donderdag 31 mei 2007

Jardin d'hiver

Benjamin Biolay and co-author Keren Ann Zeidel made a name for themselves when French music vet Henri Salvador covered their bossa-chanson Jardin d'Hiver in 2002. Both Ben and Keren recorded the song themselves too, and Keren duetted with Henri for a radioshow. But I had no idea the song was some kind of standard nowadays. Recently, Canadian actress Ima (pictured) added a version to the impressive list of artists who covered the song, that features jazzpiano-bigshot Jacky Terrasson, his jazzy collegues Vincent Malone and the Getz-y Jim Tomlinson (who records with American fille Stacey Kent, what a great voice!), Brazilians Bia and Rosa Passos and even a kitschy accordeonist called Alain Morisod.
Can someone mail me the version by Sonia Andrade ?

Benjamin Biolay - Jardin d'Hiver
Keren Ann - Jardin d' Hiver
Keren Ann & Henri Salvador - Jardin d'Hiver
Henri Salvador - Jardin d'Hiver
Ima - Jardin d'Hiver
Jim Tomlinson & Stacey Kent - Jardin d'Hiver
Rosa Passos - Jardim (Portuguese version of Jardin)
Bia - Jardim
Jacky Terrasson - Jardin d'Hiver
Vincent Malone - Jardin d'Hiver
Alain Morisod - Jardin d'Hiver

Julie Fradette

It took a while, but about ten years ago, French singer Julie Fradette finally fell for the seduction of Serge. The melancholy, the cynicism and the elegance of the words & music, she added some songs to her repertoire. After that, she kind of devoted herself to Serge and his music. Gainsbourg et Elles is a show by Julie with songs written by Serge, either sung by himself or by his 'harem': Jane Birkin, Petula Clark, Brigitte Bardot, Isabelle Adjani, France Gall, etcetera. Here's two demo-recordings, one of the always beautiful Les Amours Perdues, and a sunny version of Laisse Tomber. Julie has a blog too.

Julie Fradette - Laisse Tomber les Filles
Julie Fradette - Les Amours Perdues

dinsdag 29 mei 2007

Constance Verluca

Tu Es Laide by free-folkster Constance Verluca reminds me of another French song very much, but I can't put my finger on it. Is it L'Age des Saisons by Doriand & Keren Ann, is it a song by Biolay, it's driving me NUTS! Please help me out here, it's on the tip of my tongue.
In the meantime, let me tell you a little about Verluca, who was born in Paris. Adieu Pony is her just-released debut, a tribute to her favourite animal and a cult-group called The Band Formerly Unknown As Pony. Right. Adieu Pony was produced by Noah Georgeson, who worked with Devandra Banhart and Joanna Newsom before (hence the free-folk tag). The album covers several styles, full-throttle rock (Je Simule), children's singalong (Ding Dang Dong), but mostly it's gentle strumming. That suits her girlie voice real well. Matt Dillon is an ode, not so much to the actor, but the character Rusty James he plays in the classic Rumble Fish.

Constance Verluca - Tu Es Laide
Constance Verluca - Matt Dillon
Constance Verluca - Donne-moi Ta Vie
EXTRA: Constance Verluca - Pourquoi Tu Vis (live) (Jeanette-cover) (Merci SOM)

Marie Paule Belle

Guestpost from Ron Infirmier on Marie-Paule Belle:

Marie-Paule Belle (born near Paris in 1946) is mostly (and unfortunately) known in France for her 1978 hit single La Parisienne, a witty and anti-snob song that became her trademark for a whole decade.
A great admirer of Barbara, she went to record a whole acoustic cover album of Barbara's songs, followed by a successfull tour the next year. And that’s basically the two only important facts you could find anywhere on the web. A darn shame for such a fine composer, who has been dumped long time ago by her record company. Hard to find lp’s are for sale on Ebay, over a 100 euros.
MPB (helped by her partner, writer Françoise Mallet Joris) knows how to write a sad song, but it's not all tears and sadness. Her live shows display a full range of emotions, from comique troupier covers (songs that were sung by and to soldiers in café-concert, before World War I, try Nous nous plûmes live) to pastiche Russian muzik (full of crappy double-comprendre puns, try Moujik Russe.

