vrijdag 31 maart 2006


Claire Diterzi used to be a member of trio Dit Terzi. This year, her soloalbum Boucle came out, that with the electronica and baroque voices is not very unlike the work of Emilie Simon. Only more gothic. Claire (who looks a bit like Charlotte Rampling) sounds like she's about to cry - try to keep dry eyes while listening to Sombre Dimanche. The Gibson-guitar has a very prominent place on the album - in this Figaro-interview she states that Boucle is also a declaration of love to the electric guitar, although she stays away from guitar-hero territory. Claire counts Ed O'Brien (Radiohead), Ry Cooder and Marc Ribot as her influences. Diterzi is currently on tour, on May 3 she's at the Botanique Festival in Brussels. Camille's there too, by the way...

Claire Diterzi - Sombre Dimanche

Claire Diterzi -Infidèle

UPDATE: I wasn't aware that Sombre Dimanche is a French version of the famous 'Hungarian suicide song' Gloomy Sunday - L. mentioned it in the comments. Read the story here. Here's an English version by the ferocious Diamanda Galas (very close to the original), and slightly more hopeful version by German jazz-singer Anna (in English). Serge recorded a version as well on his You're Under Arrest album.

Diamanda Galàs - Gloomy Sunday

Anna - Gloomy Sunday

And, from the 1930's, by Damia

Damia - Sombre Dimanche

Camille & Emilie

They're on the cover of the latest issue of French music mag Les Inrocks - haven't been able to get my hands on this one, is it any good? Both filles have new albums out, as you know 'cause I posted some tracks. Regular FS-visitor Frans S. send me a whole bunch of brilliant live-tracks by both ladies (merci!), and why not share 'em with you? I love cover-versions, so I've chosen three - unfortunately the Camille-ones are not complete, but a hell of a lotta fun. Plus, today I got the new Thievery Corporation-remix compilation Versions (out May 15) that has a Emilie Simon-rework. Hear that one as well.

Camille - Wordy Rappinghood (TomTom Club cover) (live)
Camille - I Got A Woman (Ray Charles cover) (live)

Emilie Simon - I Wanna Be Your Dog (Stooges cover) (live)
Emilie Simon - Desert (Thievery Corporation remix)

woensdag 29 maart 2006


"An ironic waif with a will of steel, Marianne Dissard enters and exits in anything from jeans and stilettos to white vinyl, remaining perpetually chic in the edgiest way"(quote). Wow. That's quite an image. Marianne, born in France, bred in Tucson Arizona, has a sultry voice that suits her gentle strumming very nicely. She sounds like Françoise Hardy after a few shots of JD, while the sun sets on a blistering hot day and a very promising evening is about to start.
No wonder Joey and John of Calexico are very fond or her, and duetted with her on two Calexico-songs: she's the female voice in the Kris Kristofferson-classic Casey's Last Ride, and the femme fatale in Cable Hogue. We should all be looking forward to her debut-alum, to be released later this year featuring songs and guitarplaying by Burns. Marianne is the wife of Naim Amor, together with Burns and Convertino they are know as ABBC, and made the album Têta à Tête. The Calexico boys also worked with FS-fave Francoiz Breut.
Thanks to FS-visiteur Sandra, here's a live-rendition of Francoiz & Calexico singing Cuidad Del Mar, recorded in Berlin. As any Breut-fan knows, Cuidad Del Mar was written by Jaime of Spanish band Souvenir. Sandra also included a great song by Souvenir, so that we all can hear the lovely voice of Patricia de la Fuente some more.

Marianne Dissard - Sans-Façon
Calexico & Marianne Dissard - Ballad of Cable Hogue
Calexico & Marianne Dissard - Casey's Last Ride
Francoiz Breut & Calexico - Cuidad Del Mar (live)
Souvenir - Cherchez La Femme

UPDATE: even more Breut & Calexico, thanks to FS-visiteur Frans.

Francoiz Breut & Calexico - Si Tu Disais (live)
Calexico & Francoiz Breut - Ballad of Cable Hogue (live)

(More songs by Marianne on her MySpace-site)

maandag 27 maart 2006

Laisse tomber

In addition to the April March-posting below, here's a couple of versions of the France Gall-song 'Laisse Tomber Les Filles'(written by Gainsbourg). April covered it both in French and in English (Chick Habit). April March-soundalike Fabienne Delsol (pictured on the left) did a true-to-the-original-version on her debut No Time for Sorrow. The rest of the songs on the solo-cd by the singer of The Bristols are in English, but they all have a ye-ye-atmosphere. Belgian art-rockers Honeymoon Killers raised the song's tempo to pogo-level. And finally, there's the original by France.
I know there's a version by God is My Co-Pilot, if you have that one, or others - please gmail them to me.

April March - Chick Habit
Fabienne Delsol - Laisse Tomber Les Filles
Honeymoon Killers - Laisse Tomber Les Filles
France Gall - Laisse Tomber Les Filles

Update: Thanks to Rotschild Royale, here's the very feminin sounding Swiss chansonnier Michael von der Heide 's version - keep listening until the outro!

Michael von der Heide - Laisse Tomber Les Filles

zondag 26 maart 2006


I got an e-mail from an American dude who wanted me to repost a song - a request that he made after stating that he thought I was a girl, and calling all French "fags". Flattering won't help - I do not repost. Lucky for us, there are some Americans who are madly in love with France and French popmusic, like the lovely looking Elinore Blake, better known as April March. Blake's interest in France goes back to nursery school, where she began learning French from a puppet named Monsieur Hibou, an interest she was able to fulfill in 1979 when she was chosen in a city exchange program for French students to go to Junior High in France for six weeks. She graduated from Phillip Academy Andover in 1983, after which she moved back to New York City to become a cartoon animator - she worked on Ren & Stimpy. If that's not cool enough, she also recorded albums with songs written by Gainsbourg, worked with Betrand Burgalat and got one record released in the US on the Dust Brothers label.
Best record she made is 1998's Chrominance Decoder, on which her girlie voice (France Gall-ish) is surrounded by luscious sixties-organs and strings.
April's last album is from 2005, but last year she send me an email requesting more info on a track I posted by singer Hugo. Never heard from her since, but a team-up might be in the making.

April March - La Chanson de Prevert

April March - La Piscine Couverte

April March - Mickey et Chantal

April March - Le Code Rural

woensdag 22 maart 2006

Jane (4)

Fictions, the new album by Jane Birkin (59), could not fail. With musical help from Gonzales (who co-produced the album, and played most albums), Jamie Lidell, Mocky, Beth Gibbons and Johnny Marr, plus songs written by Rufus Wainwright, Kate Bush, Magic Numbers and French big guns like Dominique A. and Arthur H., on paper this album couldn't be sweeter. And, give or take a few songs, it most certainly is just that: sweeeet.
I agree what my good online friend (and supermodel servant) Skunkeye writes: "She has well moved on from her seminal role as erotic ingénue and muse, making a hard-earned and respectable pilgrim's progress to emerge on her own as a vital artist and is acknowledging her roots." There's no Gainsbourg-song on this album, and he's not missed. Quite telling.

Jane Birkin - Sans Toi
Jane Birkin - La Reine Sans Royaume

Read a nice piece by Jane herself in the Observer.

Camille (3)

A good live album not only gives the visitor of the concert a souvenir (and makes the ones who couldn't or wouldn't come envious), it also shows that the artist can do something different than in the studio. Either the songs have different arrangements, are more intimate or have more impact than studioversions. Camille's Live Ou Trianon is a very good live-album: gawd how I wish I had been there. With just four people (Camille, bassplayer, percussionist and human beatboxer) the concert is intimate, funky, upbeat and funny: Camille shows off her vocal versatility by singing, shouting, screaming and, well, burping. She sings songs from both of her albums, who have been adapted for the live-setting. I love the sad, intimate piano-songs best, but you gotta love this Ta Douleur-version as well.

