THE FRENCH SEMESTER
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THE FRENCH SEMESTER

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"Sweden"

"The French Semester does not have direct access to France, but it is a damn cool band name nonetheless. They have relationships with several other corners of our planet, with an Indian singer, an English drummer, a Vietnamese bass and a Mexican on percussion. Despite that ruling, the band has not left longterm the Los Angeles city limits. With a couple of EP and a relatively fresh debut album in the back, The French Semester so far only created buzz on a local level, and understood in the underground indie circles. The French Semester plays pop and SONGFUL lo-fi, which often take notice of the band members' multicultural heritage, it is nevertheless the British Popper and California slush that makes itself most known. Debut Album Open Letter To The Disappeared were a completely good first releasing, with the findings of Winter Song and Arrowheadings. But it is with the recently released EP: The Future Of Boxing as the band's true capabilities will be felt. I am totally in love with the song Fourteen and highly impressed by Modest Mouse-inspired The East Man. Another band to keep an eye on!" - Music Blogg


"Los Angeles I"

"Allow me to be the first to proclaim that I am an absolute boob for not writing about The French Semester sooner. Their feel good throw back rock tunes seem like the perfect soundtrack to a summer night down at the beach. I fell in love with their track "The East Man" which displays a perfect blend of pensive angst and classic indie rock tunes a la Cat Power and Modest Mouse. You can check it out on the band's myspace page...........The French Semester recently released a new EP - The Future Of Boxing and will be heading out on a short West Coast tour in August playing everything from taverns to garages. Go see them when they play a town near you!" - Rock Insider


"UK"

"A collection of U.S. garage band reworkings of UK indie melodies c.1990, this long-player from THE FRENCH SEMESTER is a downbeat delight. Though California-based, with a sound that reflects their location, the band members hail from anywhere but. Named after the Parisian studies of New York Indian Riaz Tejani, the group also boasts an English drummer in Mark Bullivant as well as a Mexican percussionist and Vietnamese bass player. The surf is never far from the jam either. It's here upon the shifting sands of retro beach that this international collective unleash their makeshift harmonies, borrowing increasingly from the Slowdive-era shoegazers' past. As their dreamy, out-of-focus slacker soundtrack begins to unfold, single release 'Arrowheadings' blazes a trail Sarah-records style, the absent-minded melody wound around some messy yet alluring percussion. 'Your Master Plan' is delightfully shambolic and stripped utterly free of cut-throat ambition. Snare driven and bass repetitive, the diluted thread of electric guitar carries the understated melody alone. Elsewhere, the D.I.Y. three-chord power of sub-pop classic 'The Red, The Black & The Blue' loops out into cosmic realms, but always reverts to its' shaky beginnings and simplistic appeal. Lyrically, this is either surreal or out to subvert, with Tejani's misfiring lines often resembling word association as you dip below the superficial in order to translate meaning from his detached monotone. 'Paradise' is the album's thumping heartbeat. Distracted bassline and DIY handclaps taking you on to the distant tambourine rattles of 'Don't Be A Magistrate'. 'Open Letter To The Disappeared' is like innocence recalled, especially to a disillusioned thirtysomething like me. The long-forgotten places from where it draws inspiration are rejuvenated in sparkling style. The results are deliciously vacant. Get a listen!"
- Whisperin and Hollerin


"San Francisco I"

"The French Semester draws inspiration from the masters of melodic infection, most notably Guided By Voices and early Of Montreal. Open Letter to the Disappeared is allied with frolicking male vocal harmonies and strummy electric guitar sunsets. The lyrics linger with a subtle lip of reverb, pointed choruses and longing poetry. The Los Angeles foursome tinkers with lo-fi and twee pop to craft an album that's joyful and playful, as well as matured and inspired. A major culprit for its listenability is singer Riaz Tejani's confident, deeper-toned vocals. His pitch never strains, but commands boldly over the thick fuzz, guiding the instruments as opposed to the opposite. "Summer Face," the debut's centerpiece, is an effortless song, smug with an apathetic attitude and sweeping vocals that bridge the melody both deliberately and lazily - an apt quality laced throughout the album. On the track, the imposingly rich-voiced Tejani sings, "But when you get back, I'll dry you / And I will speak your tongue smoothly / And I will be strong / Now you're a humanitarian / But I will eat you someday." Aside from the abnormal imagery, this is the song that will have the listener reaching for the repeat button and asking friends for the tracklist. The French Semester doesn't just employ a well-suited singer - its musicians are also notably adept at placing just the right kind of emphasis on their instruments. Things like Riaz Tejani's guitar solos and Bryan Sullivan's keys stride with the tempo; they don't intimidate or preach — they groove. It's clear the band has the competency to take its major key melody-driven rock into shoegaze territory, but opts for punchy character instead, protecting the album from pretentiousness. With an enduring carefree/ beach-weather feel and the occasional reference to the ocean floating throughout its lyrics, Open Letter... possesses an undeniable self-awareness that allows the band to drive home the point while being understated, catchy and nostalgic all at once." - West Coast Performer


"Italy"