This is a recommendation for all artists ofcourse, but please, if you like her songs, buy the records! An excellent Best Of can be found anywhere on the net.

Marie Paule Belle - La Parisienne
Marie Paule Belle - Dis, Quand Reviendras-tu? (Barbara-cover)
Marie Paule Belle - Nous Nous Plûme
Marie Paule Belle - Moujik Russe

Very rare clip, disco star Sheila & Marie Paule, singing La Parisienne together.

donderdag 24 mei 2007

Biolay, Miossec

We have to wait until September before Benjamin Biolay's new album Trash YeYe will be released, unfortunately. I read that apart from his soloalbum, he also works with a band featuring Ambrosia from Shivaree. Could be real nice. First Trash YeYe-single Dans La Merco Benz is already out, and sounds very promising. Ben's trademark whispery voice, the smokey atmosphere, country-noir music; this is why I love this guy. From the recent La Musique du Moment-compilation, here's his duet with Françoise Hardy as well.

Charline Rose has a new album out, her second which is called A Genoux.. It features some interesting collaborations. One's a duet with French rockveteran Christophe Miossec, who sounds very much like Biolay in this song. The other is the remix fellow countryman Alex Callier (from Hooverphonic) made from Une Seule Erreur Suffit. Charline's sweet voice fits his quasi-fifties torchsong very nicely.

Benjamin Biolay - Dans La Merco Benz
Benjamin Biolay & Françoise Hardy - Adieu triste amour
Charline Rose & Miossec - De Toute Manière
Charline Rose - Un Seule Erreur Suffit (Alex Callier remix)

maandag 21 mei 2007

Ma Blonde est une Chanteuse

Their relation is supposed to be as ambigious as that of Jack and Meg White, at least that is what is said here. In other articles chanteuse Annie Chartrand is called la copine of music veteran Karlof Galovsky. Anyhoo, the music of Montreal-based Ma Blonde est une Chanteuse is slow-building rock, featuring the sultry voice of Annie. Last november they released an EP called Eponyme (available here), and they count Serge Gainsbourg, Björk and, yes, Star Wars among their influences. For me, Berceuse (that somehow reminds me of early Radiohead) is the best song on Eponyme. The jolly Annie is, well, jolly.

Ma Blonde Est Une Chanteuse - Berceuse
Ma Blonde Est Une Chanteuse - Annie


I thought it would be hard, but it turned out to be pretty easy to get the first official recording of the very talented Camille. Or Camille Dalmais, to be precise, her first and last name appear on the soundtrack to Les Morsures de L'Aube (2001). In this movie, featuring the beautiful Asia Argento, Camille appears as well. I've not seen it, so I don't know in which scene her French version of the blues-classic Night Life is used. It's a fair version, nothing really special and no hint of the fantastic music she would be making later on (an masterpiece like Le Fil, par example). The song was written by three people, but made famous by good ole Willie Nelson.

Camille Dalmais - La Vie La Nuit
Wille Nelson - Night Life

woensdag 16 mei 2007

Parlez-vous Pop?

"A sad song of dreams unfulfilled and a wounded heart: 'It was a lovely summer to remember, tomorrow we will part'". So notes François Cactus of Stereo Total about Vicky Leandros' emo-classic Entre Les Lignes. One of the 16 songs on the recently released compilation Parlez-vous Pop? (on Bureau B records). This comp brings together French songs from the sixties and seventies, sung by non-French singers. Who recorded them for fun, or out of genuine love for the language of love. It features mostly Brit and German artists (Dusty Springfield, Sandi Shaw, Marianne Faithfull, Freddy Quinn, Marlene Dietrich, Roy Black), but Vicky Leandros was ofcourse fromt the Greek Island of Corfu - she won the Eurovision Songcontest in 1972 with the tearjerker Après-toi. In 1967 she became fourth in the Contest with L'Amour Est Bleu, a classic that was covered lots of times, f.i. by Claudine Longet. Parlez-Vous Pop features some great oddities, like a space-age popsong by Catharina Valente, and a cover of The Bananaboat Song, a song about a slave on a plantation who wants to go home to his African village, sung in French by German crooner Freddy Quinn.

Vicky Leandros - Entre Les Lignes
Vicky Leandros - Après toi (not on Parlez-vous Pop?)
Vicky Leandros - L'Amour est Bleu (not on Parlez-vous Pop?)
Mary Roos - L'Autoroute
Freddy Quinn - Day-O

maandag 14 mei 2007

Les Roche Martin

Recently, La Belle Epoque and La Musique du Moment were released, two compilations on EMI (or to be more precise, EMI's reissue label Zonophone) containing old and new French popmusic. I'm not too impressed by La Musique du Moment, featuring songs by usual suspects like Biolay, Camille, Coralie Clement, Keren Ann and Alexis HK - most songs are real good, but why call your comp Music of the Moment if it features no brandnew songs by artists who just released a new album (Keren Ann) or will do any moment (Clement, Biolay). You're better off with any of the Le Pop compilations when it comes to new French music.
La Belle Epoque is better (apart from the major misspellings on the sleeve and in the liner notes), it features great yeye-pop by filles like Christie Laume, Anne Kern, Alice Dona and Les Roche Martin. It's as good as any Sixties Girls-comp on Magic Records. Take Les Roche Martin. To quote from the Belle Epoque-liner notes (by Brit-journo Kieron Tyler): "Their unique sound combined with the vocal sophistication of the Swingle Singers with a Pet Sounds sensibility - harpsichords, oboes and strings baroquely drift in and out of the arrangements. It's like Stereolab, only 20 years too early. Signed to Pathé Marconi in 1966 by singer-songwriter Michel Berger, the one boy, two-girl trio featured Veronique Sanson and her sister Violaine (...) Nowadays Les Roche Martin's super-rare original releases regularly fetch 400 euros." More on LRM here.

Les Roche Martin - Les Mains des les Poches
Les Roche Martin - Tu a Peur de Bruit
Les Roche Martin - C'est Toi qui a gache notre vie

donderdag 10 mei 2007


YES! Sweet li'l Yelle finally made available Ce Jeu, that brilliant track with a sample taken from Heaven 17's Let Me Go. Well, actually I am not sure if she made it available, but it is all over the net right now. So whoever put it out there, merci bien! On her official site the news that the album is finished, and will be released in September. Before that, new remixes, new videos, so more Yelle! On MySpace a teaser of another great song.

Yelle - Ce Jeu
Heaven 17 - Let Me Go

Laura Fygi

Remember Vanity 6? When this lingerie-clad trio shocked and excited the world, and thus raced up the charts, copycats sprang up. One of those was the Dutch trio Centerfold. Also lingerie-clad, with cheesy songs with lots of innuendo and out-of-breath-vocals. I used to have the hots for darkhaired beauty Rowan Moore (like real hard), but coffeecoloured Laura Fygi had some real vocal talent. Years after Centerfold broke up, she re-invented herself as a jazzsinger, and scored a contract with the legendary Verve-label. Although she could sing, her cocktailjazz was way to safe for me. Last month Rendez-vous was released, an album with French songs, most of them translated standards. One of them is Duke Ellington's Caravan, an instrumental older Dutch readers might remember as the theme from Wie van de Drie (although in the version of Wes Montgomery). It's classic lounge, and it stays that way in Laura's quality-cover.

Laura Fygi - Caravane

dinsdag 8 mei 2007

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Could be interesting: remixed versions of songs on Charlotte Gainsbourg's 5.55 album. Cousin Cole took a shot, and added a beat and a bassline to The Operation. It's not perfect, but it's a start.
My 5.55 Remix wishlist: Beck, Stereolab, Ada, David Holmes, Boozoo Bajou, Thievery Corporation, Madlib, James Holden.

Charlotte Gainsbourg - The Operation (Cousin Cole rmx)

Alfa Rococo, Melissa Mars

A hard rain's a-falling at the moment here in AMS, so the moment's right to talk about summer hits. Especially with a song called Les Jours de Pluie. It's sung by Alfa Rococo, a duo (Justine Laberge & David Bussières) ,from Montréal who debuted recently on the Canadian label Tacca Musique. Their album Lever L'Ancre consists of upbeat modern pop, with a prominent role for guitar and vintage organ-sounds. You can hear Beck, Manu Chao and even Madonna in their music, I like it that all songs are duets, although I think Justine's Ariane Moffatt-ish huskyness could florish solo too.