Camille - Mon Petit Vieux (live)

Camille - Ta Douleur (live)

(more Camille live-versions here)

dinsdag 21 maart 2006


New kid on the block: Emily Loizeau. I agree with the way RFI Musique describes her: "Une douceur voilée de mélancolie, un mélange singulier de sourire et de peine". On point: veiled melancholy and a particular mix of smiles and sorrow. Emily is the first French artist on the Fargo label, on her piano-driven album she sings in English and French. There are two duets, with violinist-extraordinaire Andrew Bird and Franck Monnet. Emily's voice is a little reminiscent of Shivaree's Ambrosia and Blossom Dearie, her music refers to seventies singer-songwriters and cabaret - there are some instrumental piano-ditties. Her first album L'Autre Bout du Monde is very gentle, intimate and sweet. Emily is a very promising fille sourire.

Emily Loizeau - L'Autre Bout du Monde

Emily Loizeau & Andrew Bird - London Town

maandag 20 maart 2006


Unfortunately, when I was in New York last week, the Gainsbourg tribute with La Laque and Nous Non Plus was cancelled :-(. Lucky for me, Nous Non Plus ànd Les Sans Culottes were playing on the same (fri-)day. Now, I heard something about LSC losing members to NNP, but I did not know the details. That was before I read this funny, and also a little sad article on Slate.com.
I chose to see NNP @ Hiro Ballroom, a beautiful Japanese themed stage below a hotel. NNP were the second band of the night, before we had to endure a very boring and very off-key singing folkduo. Yawn. But there they were, singer Celine Dijon (ofcourse not her real name, but she's the only real Frenchie in this so-faux-it's-good-yeye-band), guitarplayer Jean Luc Retard and the others. Very energetic, they rocked the packed place with their really good pastiches of yeye-music. The closing song wasn't French, but German: a hi-energy version of Nena's 99 Luftballons, with a snippet of Tom Petty's American Girl (re-named Bavarian Girl - err...guys: Nena's from Hagen, in Nordrhein-Westfalen) - hilarious. Good show, glad I went to see it.
LSC (featuring Celine and the other NNP-members) made three records, the best song being Allo Allo. NNP made one album last year, my favourite song off of that is Monokini.

Les Sans Culottes - Allo Allo

Nous Non Plus - Monokini

(links are good now)

donderdag 16 maart 2006


She was to become either a coiffeuse or a chanteuse, but chose the latter. Twenty-something Amelie, who fronts the band Amélie-Les-Crayons, looks exotic, but her music is in the vein of the old masters - Brassens, Duteil, Anne Sylvestre. Her shows are quite theatrical, as I understand from her bio, and caught the eye of various award-jurys. Her album came out in 2004, and she's currently touring. She writes songs (lyrics and music) behind the piano, which feels like colouring a drawing, hence the name - at least, that's what I understand. She sings about girls and girlie problems and worries, about unfaithfulness and love.
The song posted here is taken from the Putumayo-compilation Paris, releasedate April 18, that also features Carla Bruni, Paris Combo, Myrtille and Pascal Parisot. On April 23, Myrtille will play at the Amsterdam release-party of the album @ Odeon. Guess who's deejaying!

Amélie-les-crayons - Ta P'tite Flamme

dinsdag 14 maart 2006

Emilie (2)

If you saw the Oscar-winning documentary March of the Penguins in the US, you missed the glacially beautiful music by Emilie Simon - that was inexplicably cut from the film. When she heard about it, she thought she was told a really bad joke. But it wasn't a joke. Damn you, yankees! In parts of the world where the original music was kept Emilie became a genuine star. Japan has been very kind to her, as you know they would. On her new album Végétal, Emilie sings in French and in English (songs on March of the Penguins are in English too) - she's not the best lyricist in English, so I'm not very enthusiastic about that decision. Probably made with one eye on the international market. Oh well.
The French songs are wonderful, triphop might be a out of date style nowadays, it still works for Simon. Electronics make a perfect, snowwhite bed for her gentle, childish voice. She produced the album all by herself, and did all the programming. I love the sound of an open fire, that she used for a beat (inna Matthew Herbert-stylee) in closing song En Cendres.

Emilie Simon - Vieil Amant

Emilie Simon - En Cendres

Initials SG

Start salivating.


Back from New York (where I saw Nous Non Plus live - very, very good!), and glad to find Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited in my mailbox. A few songs from this tribute-album have been posted elsewhere, I chose I Call It Art, a version of La Chanson de Slogan by UK/US-duo The Kills. Alison and Jamie, a.k.a. VV and Hotel, make steamy, tensed rock, reminiscent of the first P.J. Harvey-albums. They claim they're not lovers, but if see them live, you could be fooled. I really like their two albums, as much as I like their Slogan-version. They didn't translate the song themselves (Boris Bergman and Paul Ives are responsable, who also adapted a lot of other songs on Mr Gainsbourg Revisited), and it certainly isn't a literal translation. The spirit of the song is there, but it's not even a duet anymore, like it was in the original version by Serge and Jane.
Mick Harvey covered and translated the song too, on his Intoxicated Man-tribute - compare the versions. Also here is a cover of Slogan by Blonde Redhead and, ofcourse, the original version, written for the 1969 film Slogan.

The Kills - I Call it Art (La Chanson de Slogan)

Mick Harvey & Anita Lane - Song of Slurs (La Chanson de Slogan)

Blonde Redhead - La Chanson de Slogan

Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin - La Chanson de Slogan

maandag 6 maart 2006


Does the name Mikado ring any bell? This French groupe had a couple of hitsingles in the eighties, and Pascale Borel was their singer. I first heard of Mikado while googling on Pascale - where they any good? In 2005 Pascale made an album for the Pschent-label (best known for their Hotel Costes-compilations), on which she displays her rather thin, but very suggestive voice. For some reason I get pictures of French maids in full oh-la-la-mode - listen to Pascale's coverversion of Madonna's Into The Groove, you'll get the picture. A good selfpenned song off of the album is Ne Crie Plus.

Pascale Borel - Ne Crie Plus

Pascale Borel - Into the Groove

zaterdag 4 maart 2006

Françoise (7)

While waiting on that Gainsbourg-tribute-cd and the new Emilie Simon-album (and I'm sure I'm gonna order this box as well), here's two oldies by Françoise Hardy. Recently a double cd with the dreamy Star (from 1977) and J'Écoute De La Musique Saoûle ('78) has been reissued - Natash(k)a was so kind to give me the little box. Both are so-so albums, on Saoûle Hardy tries to get more danceable or something, maybe under the influence of the upcoming disco-age. Star is better, great strings on the nearly 8-minute long title-track, a song co-written with Janis Ian.

This Tuesday I'm off to NYC for a week (if my back-injury will allow me to) - so far I'm going to see Kelley Polar @ Knitting Factory. Any other must-see's or must-do's?

Françoise Hardy - Star

Françoise Hardy - Hallucinogène

donderdag 2 maart 2006

Serge RIP

Today, March 2, it's 15 years since Serge passed away. To commemorate that, a tribute cd was recently released, and of course several blogs have posted songs.
On March 10, dj's Pierre Elitaire and Louis Katorz are hosting a Soirée Gainsbourg @ Antwerp club Petrol. Unfortunately the Gainsbourg-tribute in New York, that I would attend, has been cancelled :-(

Here's a rare inédit by Serge, from the movie Goodbye Emmanuelle, the title song. Not sure if that's Jane or Sylvia Kristel duetting with Serge.

Serge Gainsbourg - Goodbye Emmanuelle (inédit)

woensdag 1 maart 2006


Armelle Pioline is the very gracious name of the very gracefully-voiced singer of Holden. This French band started out as an English-language rockband (called Happiness in Sexyland), but that changed when Armelle returned from Ireland to l'Hexagone, heard the first albums by Dominique A and Katerine and not only got signed on the same label as Dominique, but Ané also produced their first album. I got to know them via their second album Pedrolira, still a highpoint in the nouvelle chanson-tradition.
New album Chevrotine (between the second and third album they recorded songs for a soundtrack, and also appeared in the movie) was produced by Uwe Schmidt, a.k.a. Atom Heart, a.k.a. Lassigue Bendthaus, a.k.a. Señor Coconut. If you're familiar with his work, you know that Uwe likes to joke around, but is also capable of creating nice, soothing sounds - that's exactly what he did on Chevrotine. Here and there are some clicks and cuts, but most of the time is bas-drum-guitar-piano, and ofcourse That Melancholy-filled Voice.

Holden - Comme Une Fille
Holden - Dès Demain

Holden - C'est Plus Pareil (Xarlup remix) (from Pedrolira)