while we’re at it: les rats

after the intro of the last post i do have to post at least one french rock band actually singing in french, right? and then there are more parallels: it’s the same period, i’m posting, well not their first LP, but their first EP and as an additional treasure a live tape. and i’ve seen them live, too – and it was a great evening, too. so let me introduce you to les rats. and in case you wonder: “rat” means the same in french as in english.

so what are the differences to les thugs? les rats are more punk rock. or rather rock punk – even quite a dose of rock ‘n’ roll you’ll hear. all delivered with punkish stamina, though. i would like to point out that the french underground scene was in the eighties, early nineties very open minded: musically people had hardly any reservations, it seemed. it could be punk, it could be psychobilly, it could be ska, it could be rock ‘n’ roll – all in one evening or on the same label. i do have the theory that french rockmusic in the eighties was more innocent – and in all its forms more rebellious since they did not really have a rock tradition like especially the u.k. and the u.s. (yes, there was téléphone and there is johnny halliday – but seriously…). so strange enough i always had the feeling that the french first did new wave (ha! l’age d’or – does anybody have some recordings to share?) and then punk rock and hardcore… and well, the whole (punk-) underground scene just seemed to have more humour then the english and germans and did not take themselves that seriously all the time (and they also avoided this division into “political punks” and “fun punks”). and the had much nicer record covers. loads of great comix artists.

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but back to les rats now. don’t be fooled by their rock ‘n roll rhythms and their tight play – the lyrics are actually rather gritty, describing sometimes even cynically the situation of the satellite towns of paris (where they came from). yeah, gangsta rap before its time – just without the bling bling…

so if you like your rock tight, rolling, and with a lot of pressure do have a listen!

first their first EP (not their first record, though) c’est bien parti pour ne pas s’arranger!!! the first song, paris s’éveille, is actually a jaques dutronc cover. ripped from vinyl@224, you can get it here.

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and now the little gem – not that i remember where i have it from (hey, i can not remember everything that happened back in the days…) – but it is a lot of fun: les rats en concert. obviously it came only out as a tape and has been recorded in 1989 in lyon. ripped@224, including not only a scan of the nice inlay, but also of the little booklet that came with it, you can get it here.

so not much more information i can give you about this band – obviously they do not think (yet) about re-uniting (what i did find out while researching was that parabellum still exist, though!). what i can give you is this link to a very nice fansite with biographical information about the band, videos (some of theme unreleased), mp3’s (to lure our american friends there: you’ll also find a pixies cover), a full discography (have a look at the covers!) and some more stuff. very nicely done indeed.

yeah – c’est bien parti! enjoy!

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