La Femme

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The Parisian collective La Femme combines its French heritage with sounds from across the globe in surprising, appealing ways. On their early EPs and award-winning 2013 debut album Psycho Tropical Berlin, they delivered an ear-catching blend of Krautrock, ’60s surf, psych rock, coldwave, and classic French pop, and managed to expand their horizons even further on 2016’s dark, ambitious Mystère. Despite — or perhaps because of — their singular style, La Femme scored top Ten hits in their homeland, and remained as eclectic as ever on 2021′s Paradigmes and the following year’s Teatro Lucido, a love letter to Spanish and South American cities and musical styles.
The group was formed in Biarritz, France by singer and keyboardist Marlon Magnée and guitarist Sacha Got, who met at school. Bored by life in the resort town, they moved to Paris. First performing under the name SS Mademoiselle, they soon became La Femme and experimented with combining classic influences like Kraftwerk and the Velvet Underground with little-known French music from the ’60s and ’70s. After issuing a self-titled EP in 2010, they booked a D.I.Y. tour of the U.S., a move that sparked interest from larger French labels. La Femme signed to Barclay and released the Le Podium #1 EP in 2011. Another EP, also titled La Femme, appeared in February 2013 and reached 153 on the French singles chart. That April, the band released their debut album, Psycho Tropical Berlin. Co-released by Barclay and Born Bad Records, it featured additional members Clémence Quélennec (vocals), Sam Lefèvre (bass), and Noé Delmas (drums). The album’s unpredictable yet stylish mix of sounds earned critical acclaim, spawned the cult favorite single “Sur la Planche,” and made the Top 40 of the French albums chart. In February 2014, Psycho Tropical Berlin won a Victoire de la Musique, an award presented by the French Ministry of Culture, for Album Révélation of the Year.
For their second album, La Femme recruited keyboardist/percussionist Lucas Nunez Ritter. Opting for a darker sound and mood that emphasized their electronic leanings, September 2016′s Mystère was recorded partly in Los Angeles and partly in a castle west of Paris. Once again, La Femme met with critical and commercial success: the album peaked at number eight on the French albums chart (and also charted in Switzerland and Belgium) and earned a nomination for Best Rock Album at the 2017 Victoires de la Musique. La Femme’s live shows in support of Mystère included opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers and dates at European festivals and in the U.S. The group returned in 2018 with the Runway EP, which featured the music from their collaboration with the designer Hedi Slimane. In 2020, they released the single “Paradigme,” the first track from their third album. Appearing in April 2021 on their own Disque Pointu label, Paradigmes’ wide-ranging influences spanned new wave, stoner rock, and big band. That October, La Femme issued digital bonus tracks from the album that were released on vinyl for 2022′s Record Store Day the following April. Around that time, Paradigmes: Le Film, a full-length movie incorporating the album’s songs, premiered. The band further commemorated Paradigmes’ one-year anniversary of release with a collection of limited-edition NFTs based on frames from the animated video for “Foutre le Bordel.” Another of the album’s tracks, the Spanish-language “Le Jardin,” sparked the direction of La Femme’s next project. Inspired by their adventures touring in Spain and South America — as well as those regions’ music — November 2022′s Teatro Lucido incorporated pasodoble, reggaeton, Brazilian, and Andalusian styles and featured vocals entirely in Spanish. ~ Heather Phares & Marcy Donelson