donderdag 29 december 2005


When posting French soulcovers, for some reason I forget to include probably the best one: Claudine Longet's take on Ashford & Simpson's Ain't No Mountain High Enough. She translated the lyrics herself to French. The version most people know, by Diana Ross, sounds reassuring, bit motherly. Spiritual, instead of physical. Claudine adds the sexiness, the promise of frilly undies and stockings in her bag, when she crosses mountains and rivers on her high heels.
I might be wrong, but I think Ain't No Mountain is one of the two songs Claudine sang in French. The other is her duet with former husband Andy Williams, Let it Be Me, in which she sang one verse in French. That adds a little playfulness to the sugarcoated song - I always want to brush my teeth after I hear it. More on the bizarre life of Claudine Longet here.

Claudine Longet - Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Hear Here

Andy Williams & Claudine Longet - Let it Be Me
Hear Here

By the way, the duet between Andy and Claudine is the kick-off to a whole month of duets en francais. In January, I will post only guys and dolls singing, ranging from Serge & Jane to Louis Bertignac & Carla Bruni. Tips and requests are welcome in the comments.

Bonne Année!

woensdag 28 december 2005

Katy, Annie, Sophie, Agnès et Helena

Right before I go down to the deep south to play some rekkids to welcome 2006, I leave you with some soulful coverversions by various filles sourires - inspired by the brilliant soulcovers posted by Schlocker.

Some of the girls, like Helena Lemkovitch and Annie Philippe, have been featured before. Others, like Katy David, I know nothing about. And Agnès Loti and Sophie, I was just awaiting the right time to post a song of these ladies.

Like I said, it's all soulful covers. Katy David is doing a joyous version of the standard Call Me, easily translated to Plus Tard. Helena Lemkovitch, who covered songs from Francoise Hardy and Cyndi Lauper, is doing Ronnie Spectors signature song Be My Baby, translated to Reviens Vite et Oublie. In fact, that's a cover as well, because Sophie sang that one before Helena. From Sophie (her real name was Arlette, also a good stage name, mind you) you get her version of the Tom Jones-classic It's Not Unusual, in French that would be Je Ne Fais Pas D'Histoires.

From Agnès Loti you get C'est Toi Mon Idole, a French version of the first worldwide reggae-hit My Boy Lollipop by Millie. And there's the lovely Sophie Finally, Annie Philippe's version of the Supremes-hit Baby Love. The title was kept en francais.

Katy David - Plus Tard
Hear Here

Helena Lemkovitch - Reviens Vite et Oublie
Here Here

Sophie - Je Ne Fais Pas D'Histoires
Here Here

Agnès Loti - C'est Toi Mon Idole
Here Here

Annie Philippe - Baby Love
Here Here

dinsdag 27 december 2005

Ariane (4)

It looked like a sure shot, this album. For a good cause, with Canadian artists either doing their own songs or covers. Like Jef by Brel, of Je Bois by Boris Vian. And, the ultimate reason for buying it: Ariane Moffatt doing a Serge Gainsbourg-cover. Honestly, the album's not as good as I hoped it would be, most songs are bland, most covers are bad. But boy, Ariane does deliver. Fuir le bonheur de peur qu'il ne sauve is one of the most beautiful songs Serge ever wrote. I already posted the original version by Jane Birkin a few months back, but to compare the two, here it is again.

Ariane Moffatt - Fuir le bonheur
Hear Here

Jane Birkin - Fuir le bonheur
Hear Here

donderdag 22 december 2005

Another Julie

And finally, before I wish all y'all Joyeux Noël, here's a heartwarming duet between the lovelylovelylovely actress Julie Gayet and actor Julien Boisselier (who looks very French, eh?), taken from the Clara & Moi soundtrack. Most of that soundtrack was composed (and sung) by Benjamin Biolay, but this song was written by P. Blanchard and, yes, Bertrand Burgalat.

Julie Gayet & Julien Boisselier - Ma Rencontre
Hear Here.

Julie & Carla

To be honest, first album June by duo Mansfield.TYA (Julie and Carla) is a little too folky to me. And with references to bands like Silver Mount Zion, Cat Power and Cocorosie, I'll definitely steer clear. But they also shared the stage with Camille, Francoiz Breut and Emilie Simon. Which is nice. The bandname is taken from June Mansfield, amie d'Anais Nin and wife of Henry Miller - the TYA doesn't stand for anything. (They better change that to DSFA, then). Their music is moody, sometimes pretty weird, is sung both in French and English and has its tender, beautiful moments as well. That is, ofcourse, why Pour Oublier Je Dors is posted here.

Mansfield.TYA - Pour Oublier Je Dors
Hear Here


This site has the perfect descpription: "Friday Bridge is Ylva Lindberg from Stockholm, Sweden. Friday Bridge creates pretty sounds for having tea and biscuits to on a Sunday evening. She makes them using flutes, tambourines, bells, synthesizers and bird tweets. Sometimes Friday Bridge wishes she was Claudine Longet or maybe Sylvie Vartan. Sometimes she wishes for rain."
Don't you think this is Ylva too? Illustrations by Ylva can be found here. Merci à Joachim for sending me the mp3s.

Friday Bridge - It Girl
Hear Here

Friday Bridge - It Girl (Nikolas Makelberge remix)
Hear Here

woensdag 21 december 2005


Finding info about a band that call themselves C++ is no easy feat - when Googled, you get a lot of programming-sites. But hooray for the blogosphere, this blog was able to tell me some more about the French duo Charlotte and David (en direct they grow to a fourpiece), who released their debutalbum this fall. They operate in the same vein as The Lovers; electronica-infused and humour-driven. See this video-interview, for instance. The bio on their site says C++ lingers from krautrock to babypop - they tend to get a little experimental from time to time, listen for instance to Pas Cool. Posted here are more traditional, upbeat and sunny songs.

C++ - La Fille
Hear Here

C++ - Ton Ombre
Hear Here

maandag 19 december 2005


Among visiteurs who stop by Filles Sourires are dj's, producers and artists - the last months I received emails by Jaime of Souvenir, April March (yes!), Christopher Moll of The Postmarks, Grooveblaster and, yesterday, Thomas Deligny of Boutique Chic and Concorde Music-fame. The first EP on his own label (see me turn green of jealousy) is being released, and he send me a preview! All songs are thematically linked (about hairdressers), and with contributions of Minimatic, Georges Deligny, Le Grand David and his holyness Chris Joss, this is quite a first release. The music is chirpy, cheerful and very cinematic - it's like the producers watched a lot of old comedies (think Tati, or a Rock Hudson/Doris Day-flick) before they made their tracks.
I like the Minimatic song best - because of the lovely French female voice ofcourse. You can listen to the songs on Thomas' site, but here's a downloadable, 2-minute-snippet of Minimatics La Raie o Milieu.

Minimatic - La Raie O Mileu
Hear Here.

Ariane (3)

There, she said it: Amsterdam. In the song Montréal Ariane Moffatt mentions my hometown! Okay, the song is about returning to hér hometown, but still. Wow. Montréal is a sparkling synthi-reggae song on second cd Le Coeur Dans La Tête (ordered via, very quick delivery!), a very versatile album, ranging from piano-ballads (Imparfait) to gentle, electronica-kissed popsongs (Combustion Lente) to more rockier songs (Laboratoire Amoureux, the bonus track), although I could not find any grunge-influences, mentioned on her site. And I think that's a good thing, 'cause when embedded in those gentle electronic pops and crackles, her shy, husky voice is flourishing.

Ariane Moffatt - Imparfait
Hear Here

Ariane Moffatt - Montréal
Hear Here

Françoise (5)

Yesterday, I saw the movie Les Invasions Barbares (Oscar winner in 2004). I love movies with agitated French men, especially when they lash out the way Rémy (played by Rémy Gerard) does. The story is in the same vein as movies like Simon or Mar Adentro - a terminally ill man looks back upon his life, teaches and learns a few lessons. Rémy is rooted in the swinging sixties (very funny is the scene when he and his friends look back on all the -isms they hailed), and the movie has black-and-white images of Julie Christie (in bed) and Françoise Hardy (crossing the street). The last song in the film is L'Amitié by Hardy. Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, really great song.

Françoise Hardy - L'Amitié
Hear Here.

Meanwhile, over at Quite Quite Fantastic

Roar, a well-respected guest-selector to my blog, has a great blog of his own, where he posts his mixtapes and of other people. I had the honour to be one of those 'other people'. Go check here.

Update: even more music selected (and even mixed - well, I gave it a try) by yours truly here. It's nearly 70 minutes of bossabeats and latinvibes, ranging from Elis Regina to Gerardo Frisina to Nicola Conte to Working Week to, yes, James Last. Made for this site.

vrijdag 16 december 2005


Guest-selector Joachim chose a really beautiful track by Flemish producer Daan, sung by actress Els Dottermans. Joachim on Jamais Neutral:

"The first time I heard this song was in the Belgian movie Meisje. I liked it alot but somehow forgot about it. Until I heard it on the radio - on that moment I was sure I knew that song all of my life. Wrong! Belgian artist Daan (of Dead Man Ray-fame)made this track in 2002. You can find it on the bonus-cd of Bridge Burner (2003) and now on the excellent cd Cinema (2006).
E-zine Ultra wrote: 'Once again I'm sure quite a few eighties electropop revivalists will be jealous of this catchy ànd classy single. Jamais Neutral is sophisticated lightweight pop-with-synthesizers which sounds as if Lio (or Vanessa Paradis or...) had been given a song by Gainsbourg and then produced by Telex. Quel craftsmanship! Incredible, too, how well Dottermans (one of Belgium's top acrtresses) performs.'"

Daan feat. Els Dotterman - Jamais Neutral
Hear Here

woensdag 14 december 2005

Filles Sourires Five

The end of 2005 is nigh, time to round up the bestest Filles Sourires-songs of the year. Here's my top five:

1. Guy Chambers & Sophie Hunter - Les Amants d'Edimbourg. Taken from the bestest French album of the year. With lyrics by Keren Ann, (co-)production by Chambers and sung by the beautiful Sophie Hunter, this album is not only a great labour of love for Chambers' daughter Isis, but a wonderful tribute to the Gainsbourgian heritage.
Hear Here.
2. Francoiz Breut - Boite de Nuit. The girl from the north county makes music that is perfect for a ride through Death Valley in a beat-up Citroen DS, with a cool, cigarette smoking dark-haired beauty at the wheel.
Hear Here.
3. Camille - Ta Douleur. The highly talented Camille only needs a bass, her voice and some production-tricks to make a great, innovative and mind-stimulating album.
Hear Here.
4. Clarika - Ne Me Demande Pas. French answer to PJ Harvey, only sexier.
Hear Here.
5. Daphné - Un Homme Sous Influence. Big symphonic sound, tiny voice, winning combination.
Hear Here.

Feel free to post your fave Filles Sourires-Five in the comments!

dinsdag 13 december 2005

All Hail the Queen

Jane Birkin is 60 59 today. Bonne anniversaire!

Jane Birkin - Baby Alone in Babylone
Hear Here

maandag 12 december 2005

Various States of Undress

What's so great about the song Deshabillez-moi, is the way a singer can interpret the lyrics. Posted here a four options. The tender, bit naughty way, like Juliette Gréco did in her original version (the song was written by Robert Nyel and Gaby Verlor). Then there's the cool but teasing way (care of a very in-control Helena), like she's lying on a desterted beach, but the boy is a little afraid to take off her bikinitop. Mylène Farmer chose the full frontal woman-in-heat-approach, accentuated by the explosions from the very late-eighties Fairlight-synthesizer. And finally the first Dutch entry on Filles Sourires, by Wende Snijders. I like her version best (so sorry about the very poor soundquality), she rearranged to song to an impatient tango. She's willing and able, but gosh, the guy is fumbling, nervous and tries to rush things. She taps her foot, shouts at him, grabs him by the, eh, you know. And that's not helping.

