dinsdag 31 juli 2007

Friday Bridge

"I . Friday Bridge is the musical vehicle for Ms Friday Bridge et al.
II. Friday Bridge is the ideal musical companion to dinner parties and parlour games.
III. Four Friday Bridge concerns are delicacy, melody, sophistication and lush orchestration.
IV. In its mildness and refusal to trade intellect for friendship, Friday Bridge is most subversive."
Ylva Lindberg is Swedish, the descprition above comes from her Friday Bridge-website. Intricacy is her first proper album, that features a few songs in French. She's been compared to Pet Shop Boys, Madonna and Stereo Total. I love her highpitched voice, but the music at times sounds cheap and a bit bombastic. It's like when you were a child and all of a sudden you found a bag of your favourite sugarcoated sweets. Instead of enjoying just a few, you ate the whole bag. That's how Friday Bridge sounds to me. Is there a dentist in the house?
[Merci à Franss]

Friday Bridge - It Girl
Friday Bridge - Armance L'Actrice
Friday Bridge - Le Satin s'empare de la Mode

maandag 30 juli 2007

Boutique Chic

Just had an inspiring evening @ Chez Natashka's (could well be the champagne) (burp), who went to Paris to meet with Thomas of Boutique Chic-fame. And she bought me some records, but more on that later. The most recent 12" of the Boutique Chic-series was just released, called Maison Close - and yes, that's a reference to brothels, anybody who's seen Belle de Jour knows about it. BC focusses on the sexiness and the cheeky stuff, a "backward-looking paean to modernism's charms". The first maxi-single was all about hairdressers, the second one asked the age-old question: bikini or monokini? The music was made by Thomas' friends (Minimatic, Kid Loco, the mighty Chris Joss, Roudoudou), mostly French, but also Dutch breakbeat-masters Black Market Audio contributed. The sleeves were lovely, the music was retro with modern touches. Fans of BC were big names like Bertrand Burgalat, dj Andy Smith and King Britt. A great project in short. Here's three examples, featuring female vocals ofcourse:

Minimatic - La Raie Au Milieu
Vegomatic - 3 Bikinis
Cucumber - Boogaloo au One Two Two

donderdag 26 juli 2007


Now I'm not a guy who likes to brag, but I r.o.c.k.e.d. last night @ Amsterdam Paradiso, probably one of the best French sets I every played. It took some time before the (small, but growing) crowd started dancing, but nobody can stand still when Axel Bauer comes on. I even got a few requests, one by a gorgeous French girl. Sorry I didn't have anything by Indochine. Songs that went well were Fleur de Saison by Emilie Simon, Rock Le Cashbah by Rachid Taha and On Roule à 160 by Mareva Galanter. Plus Lolita Go Home by Jane Birkin, the title track from her 1975 album. Probably one of the best and most soulful albums by Birkin.

Jane Birkin - Lolita Go Home

dinsdag 24 juli 2007

Soy Un Caballo

If it smells like Stereolab, I'm all ears. Belgian duo Soy Un Caballo (I am a horse, in Spanish) had their debutalbum produced by Sean O'Hagan, they use vibraphones, Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzers and have a French chanteuse (Aurélie Muller). Even Will Oldham comes by for a duet. Les Heures de Raison was released in June on the small, but sympathique Matamore-label. The understated, dreamy atmosphere reminds me of Juana Molina - like with her, it takes a while before Soy Un Caballo's songs start to grow on you. But they do.

Soy Un Caballo - La Bibliothèque
Soy Un Caballo - Passer des Jours

maandag 23 juli 2007

Matt & Marianne

Sounds like: A haystack on fire. As it pours down. That's how Matt (Mitchell) and Marianne (Dissard) describe their music. If you know that Matt plays jazzguitar, that Marianne lets out her inner femme fatale (look at those legs on the picture!) and that they do covers of songs by Jobim, Trenet, Drake, Piaf and Reinhardt, smoke gets in your eyes. For yes, this is tender boudoir music to the max. Marianne wrote me: "I recorded in my closet but the cicadas, les cigales, still kick in through the guitar. A faint chorus of hundreds cutting through the 45 degrees heat." How's that for perseverance? More M&M here.

Matt & Marianne - Boum
Charles Trenet - Boum

Matt & Marianne - Quand refleuriront les lilas blanc
Gesky - Quand refleuriront les lilas blanc

(ps: there's an older version by Anna Thibaud, but the static on that recording is overwhelming)

Feist cover competition

Always wanted to record your favourite Feist-song and share it with the world? Sound of Musique can help! Go here for the details on SOM's cover competition.

donderdag 19 juli 2007


Due to illness of my good pal DD, I will be dj-ing @ De Nieuwe Nor in Heerlen this Saturday. From 21.00-01.00 hr. it will be Filles Sourires to the max! Next Thursday (July 26) I will be one the dj's @ Amsterdam Paradiso, from 22.00-23.00 hr.

woensdag 18 juli 2007

Claudine Longet

Natashka bumped into this great song by Claudine Longet, and send it to me. Ofcourse I had to share it with y'all. More Claudine here, it's where I stole the picture too.

Claudine Longet - Meditation (French version)

Belle Dames

Mercury Rising by Sting isn't considered one of the highlights in his solo-career, although he had a crack band behind him. Featuring the late pianist Kenny Kirkland and guitarist Dominic Miller. On this album from 1996 is a French song Sting wrote with Miller, La Belle Dame Sans Regrets. I'm not a big Sting fan (although I'm looking forward to see the reunited Police in concert, after summer), so I really wouldn't know why Mr Tantra Sex went French on us. Then again, he did a passable version of Ne Me Quitte Pas too (posted before). The song was covered by a bunch of women, and some very belle ones too. Take Canada's Emilie-Claire Barlow (pictured) for instance. Dutch jazz-diva Fay Claassen is easy on the eyes. And jazzdivas Bianca Pittoors and Blossom Dearie are classy too.

Sting - La Belle Dame Sans Regrets
Emilie-Claire Barlow - La Belle Dame Sans Regrets
Fay Claassen - La Belle Dame Sans Regrets
Bianca Pittoors - La Belle Dame Sans Regrets
Blossom Dearie - La Belle Dame Sans Regrets

maandag 16 juli 2007

Male interlude: Axel, Saule

Hope you all had a great Bastille day. Maybe you went to this party. Or maybe (like me) you went here. In both you cases, you've danced. One of my favourite all-time favourite French popdancehits is Cargo de Nuit by Axel Bauer. Heck, it is even one of my favourite French songs of alltime. It's from the eighties, but has aged very well. Joy oh joy when last week, my dealer pushed a mysterious 12-inch vinyl record over the counter that turned out to be a special remix of Cargo. It doesn't feature vocals (a lot), but the danceability of the song has enhanced. Chairs away!

Axel Bauer - Cargo
Axel Bauer - Cargo (Fullsolo redub)

From 2006 and from Belgium, but since a few weeks there's someone making promo for it in Holland: debutalbum Vous-êtes Ici by Saule. Baptiste Lalieu (Saule's real name) and his band Les Pleureurs make acoustic rock with jazzy touches - there's links with Arthur H and Dominique A, maybe 'a Paris-based Calexico' is a good description. Saule has a great imagination, his vocals and lyrics are very theatrical. There are funny bits (when he sings an ode to a toilet-lady, or when he apes a trumpet), there's variation in styles (Le Boss changes from lullaby to funkmetal) and there's a nod to Claude François' Comme d'Habitude. Single (and video) Si are a nice introduction.

Saule - Si
Saule - Tu Dors

woensdag 11 juli 2007


You can stop looking y'all, THE summersong of 2007 is Merveilleux by Lula. A sixties-style whistler. So fresh, so clean. And what a darling girlie voice. Born in a tiny village near the Alps, li'l Lula occupied her time singing along to Blondie songs. Later on, she met German punkrock icon Bela B., who in turn introduced her to the legendary Lee Hazlewood. She sang a duet on his last album. How's that for recommendations? Her album drops in August, with songs in English, German and French. I sure hope she will explore French some more - she could be the next Vanessa Paradis. No, really.

Lula - Merveilleux

dinsdag 10 juli 2007

Kate Ryan

There are similarities between steroid-taking baseballers and trancepop. You take a fairly normal body, pump it up artificially and then take it on the road to perform in superdomes. Only there, in the spotlights and watched by thousands, it is most effective. Trance and trance-pop are my pet peeves, but if pushed, I'm willing to acknowledge that when played up to 11 in big arenas (or with a heavy foot on the gas pedal), it sure works. Phil Wilde knows this too, that's why he produced millionsellers for 2Unlimited and Belgian blonde Katrien Verbeek, better known as Kate Ryan. Her cover of Mylène Farmer's Desenchantée was a major hit in 2002. It's a steroid version of the original, just as her new single Voyage Voyage is a superdome makeover of Desireless' eighties-classic. Not my favourite covers ever, but at the right place, and the right moment, i do feel imaginary glowsticks in my hands. [By the way: what do you think of the Mylene Farmer-clip to Desenchantée?]

