Tag Archives: France

Melody’s Echo Chamber tour canceled after hospitalization; New album release uncertain

Melody Prochet (Melody’s Echo Chamber)

I’ve been quiet over here for a couple of weeks. Last night, while I was catching up on some emails, listening to a lot of submissions, and just doing some general music research, I stumbled upon some bad news.
Melody Prochet, who is the front of Melody’s Echo Chamber was recently involved in a “serious accident” which has forced her to cancel the band’s scheduled tour of North and South America in the autumn.

You may remember that I first wrote about the Paris-based dream-pop/psychedelic rock band back in the very early days of this blog in 2012. I compared MEC to Broadcast, and Melody Prochet to the late frontwoman of Broadcast, Trish Keenan. I eventually named the Melody’s Echo Chamber eponymous debut album my 10th favourite album of 2012. There was supposed to be a sophomore album in 2014, and we were teased with a single called “Shrim”. For some reason, though, the full album never came to fruition. Back in April of this year, Prochet announced on her birthday a new single called “Cross My Heart”. She also promised that there finally would be a second album — Bon Voyage — and that we would see it later this year. She also announced a tour of North and South America which would have kicked off in October. Unfortunately, this tour has been canceled after Prochet was recently hospitalized.

On June 27, Melody’s family posted via her Facebook page the following message:

Dearest Friends,
Melody suffered a serious accident earlier this month.
We are optimistic, but she needs to be in the hospital
for a few more months.
Due to these circumstances, Melody’s upcoming Tour
has been canceled.
But she is hopeful to be able to play shows again soon
Thank you for your support
– Melody’s Family –

They didn’t offer any further details or divulge any specifics about the nature of the accident. A day later, the family offered a little bit more: in the accident, Melody suffered a brain aneurysm and broken vertebrae. She will remain in hospital and will have surgeries.

This is all the news we have now. We are all, obviously, hoping that Melody makes a full recovery and that she is indeed able to resume touring at some point. I’m hopeful that it happens sooner than later. The album was scheduled to be self-released later this year, but no specific release date was given. At this point, we sort of assume that the release will be delayed. Tour dates and album release dates are much less important than Melody’s health and well-being right now.

The song, by the way, is fantastic. This is that song:
“Cross My Heart” by Melody’s Echo Chamber

There are a lot of different layers and textures to this song, and it almost seems like a couple of different songs. The first bit is dreamy with some nice drums that are crazily reminiscent of Broadcast. The vocals are in English with lots of delay and/or other vocal effects. There’s a strange bit that goes from 1:33 to about 5:03 that has some weird beats and strange dance-y things mixed in. During this bit, the vocals are in French. After that, it goes back to the “dreamy” sound, but with a bit more guitar. At the end of the day, though, it’s a brilliant reminder of how fantastic that first record was and what a magnificent sophomore album we have to look forward to.


10.04.2015 — “Ribbon” by Maria False

Maria False

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Ribbon” by Maria False (2015, from the album When).

Maria False is a shoegaze quartet from Rennes, France. They formed in 2012 and released a self-titled EP that year. In 2013, they put out their debut album Artefact, then later that year another EP called Spots and Lines in a Frame. In May of this year, they released their sophomore album When.

This is for fans of My Bloody Valentine, A Place to Bury Strangers, Fleeting Joys, and so on.

I don’t know anything else about this band. I stumbled upon their music a few months ago and wrote myself a note to post about them some day. I’m finally getting around to that now.

This is the second song from the second record:

“Ribbon” by Maria False

It’s got all of those MBV qualities. The fuzz, the melty guitar bits, the feedback, the loads of tremolo bar, the tape manipulation, the total wall of noise, and to some extent, even the vocals. Its sheer noise is what makes it fantastic.

There’s only one way to listen to this. Loudly.

You can get your digital copy of When via bandcamp here.


06.04.2014 — “Bombs Will Be The Seeds For a New World” by White Night Ghosts

the Joy EP

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Bombs Will Be The Seeds For a New World” by White Night Ghosts (2013, from the Joy EP).

White Night Ghosts is an electronic/shoegaze/dream pop duo from Rennes, France. It was started in 2011 as a solo project for Antoine Warneck. He made a few demos, then was joined by Vincent Calvar. In June of last year, they released an EP called Joy via the tiny French shoegaze label Cranes Records.

As the story goes, the EP was released digitally and on vinyl. The vinyl release was a bit unusual in that it was blank. The way I understand it, there was nothing recorded on the vinyl. The label featured a download code. That physical release has sold out.

I had never heard of this band until I got on this French shoegaze kick that I’ve been on for about a week. Lastfm suggested them to me based on the other French shoegaze that I’ve been listening to and writing about. This is a discovery that most likely would never have been made back in the pre-internet days.

I think the band is being deliberately opaque about who they are. I can’t find a single picture of them, and I could find very little in the way of biographical information. The music will have to stand for itself. And the music is good.

Today’s song is the first song from the Joy EP.

“Bombs Will Be The Seeds For a New World” by White Night Ghosts

While the song title sounds like a Godspeed You! Black Emperor title, the music is much more like SPC ECO.

I love the thunderous drum beat beneath a murky sea of electronics, loops, and delay pedal. I really wish that this song would last about 30 minutes, because every time I get to the end of the 3:43 song, I want to hear it again immediately.

The blank vinyl is sold out, but you can buy a digital download of the EP from the White Night Ghosts bandcamp page.


06.02.2014 — “Ash & Gray” by Venera 4

Venera 4

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Ash & Gray” by Venera 4 (2013, from the Deaf Hearts EP).

Venera 4 is a shoegaze/dream pop quartet from Paris. Since my post about Future the other day, I’ve been on a “French shoegaze” kick. I don’t know how long it’ll continue, but that’s what I’m doing right now.

The band’s bio describes them in a perfect way:

Two boys, two girls, meeting in noisy pop songs with a delicate sense of color… and darkness

The band named itself after the Soviet space mission to Venus. The Venera 4 craft was really important because it was the first man-made craft to successfully land on another planet. It was the late 1960s, and the USA and USSR were locked in a hotly contested space race. Venera 4 was launched on June 12, 1967 and it reached the surface of Venus on October 18. Almost simultaneously, the NASA mission Mariner 5 was sent to do a fly-by of Venus. Mariner 5 was launched on June 14 and reached the Venusian atmosphere on October 19. The Venera 4 stopped transmitting data shortly after it landed, but it still told us that the atmosphere was much denser and the surface was much hotter than we thought. The Soviets achieved a lot of “firsts” in the race to the moon, but they lost the race to have a successful manned mission to the moon. They stayed ahead of the USA with the success of their Venera missions. In the 1970s, the Soviets also achieved many firsts in the race to Mars, even though NASA’s missions have been more significant.

This is more than I’ve written about space missions since that time I wrote about Laika. While I enjoy writing about and reading about space missions, I’m not qualified for that. I’m not qualified to write about music either, but that’s not stopping me.

Anyway, Venera 4 has released a few singles, this Deaf Hearts EP and a “Winter Sessions” demo of unplugged versions of their songs. You should first introduce yourself to their “real” songs, and then listen to the acoustic stuff.

This is one of my favorites:
“Ash & Gray” by Venera 4

My absolute favorite part of the song is that bit at 3:05 when they take a page out of the JAMC book by using that iconic drum beat used in The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby”. It’s only in today’s song for a few seconds. In the bridge to the final chorus. It’s sort of brilliant.

In a bigger picture, I love the swirling, heavy noise. I love the flanger/phaser effect. I love the mayhem.

You can download the Deaf Hearts EP at the Venera 4 bandcamp page. You can also grab a free download of the Winter Sessions demos here.


05.31.2014 — “Now” by Future

Future

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Now” by Future (2013, from the Abyss EP).

Future is a shoegaze/post-punk/noise pop trio from Paris. There’s a rapper named Future, and this is something very different from that. However, to avoid confusion, the internets often require the addition of “band” or even “bandclub” to yield the results for this band.

They’ve been around since the autumn of 2012, and they’ve released two glorious EPs in that time. It’s clear that they take their cues from the likes of The Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, A Place to Bury Strangers, and others who are proficient in balancing intense walls of noise with harmonies.

I can’t remember how or when I first learned about this band, but for a little while, I’ve had a sticky note on my laptop reminding me to write something about them. I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for, because this is right up my alley.

