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La Femme

What's the deal with... La Femme?

Here's everything you need to know about the zany Parisian band, who are playing in London this month

By James Manning

My GCSE French tells me that means 'the woman'.
Très bien!

So she must be the one in the beret.
Actually it’s a bit complicated. La Femme are a band, not a woman. The band currently includes a woman, but the woman is not the band. In fact the founders of La Femme are two trendy dudes from Biarritz who started playing zany surf-rock, moved to Paris, met Clémence Quélennec online and invited her to sing for the new project.

And how's that going for them?
Very nicely. They’ve sold out Brixton Academy sized venues in France, and their second album ‘Mystère’ just went Top Ten. They’re kind of the grands fromages of the French indie scene.

La Femme

But in this crazy Brexit world, why should I care about some French band?
Because both ‘Mystère’ and its 2013 predecessor, ‘Psycho Tropical Berlin’, are la merde. That’s partly because they’re ridiculously eclectic. Quélennec’s songs give traditional French genres like chanson and yéyé unexpected psychedelic twists, while co-vocalist Marlon Magnée busts out lengthy, surreal streams of consciousness about love and loss over screeching ’60s organ lines and bouncy beats. They’re also a storming live band: ever seen someone crowdsurf on an actual surfboard?

Magnifique! Anything else I should know?
‘Mystère’ is out now, and the band hop over from Paris for a London show this month. If you really hammer DuoLingo till then, you might just be able to follow the lyrics.

La Femme are playing O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on Nov 17.

More gigs in London this week


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