Members: Anthony Gonzalez - vocals, synthesizers, guitar Loïc Maurin - drums Ian Young - saxophone Jordan Lawlor - multi-instrumentalist
Biography: M83 is a band from Antibes, France. The project first began when Anthony Gonzalez recruited his friend Nicolas Fromageau, with whom he had previously been in a post-rock band with, to make synth-based music. Together, they released their first album, the primarily instrumental M83, in 2001. However, the band didn’t garner much attention until they released their critically acclaimed second album, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts in 2003. Shortly after the band’s tour behind the album, though, Fromageau left the behind, leaving Gonzalez as the band’s primary member. The band’s next albums included 2005’s Before the Dawn Heals Us, whose singles “Don’t Save Us From the Flames” and “Teen Angst” were mild successes in the UK, followed by 2007’s more ambient Digital Shades Vol. 1. Both albums faced similar levels of critical acclaim.
Their next album, 2008’s Saturdays = Youth, was their first taste of commercial success and also featured significant contributions from vocalist/keyboardist Morgan Kibby (who recently left the band) and drummer Loïc Maurin. The band’s biggest success, though, came with 2011’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, a double album inspired by the ambitiousness of albums like Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The album was a global hit, driven in large part by the success of its single “Midnight City”. Since then, the band has released two soundtracks for Oblivion and You and the Night, the latter of which was directed by Yann Gonzalez, Anthony’s brother. In 2016, the group has announced several festival dates and will be presumably releasing their seventh album.
Major Discography: M83 (2001) Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (2003) Before the Dawn Heals Us (2005) Saturdays = Youth (2008) Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (2011)
Sounds Like Genre: Electronic, Synthpop, Shoegaze Similar Artists: Caribou, Beach House, The Naked and Famous, Susanne Sundfør, Röyksopp, Wild Nothing Similar Bonnaroo Artists: CHVRCHES, Daughter, Oh Wonder
Physical Reaction/Live Show As you’d probably guess for an electronic act with shoegaze leanings, M83’s shows hit a middle point between dancey and dreamy, with appropriately moody lights to accompany them. On the whole, though, the live effect of the songs can be pretty varied - “We Own the Sky” live sounds at times like an arena rock song, and “Couleurs”, probably the best song in M83’s live arsenal, becomes an unrestrained ten minute disco banger. The band’s live sound will likely be different this year now that Morgan Kibby has sadly left the band to focus on her own (very good!) solo work, but I imagine the pure fun, emotion, and spectacle of M83’s shows will still be there.
Personal Notes M83 is one of the bands I’m most excited to see this year. I saw part of their set at Lollapalooza 2012, but the crowd was enormous and for some reason the band sounded especially quiet. I ducked out halfway through to get a good spot for Black Sabbath (which, in the end, was probably a good decision). Looking back on the live videos now is only building the anticipation for me; while watching even a low quality video of “Intro” being performed at Coachella I started tearing up. M83’s earnest ambition can come across as corny, but Anthony Gonzales knows how to pull on your heartstrings in the biggest, brightest, maybe almost in-your-face way possible. I’ve been waiting four years for M83’s return. I’m already anticipating the sheer joy of screaming out “The city is my church!!” at the top of my lungs in the dark at the farm, and I can’t wait.
Last week was a big week for M83! They announced that their new album, Junk, is coming out April 8, giving you plenty of time to digest it before Bonnaroo. Here's the first single, "Do It, Try It". Its reception has been pretty divisive. On this board, some people hate it and some (including me) love it. It's got an piano riff that evokes honky tonk and house music, slap bass on the second verse, and vocals that remind of Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos in parts. However, it still retains M83's characteristic dreaminess, and it's at least worth sticking around for the song's final chorus.
In addition, Morgan Kibby's replacement has been found for the band's upcoming tour. Her name is Kaela Sinclair, she's currently based in Dallas, and released an album, Sun & Mirror, in 2013 that featured collaborations with members of The Polyphonic Spree and Midlake. She's planning on releasing another album this spring. Here's her song "Original Sin":