Juliette Gréco - Deshabillez-moi
Hear Here

Helena - Deshabillez-moi
Hear Here

Mylène Farmer - Deshabillez-moi
Hear Here

Wende Snijders - Deshabillez-moi
Hear Here

(merci à Bibi and Skunkeye)


Could be wrong, but I don't think that Aurore Reichert is 100% French - it's because the pronounciation of the first verse of Chysanthème (posted below) that I have my doubts. She has (to my ears) a little accent. Not that it matters, ofcourse, 'cause Aurore has a really nice, high voice and the songs of her band Alifair are pretty decent. Alifair released two albums (in 2002 and 2004), and because I cannot find much info about the band (apart from their site, ofcourse, but if you google them you'll see what I mean) I'm guessing that those two albums fell on a lot of deaf ears. I would not go as far as calling that a shame, because both albums are mediocre - the artists that are inspiring them (ranging from Emilie Simon to King Crimson, no less) are better. That said: Chysanthème is really pretty (I like the sound of the word Chrysanthème as well), and the wordplay in Mot's d'Elle works for me. Oh well, you be the judge:

Alifair - Chrysanthème
Hear Here

Alifair - Mot's d'Elle
Hear Here

zaterdag 10 december 2005


On Mylène Farmer, I like to quote "Granted, the first impression you get of Mylene can be quite frightening. She's like the poster girl for New Age artists with a psychosexual death obsession. The upside is that it's allowed her to appear completely naked in a number of her music videos." If you have a body like La Farmer, why not flaunt it, that's my motto. I remember the first (and probably only time) the video for Libertine (in which Farmer bathes nekkid) was shown on Dutch tv, on a sundayafternoon with the whole family watching from the chouch. We're talking pre-MTV here, kids, and clips with bare breasts caused quite a ruckus.
Honestly, I'm not a big fan of Mylène, I think most of her music is pompous and in some cases (when she gets 'inspired' by the likes of Poe and Baudelaire) just plain silly. She's done a few remixalbums that are both godawful, even with remixes done by big names like Felix the Housecat, Junkie XL and Paul Oakenfold. That said, there are a few songs I really like (f.i. Je te rends ton amour, the Lolita-pop of very first single Maman à Tort and her take on Juliette Greco's Deshabillez-moi) and I have certainly a lot of respect for the way she handles her business (8 albums, 5 million sold).
A new album came out this year, with the very candid first single called Fuck Them All. But that one you have to download yourself.

Mylène Farmer - Maman à Tort
Hear Here


Her site is off-line, and according to her fansite, she's been out of the limelight for over a year, but that doesn't mean Corsican hottie Alizée is forgotten. Thanks to Ochblog, here's a bunch of very candid pics of the girl who made Moi...Lolita one of the best known French songs in the world. The fansite also tells us a third album, with collaborations with Indochine-singer Sirkis and (again) Mylène Farmer should be on the way. Until then, watch the pictures (if you're into upskirt photo's), and/or listen to these great sucettes-style popsongs.

Alizée - Moi...Lolita
Hear Here

Alizée - A Quoi Rêve Une Jeune Fille
Hear Here


Pauline Croze's debut (released this year) almost slipped under my radar. Her folky rock and husky voice are a treat, her lyrics very intense. Le Monde called her, with her fragile frame, her bleak skin "et son visage timide perchée sur un cou gracile", very fit for a role in a film by Erich Rohmer. In this interview, she says: "Je préfère quelque chose d’intense même si cela ne doit pas durer longtemps à une relation tiède et durable" - in short: Pauline wants it all, or nothing at all. She's a fan of The Clash, Joe Jackson and Goran Bregovic, and in the biography on her site you can read that she's been in several bands and worked with fairly big names (Mickey 3D, Miossec), that her album was released on Valentine's Day and that she played on big festivals. Her album was re-released with extra tracks last month - dunno if that Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta-cover was on the first version, but that very slow, almost 9 minutes long version of You're the One that I Want is at first funny, but gradually it gets quite tearful (and loud) - she's wants him, but you're sure she's not gonna get him.
My favourite track of the album is Jeunesse Affamée, I like the way her voice builds and builds. Very melancolic lyrics as well.

Pauline Croze - Jeunesse Affamée
Hear Here

Pauline Croze - You're the One that I Want
Hear Here

zondag 4 december 2005


Mordi calls her the 'best French doll ever', and who am I to contradict? She recorded only ten songs (according to Ye-Ye Girls), and my favourite is Saperlipopette. I love the innocent, Les Sucettes-way she sings, that siren in the background, the cartoonesk music (add Bif, Bang and Pow yourself) and the childlike lyrics.

Clothilde - Saperlipopette
Hear Here


She sings about love and death, dressed in a flowery summerdress: "Attrape-moi ou je dormirai mille ans encore." Her voice can be commanding, tender and helplessly sad (and high-pitched) in one song. With just two guitars and a violin, she dominates the stage. You can see the fire in the her eyes, you can feel the melancholy in her voice. At least, that's what I'm imagining when I listen to Attrape-Moi by Valhère. Her biography says she was in a band, but decided to quit because she wasn't able to grow and evolve. Well, according to the songs on er live-debutalbum, that was a wise move. Those songs are very intense, like torch-songs, or flamenco. The album got some good reviews, you can listen to it (and download as well) from her site. Watch the videoclips too!

Valhère - Attrape-moi
Hear Here

vrijdag 2 december 2005


At the time, we did not know that music-wise, her heydays were over. But around 1985, Jo Lemaire was a frightful, but also very appealing singer. She was originally from La Wallonie, the French-speaking part of Belgium, but was involved with a Flemish-speaking countryman Fa Vanham, who lived near the Dutch border and who boasted that he wrote a new song every day. Together, they wrote two really good albums: Concorde, and Jo Lemaire. The appeal and frightfulness of Jo lay in her looks; as if Siouxsie Sioux was casted in a Godard-movie. It's been 20 years, so my memories aren't very accurate, but seeing her live that day on the famous Easter-popfestival in my hometown, was like seeing a paper doll step off the page. She sang her best-known songs, like the soulful Tentations, synthipoppy Parfum de Rêve and Je Suis Venue Te Dire Que Je M'En Vais, one of the most beautiful Serge-covers ever made. Serge needed a crying girl to emphasize the harshness of the song, Jo's icey-cool voice alone felt like a stiletto-heel into your heart.
After the mostly English album Stand Up (always a bad sign, when French singers go English, see Keren Ann's Not Going Anywhere), her star began to fade. She broke up with Fa, who later became a soundengineer in Maastricht, a Dutch town I used to live in (and still is the hometown of Mme. Guuzbourg). Nowadays Jo's a well-respected artist, who mostly sings classic French chansons and who celebrated being an artist for 25 years in 2004. But is more fondly remembered for sending shivers down my spine, back in the day.

Jo Lemaire - Je Suis Venue Te Dire Que Je M'En Vais
Hear Here

Jo Lemaire - Parfum de Rêve
Hear Here

donderdag 1 december 2005

Harley (5)

With a kind nod to Christine over @ Spikedcandy, here's two more Harley Davidson-covers. First up is the energetic version by British band Baby Birkin. Dunno if the band still exists, they're famous for their Gainsbourg and Birkin-covers and the fact that their producer was Russell Senior, he of Pulp-fame.
Then, from Spain, Les Très Bien Ensemble. Their version is also live, jus'like the one by Belle & Sebastian. It's an okay take on the song, nothing really special. But if you want the whole bunch (and you know you want to), then you have to hear it. The only version still missing Thanks to Ihateasparagus, here's the version by Monochrome Orchestra, taken from this compilation. And that one concludes the search for Harley-coverversions. Unless, ofcourse, I run into a really brilliant version.

Baby Birkin - Harley Davidson
Hear Here

Les Très Bien Ensemble - Harley Davidson
Hear Here

Monochrome Orchestra - Harley Davidson
Hear Here


Very, very curious what is said on this site: lots of visitors clicked on the link. Can anybody tell me what is written (in Hebrew) ?

Françoise (Cactus, that is)

There's more Harley Davidson-covers on the way, don't worry, but first a guest-selection by Joachim. If the combination leftfield electronica-honeyvoiced fille appeals to you, read on:

"Matthew Patterson Curry a.k.a. Safety Scissors emerged from a California clique containing friends Sutekh, Mark Farina and maiden ~scape-artist Kit Clayton and like many of his peers his dance music drifted to new places. With widescreen electronic pop music wearing its heart on its sleeve, the San Francisco based artist's second album proves that clever songwriting, frisky arrangements, and slanted dancefloor maneuvers will always trump formulaic thumping and shrill, chilly attitudes. From amnesia to French cooking to transatlantic affairs of the heart, Matthew Patterson Curry's lyrics sidestep cliché in favor of an awkward vulnerability, deliberate offrhymes and quotidian details. Find here the wonderful L’Amour D’Cuisine, sung by Stereo Total's Françoise Cactus."

Safety Scissors feat. Françoise Cactus - L'Amour d'Cuisine
Hear Here