Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

FRENCH TV

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

French TV picture
French TV biography
This fun band comes from Louisville (Kentucky) and has existed since 1983. Led by the leadership of bassist Mike Sary, FRENCH TV has released 7 albums of music for musicians, deftly nodding to prog-masters like NATIONAL HEALTH, SOFT MACHINE, ZAPPA, BRUDFORD, BRAND X, HAPPY THE MAN, and SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA, among others. To describe French TV's music is simple and complicated ... All the band's other issues contain moving moments; a hybrid of Canterbury, RIO, Fusion, and Insanity, not to mention random little snippets of other styles.

"The Violence of Amateurs" is one of the best jazz-rock album of the last ten years. This is somtething that should easily appeal to fans of Canterbury, Fusion or even the more minded symph fan. On the whole, the music on "The Case Against Art" represents a very innovative manifestation of Classic Symphonic Progressive with the elements of Jazz-Fusion and Prog-Metal.

French TV official website

FRENCH TV MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

FRENCH TV forum topics / tours, shows & news


FRENCH TV forum topics Create a topic now
FRENCH TV tours, shows & news Post an entries now

FRENCH TV Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to FRENCH TV

Buy FRENCH TV Music


Virtue In FutilityVirtue In Futility
Pretentious Dinosaur Records
Audio CD$19.25
$7.59 (used)
I Forgive You For All My UnhappinessI Forgive You For All My Unhappiness
Pretentious Dinosaur Records
Audio CD$19.99
$94.24 (used)
This Is What We DoThis Is What We Do
Pretentious Dinosaur Records
Audio CD$14.89
$2.97 (used)
Pardon Our French ! by FRENCH TVPardon Our French ! by FRENCH TV
Pretentious Dinosaur Records
Audio CD$81.29
Virtue In Futility by FRENCH TV (0100-01-01)Virtue In Futility by FRENCH TV (0100-01-01)
Pretentious Dinosaur Records
Audio CD$62.07
French TV by FRENCH TV (0100-01-01)French TV by FRENCH TV (0100-01-01)
Pretentious Dinosaur Records
Audio CD$51.73
Pardon Our French !Pardon Our French !
Pretentious Dinosaur Records
Audio CD$19.25
$14.90 (used)
Intestinal FortitudeIntestinal Fortitude
Pretentious Dinosaur Records
Audio CD$19.25
$15.98 (used)
French TVFrench TV
Pretentious Dinosaur Records
Audio CD$19.25
Right Now on Ebay (logo)

More places to buy FRENCH TV music online Buy FRENCH TV & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
FRENCH TV has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

FRENCH TV discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FRENCH TV top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 25 ratings
French TV
1984
3.51 | 25 ratings
After A Lengthly Silence
1987
3.87 | 26 ratings
Virtue In Futility
1994
3.44 | 23 ratings
Intestinal Fortitude
1995
4.20 | 76 ratings
The Violence Of Amateurs
1999
3.33 | 28 ratings
The Case Against Art
2002
4.09 | 29 ratings
Pardon Our French
2004
4.25 | 31 ratings
This Is What We Do
2006
3.98 | 32 ratings
I Forgive You For All My Unhappiness
2010
3.82 | 27 ratings
Ambassadors of Good Health and Clean Living
2016

FRENCH TV Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.78 | 9 ratings
You-Hoo!!! French TV Live
1997

FRENCH TV Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FRENCH TV Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FRENCH TV Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

FRENCH TV Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Violence Of Amateurs by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.20 | 76 ratings

BUY
The Violence Of Amateurs
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mike Sary's avant-prog unit offer up a gateway drug both to their own discography and to the wilder side of prog in general, walking a fine tightrope. Had they been a bit more harsh, challenging, and obtuse with their experimentalism, they'd have turned off listeners used to calmer brands of prog; had they spent more time offering the pastoral prog and Muffins-y Canterbury fusion material which forms the more accessible component of their sound, they'd have turned off those who want something different and unusual. As it stands, they manage the balancing act adeptly, producing an ever-changing musical landscape which demonstrates that avant-garde experimental prog doesn't have to be difficult and inaccessible.
 Ambassadors of Good Health and Clean Living by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.82 | 27 ratings

BUY
Ambassadors of Good Health and Clean Living
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

4 stars One of avantgarde progressive rock veterans FRENCH TV's newest album has hit me completely. No difficult word nor extensive stretch needed but combinations of delightful instrumental bullets launched in the whole production.

Each phrases with complicated rhythms and massive sound-based gestural power cannot be created with eccentric instruments but with a simple formation like a guitar, a bass, drums, percussion, a synthesizer, or a keyboard ... such a basic rock combo style. The frontman and the bassist Mike has created sound elements with lots of addictive and sensational tonic explosions frankly inspired by avantgarde progressive vanguards like Zappa. Every single sound bullet is impressive and enjoyable, not difficult to digest at all, amazingly.

We can get immersed in their mazy crazy soundgarden, where nobody knows what would pop up in succession. Some synthesized sound effects are pretty effective for every pleasure song (just like "Gee, I Wish We Had One'a Them Doomsday Machines" ... exactly like a paranoiac sound hotchpotch rushing out of a treasure box meh). Sometimes dynamically and sometimes sensitively their magical mystery tour goes forward ... as if we would stumble upon quite a few mysterious obscure spots here and there. And no painful accident nor serious incident would not come on ... through their cool and clean plays.

Sorry for my tough-to-understand words but their mystic soundscape can get understandable just the moment you listen to this terrific album. ;)

 Ambassadors of Good Health and Clean Living by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.82 | 27 ratings

BUY
Ambassadors of Good Health and Clean Living
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars Their first studio album in six years, this is by far the most accessible and enjoyable French TV album that I have encountered. Perhaps this is due to band leader Mike Sary's new association with guitarist Katsumi Yoneda (TEE), keyboard players Ryuji Yonikura (TEE) and Takao Kawasaki (Flat122) and drummer Mark L. Perry.

Favorite songs: the surprisingly sedate and melodic, 1. "We're Putting On Our Bulldog Faces (and Hoping Something Good Happens)" (9:29) (10/10); 5. "Shemp vs. Classical Economics" (6:32) (9/10); 6. "Metronome Crisis" (10:46) (9/10); 2. "Friendly Pursuit" (5:46) (8/10), and; the hilariously clichéed and melodramatic, 4. "Gee, I Wish We Had One'a Them Doomsday Machines" (7:43) (8/10). 3. Rocka-Saggy-Baby-Bubba-Shaggy-Baba-Boo (9:39) (7/10)

 After A Lengthly Silence  by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.51 | 25 ratings

BUY
After A Lengthly Silence
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Steven Roberts quit after the debut of French TV, focusing on his family, his newly established ZNR Records label and his daytime job.As Mike Sarry found hard to explore possibilities of a proper replacement with people not quite interested in playing the band's highly eclectic music, he was briefly involved in other projects, like The Friendly Enzymes, a strongly improvised group in the vein of The Muffins, and Power Bungle, a 7-piece big band.In The Friendly Enzymes he met sax/clarinet player Clancy Dixon and with Tom Browning on guitar he managed to record French TV's second album in two different studios, released in 1987 on his own Y-Records.The album features some guests on bass clarinet, flute and keyboards.

With this sophomore effort French TV would make an obvious turn towards more jazzy realms, they still held some of the sophisticated fundamentals of the debut, but overall these instrumental executions sound more loose.Fortunately the occasional keyboard and piano splashes would add some lighter innovations in an otherwise pretty complex approach.Guitars are only sporadic and the emphasis here is on a very jazzy and technical rhythm section, the big time Fusion-esque keyboards and the dominant use of saxes and clarinet.And speaking of sax and clarinet, their quirky solos would push the band a step closer to the R.I.O. principles.They sound now as a cross between HAPPY THE MAN, HOWEVER and MIRIODOR, delivering impressive moments with powerful jazzy components, Fusion exercises, orchestral moves and a certain note to Classic Progressive Rock.Production and synths sound very period-like with a rather flat delivery, the music though belongs definitely among the most intricate of the second half of the 80's.Long tracks with atmospheric varieties, blistering guitar, keyboard and wind instruments and smoother passages with an R.I.O. touch.Take notice of the CD reissues, which contain an impressive cover on Nektar's classic epic ''A tab in the ocean''.

I wouldn't put this one up there with French TV's great debut.But it's nonetheless a very good attempt on jazzy Prog Rock with R.I.O. branches, which still showcases a mood for atmospheric textures.Recommended.

 French TV by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.64 | 25 ratings

BUY
French TV
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars My recent love affair with "The Violence Of Amateurs" has inspired me to check out more FRENCH TV so I went straight to their website and ordered a bunch of their discography and am listening to them chronologically to see how they evolved their eclectic sounds over the decades. This eponymous debut album came out way back in 1984. It's obviously from listening to this album that they were in prog heaven when not only anyone else out there sounded like this but the prog bands of the 70s were going top 40 or at the very least were making progressive pop. Sure Marillion was reviving progressive music in the form of neo-prog but nobody I know of was doing avant-prog like FRENCH TV.

