The KEXP road crew and I are excited to be back in Rennes, France for our third year of filming bands at the 40th annual Trans Musicales Festival! Over the last two years, we've filmed 25 bands at 6 different beautiful locations around the city, all of which you can revisit here. Coming back feels like getting back to our home away from home, seeing friends (including our awesome Trans Musicales liaison, Jeremy Méléard), revisiting restaurants and sites, and settling back into the swing of the festival. As always, we are so excited to meet and film the bands we picked out from the lineup of new and emerging artists, most of which are completely new to us.
This year we are posting up for 5 days of filming 15 different bands at the Musée de la Danse in Rennes, the regional center for creating dance programming. Our lovely hosts have given us the use of their performance space to film bands all week long.
Our first band of 2018 was Angers, France based trio The Blind Suns. Formed in 2014 by Dorota (vocals/guitar) and Romain (vocals/guitar), they met when Dorota, originally from Poland, did a week-long student exchange in France. Within the year, Dorota moved to France and she and Romain began recording music together, releasing their first record Baltic Waves. They submitted songs from this record to SXSW and were invited to play a showcase the following year. Once they began playing shows, they added Jeremy on drums, and have been touring for the last three years. Their latest record Offshore released this past April was produced by Charles Rowell of the band Crocodiles, who recently moved to France.
They played a great set of surf/psych-pop a la The Raveonettes and Jesus and Mary Chain for us. We're excited for you to see the whole session when it's released early next year.
Our next artist was one that we were familiar with, and which has been getting tons of airplay on KEXP in the last year since her excellent album Weighing of the Heart came out last December. Nabihah Iqbal is a London native who grew up with a deep love and appreciation for music. She spent her childhood learning various instruments like the flute, piano, and guitar and as a young adult transitioned into DJing house parties, getting more into the electronic scene. At university she translated her love of music into her studies, majoring in Ethnomusicology, while also choosing to focus on learning to play the sitar. All of these experiences and different influences eventually led her to record her own music, blending all of these sounds together. Formerly performing under the name Throwing Shade, she now goes by her own name and released her most recent record on the Ninja Tune label.
Nabihah has been busy traveling and touring, heading next to Turkey, India, and Morocco. She's only been able to play in the US once, doing a showcase at SXSW a couple years ago and hopes to apply for an artist visa soon. We hope that happens and to see her in Seattle in the near future!
Our final band of day one was Dutch trio The Homesick. Erik (drums), Jaap (vocals/bass), and Elias (vocals/guitar) are all from the same small town in the north of the Netherlands, coming together with a shared love of music with the purpose of forming a band. They joked that they became friends sometime after they had been making music together. Business first! When coming up with their unique sound, they drew from influences like My Bloody Valentine and other 80s and 90s shoegaze records, but over time expanded their tastes to 60s folk misfits like Captain Beefheart and Lee Hazlewood. Once I asked them about these influences, their sound made more sense — folky and psych-y at times, but with these melodic harder rock rhythms; vocals ranging from harmonic dueling call-and-response to screaming. It's difficult to describe, which makes them so alluring, and it all works and makes sense together.
Their most recent record Youth Hunt came out in March of 2017, on which they've been touring Europe and played a couple SXSW dates. They are working hard on their forthcoming record, which they hope will get released next year. Check em out!
We have 12 more bands to share with you over the next 4 days! Make sure to follow us in real time on Instagram and more daily posts here!