10 French Bands that Everyone Should Know

As far as French bands go, well, pretty much everyone’s familiar with the likes of Daft Punk and Air and Justice (whose new album is out this week). But that’s not all there is to French music, y’know. The country has given rise to a number of fascinating musical movements over the years, from the modern chanson of the 1960s through the coldwave of the 1980s (check out this excellent compilation if that genre interests you, by the way) and the more recent explosion of French dance music. We’ve put together a list of 10 less well-known French artists who we reckon everyone should know after the jump. (This list focuses on contemporary bands, by the way — i.e. artists who’ve been active over the last 10 to 15 years — which is why we haven’t included Serge Gainsbourg, Barbara, Françoise Hardy et al. Just saying.)

Françoiz Breut

Somewhat under-appreciated even in her native land, this Parisian singer-songwriter decamped to Belgium some years back, and is now based in Brussels. Her first musical exposure came as backing singer for former paramour Dominique A, who also wrote much of her first solo album and has been a regular collaborator over the years. She’s slowly proven herself a fine songwriter in her own right, however, and the quality of her unique, evocative voice has never been in doubt. Fun fact: she’s also an illustrator of children’s books (you can see some of her work here).