The new EP —Stay Behind— came out in March, and it smells more like APTBS. Tonight’s song comes from the first EP, and this song smells very much like JAMC.

“Now” by Future

I really like how the drums come in after the squelch of feedback in the intro. That drum snare fill is sort of reminiscent of the 1990s-era JAMC while the wave after wave of the wall of guitar sound is more like their early stuff. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Future is using a the “JAMC” setting on their drum machine for this song. Then there’s something about the heavily delayed vocals that I really like, which isn’t very much like JAMC, so the references will stop there.

There’s something deeply satisfying about the sonic annihilation that’s unleashed with this song. And it brings to mind a very specific image. Fog machine on. Strobe lights and red-filtered spotlights swirling. This song playing really really loud. And that’s sort of my “happy place”.

You can download the Abyss EP from the Future bandcamp page. You should also get their 2014 EP Stay Behind here.


01.12.2014 — “Every Night” by Meltem

Meltem

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Every Night” by Meltem (2013, from the EP Meltem).

Meltem is a dreampop/indie folk/experimental duo from somewhere in France. I think they’re from Montpellier. They are not to be confused with a French heavy metal band of the same name. Perhaps this is the reason that they sometimes stylize their name as MelteM. The duo of Florence Bonnardel (vox, keys) and Alexandre Ayasse (guitars, percussion) formed at some point in 2013, and in the spring of last year, they put together six songs. I’m operating on the assumption that these six songs are a self-titled EP. I’m also assuming that they released it themselves and have made it very difficult to find.

Outside of a bare-bones tumblr page, a very basic facebook page, and a soundcloud page, they have no web presence that I know about. They are, essentially, a mystery.

The band name comes from the Turkish word for “breeze”. It’s used as a girl’s name, and it’s also used to describe the etesian dry winds that blow across the Agean sea from May to September.

“Etesian”, by the way, is an excellent Scrabble word. A pretty uncommon everyday word, but a very common competitive Scrabble word. If you play competitively, you study “bingo stems”, which are common six letter combinations and how they match up with the remaining tile on your rack. You have to memorize the common “bingo stems”, then memorize anamonic devices to help you remember whether the seventh tile works with the stem. TISANE is a very common six-letter combination because of the frequency of those tiles. Some players make extra effort to work towards getting racks like that. Some let the tiles fall as they may. If you have those six letters, you’re in good shape because any letter except Q, Y, and J can plug in there to form a seven-letter bingo and a 50 point bonus. And you know this because you memorize the device “Truckshop wiz fixes medicinal beverage”. Every letter in that sentence can be mixed in with the letters of TISANE to make an acceptable seven-letter play. Of course you also have to memorize the words that can be built with the stem and the seventh letter. Etesian is the only word that works with TISANE + E, while there are seven different words that can be formed with TISANE + L. I’m not really explaining the study of bingo stems very well, but it doesn’t matter to any of you anyway. It has nothing to do with this great song.

Anyway, I noticed that Meltem started following my soundcloud page. I followed them back and I noticed that they’re making some pretty awesome music.

I like all of their songs, but this is the one that I keep playing. Again and Again. And again.

“Every Night” by MelteM

I really love what they’re doing with the really delicately layered guitar bits. It’s structured in such a way that’s sort of like the really fragile bits on the grossly undervalued Pygmalion album by Slowdive. Really spacey and dreamy and hypnotic and a tiny bit psychedelic. Lots of delay on the arpeggiated chords. Maybe it’s really elaborately picked. I dunno. It’s really lovely, though. They don’t list Slowdive as an influence, but I’d be surprised if they’re not fans. It should be no surprise that they list Mazzy Star as a reference, though. And since they’re French, they naturally list Serge Gainsbourg as a reference.

I also love the vocals. There’s obviously quite a bit of echo on the vocals, but in the chorus, it sounds like there might even be a second singer. I’m inclined to think that she’s harmonizing with her own vocal track, but I have no way of knowing.

In a lot of ways, I’m also reminded of the fantastic Memoryhouse (who should have a new album sometime this year!). Everything seems so calm and quiet, but beneath the surface there are a lot of complex moving parts.

You can download this and other MelteM songs from the soundcloud page.


%d bloggers like this: