Strasbourg (pop. 270.000) is a lovely touristic city in eastern France. But not only geraniums* are flourishing there: it’s also known for its broad panel of independent noisy bands.
Some of these bands already reached an intermediate status, out of the underground stricto sensu but still far away from the mainstream. Electric Electric, an “epileptic dancing noise” trio, is a good example. They signed on a well-respected label (Africantape –check it out!), toured in the UK, Germany and Russia, and play big venues. They count now among the most important bands of France’s independent scene (among Pneu, Marvin, Papier Tigre).
A few emerging bands, forming the very active October Tone collective (100%Chevalier, Hermetic Delight, Amor Blitz, …), are also following the way of a higher professionalization. Their goal is to establish themselves in the new french scene and to create their own jobs within the collective. But for the moment the most of them are doing alimentary jobs to be able to pay their rent and bills. And touring as much as they can to promote their music and build up their network.
Some bands, mostly around the label Maison de retraite, the rehearsal/art space Socopof and the collective “La grande triple alliance internationale de l’Est” (Ventre de biche, Sida, Télédétente 666), made the choice of staying as close as possible of the DIY ethics. Their dirty sound, influenced by noiserock, psychedelic and industrial music, is quite easy to recognize, mixing distortion, french lyrics and drum machines.
The Strasbourg scene feels concerned about the difficulties to find locations for shows. It has always been a matter in the city and it looks like it’s not going to be better in the near future as a nice venue might close because of financial difficulties. Komakino, one of Strasbourg’s biggest promoters for post-punk, noiserock and mathrock, started a political struggle with the mayor to obtain the creation of a new venue. The dialogue is on standby for the moment. So the promoters and bands refusing to give-up organize most of their shows in galeries, flats and rehearsal spaces.
*Geranium is a decorative flower present on almost all balconies of the region. (It’s also a crust-punk band turning this symbol into derision).
A mixtape with some bands from Strasbourg (most of them have been evoked above) for you right here.