Kate Ryan - Desenchantée (clip)
Kate Ryan - Voyage Voyage (clip)
Mylène Farmer - Desenchantée (clip)
Desireless - Voyage Voyage

I did not find the mp3 of this, but here's another (very funny) Voyage Voyage-cover:
Vincent Malone - Voyage Voyage

maandag 9 juli 2007

Look what I found

Almost everyday I'm surfing past blogs and MySpace-pages, and here is what I bumped into recently.

Atlani (pictured) grew up in Marseille listening to the Arabo-Andalouse-songs her father played, and the French chansons of her mom. She has a lovely voice, and writes great popsongs. She made an album in 2001, and has new songs ready for an album to be released this year. Fille Facile has a dark eighties-wave vibe.

Gilliane Kim loves Tim Buckley, Donovan and Yves Simon, so that makes her a folky. But the enchanting Ici C'est Le Désert floats on electronic sounds, and that places her music firmly in the Here & Now. Gilliane started making music around 2000, played in various theatrical productions and released an album last year. Je Suis Venue te Dire from that album is NOT a Gainsbourg-cover, although it sure sounds like one.

Riot in Belgium is an Australian (!) dj-duo (one guy was in Cut Copy), who are all the rage in the blogosphere. They make scorching electro-house, and remixed Yelle. But for their own killer track La Musique they hired a mysterious fille called Gini. She sounds all hot 'n bothered, which is nice.

Gilliane Kim - Ici C'est Le Désert
Atlani - Fille Facile
Riot in Belgium - La Musique

Public Service Announcements

To keep you up to date on stuff:

- The wonderful Natashka of Radio Oh La La will host a 14th of July Bastille Party in Amsterdam @ De Nieuwe Anita. Featuring herself, and dj Waikiki Wilf. Be sure to pick up your Oh La La-shirt when attending.
- I will be dj'ing at the Amsterdam Paradiso on Thursday July 26, starting at 22.00 ish. Just one hour. But on Saturday July 28 I'm the host of Gare Du Nor @ De Nieuwe Nor in Heerlen (deep south of Holland, near German border). There I will be dj'ing all night (well, until 01.00-ish). Every Saturday night, starting July 14th, De Nieuwe Nor has a dj playing French music. Like Disco El Sur and my pal DD.
- Sylvain made a great mix, featuring French bands like Superflu, Un Homme & Une Femme Project and Notre Dame. Check here.
- SOM has the new song Camille wrote for the Pixar-movie Ratatouille.
- Four more versions of Un Homme et Une Femme below.
- The Voilà L'Été Mix 2007 is still available. Check here.

donderdag 5 juli 2007

Un Homme et Les Femmes

You wake up one Thursday humming that familiair pabadabada pabadabada, and a few hours later you're uploading nine different versions of the well-known theme to Claude Lelouch's masterful Un Homme & Une Femme (1966, two Oscars, Golden Palm). The original song, composed by Francis Lai and Pierre Barouh, and sung by Barouh (who also appears in the movie) and Nicole Croisille, is a lounge-classic. There are probably hundreds of version by Fausto Papetti, Paul Mauriat and other James Last-a-likes. What else can you do with a song like this? You can make a smokey barroom version out of it, like Patricia Kaas did. Or make a more modern lounge-version, like In-Grid's. Or soul it up, like the wonderfully named Ithamara Koorax. You can nu-bossa-nova it and add some rappin', like Clémentine did. And ofcourse you can translate it. To Greek (Theodosia Tsatsou), to English (Cilla Black) and to Norwegian (Kirsti Sparboe). Then ofcourse you slow-jazz it (and laugh about that, like Amor Belhom Duo), or make an instrumental version, like Dutch piano-giant Tonny Eyk did. Now if only I could find a punk- or metalversion...

Francis Lai - Un Homme et Une Femme
Patricia Kaas - Un Homme et Une Femme
In-Grid - Un Homme et Une Femme
Ithamara Koorax - Un Homme et Une Femme
Theodosia Tsatsou - Enas Antras Kai Mia Gynaika
Clémentine - Un Homme et Une Femme
Cilla Black - A Man and A Woman
Kirsti Sparboe - En Mann Og en Kvinne
Amor Belhom Duo - Un Homme et Une Femme
Tonny Eyk - Une Homme et Une Femme

Thanks to Sky, here's four more versions:
Claudine Longet - Une Homme et Une Femme
The Free Design - A Man and a Woman
Conjunto 3D - Un Homme et une Femme
Sir Julian - Un Homme et Une Femme

