Artist Spotlight: French 79

image from genius.com

image from genius.com

One of my favorite parts of finding new music is discovering it on a complete whim. Whether it is a random song playing on a playlist that you really like (Dizzy), a bite of sound from an Instagram or TikTok, or even a music video that autoplays accidentally on Youtube. And that last one brings us to this week’s artist, French 79.
French 79 is a relatively new artist who just started to make music in 2014. His first and only extended play, “Angel,” was released that year. After came a variety of singles: “Lovin’ feeling,” “Hush Hush,” “Golden Times” and “Diamond Veins.” Each of these came with a respective remix “EP”-ish release. These culminated in his first album “Olympic” in 2016, where all of the singles appeared.
After the album came a two song single release, “The Year After” in 2017. This was followed in 2019 by the singles “Hold On,” “Hometown” and “By Your Side.” 2019 concluded with his second album, “Joshua.” Since then he’s released a single song, a remix of “A Vibrant Touch Offfff,” back in September.
His sound has this very classic feel. Each song is its own individual voice without deviating too much from his style. His music has this very 80’s electronic feeling, without being too stuck in the decade. He makes it unique enough that it’s like New Order returned to make more music.
French 79 doesn’t just do electronic instrumentals, though. While it makes up a majority of his music, another part has lyrics. He has a few collaborations, with artist Sarah Rebecca and Kid Francescoli. Other than those four or so songs, he sings by himself.
And boy does he sing. I am an absolute sucker for airy vocals, and that’s exactly what he brings to the table. While he could use some improvement, I still feel his voice fits very well with his music.
And of course, into the top five.
‘Between the Buttons.” A slow, quiet start that slowly builds makes this a wonderful opener to “Olympic.” Then the sound cuts out for just a moment and this sick synth enters while keeping the higher end chromatics from the intro, mmm.
“After Party” sounds like standing on the porch outside after getting overwhelmed by a large crowd of people indoors while the muffled music blasts behind you. It adds more sound throughout and seems like it was pulled right out of the “TRON: Legacy” soundtrack.
“Louise and Thelma” starts with this very brassy synth before being joined by these 8-bit like chromatics. It feels like an old married couple who have lived together for a long time, and has kinda become disillusioned with each other yet still try to push on despite being at odds.
“Vertigo Valley” is really weird. It feels like it came straight from a ‘spooky’ level of super mario. I only found out later that it’s because it samples sounds from one of the Mario games, though I couldn’t find which one. It’s this fun looping wavy track that I just can’t seem to put down.
“Hometown” is another interesting case. It’s split between two songs, “Hometown (intro),” a piece with no vocals that slowly builds speed and intensity before transitioning into “Hometown,” which has French 79 for vocals. It has this moment of almost silence between them, where the only sound is a heartbeat. I can’t really pinpoint whether the song is about missing someone or missing the past, but I suppose that’s because I project my own feelings onto it. Overall, this is one of the best songs I’ve accidentally stumbled upon.
There were also a few new releases this week. Yung Gravy released the single “oops!” which feels like a 90’s throwback. Dizzy also released a new single, “This Must be The Place,” a Talking Heads cover which has a more experimental sound than their normal dream pop, without straying too far. Grandson released “Dirty,” a song encouraging people to vote while not following his usual darker music. Oh and Johnny Cash had a release, where his vocals were joined by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Duane Eddy.
Finally, Glass Animals added three songs to their deluxe album, stripped down renditions of the songs “Heat Waves,” “Your Love (Deja Vu)” and “Space Ghost Coast to Coast.”
That’s all for this week. As always, send feedback and criticism to [email protected] I’ll see you all in the next one.