Some may view The Penelopes’ chill room cover of The Beastie Boys’ rap-rock classic “Sabotage” as sacrilege. But the French dance-rock duo says their downtempo, atmospheric overhaul embodies their fearless approach to track making. And if you don’t buy that, just blame it on the weed.
“We like to be surprised and we like to surprise people too,” says Axel Basquiat from his home in southern France. “And we wanted to make something more stoney. We smoke a lot of joints. We wanted to do something very slow, very strange for us. We wanted a new interpretation of it.”
Basquiat and his electro-pop partner, Vincent T, are the latest to emerge from Paris’ digital renaissance—an inspiring movement that’s given the electronic music world Justice, Air, Daft Punk, and Sébastien Tellier, among others. The duo’s U.S. debut, Priceless Concrete Echoes, produced by Black Strobe’s Arnaud Rebotini, is a melodic mix of New Orderish dance rock, disco, pop, shoegaze and the sexy synth-wave purveyed by their fellow Francophiles.
“When we have an idea, we follow the idea to the end. It’s also the sophistication of the music. It’s not rock. French music is very sophisticated. We try to keep that in our minds to be demanding and to be strange and unique.”
I'm a journalist who's covered news, mayhem, hacks, gender-bending killers, rock stars and tragedy, among other things, for the Boston Herald since 1999. I also write for DigBoston.com, SocietePerrier.com, Esquire.com and Lambgoat.com and have been a contributor to Revolver and Boston magazine. My first book, called "Boston Strong" (with co-author Casey Sherman), will tell the incredible stories of heroism and survival at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. It will be out in fall 2014.