altos, Paris’ Agua Roja have a cherub in front woman November. The indie rock trio have been upping their game since 2013’s charming single, “Summer Ends,” but it’s with last year’s standalone track that they propelled themselves to the apex of their whimsical art. Recommended if you like Camera Obscura or Surfer Blood. (Cheers to Indie Underground for the intro!)



Hailing from the Germanic city of Strausbourg and currently calling Brighton home, Derko puts multi-nationalism at the forefront of his raps. He dons Arabic headgear, teams up with underground wordsmiths such as Royal and touts the lifestyle of the “Misanthrope,” according to one of his breakout tracks. He’s a master of the freestyle and of the auctioneer-speed rhyme.

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