Phoenix Working on ‘Bankrupt!’ Follow-Up

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Phoenix have already started working on their follow-up to 2013’s Bankrupt!, singer Thomas Mars tells Rolling Stone. “The way we tour is pretty unique,” explains the frontman. “We go for two weeks, then we stop for two or three weeks. And when we’re back, we don’t really know how to take vacations, so we usually spend time on the record.”
The new project is still in very early stages, adds Mars. “It’s the beginning of something – the base of the pyramid,” he says. “Right now, it could go anywhere. It’s this moment of pure freedom. The possibilities are endless. It’s very exciting.”

In other Phoenix news, the band will appear on PBS’ series Live From the Artists Den on February 1st. The episode, taped last October, will show the band playing for 500 students in a high school gym in Austin, Texas. “It felt like we were in the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ video,” Mars says. “The whole high school experience in the United States is very exotic for us. We actually thought about doing a whole tour at some point of high school shows, so this was sort of a test to see if it could work.”

Phoenix have a string of shows in the U.K. and France next week, followed by a break until early March, when they hit Australia.

Closing out a festival is no easy task, and Thomas Mars knows it. “Usually on Sunday night people are really tired,” the Phoenix singer told the Lollapalooza crowd last night, kneeling into the front row of a sea of people gathered for the French band’s superb main stage set. “This,” he said to the thousands still hanging on his every word seconds before his band’s ear-candy intro to “1901” kicked in behind him, “is something different.”

By the time Mars and his band took the Bud Light stage around 8:30 p.m., Lollapalooza had oftered up nearly 150 sets over the preceding three days. Phoenix, though, delivered the best performance of the entire weekend. The seeming ease with which the band played their weekend-topping set proved them to be undeniably worthy of the massive stages – and dollars – they now command.

Via Rolling Stone

Reinventing The Music Video, One Street Corner At A Time

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The sun has just set over a busy, dimly lit street in Paris when musicians suddenly start spilling out of a corner bar, tuning their instruments. Colin Solal Cardo follows close behind, holding a video camera.

“We were inside the bar,” Solal Cardo says, “and we got kicked out. So now we’re in front of the bar in the streets, and we’re going to perform right in the streets. The night is falling in Paris, and cars everywhere, and it’s total chaos, but I think it’s going to be great.” He addresses the gathered musicians: “Okay, guys, let’s be sure we have no one in the frame that is not a band member. Thank you.”

The group is with a French website often credited with helping to reinvent the music video with what it calls “Take Away Shows.” They’re original, informal videos of musicians from across the U.S. and Europe, playing live in unlikely places.

The band in this Take Away Show is the American group San Fermin, currently on tour with its debut album. Solal Cardo says this is a typical Blogothéque shoot: filmed in one take, with no overall plan, no lighting crew or fancy set-ups. The philosophy of the website is to put bands in unusual environments — often without their usual instruments — and see what happens. For example, San Fermin’s frontman, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, has been handed a small toy piano in lieu of his full-size keyboard.

“I mean, what’s exciting about it is, like, you write these songs, you practice as a band, then you just do the same thing over and over and over again,” Ludwig-Leone says. “And then for something like this, you’re actually going to be called on as a musician to make adjustments in time. It’s refreshing in a way. I haven’t had to think this actively and creatively about our live set-up since we started touring.”

Christophe Abric, a one-time music journalist who started La Blogothéque a decade ago, began filming bands in 2006.

“The purpose is to get them out their comfort zone,” Abric says, “to tell them, ‘Okay, you’ve done a record. You’ve got a way of playing your music live. But why don’t we try to find a way to be the most sincere we can be?'”

All of the videos are archived online; the catalog includes big-name groups such as R.E.M. and Wilco, Abric says one enduring draw of the Take Away Shows is not just watching musicians play live, but watching them play live in Paris.

“There is something amazing in the strength of Paris,” Abric says. “We want the city to be there in the sound. If you have kids shouting, if you have birds all around, it’s part of the whole environment, and you have to have that.”

At the San Fermin shoot, someone passing by starts to sing and a car horn blares. A question arises: How do you actually record music in the middle of all this noise?

To capture every note and voice, La Blogothéque’s sound engineer, Francois Clos, fits small, wireless mics onto every band member — each recorded on a separate track and mixed afterwards. Clos says that, even though video is a visual medium, sound quality is the most important element here.

“The challenge is always to know how many mics you need, where you put the mic to preserve a sound — which sound quite real but which is post-produced and not real at all, you know. But outside, anything can happen,” Clos says. “So you shouldn’t record musicians if you don’t think about how to record them. They’re here to show that they can play music.”

Indeed, each musician in the finished San Fermin video can be heard loud and clear — even as singer Rae Cassidy walks through traffic and the camera twists and turns around the band.

Today, there are scores of websites offering impromptu performance videos (including NPR Music’s own and series). And that, Abric says, has created a problem: Musicians now show up knowing exactly what to expect.

“The landscape totally, completely changed since we began the Take Away Shows,” Abric says. “When we started, everything we were doing was experimental and new, and now we’re in a completely different world where anybody can do a beautiful video. Suddenly, when we’re filming a band, we’re the sixth person of the day filming that band. And so you’re like, ‘Oh my god. We’re not something new.’

“With Blogothéque now,” he adds, “we’re one of the requirements in a promo tour of a band. That’s not what we wanted to be. We made the Take Away Shows to break the routine, and one day we became the routine.”

The challenge now, Abric says, is to best themselves at their own game. Earlier this year, his team made a video of the French rock band Phoenix outside the Palace of Versailles — filmed with a flying drone. And La Blogothéque is venturing outside Paris, filming performers everywhere from the North African desert to the muddy waters of the Ohio river . Look around and you just might see a band walking down your street, with a camera crew following close behind.

The Strokes to headline The annual Governors Ball in New York City


Julian Casablancas and Jack White

The annual Governors Ball in New York City has scored a major victory: The three-day festival has booked the Strokes to headline, alongside OutKast, Jack White and Vampire Weekend. Unless the Strokes play a gig sometime before June 6th – when the festival kicks off on New York City’s Randall’s Island – it will be the New York band’s first U.S. gig since 2011. Three-day passes go on sale at 3 p.m. EST today; tickets to individual days will go on sale at a later date.

Last week, the fest announced its first performer, OutKast, and proceeded to hint at other performers with abstract images, such as a shot of TV white noise to suggest the band Disclosure (who have a single called “White Noise”), on its social-media accounts. Today, in addition to Disclosure, it revealed the full 68-artist lineup. Highlights include Phoenix, Skrillex, TV on the Radio and a solo set by the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas.

The Strokes’ guitarist, Albert Hammond, Jr., told Rolling Stone last year that the group just liked moving at its own pace. “People like watching us live,” he said. “I just think when that machine starts up, it’s a Titanic, you know, so it moves slowly, so you just, you want to be pointing in the right direction. And when you’ve done something for 12 years in a certain way, you need to reprogram everything. And that takes time to eventually get around and figure out, and since we realized that, we actually have a little bit of time and a little bit of wiggle room.”

Via Rolling Stone

Phoenix: New Single ‘Trying To Be Cool’ Video + Tour Dates, Where & When

Phoenix – Trying To Be Cool (Official Video)

Published on Jul 2, 2013

The new single “Trying to Be Cool” off the album Bankrupt! available now: Directed by CANADA. Produced in conjunction with The Creators Project.

Phoenix Tour

Date Venue Location Tickets
Jul 04 Hove Festival Hove, Norway Tickets
Jul 05 Rock Werchter Werchter, Belgium Tickets
Jul 06 Eurockeennes Belfort, France Tickets
Jul 12 T In The Park Scotland, United Kingdom Tickets
Jul 13 Musilac Aix-Les-Bains, France Tickets
Jul 14 OPTIMUS ALIVE Lisbon, Portugal Tickets
Jul 19 Longitude Festival Dublin, Ireland Tickets
Jul 21 Les Vieilles Charrues Carhaix-Plouguer, France Tickets
Jul 23 Paleo Festival Nyon, Switzerland Tickets
Aug 02 Osheaga Montreal, Canada Tickets
Aug 03 The Grove Music Festival Toronto, Canada Tickets
Aug 04 Lollapalooza Chicago, IL Tickets
Aug 06 Omaha Music Hall Omaha, NE Tickets
Aug 07 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO Tickets
Aug 23 Leeds Festival Leeds, United Kingdom Tickets
Aug 24 Rock en Seine Paris, France Tickets
Aug 25 Reading Festival Reading, United Kingdom Tickets
Aug 30 NTELOS Pavilion Norfolk, VA Tickets
Sep 01 Ntelos Pavilion Charlottesville, VA Tickets
Sep 07 iTunes Festival London, United Kingdom Tickets
Sep 20 PIEDMONT PARK Atlanta, GA
Sep 27 Berkley Riverfront Park Kansas City, MO Tickets
Sep 28 UIC Pavilion Chicago, IL Tickets
Sep 29 Emu Convocation Center Ypsilanti, MI Tickets
Oct 01 Agganis Arena Boston, MA Tickets
Oct 02 Barclays Center Brooklyn, NY Tickets
Oct 03 LC Pavilion Columbus, OH Tickets
Oct 09 Sports Arena Los Angeles, CA Tickets
Oct 10 Rimac Arena San Diego, CA Tickets
Oct 12 Corona Capital Festival Mexico City, Mexico Tickets
Nov 12 Le Dome Marseille, France Tickets
Nov 14 Halle Tony Garnier Lyon, France Tickets
Nov 15 Zenith Nantes, France Tickets
Nov 16 Zenith Toulouse, France Tickets
Nov 18 Jahrhunderthalle Frankfurt, Germany Tickets
Nov 19 Zenith Munich, Germany Tickets
Nov 21 Columbiahalle Berlin, Germany Tickets
Nov 22 Mitsubishi Electric Halle Dusseldorf, Germany Tickets
Nov 23 Zenith Live Lille, France Tickets

Phoenix Rock The Legendary Apollo Theater NYC: Concert Review

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Phoenix Live @ The Apollo May 13, 2013 – Concert Review

The beloved French band delivered a magnificent set at the legendary Harlem venue to an intimate crowd.

When Phoenix released their sublime fourth album, the mischievously-titled Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, in 2009, things started to go a little crazy for the French four-piece. That release not only went gold in the States, but it also won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album the following January. When they played Madison Square Garden in New York that October, they were joined onstage by fellow Frenchmen Daft Punk. At Coachella this year, R&B crooner R. Kelly graced them with his presence. And on Monday night at Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theatre, there were no such gimmicks — nor did the band need them.

Save for a secret gig at the start of April, that Madison Square Garden show was the last time they played New York — to a sold-out crowd of 18,000 or so people. This, then, was a rather more intimate affair, as the Apollo holds less than a tenth of that number.

A few weeks after the release of their long-awaited fifth album, Bankrupt!, and augmented to a six-piece for the evening, the result was a gig that was as captivating as it was energizing. More than that, it was an incredibly personal performance. Halfway through third song “Lisztomania” — one of the finest cuts from their breakthrough album — vocalist Thomas Mars hopped offstage and climbed into the audience. While the rest of the band continued on with slick conviction, Mars weaved his way through a sea of bodies noticeably shocked that the singer was right there. Mars, too, seemed somewhat in awe of his surroundings — while the Apollo is far from a huge venue, it’s certainly a magnificent one.

Indeed, the electro-rock/synth-pop band’s performance, as well as their effortlessly cool demeanor, matched the splendor of their surroundings every step of the way. Smoke, spotlights, strobes and a digitized backdrop created specific set pieces for each song, turning them into unique, mind-blowing audio-visual sensations that totally consumed the room.

Each song, from the impossibly catchy harmonies of opener “Entertainment”, through the charming grace of “The Real Thing” and old favorite “Long Distance Call” to the energetic zest of “Armistice” and the upbeat dance grooves of “SOS In Bel Air” totally consumed the room. The band didn’t just play these songs, but they ensured that the room became these songs, and that the songs became the room. There was no escape from the power — not that anybody wanted to escape. But beyond that, it was also a performance of invention and innovation. “Sunskrupt!” combined “Bankrupt!” and both parts of “Love Like A Sunset,” while “Too Young” and “Girlfriend” morphed into one song with a perfect precision.

Interestingly, although the majority of the night was full of fun, feverish energy, the highlight came in the form of something much quieter and contemplative. After ending the main set with a sublime, high-octane and raucous version of “1901”, Mars returned with guitarist Christian Mazzalai for a sparse, stripped down version of “Countdown”. Beautiful, melancholy and haunting in equal measure, Mars sat on the edge of the stage while he sang, the weight of the world hanging heavy on every word that left his mouth.

But there was no time to get wrapped up in the quiet sadness of the moment — as soon as the song was done, the rest of the band returned to the stage and  immediately launched into the frenzied, climatic one-two punch of “Don’t” and then “Rome.”  After a brief thank you, the reprise of “Entertainment” filled the room and Mars was back in the crowd again, up close and personal for one final farewell. The look of awe and incredulity on his face as he climbed across the seats and stared up at those on the balcony above him said it all — a truly majestic, memorable night by a group very much at the top of their game, it was clearly just as special for the band as it was for everybody watching.

Set List:

Long Distance Call
The Real Thing
S.O.S. In Bel Air
Too Young+Girlfriend
Trying To Be Cool
Drakkar Noir

Phoenix in Studio with Philippe Zdar: Great insight into process and production

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Hopefully, you will enjoy these as much as we did.
This album is a masterpiece!  Yes, you guess right: Wolfang Amadeus Phoenix! They made one video for each song on the record–one video narrated by Phoenix, another by the producer and sound engineer Philippe Zdar.  Great insight into process and production with a very talented band and producer.

Wicked studio too, ha!  Gearspotters will rejoice.

Enjoy! ~ AA

I could listen to Philippe Zdar talk about music all day. Join him in his studio, Motorbass, where he discusses the processes behind tracks from Phoenix’s ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ album.

Phillipe Zdar on the making of the Phoenix Album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Published on Apr 19, 2013
Future Music visit the incredible studio of Cassius member and production genius, Phillipe Zdar. Watch as he breaks down tracks from the Phoenix Album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

The story behind Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Musicvision concept and interview by Guillaume Delaperrière. Phoenix at work directed and edited by Pascal Teixeira.

VIDEOS for each album song

Phoenix – Lisztomania / Commented by Phoenix (1 of 9)

Phoenix – Lisztomania / Commented by Zdar (1 of 9) In French with English subtitles

Phoenix – 1901 / Commented by Phoenix (2 of 9)

Phoenix – Fences / Commented by Zdar (3 of 9) In French with English subtitles

Phoenix – Love Like A Sunset / Commented by Phoenix (4 of 9)

Phoenix – Lasso / Commented by Phoenix (5 of 9)

Phoenix – Rome / Commented by Zdar (6 of 9) In French with English subtitles

Phoenix – Countdown / Commented by Zdar (7 of 9) In French with English subtitles

Phoenix – Girlfriend / Commented by Zdar (8 of 9) In French with English subtitles

Phoenix – Armistice / Commented by Zdar (9 of 9) In French with English subtitles