"Welcome to the most interesting folk sensation of the month. Welcome to the best indie Myspace band of this very minute. Sacred songs near the borders of a jarring note somewhere; a multicultural artistic band whose lead singer has Indian blood, the percussionist is Mexican, the drummer comes from England and the bass player comes from Vietnam. A never-ending hymn, breezy, poppy and distorted, that reminds you of Neutral Milk Hotel or post grunge, only a bit sweeter like early Marcy Playground stuff. And by the end of the day your beard will have grown ..in, believe me. American to the bone, filthy from the dust raised from a little imaginary van filled up with flowers and love that the band travels in, reaching your brain and your ears. Simple chords and a very lo-fi sound which scratches the lowest part of reality. Nice songs, good to tell the people that you just discovered a really interesting band. Pop art, some indie rock elements, and light shoegazer vibes. They're all inside this record, inside the most fascinating musical colour of this Friday." - Indie For Bunnies


"Spain"

"Time today for a pleasant surprise that comes from California, the debut of The French Semester, a band whose members have different places of origin which has managed to combine within fifteen tracks on this disc that sounds pop with other strands such as shoegaze or Lo-fi. Always a delight for those keeping up, since their pleasant melodies are accompanied in all subjects for a few sounds of guitars that, while always present in the foreground, never strident, and the solos are almost elementary. The group claims to be a fan of a lot of groups, although I fall more between Guided by Voices, Built to Spill, and even at times recall details of Sebadoh or even Weezer. The disc listens quite well, because despite its fifteen items its quite short and there are hardly any issues that distract too. For those who go to the point, I strongly recommend a few: Arrowheadings, which accompanied the video is the best, a perfect sample of Pop: bright and sunny; Subway to the sky has a wavelength slightly more Power-Pop, as well as your master plan . Winter song seems a tribute to Guided by Voices, and it was the best of times; The Red the Black & the Blue is another very inspired one; A Singularity has a clear influence of Olivia Tremor Control; and when it appears that the album appears to close, How Do We Act, shuts so bright, with a chorus riff and a simple structure that make it highly recommended. As you can tell, a good disc, quite simple and nothing pretentious. Recommendable." - Bluejayway


"Los Angeles II"

"The French Semester had just begun when I walked in. I've noticed a bit of buzz around this band recently, but have repeatedly failed to see their sets as they often go on first. So Tuesday, I was glad to give their very pretty indie-pop a chance, and I was impressed.
The four band members are from all over the planet and their World Music knowledge is evident in the clever, hook-laden melodies and nice, thoughtful, conversational lyrics. They list some really wonderful influences on their myspace page from The Hollies to Pavement and you hear in their mix of lyrical shoe-gaze. I especially like their number titled "Winter Song". Beautiful. I'm glad they settled in Los Angeles." - Feed Your Head


"San Francisco II"

"The French Semester . . . were outstanding. Crisp, tight, and energetic. The latest record, Open Letter to the Disappeared, is a solid collection of lo-fi, laconic pop that reminded me of their fellow LA bands Irving and (Irving spin-off) Sea Wolf (now with a song in a car commercial!). The theme of the night (for me) was cool instruments, and bassist Gil Disloquez's Hofner bass (strung for his left-handed playing...just like Paul!) made me want one of my own." - I Was Happy in the Haze of a Drunken Hour


"Portland"

"[T]he French Semester visits from LA, with laconic, loose-lipped rock tunes that'll make you feel like ditching last period for a smoke in the bathroom." - Portland Mercury


Discography

Forces Afield EP
(self, 2009)
KROQ LO Airplay:
"Whats in the Bag?"

Good Friends Only I Could See (self, 2009)

The Future of Boxing EP (self, 2008)
College/Web airplay:
2. Fourteen
5. The East Man

Open Letter to the Disappeared (album, BYM80050CD, 2008)
KROQ LO Airplay:
1. Arrowheadings
2. Your Master Plan

Tossed By the Waves She Does Not Sink EP (self, 2007)
Radio Play
1. Arrowheadings v. 1

Photos

Bio

The French Semester is a five gun salute to the foreign and the familiar. Five friends from LA bonded by an insistence on analog grooves and live instrumentation for a new musical pop-art thats always changing. Raised on the baroque of late 60's folk acts like the Left Banke, macabre 80's dreampop of the Rain Parade, and the DIY 90's esprit de corps of Guided By Voices, the band has been hailed for charting its own path amid a flood of garage, alt-country, and synth-rock repeaters. At the core is an almost obsessive songcraft with a heavy premium on lyrical impressionism: "we all are passerbys, thinking we all are bastards/ born in a village, faces with the city lights in them." The songs tell of dusty Third World goodbyes, and sanctuary in the human and urban landscapes of Europe and America. Forged from diverse experience in homelands afield such as Vietnam, India, and the Phillipines, the various members embrace and deliver their message like carrier pigeons sent to remind you that 'we're not so different all of us'. All the while, burying the hook in a smooth, ear-pleasing live set that usually ends in a flurry of dancing bodies. The French Semester is Riaz Tejani, Gil Disloquez, Charles Maxey, Elaine Bagorio, and Russ Quintana. They recently toured France and Spain, and will be supporting the release of the 'Forces Afield' E.P through December and January. For inquiries please contact pianomanagement@live.com .