State ventures back to the French city of Clermont-Ferrand this week for the 2011 edition of one of our favourite festivals – Europavox. The boutique event prides itself in showcasing the best in emerging European music talent, whilst also drawing more established acts from across the continent. Apart from the live performances, the festival also gathers together music journalists and industry professionals from each of the 27 EU member states for a series of conferences and workshops, with the aim of improving support structures for artists and creating pan-European contact networks for booking agents, PR and promoters.
Here are some of the acts State is looking forward to seeing in action…
Over the past few years, Boys Noize – aka Alex Ridha – has claimed a spot as one of the preeminent electro and techno producers. His two albums to date, Oi Oi Oi and Power, both contain their fair share of dancefloor stalwarts, and his magic touch can also be found in the work of artists ranging from Kelis and The Black-Eyed Peas to Chilly Gonzales. His live sets are legendary, so it’s a safe bet his Europavox slot will provide one of the weekend’s highlights.
With just weeks remaining until they release Laserdisc Nights 2, Le Galaxie are shipping out from Dublin to give the French audience a taste of what to expect. If their Irish shows are anything to go by, State expects to see a dancefloor full of sweaty people bouncing around to the likes of ‘Midnight Midnight’ and ‘Feel the Fire’, with even sweatier band members departing the stage to get involved in the action.
Over the course of four studio albums, Gotan Project have dipped in and out of genres varying from electronic and trip-hop to jazz and tango, creating a lavish, cinematic sound. It’s no surprise, then, that their music has been included on the soundtracks to several major movie releases, including Schindler’s List and Scent of a Woman, as well as popular TV shows like Nip/Tuck and Sex and the City.
French combo Twin Twin are a zany bunch with a penchant for 1980s-style music videos, and all the accompanying fashion catastrophes, who produce catchy indie-pop with a Gallic twist. Something tells us their live show could be one of the more off-the-wall moments of the festival…
While he may not have made great inroads here in Ireland or the UK, Thomas Dybdahl is one of Sweden’s most popular artists and he has garnered a large following on the continent, thanks to his ability to write emotionally-laden songs and an amazing voice that calls to mind one Jeff Buckley.
The hype surrounding Morning Parade is starting to build ahead of the release of their first LP. The five-piece’s music is full of hooky guitars and dancefloor-friendly beats, not unlike fellow English acts Everything Everything and Chapel Club, and should get the French crowd bouncing along.
Paula i Karol
Polish duo Paula i Karol’s starry-eyed acoustic songs are beautifully simple and uplifting. They’ll be showcasing tunes from their Overshare LP, but they’ve also been known to play a cover of A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Can I Kick It’…
Take it from us, The Amplifetes’ blend of groovy electronica and indie is quite irresistable. It’s no wonder, then, that folks like Madonna and Grandmaster Flash are known to call on their services. If these guys don’t kill it, we’re coming home early!
Trouble Over Tokyo
Having started out as a band, Trouble Over Tokyo is now the solo project of Toph Taylor, and he’s currently preparing to release his debut album. The Austrian’s music has been described by The Guardian as “Justin Timberlake doing Thom Yorke-style electronica.” Listening to ‘Kryptonite’, it seems quite appropriate!
State had De Staat’s ‘Sweatshop’ on repeat when we first heard the tune, reeled-in by its addictive mix of funk, hip-hop and rock. The band started out as a college project but they’re now on their second album and played SXSW earlier this year. Their latest LP, Machinery, has been earning them an unending stream of praise, as have their live performances, so we’re expecting something special. Also, ‘De Staat’ means ‘The State’ in Dutch, so they’re cool for that reason alone!
Photo: Olivier Tralongo