The French Exit
Gig Seeker Pro

The French Exit


Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Mercury Lounge - 11/16/08"

"If Tonic was still open, the French Exit would be headlining Saturday nights there. Sadly, that was 2006 – a lot has happened in this city since. There's been a big buzz about this band lately, not just because of frontwoman Mia Wilson's cheekbones or the distant, offhandedly menacing allure she cultivates. Like the band before them, they kept the ever-growing crowd rapt throughout their set of long, hypnotic noir anthems that sometimes bordered on goth (but in a good way - like Joy Divison rather than Nine Inch Nails).

Drummer Bryan Sargent began with brushes, switched to sticks and by the end of the show was playing with mallets. Like Jim White of the Dirty Three, he's an uncommonly musical player: throughout the show, he wasn't content simply to keep time, sometimes pushing the numerous dynamic shifts, sometimes following them with deftly placed, counterintuitive accents. Henri Harps began on guitar, flavoring the songs with eerie, minimalistically twangy spaghetti western licks when he wasn't blasting out chords lush with reverb and distortion before switching to bass and then back again. Wilson began on piano, switched to acoustic guitar (battling all kinds of sonic difficulties that could have been fixed had the soundman known how to do it) and then went back to keys for the remainder of the set. Vocally, Cat Power is the obvious influence, except that Wilson sings completely without affectation – in other words, she sings, she doesn't seh-heng. Like the preceding band, the French Exit also have excellent lyrics. Wilson projects them with the same raw, wounded, vengeful authority as the great blueswomen of the 20s and 30s: she speaks to anyone who's ever been done wrong.

Their first two songs built from creepy, minor-key intros from Wilson's piano and then her guitar. The third song of the set was long and ominous over a repetitive three-chord descending progression: "I think I have seen this coming," was Wilson's lyrical mantra. They picked up the pace for a moment after that. "What I lack in speed I make up for in cruelty," Wilson warned, "I don't care what happens next, just don't sleep near me…I'm rejecting them before they get me."

A fast one in 6/8 maintained the bitter edge: "It was a slap in the face, can't believe that's what you dragged home after me," Wilson wailed, "See you've found yourself a true fan who loves you like a child." They closed with their best song, a magnificent new one titled Bad Sign that built to a towering, symphonic crescendo, Wilson expertly laying down layer after layer of piano and string synth loops as Sargent played big, beautiful cymbal splashes with his mallets. What a viscerally intense way to end what what's been the best week of concerts in New York all year long." - Lucid Culture

"The Top 20 NYC Concerts of 2008"

The Brixton Riot and The French Exit at Mercury Lounge, 11/16/08... a smoldering, evilly beautiful show by the Brooklyn noir trio. - Lucid Culture

"The Top 100 Songs of 2008"

66. The French Exit – Bad Sign
Slowly slinky noir cabaret meets goth meets Godspeed You Black Emperor on this ferocious new one by the excellent NYC underground rockers - Lucid Culture

"Band of the Week, August 2008"

Band of the Week, August 2008 - Stranded In Stereo

"The Local 269 - 5/13/09"

From there it was down to Local 269, the latest and predictably upscaled version of the old Meow Mix space. As good as Fernandez had been two hours earlier, the French Exit were the highlight of the night, their dark, murkily beautiful reverb guitar-and-keyboard sound absolutely impossible to turn away from. Henri Harps’ richly metallic washes of chords rang out over Mia Wilson’s understatedly ornate, anguished piano arpeggios, drummer Bryan Sargent’s subtle accents quietly and effectively maintaining the intensity. Their songs burned like a pine pitch torch, slow and smoky but inexorably blazing, Wilson’s soul-simmered, wounded vocals impressively clear in the mix. There’s a hypnotic feel to pretty much everything they do: after awhile, the songs become pretty much impossible to dissect because they draw you in so deeply. Wilson’s lyrics were characteristically savage: “No, this won’t hurt,” she sang with an almost gleeful sarcasm in a new one, Bones and Matches, pounding and ferociously insistent over a repetitive piano hook. “Let me in, let me in,” she implored on the following number. They closed with a towering, majestic, organ-fueled version of Bad Sign, which might be their signature song, building to an explosion of distorted organ and reverb guitar as the chorus kicked in. Are the French Exit the best live band in town? They’re unquestionably one of them. If the darkness calls to you, so will their songs. - Lucid Culture


- "Business" EP - July 2009
- Live from 92.1 WPTS, Pittsburgh, PA - March 2009



The French Exit are a New York City quartet formed in 2008. Consisting of Mia Wilson (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards), Henri Harps (Guitar), Johnny Lancia (Bass), and Bryan Sargent (Drums); the French Exit marries atmospheric compositions, intense and wounded lyrics, and hypnotic rhythms. Citing the influences of PJ Harvey, Joy Division, Nina Simone, Portishead, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and Sigur Ros, the band creates it's own brand of powerful, moody experimental rock.

In their brief existence, they have already performed such noted venues as the Mercury Lounge, Maxwell's, Piano's, and Garfield Artworks in Pittsburgh, PA. They have participated in the monthly Freestyle Music Series at the Cake Shop and the Make Music New York festival at Goodbye Blue Monday. They have also performed a live in-studio show for the University of Pittsburgh radio station, 92.1 WPTS.