On the 'phone

As part of Francophone Week, The French Institute in London is hosting a free gig - Francophonix - featuring three French-language talents: former Saïan Supa Crew rapper Féfé (this is his first London show), electro-chanteuse Anne B, and R&B fusionist Maro Bamako. It kicks off at 7pm on 17 March and attendance is on a first come, first served basis.

A Hardy Rain's A-Gonna Fall

Françoise Hardy's new album, 'Parapluie Sans Pluie' is out at the end of March, and features contrubutions from Fouxi (who Hardy apparently found on MySpace), Jean-Louis Murat, Arthur H and others. It's being touted as a return to form but Hardy's latter work has rarely lacked dignity or poise. Lead single  'Noir Sur Blanc' is wistful and rather touching.

Daft Punk'd?

Feverish anticipation of Daft Punk's 'Tron Legacy' soundtrack appears to be inducing auditory hallucinations. The first 'leaked' track, 'Fragile' has now been de-bunked but a new, 12-minute track called 'The Crash' is being touted as the real deal - or otherwise impressive work in any case. Are producers who can't wait to hear the finished article choosing to produce their own fantasy Tron-inspired Daft Punk tracks? And will they prove to be better than the real thing?

New Double U

The new album from Rockfort favourite Frank Rabeyrolles under his Double U alias (aka Franklin - read our review here) will be distributed in the UK by Shellshock. Titled 'Pineapple Dream', the 14-track album features a collaboration with Stereolab/Monade's Laetitia Sadier ('Interludic') and is set for a late-March/early-April release. It will also appear in France on Rabeyrolles' own Wool Recordings in April.

All Things Brighton Beautiful

Three Brighton venues - the Freebutt, The Basement and the Duke of York's Picturehouse - will play host to the Vive la France! (ok, not a startlingly original name...) music festival from 21-23 Jan, which has been organised by local promoters Melting Vinyl. With nights themed around electro-pop, chanson and folk, the event features Naïve New Beaters, Fortune, François and the Atlas Mountains, Marina Celeste, Etienne Jaumet, Minuscule Hey and Coming Soon. For more information, go here.

Solaar Powered Re-Up

MC Solaar, who prior to French Touch was one of the only French artists that anyone outside France had heard of, is making a UK comeback with his first London shows in five years at the Jazz Cafe on 8 and 9 January. He will be accompanied by a DJ and backing vocalists. STOP PRESS: A date has been added on the 10 January as well due to 'phenomenal' demand.

Trans for the Memories

This week (8 Dec) Rockfort presents a show recorded in situ at this year’s Transmusicales Festival in Rennes, which took place from 2-5 December. The show features three French-language interviews with artists who are presently, or have in the past, been based in Rennes: Complot (who started out as Complot Brunswick at the beginning of the 80s), 69 (featuring former members of 90s rockers Sloy) and Del Cielo.

Amadou and Mariam Tickets to Win!

Rockfort is giving away a pair of tickets to Amadou and Mariam's show at the (ehem) HMV Forum on 3 December. Winners will be picked from a hat, just send an email to us here, with 'Amadou and Mariam Tickets' in the subject field no later than noon on 2 December. In other news, the Malian duo have also been selected by Matt Groening to appear at the All Tomorrow's Parties he is curating in May 2010.

John and Jehn Expand

As previously mooted in our interview here, Le Prince Miiaou (aka Maud-Élisa Mandeau) has joined John and Jehn as a touring guitarist, bassist and keyboard player. Another musician, known only as Ralph for now, has also been welcome into the fold, on drumming duties. The expanded band play their first show together on 26 November at the Zenith in Paris, according to the group's blog.

Gigs Ahoy!

French girls are invading London next week - on Tuesday 17, Plastiscines are playing the Camden Barfly in support of their new single 'Barcelona' and then Montreal sensation Coeur de Pirate is at the Luminaire the following night. The latter's eponymous album is currently available in the UK on Blue Wrasse.