This debut album isn't nearly as sophisticated and developed as their later material but even at this early stage they have a basic groove going on that clearly sounds like FRENCH TV. There is that military march type sound that they use as well as a jazzy funk bass sound and lots of odd time signatures and plenty of time dedicated to letting a groove breathe. A lot of this album has already developed a template of what gives FRENCH TV their musical scaffolding but what really sets this album apart from later works is how experimental some of the tracks are. They gleefully play around with polyrhythms setting one instrument against the other and creating some seriously demented sounding music as a result. On this first release there is as much influence from Captain Beefheart as there is from Van De Graaf Generator or Zappa. There is also truly spaced out parts that remind of Gong, Pink Floyd or even Hawkwind.

Instrumentally this is a simpler affair with only guitars, bass, piano, trumpet, vibes, drums, sax and cello! All those extras wouldn't be for a while. I am quite pleasantly surprised that I like this as much as I do. You never know what to expect when you dive into an artist's discography after only hearing one killer album that came out 15 years later. In this case I find this a worthy listen indeed and am sallying forth on the FRENCH TV highway to explore the road that began at the time when A Flock Of Seagulls, Culture Club and Van Halen ruled the world! 3.5 stars rounded up.

 The Violence Of Amateurs by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.20 | 76 ratings

BUY
The Violence Of Amateurs
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars So you want some totally wacked out RIO / Avant prog that will take you on a sonic journey to every nook and cranny of the prog world and beyond yet remaining at the core accessible to even the uninitiated first time listener? Well accessible in prog terms that is! This is avant prog after all but if you desire to take the plunge into the depths of the oceans of sound where basically only the imaginations of the artists are the limiting factor then this may be a great starting point for hungry adventurous music lovers. However even if you are into the wildest of the wild and the most extreme music there is to be had then this will surely satisfy. All you have to do is sit down and turn on your FRENCH TV.

Upon first listen you would swear that that band is indeed from France or Sweden or some other European destination that has achieved a well-versed repertoire of everything classic prog but to assume such would be totally mistaken because this band comes from the unexpected city of Louisville, KY of all places. The band formed in 1983 and has been around for over 30 years now and still remains surprisingly obscure outside of the small world where us freaks hang out. This album is officially titled FRENCH TV 6 ? The Violence Of Amateurs, meaning it's their sixth release but only their fifth studio album.

The overall sound is a mix of a National Health kind of Canterbury sound with all kinds of light airy flutes and winds, the zaniness of Samla Mamma's Manna and Zappa with their comedic approach to their delivery, Happy The Man with their complex time signatures and breaks, jazz-fusion with wild and disturbing sax solos and a sprinkling of a gazillion others. It's pretty much an instrumental affair with only a few vocal utterings dispersed throughout.

I have to say that I love this wild, unpredictable, original and totally out there progressive music. It flows very nicely so it's fairly easy to follow even though it is so diverse, so eclectic, so zany, so catchy, so complex, so weird. I'm hooked. It wouldn't be unfounded to compare them with Mr Bungle either since they incorporate many styles of prog and other farreaching genres ranging from surf and big band to bluegrass and Krautrock. The main difference is that while Bungle tends to offer brief interludes into a certain sound, FRENCH TV has more of a jam approach and is not afraid to let the music develop for a while and then offer subtle variations. The music is very playful and never feels like it's taking itself too seriously. It just sounds like a bunch of guys who absolutely love music and doing what they do best.

The album begins with "The Kokonino Stomp" which has a kind of alternative big band swing intro and soon takes you somewhere else completely. This track even finds a way to incorporate the Hawaiian nose flute. Hopefully no boogers were hurt during recording.

"The Secret Life Of Walter Riddle" begins with a marching band kind of feel with whistling sound but soon turns into a rocker with a smoking guitar solo becoming a synth dominated jam before morphing into an avant-jazz number with a tripped out sax solo.

"The Odessa Steps Sequence" is a cover from one of the few US Canterbury acts Volare, off their "Memoirs" album. This tracks starts out nice and melodic and pastoral but becomes more aggressive and avant-garde. Comparisons to The Muffins have been made.

"Mail Order Quarks" starts out like a nice melodic breezy jazz-fusion piece with beautiful flutes carrying out its run of this song throughout its entirety making this one the most normal or least bizarre tracks on the album keeping the same pace and feel with a few surprises.

"Tiger Tea" takes us on another journey. This time it sounds like a fusion of South African jazz (of the Thelani Ajb sort) mixed with a Canterbury sound replete with odd time signatures and breaks with all kinds of interludes gradually ramping up to faster and more complex runs.

The grand finale "Joosan Lost / The Fate" which is at 21:40 is the longest track is a cover of a Zamla Mammaz Manna track off of their 1978 Schlagerns Mystik album. I'm not one who usually likes covers of complex pieces of this sort because they usually come off as inferior versions trying to replicate an identical sound and performance. In this case FRENCH TV pulls it off with ease doing the original justice while making it their own and even adding a Krautrock freakout towards the end. The result is a success and is the perfect wrapping up of an excellent album that after getting my greasy little mitts on I have been playing non-stop (this album has been out-of-print for a while). This is my first full FRENCH TV album and it has definitely whetted my appetite for MORE! MORE! MORE!

 The Violence Of Amateurs by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.20 | 76 ratings

BUY
The Violence Of Amateurs
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by VOTOMS

5 stars Epileptic Prog - This is my favorite kind of music! So many tempo changes and ridiculous variations, random satiric ideas and well elaborated technical passages. All this without losing sense. Intelligent and abstract.

How could I resist? I fell in love with this album right from the first track, The Kokonino Stomp. Looking at this hellish cover art and listening to the saxophone riff I felt my neck huge as a tower, dancing like a snake and spinning round and round. Do you wanna sniff some RIO? So this is the definitive album for you! Lenghty stupid tracks, complex songwriting, weird noises, annoying childish riffs (just check The Secret Life Of Walter Riddle), totally avant-garde... everything you ever needed. Tiger Tea always makes me laugh with that "beach" feeling. Like Frank Zappa, these guys have the skills to make comedy music. You will probably notice the track titles, they are funny too. From the line-up, Mike Sary, the bass player, is the highlight. He is the mind behinds French TV. Hmm, the album features a great cover from Zammla Mammas Manna.

One of my all time favorites. If I had to force you reader to listen to an album, it would be The Violence of Amateurs.

 The Violence Of Amateurs by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.20 | 76 ratings

BUY
The Violence Of Amateurs
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Memo_anathemo

4 stars French TV is an amazing Avant garde band, which has an impressive way of playing. The violence of amateurs starts with an incredible art craft of instrumentation with the song The Kokonino Stomp. Then, we have a really funny track kind of soldier march that has an explosion of music as well. After that song we have a complete change in direction, something that sounds more like symphonic prog in the song The Odessa Step Sequence. The rest of the songs have this combination of avant and symphonic. Something really recommendable, really crazy, high standard music, that's French TV. Enjoy it!
 French TV by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.64 | 25 ratings

BUY
French TV
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Formed in 1983 in Louisville, Kentucky, French TV started as a trio with Mike Sary on bass, Stephen Roberts on keys and sax player Jeff Jones.When Jones left for Boston to study electronics, the reamaining duo started looking for new musicians.After many auditions they were joined by 17-years old drummer Fenner Castner, who brought in his friend Artie Bratton on guitars.French TV entered the Sound-on-Sound Studios in Crestwood in August 83' and finished their eponymous debut in March 84'.Following a limited interest by the music labels, the album was released privately by the group and features original member Jeff Jones on the track '' Under Heaven there is great disorder''.

Very easy to understand why French TV's music was totally ignored by the music industry, being a commercially devastating blend of R.I.O., Fusion and Canterbury-styled jazzy Prog with many blistering moments and unusual comlex parts, hiding influences from NATIONAL HEALTH, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, FRANK ZAPPA and even CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and sounding close to compatriots HOWEVER.The music has a very jazzy nature, without being actually close to Jazz-Rock, and the US quartet shows a great ability on shifting between frenetic instrumental themes to more melodic textures in an album that is executed with coherence from the start to the very end.Obscure keyboard offerings, notable electric and acoustic guitar melodies and shivering, deep bass explosions combine in a tight Fusion style with some incredible ideas, which suffer a bit from a buried production, but overall they sound tasteful and well-crafted.The performances are dense and rich with excellent interplays and breaks into more dreamy soundscapes, resulting a nice balance between complex structures and elaborate passages.

Fortunately the album has been reissued by Mike Sary's Pretentious Dinosaur label in a decent remastered version.Lovely and intricate Progressive Rock all the way for all lovers of instrumental mannerisms.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 After A Lengthly Silence  by FRENCH TV album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.51 | 25 ratings

BUY
After A Lengthly Silence
French TV RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by goosegg

4 stars I have heard, and was impressed, by an occaisonal French TV song on internet radio and was lucky enough to obtain a copy of "After A Lengthy Silence" on vinyl and gave it a spin. Varied styles are evident, from hints of Canterbury, Happy the Man, Frank Zappa, and Brand X. Saxophonist, Clancy Dixon, has a style that reminds me of early Gong works. Bill Bruford comes to mind on several tracks as well.

"After A Lengthy Silence" contains compositions that are complex and well calculated with time changes that provide the listener with ever changing moods. This release is highly recommended for fans of Canterbury, jazz fusion and listeners who appreciate a unique blend of many different progressive genres.

Goosegg, East Los Angeles, CA

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives