Metropolis Magazine
Issue #805 - Friday, Aug 28th, 2009
Metropolis Specials Metropolis Classifieds Metropolis Joblet Visitor's Guide Japan Inc Kansai Scene iTunes Metropolis Friends Metpod
SEARCH METROPOLIS
PRESS RELEASE
English
Japanese
INSIDE METROPOLIS
Home
Podcast
Giveaway!
Photo of the Week
The Small Print
UPFRONT
Star Struck
Q&A
"Page 2 "
FEATURE ARTICLES
Advertorial
Feature
The Goods
Body & Soul
Tech Know
Cars & Bikes
Global Village
Horoscope
Mailbox
The Last Word
The Negi
+ Best of Tokyo
Classifieds
Jobfinder
TRAVEL
Features
Haikyo Corner
Out & About
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Agenda
Art
Books
CDs
Clubbing
Dance
Japan Beat
Music
Sports
Stage
Live Report
Multimedia
Pop Life
2008 Flashback
LISTINGS
Concerts
Jazz/World
Classical
Stage & Dance
Clubbing
Exhibitions
Sports
TV
Others
Fireworks
Metropolis League
MOVIES
Reviews
Times
Theater Maps
DINING OUT
Restaurant Review
Bar Review
International Dining
Local Flavors
Table Talk
Tastemaker
Sake
Wine
Beer
INFO
About Us
Subscribe
Distribution Points
Search
Sponsored Links
Tsukaeru
チラシ印刷
Past Issues
798: Jack Penate
796: Festive Flavors
795: Emi Meyer
794: Phoenix
792: Keziah Jones
791: Cannibal Corpse
788: Lee Scratch Perry
787: Mishka
783: Zappa Plays Zappa
779: The Wedding Present
777: David Byrne
774: Presidents of the United States of America
773: Keith
767: Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute
764: Kaiser Chiefs
760: Tim and Puma Mimi
759: Ice Cube
758: Vinyl Soul
757: Bajofondo
755: The Troubadours
752: Spiritualized at Summer Sonic
749: Cajun Dance Party
744: Heat and Noise
739: The Checks
737: Blue King Brown
735: Asian Dub Foundation
734: Scouting For Girls
732: Buzzcocks
730: Old Man River
728: The Kills
726: KT Tunstall
725: Jason Collett
722: Brother's Sister's Daughter
720: Sufjan Stevens
716: Gossip
714: The Go! Team
713: Caf Tacvba
711: Celtic Woman
709: Jack Peate
706: Soulive
703: Animal Collective
703: Reverend and The Makers
702: Battles
700: Dinosaur Jr
696: The Polyphonic Spree
695: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
692: Golden Age of Rock
691: One Fine Day
688: Rhombus
687: Corneille
685: The Cinematic Orchestra
683: 747s
680: Pete Murray
679: Mice Parade
678: Enter Shikari
676: The View
674: !!!
671: Donavon Frankenreiter
670: Herbie Hancock
669: Krystal Meyers
668: The Roots
666: Lily Allen
664: Two for Christmas
663: The Datsuns
661: Peaches
660: Tapes 'n Tapes
658: Mystery Jets
656: Shayne Ward
654: The Beat
653: Eumir Deodato
652: Mt. Fuji Calling
650: Juno Reactor
649: Yo La Tengo
648: Hyde Park Music Festival
647: Juana Molina
646: Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars
645: Tool
644: Juan Formell y Los Van Van
643: The Benevento-Russo Duo
641: TV On The Radio
639: Summer Music Festival Guide 2006
638: ESG
636: Editors
634: Greenroom
632: Ben Harper
630: Matmos
627: Arctic Monkeys
626: Erykah Badu
624: Cake
622: Bent Left
620: Mogwai
618: Deerhoof
617: The Album Leaf
616: Tristan Prettyman
614-615: 10, 9, 8....
613: Madonna
612: John Tropea and Incognito
610: Boy
608: Underworld
607: Niyaz
606: The Beautiful Girls
605: Miho Hatori
604: Doves
600: Bang Gang
598: Feist
596: Fantomas
595: Hyde Park Music Festival
593: Little Barrie
591: Juliette Lewis
589: James Chance & The Contortions
588: Carnival: Vice Bongo 1st Anniversary Party
585: Stereophonics
583: Little Joe Washington
581: Caetano Veloso
579: Maximo Park
578: Moe
577: Death From Above 1979
576: Destiny’s Child
575: Megadeth
