21st Century French Undreground

Splash Four 1998 Fireside Bowl by Canderson
Splash Four 1998 Fireside Bowl by Canderson
posted Wednesday May 31st, 2006

Fast forward to the early 90s and it's evident that a few clusters of people started up bands (The notorious "Happy Family" as they've been known to be called) based in the 60s/70s punk spirit, and eventually got the underground to perk up with excitement. People like the Splash Four, Squares, Steve & The Jerks, No Talents, TV Killers, Crash Normal and Thundercrack all emerged on serious garage labels all over the place, and a few even got to tour the States. Their instant appeal was undeniable and their impeccable taste in painfully obscure American and European punk was downright intimidating. As the Art Chantry sleeves piled up and the 90s came to a close, most of the bands seemed to go dormant and things started changing in a very odd and wonderful way. It got quiet, release-wise, but a simple deconstruction of the rock'n roll machine is always the sign of some new sort of beginning, and when Lili Zeller of the Splash Four started releasing her living room recordings (on both a 7" and 10") featuring a drum machine (gasp!) behind her searing guitar lines, something definitely was afoot. Crash Normal had already shared a split 7" with the Splash Four and their bizarre and beautiful noise, coupled with what was starting to happen in all those remote living rooms was just going to snowball from there on out.

Soon after, Jack, Lili and FX re-emerged as VOLT, and literally broke through with a revolutionary approach to lo-fi punk music incorporating electronics, razzing guitar, and alien-sounding drums, all layers-thick with bizarre effects and erratic thick accented vocals. They released an extremely unorthodox 12" EP and eventually were scooped up by the golden ear of Larry Hardy at In The Red. About the time Royal Records (now actively Polly Maggoo Records) was releasing their hopelessly obscure A-Frames 7" the network of bedroom recordings were already in full swing and new and frightfully fresh-sounding 'bands' sprung up in apartments all over the country, mostly sharing key members, but reaching out in all new directions.. As of this writing, there are new French underground hits popping up each week, and there honestly hasn't been a national fever like this since the Japanese punk explosion of the 1990s. Bands that take the noisy boundaries of rock'n roll and scorch them to eternity like the Fatals on Nasty Product to the sublime and disturbing Suicide-drone of the Electric Guitars, to the oddly-pleasing-in-ways-you-never-imagined sound of Cheveu, there's gonna be something to fit every degenerate lifestyle. For the latest in underground recordings, hot off the press, be sure to explore the site of Phil Scrotum Productions for a mind-blowing visual and sonic experience that is sure to boggle your brain in a very satisfying way. An excellent new compilation LP called Tete de Bebe on S-S Records has just hit the shelves and is a great place to start your French re-education, for those who enjoy the vinyl experience. We at Victim of Time have done a major portion of the legwork for you and have provided a large, yet still incomplete list of links to these new great pioneers of the Glue Wave of French bands, most of which allow free downloads, and video clips as well. If you decide to keep up, you'll find an almost daily crop of new stuff all the time, and that's a sure sign of a real musical phenomenon in the works.

FRENCH 21st Century Band Directory:


A.H. Kraken


Anteenagers MC

Thee Bastouns


Les Bellas

Black Cats


Bosom Divine (and The Vomits)




Crack und Ultra Eczema

Crash Normal


Dead Clodettes

Death To Pigs

Les Deux Larmes

Electric Guitars



El Vicio

Elvis' Corpse Revisited




Flytrap ....live video here





Les Hulks

Kung Fu Escalator

La Honte du Village

Lawrence Wasser

Le Singe Blanc

Le Sport


Mighty GoGo Players

Mil Mascaras


Preussisk Grävling Klubb



Sonic Chicken 4


Squeletor Papa

Ta Mere

Kania Tieffer

Toxic Farmers

Thee Verduns

VOLTmore VOLT video here

the Weakends

the Wild Bud

..............................WEIRD Links of Interest:

Normal TV

La Grande Triple Alliance Internationnale de L'est

Phil Scrotum Productions

SDZ Records

Byteburger Records

Tes Fesses Records

Unrecording Records

Thank you to Jack Amsellem for all the help!