While the French art pop duo Holden is well known in Europe and in South America (they're huge in Chile), Armelle Pioline's smokey vocals and Dominique Dépret's electric strum could be heard at quaint, intimate venues on their last trip to New York City. Holden played six times during the ten days the group was in town, and one of them was at Williamsburg's Euro outpost Zebulon.
Before You Press Play:
Hometown: Paris, France
The Facts: While in Dublin, Ireland, Armelle Pioline and Dominique Dépret (a.k.a. Mocke) formed Holden in 1997. As Pioline told Australia's Rave Magazine in 2008, "The first songs we wrote together were all in English (my English was much better back then …). In 1998 we got signed on a French label and went back home and decided to try to do something special in French, as personal as possible."
Three years after their 1998 debut, L'arrière-monde (Behind The World), signing to the French label Village Vert in 2000, Pioline and Dépret met German producer Señor Coconut (a.k.a. Atom, a.k.a. Uwe Schmidt), following his release of El Baile Alemán (an album of Kraftwerk covers), and fell into an affinity with his home-base Santiago, Chile. They've recorded three subsequent albums in the southern hemisphere under Coconut's gaze, including their latest 2009 album Fantômatisme.
The Sound: Holden records as a five-piece, with Pierre-Jean Grapin (drums), Evan Evans (clavier) and Richard Cousin (bass). But Holden played New York City in dynamic duo fashion. Pioline was poised with a melodica in waiting and procured the resident floor tom that is readily provided from the venue's drum kit. Check in at the 40:13 mark for her two-plus minute drum-fueled chansons that break out into a seemingly tribal tribute to Jimi Hendrix.
The set is nothing less than noisy, but the chatting crowd didn't stop Holden from experimenting. Over a four minute span, from 26:30 to 31:00, the chanteuse and chanteur filled the air with bleeps, clucks, whistles and electric squeeks sans vocals in the song C'est Pas Des Mots (It's Not The Words). Holden and the Zebulon crowd were a perfect match; you could almost smell the Parisian cigarette smoke fill the room.
Latest Release: Fantômatisme, (Village Vert), 2009.
He Said, She Said: "There are many different influences in their albums. The track "Madrid" where the guitar is clear and cold mixed with the Latin rhythm makes me think of Robert Smith who had composed a track on the Copacabana beach. For "Long Is My Descent"... I think the Doors a la Bossa Nova. The lyrics are particularly poignant, without ever lapsing into pathos... They have no barrier, and they mix styles with consummate skill." -- Serena Sobrero, Holly Folks
1. Je Dois M'en Aller
2. Dans La Glace
4. Sur Le Pave
6. C'est Pas Des Mois
7. Lointain A Moi
8. Des Demain
9. Les Animaux/Machine
10. La Saison
11. Rapproche - Le