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Music in July: Carla Bruni, E-Quad, Ari Koivunen

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French First Ladies, Dutch idealists, Italian poets-cum-abrasive rockers and Finnish 'Rock Idols' – it's Europe's monthly music picks

Carla Bruni: Comme si de rien n’était

Quel scandal! The release of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s third album on 21 July was accompanied by sarcasm and harsh words all round, as much as on the side of the Colombian government (lyrics on one song go 'you are my drug, my Colombian snow'), as on the front pages of the European tabloids. But it seems a little unjust after all. The title track As If Nothing Happened was penned long before Bruni embarked on a relationship with French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Love, envy and passion are sung in the same soft, sultry voice, however this time, Bruni sounds more mature and responsible than in her last album No Promises, released 1 January 2007. Those who wish to treat their ears to a ‘Bruniesque’ version of the Bob Dylan classic You Belong To Me will be pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately  Carla won’t be appearing on stage this summer; no tour is planned as long as her dear and loving husband is the president of France. Royalties go to charity

Released in France 11 July, rest of Europe August Label: Naïve (France), Ministry of Sound (Europe)

E-Quad: No Smoke

At times, Holland is cited as an example of a multicultural society which works well. Other times, this ideal concept of integration no longer seems to resemble reality. Dutch group E-Quad have decided resolutely to venture elsewhere. The five-piece collaborate with south-African trumpeters, tour Lesotho and South Africa, blending jazz, hip hop, house and drum and bass through their original style. Many other artists guest on their second album No Smoke, which reflects their multiple identities. You can even catch them performing on Second Life

Release date June/ July 2008

My Own Parasite: God 3- Myself 0

It has been over ten years since the rockers from Verona and Bologna unleashed themselves onto the Italian music scene. They have already made a huge impact with their personal take on the Nirvana classic Milk It, and on the soundtrack to the film Una Notte by Toni d’Angelos. For their first album, they have chosen an equally specific framework. The double-sided album God 3- Myself-0 has both acoustic and electric versions. The artwork shows two half men-half animals kicking a football around, reminiscent of the famous painting Caprichos by Goya, produced by the talented Italian artist Ericailcane. The result is mournful, intelligent rock music, less fitting for a day at the beach than for the long night which follows

Label: Plumbea Records

Ari Koivunen: Becoming

24-year-old Ari Koivunen is, without a doubt, one of the most lauded musicians at the moment in Finland. After 2004's debut album Fuel for the Fire, follow-up album Becoming is already the biggest selling record in Finland. With his dark heavy metal sound, the former bartender, who rose to fame after winning a ‘Pop Idol Finland’-type televised talent contest, makes a refreshing change from the usual manufactured bands. After Eurovision monster band Lordi, the artist otherwise known as ‘Iso A’ (‘Big A’)  has shown that the Finns truly rock Europe! Koivunen aims to break Asia with a tour in Japan

Translated from Carla Bruni und E-Quad: Café Label im Juli