Originally Posted at PsmythSongs.com December 7, 2009
I’m accepting recent events as a collective sign from the musical universe that I haven’t spent enough time listening to work hailing from the French-speaking world. Let me explain. I approach each of my blog entries by visiting a MySpace friend and then clicking randomly on their friends until I find a few unsigned acts. I continue this way until I discover something I feel moved to write about. Well last night the first act I clicked on was a guy from Belgium named Paul Léonard, recording under the name the mechanicalbrains. Although he only has two songs posted to his site, I really enjoyed them, especially the second one titled “Hurt.” I sent Monsieur Léonard a note asking for more tracks... I haven’t heard back, but hopefully he’ll add some by the time others visit.
From Leonard’s site I followed links to several other Belgian acts and found a lot of really great stuff there. I mean really great. If you’d like to hear more from the land that brought us Rubens, van Eyck and Magritte, you can explore some of the links below.
And now, back to France (because that horse looks like it’s still twitching a bit). I believe I know why I’m having such difficulty finding good unsigned bands there. I’ve noticed that many acts list themselves as signed to indie labels, then neglect to mention the label’s names. Could it be that many French musicians would rather list themselves as indie than as unsigned? Is there perhaps some shame in not having a record label? Or could it be that I’m encountering a moment of linguistic slippage, a difference (or differance, if you will) between what is meant by words such as indie and unsigned across similar, yet divergent, cultures and languages? (BTW - if you haven’t read Derrida’s writing on linguistic issue, I’d rush out and get a copy of Of Grammatology, it won’t clarify anything - ever - but I wanted to appear all smart and educated for a moment). What I’m trying to say here is that it’s possible at least some of the bands listing themselves on MySpace as signed actually aren’t and that I should share some of their music on this forum after all... n’est-ce-pas?
OK, I promise not to mention France again until tomorrow, or maybe the day after, when I’ll finally share some of what I really like from there, unsigned or otherwise.
And now for the Belgians, in the order they show up on my friend list: