Les Punks: The French Connection

Remembering France's first wave of punk, which emerged after the Sex Pistols played Paris in 1976

Punk originated in the Anglosphere, but its youthful energy was hard to contain. In September 1976, the Sex Pistols played Paris; by 1980, France was blistered by its own wave of Gallic punk.

Les Punks: The French Connection gathers 19 obscurities from the earliest years of French punk. Ranging from 1977 to 1980, it takes in now little-known acts such as Asphalt Jungle, Marie et les Garçons, Guilty Razors, Les Dogs and Metal Urbain.

The compilation comes with an extensive booklet that features interviews with many of the scene's key players, along with seldom-seen photography of their works.

It also delves deeper into the movement's genuine connection with France. It is hardly shocking that a country famed for revolution and protest would embrace punk's rebellious call-to-arms. What is perhaps more surprising is how extensively American and British punk drew upon France's artistic clout. Bands were inspired Voltaire and Rimbaud, surrealism and situationism. The neo-Dadaist Parisian art collective Bazooka influenced Jamie Reed and the Sex Pistols, and in return created art in response to the music of its time.

Les Punks is the seventh compilation Soul Jazz Records' Punk 45 series. Previously volumes have looked at UK and US underground bands, proto-punk and the distinct scenes of L.A., Cleveland and Akron. It is available in double LP, CD pack and digital forms.