574: Bandstand
572: Ozomatli
570: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
568: Prefuse 73
566: Pat Metheny
565: Rachel Yamagata
564: The Shins
563: The Music
561-562: Metropolis music survey 2004
559: Blues Explosion
557: The Libertines
555: G. Love
554: Dropkick Murphys
553: Kasabian
552: Fertile Ground
551: Recliner
550: Jah Shaka
548: Faithless
547: Tokyo Rotation
546: Yokosuka Reggae Super Bash
545: The Roots
544: True People's Celebration
543: Trans Europe Fes
542: Matthew Sweet
541: Heaven Artists
540: Manolito y su Trabuco
539: Rabble rouser
537: The Offspring
535: Janet Kay with Omar and Thriller U
533: Critters Buggin’
532: Cyndi Lauper
531: Cat Power
530: Standing in the shadows
528: Missy Elliott
527: Stereolab
526: Organic Groove
525: Questions of the day
523: Tough Cookie
521: Conversion
520: Iggy's inner artist
519: Control freak chic
518: Down to the Wire
517: Incubus
516: Kraftwerk
515: Black Eyed Peas
514: Pretenders
513: Sonicmania
511: Suburban funk boys
509/10: Incognito
508: Celtic Xmas 2003
507: Limp Bizkit
506: Robert Randolph and the Family Band
505: Out on a limb
503: Electraglide
501: Super Furry Animals
499: Geezer's groove
498: Ashanti
497: Syn city
496: Slacker rock rules!
495: Television
494: Lou Reed
493: Joao Gilberto
492: The Used
491: Gypsy Summer 2003
490: The Lucksmiths
489: Maxi Priest & Shaggy
488: Chuck Berry
487: Summer Sonic
486: The redheaded stepchild makes good
485: Positive punk mom
484: Duran Duran
483: Unapologetically acoustic
482: Break and Remake
481: Ron Sexmith
480: Folk Implosion
479: The Brand New Heavies
478: The Blood Brothers
477: Eminem
476: The Kills
475: Jackson Browne
474: N.E.R.D.
473: Shred a tabloid, make music
472: Garage Redux
471: Bringing the jams east
470: Asian Dub Foundation
469: Badly Drawn Boy
468: Massive Attack
467: Teenage Fanclub
466: The All Wave Grrls
465: J. Mascis + the Fog
464: Catching up with Sonic Youth
463: Deep Forest
462: Magic Rockout
461: Jurassic 5
460: Snuff
459: Queens of the Stone Age
457/8: On the phone: The Jeevas
456: K-Ci & JoJo and The Roots
455: Sleater-Kinney
454: Beast Feast
453: Contrasts in young UK rock
452: Tahiti 80
451: Pink
450: The Artist (no longer) formerly known as..
449: Paul McCartney Previewed
447: Jamiroquai
446: On the phone: Taxiride
445: Bad Religion
444: Jennifer Love Hewitt
443: Camp in Asagiri Jam
442: The Cinematic Orchestra
441: On the phone: Moby
440: True People's Celebration
439: Roots Revival
438: The politics of sampling
437: Summer Sonic sampler
436: The Jazz Mandolin Project
435: Indie icons
434: Cato Salsa Experience
433: Get's Bossa Nova 2002
432: Janet Kay with Omar
431: Kottonmouth Kings
430: Bowes & Morley
429: Christina Milian
428: Elvis Costello
427: Space Kelly
426: Diana Krall
425: Jay-Z
424: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
423: The Brian Setzer Orchestra
422: Weezer
421: The Music
420: Lenny Kravitz
419: Speech
418: Tool
417: Green Day
416: Chuck Berry & James Brown
415: Ozomatli
414: Britney Spears
413: Music Mary J. Blige
412: Incubus
411: The Chemical Brothers
410: David Byrne
409: The Prodigy
408: Roger Walters
407: Ozzy Osbourne
406: Lisa Loeb
405: Aerosmith
404: Garbage
403: Sloan
402: Jamiriquoi
401: Park Tower Blues Festival
400: Mercury Rev
399: Bjork
398: The Isley Brothers
397: Janet Jackson
396: Ian Brown
395: Tortoise Orchestra
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel
392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana

By Dan Grunebaum

Phoenix
On their new disc, the French quartet doesn’t shy away from grandeur

Courtesy of Hostess Entertainment

It’s 11am in France when I reach Deck D’Arcy, bassist for French alt-rock group Phoenix, and he’s still rubbing the crust from his eyes after an all-nighter. D’Arcy (far left) and his bandmates have just arrived back from New York, where they became the first French outfit to appear on late-night comedy institution Saturday Night Live.

“To be honest, I just woke up,” he admits. “It was kind of incredible for a band like us. When we got invited, we couldn’t believe it, because the kind of artist that plays there is a lot bigger than us.”

The Saturday Night Live appearance was the opening salvo in the promotional campaign for the band’s new, monumentally titled album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. “We had this crazy idea in the middle of the process,” D’Arcy says with a laugh. “In the past, we’d used very elegant and precise names. This time we wanted to do something completely opposite.”

The first song on the album is a techno-tinged pop-rock opus called “Lisztomania.” Mozart, Liszt… is there some kind of theme developing here? “It’s not really about the music,” he says. “We like Liszt, but the song is about the phenomenon. Basically it’s talking about how he was the first rock star.”

“Lisztomania” sets the tone for an album that doesn’t so much take Phoenix in new directions as polish their alloy of rock, pop and electronica to a high sheen. “Fences” sets singer Thomas Mars’ high tenor—instantly recognizable since his work on the soundtrack for The Virgin Suicides—against a background of delicate pop rock. The two-part “Love Like a Sunset” is the disc’s most ambitious song, in which swelling ambient techno flourishes give way to a rock backbeat and, finally, acoustic guitars.

“We had all of those bits of music and wanted to create an epic song, like we did on the first album,” D’Arcy says. “It’s not easy to plan something like that and it took us a very long time, but in the end we were very satisfied.”

Phoenix’s sound and that of their countrymen Air are immediately identifiable and distinct from musical currents in the US and UK. Despite the fact that the musicians didn’t actually become friends until later on, this is no coincidence. “There are a bunch of artists that emerged from Versailles at the end of the ’90s,” D’Arcy says. “Versailles is such a boring place; there’s nothing to do. It’s very aristocratic and very conservative—maybe the most in France. So music is a way to escape. Air is also from Versailles, but we didn’t know those guys at the time. We met them much later, even though we’d been living in the same area for 20 years. We come from the same musical background, too: same tastes, same vision of music—of doing something very independently.”

Friends since their school days, D’Arcy, Mars and guitarists Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai were a budding My Bloody Valentine cover band until a TV show changed their trajectory. “One day we watched a program about [Beatles producer] George Martin, about the recording of my favorite album, Sgt. Pepper,” D’Arcy recalls. “It was a big revelation about what we wanted to do—putting layers on top of each other. It was really a big change.”

Since the beginning, Phoenix has always sung in English. “It was so natural,” says D’Arcy. “We never thought about singing in French. When you are 15, you want to imitate your idols, and they were Lou Reed, Iggy Pop—people that we thought were very cool. It got to be a problem when we were signed—they said we should sing in French. But it is hard to make French sound right.”

First coming to public attention with their 2000 debut United, Phoenix issued three albums for EMI before going independent for Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. “Fortunately, the deal ended,” D’Arcy sighs with noticeable relief. “We are so glad to leave a major company. We’ve always been very free artistically, but the rest was not. We actually created our own label, Loyauté, and released [the album] through it.

“It’s so much more fluid, and really cool to work with people that understand the content very well,” D’Arcy concludes. “It gives us a very free and exciting feeling.”

Phoenix plays Summer Sonic on Aug 7. See concert listings for details. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is available on Loyauté/V2/Hostess Entertainment.

Got something to say about this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.

Listen to the Metropolis Podcast, the coolest guide to what goes on this week in Tokyo.

Looking for international friends? Check Metropolis Friends now - it's 100% free!