Also, Melissa Mars from Marseille has a new album coming out, and first single Love Machine (do not be fooled by the English title) has 'summer hit' written all ove it. As mentioned before, as soon as a girlie French song refers to Lio, I'm all ears, and this song (written with Pascal Obispo) captures the Amoureux Solitaire-vibe very, very well.

What about your suggestions for the Summer Hit of 2007 ?

Alfa Rococo - Les Jours de Pluie
Melissa Mars - Love Machine

maandag 7 mei 2007

Ariane, Catherine

Ariane Moffatt-fans (aren't we all?) get a free download now and then thanks to the OpenDisc-technique. This time Ariane made the pretty popsong Petit Animal available. Calypso-rhythm, loud guitars, that husky voice; it's what we at FS HQ call a winning combination.

Catherine Ferroyer-Blanchard was featured here before, just as Les Dessous Chics. The latter remixed the first, with a highly danceable electropopsong as a result. Yelle-fans, take note and enjoy.

Ariane Moffatt - Petit Animal
Catherine Ferroyer-Blanchard - Chanson d'Amour (DS remix)

woensdag 2 mei 2007

Le Pop 4

An album I'm looking forward to very much is the first solorecord by Melanie Pain. You know her ofcourse as one of the singers from Nouvelle Vague, you might've seen her dj with NV-collegue Phoebe (for instance in Maastricht), you may remember the tracks I posted by Villeneuve, on which Melanie sings. A few tracks of Melanie's soloalbum (I hope Marc Collin's own label Perfect Kiss will release it) can be heard on Melanie's MySpace-site, but also on Le Pop 4, the new compilation by the Cologne-based Frenchthusiasts. They focus on the new French sounds, and this time they outdid themselves compiling songs by Jeanne Cherhal, Pierre Lapointe, Holden, Austine and Dominique A. Le Pop was instrumental in introducing me to the newest French artists, and still do: I'd never hard of Eddy (La)Gooyatsch, Ludo Pin or Thierry Stemler. And especially Eddy is a great find. Vive le Pop!

Melanie Pain - La Cigarette
Eddy (La)Gooyatsch - L'Amour et l'eau Fraiche

Constance Amiot

Born in (on?) the Ivory Coast, raised in Cameroon, Constance Amiot's musical upbringing took place in Maryland, USA. There she started playing piano at the age of 6, and guitar when she was 16. In Washington DC she attended open-mic shows, and made an album, Whisperwood. Now, on the verge of the big 3-0, she's signed to one of France's interesting record labels, Tôt ou Tard. Home of, among others, Jeanne Cherhal, Bastian Lallemant and Thomas Fersen. The freshly released Fairytale is an album containing French and English songs (Décrocher la lune is mix of both languages), most of them written by Constance. Three lyrics were written by Jerome Attal (among them Le Souffle d'un Matin). Constance is a fan of Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman. She has a cool, understated voice that can be very sexy too. When she sings in French, that is.

Constance Amiot - Clash dans la Tempo
Constance Amiot - Le Souffle d'un Matin

dinsdag 1 mei 2007

Emmanuelle Seigner

Ultra Orange is a duo (Pierre and Gil) who were once dubbed 'the French Garbage', not because they were trash, but because their electronica+guitar-sound was reminiscent of the band Garbage (Shirley Manson, remember?). I'd say they were a lesser known Rinôçerôse - but then again, how big was this electronica+guitar-duo? Anyhoo, Ultra Orange teamed up with actress Emmanuelle Seigner for an album that was released earlier this year. I've posted songs by Seigner (and her sister) before - on the soundtrack to Backstage she didn't prove that her voice is her best feature. The same can be said about Ultra Orange + Emmanuelle. Sing Sing is a pretty nice popsong (with a video directed by J-B Mondino), though, and Rosemary's Lullaby a cinematic ode to Roman Polanski, Emmanuelle's hubby and director of the classic Rosemary's Baby. Maybe to please the international market, all songs by UO+E are in English, but Ultra Orange did some French songs on one of their earlier albums. Gil has a much nicer, much fillessourires-fitting voice than Emmanuelle, don't you think?

Ultra Orange + Emmanuelle - Sing Sing
Ultra Orange + Emmanuelle - Rosemary's Lullaby
Ultra Orange - La Femme Bison Blanc