Archive for the ‘les thugs’ Category

insert: les thugs

February 11, 2008

it really is overdue: time to post some dirty guitars!

the singer of french pop band les rita mitsouko had back in the days this theory that the french can not play rock – the language supposedly does not fit harder music and therefore it would always sound ridicioulus. yeah, quelle conne. especially since in the eighties there was a huge number of really great harder bands coming out of france: from more ska influenced to their unique brand of actually funny punk to hardcore to dirty rock. ironically today i would like to present you one of the few french bands that mainly sung in english: les thugs.

first: the name refers to the followers of a cult of indien goddess kali and has been inspired by…errr…a micky mouse story.

second: their music is way too often called hardcore, psychedelic hardcore, or that really ugly name “melodic hardcore” – well, i think it is just really good, dirty garage rock that learned how to be fast and short from hardcore. but they are just not trashy enough. i mean, they have melodies and actually sing, you know, with harmonies. but that maybe just shows that i did not listen to that much hardcore or only to the really sick “someone screaming out her / his lungs over totally crass noise” kind of stuff…

i guess les thugs are the internationally best known french underground rock band of the eighties / nineties. this is certainly partly due to the fact of singing english and certainly also because their records not only have been published in the united states, but published by the label sub pop (except for one record that has been published by jello biafra‘s alternative tentacles, i believe). additionally they have also worked together with a certain mister albini, which brought them even wider attention.

i exactly liked them for their hardcore and punk energy mixed with a more, hm, musical approach. and i think their records are still really good. what i always found interesting is that they mixed the voices quite in the back, giving the music in my opinion a slightly darker touch. and well, they were always proving to have a good eye for a cool visual represantion (i.e. they have great covers). something they shared with the french band dazibao (where some members played before being with les thugs). and yes, i’ve seen them live – and oh yeah, that was a good evening.

which brings us to the here and now: les thugs will play a couple of concerts again after years of absence. they have been asked to participate in the 20 years of sub pop festivities and will therefore play in seattle in july. so would somebody please tape that for me? or even better: send her / his jet over to pick me up, huh? and for everybody being in france this summer: they will also play a couple of gigs there – more infos should be soon on their website.


time for the music: how about some radical hystery? if you would like to listen to their first lp of that title, you can get it here. ripped from vinyl@224 with a lot of scans (cover and inside cover) included.

“How could we ignore
The world we’re livin’ in
When we feel the hate
And danger round the corner

And to survive
here is what we need:


and here the video to the opener of that record, never get older:

hey, where are you going? we’re not finished yet!

i do have a little surprise still waiting. to give you a better idea of how they sounded live i propose you some…les thugs live!


this comes off a tape that has been distributed together with a special edition of the french fanzine le légume du jour (the vegetable of the day) dedicated to les thugs. it is three parts: part one from a concert in may 1988 in clermond fd, part two a couple of songs from capsul rock in june 1988 and part three is an interview with the band (in french, though). ripped at the ridiculous bitrate of 224, the file includes also the inlay of the tape and the certificate that this has been a limited edition of 200 copies (they did later reprint another 300, though). get it here.

so for more information i gave you the link of their official page above. here a very informative fansite, and here their sup pop site.

not enough? well, les thugs were on a couple of samplers, too. most famously on the tribute to dead kennedies – sampler. but i would like you to propose a sampler of the french label closer, which also published les thugs – and a wide range of other interesting french rock bands. so go and have a look over at eternally yours.

and if you still have not enough, and if you are closer to garage rock then hardcore and appreciate also the stranger stuff, then it is finally time that i direct you to the twilightzone! an excellent blog for all things garage, beat, surf and so on and the generally obscure in these and affiliated genres. highly recommended! and you just have to love a blog that uses “rideyourpony” as a password…

so – that should be now really enough for the moment. and don’t forget: what you need is RADICAL HYSTERY!