And more versions, courtesy of Earthgoesaround (check here for even more):
Chet Baker - Un Homme et Une Femme
Clémentine - Une Homme et Une Femme (Readymade One Man DJ Show remix)

dinsdag 3 juli 2007


If you ever travelled to France by train, you've probably heard the sound-logo of the SNCF (the French railway services). It's the husky female going pam-pam paa-dah. That soundlogo triggered a certain British musician/trainfanatic while on holiday. His love for trains, electronic music and that soundlogo all added up, lead to Train Grande Vitesse, the first single Justin Billinger (the Briton) made with his Dutch partner Michiel Marsman under the Electrique moniker. They hired Liesbeth Esselink (of Solex-fame, pictured) for the pam-pam paa-dah. If you're familiar with Kraftwerk, you also hear the song nods to their Trans-Europe Express. Justin and Machiel usually make music that is used for commercials, this song was picked-up by a French label, and after some hassle with the SNCF and the guy who composed the soundlogo, the song will be released very soon! See the video for it here.

Electrique also made a brilliant French coverversion of Iggy Pop's Sister Midnight. They did not hire a female vocalist for it, instead they translated the song (Justin's girlfriend is French), then fed the lines to a computer speech program. After that, it took some time to tweak it just right. But the outcome is, as I said, brilliant.

Electrique - Train Grande Vitesse
Electrique - Sister Midnight
Iggy Pop - Sister Midnight

Serge again

The godfather of this blog reappears, because new bands keep covering his songs! Take Stereo Total. They're known for doing coverversions of Serge-songs (Je suis venue te dire, Ex-fan de sixties, L'anamour), and on their very recent album Paris Berlin his Relax Baby Be Cool (from the Aux Armes-album) gets a treatment. Also on the new Stereo Total-album is a crappy sounding punkversion of Comme d'Habitude, the original French version of the Claude François-song that Paul Anka translated to the standard My Way.

Stereo Total - Relax Baby Be Cool
Serge Gainsbourg - Relax Baby Be Cool

Talking about punk: Lyon-based Deja-Vu did a great version of Serge's Qui Est In, Qui Est Out. Crank up the volume, for this is a bratty Britrock version. See video here.
If you listen to the original version, you're wondering why no other rockband ever got the idea of doing a cover. Qui est in is a song that hasn't been covered a lot (same goes for Relax Baby Be Cool), the only other version I know of is by Laurent Voulzy. Who discofied it. Ahem.
UPDATE: I stand corrected. Mick Harvey did a great version of Qui est in, translated in English.
UPDATE 2: And guess what; Stereo Total ALSO did a cover, in German.

Deja-Vu - Qui Est In, Qui Est Out
Laurent Voulzy - Qui Est In, Qui Est Out
Mick Harvey - Who is in, who is out
Stereo Total - Wer Ist In, Wer Ist Out
Serge Gainsbourg - Qui Est In, Qui Est Out

maandag 2 juli 2007

Sylvie Vartan

A few years back, older Hollywood actresses complained that there just were no good roles for them. As a woman, you'd either be cast as a granny, or a bimbo, and nothing inbetween. This complaint went away somehow, but I thought about it while listening to the brandspanking new cd (released end of June) by Sylvie Vartan. The icon of the sixties, as much a grand-mère of Les Filles Sourires as Jane Birkin, chose to cover songs from her heyday. Dylan (in French), Beatles, Stones, Leonard Cohen (also in French), and from France Gainsbourg, Hardy and Dutronc. When the arrangements stay in the bossa/flamenco area, it's all good. When she tries to rock out, like in Baby You Can Drive My Car, my toes curled. You'd wish a songwriter, young or old, had stood up and said: You know what, I write you a brand new song that's more in the vein of the rest of the album. Or more convenient to your age. Vartan is from 1944, you know.
But are there still good songwriters for, let's say, the older female singer? Françoise Hardy, who was capable of writing very good songs on her own, chose to do duets and covers on her last album. Birkin on the other hand had Neil Hannon, Rufus Wainwright and Jarvis Cocker on the author-chair. Jarvis and Sylvie: could work too. [Merci á Franss]

Sylvie Vartain - Nouvelle Vague
Sylvie Vartan - Attend ou va-t'en
Sylvie Vartan- Suzanne

Kitty Hoff

Guestpost time again! Sky N. on Kitty Hoff & Forêt-Noire:

I’m not exactly known as a great fan of German music, but of course there’s always an exception to the rule. In this case Kitty Hoff and her band Forêt-Noire, supporting act when Coralie Clément played Munich two years ago. Apart from Fleur Nerveuse, Kitty’s lyrics are throughout German, but with a light, très jolie touch, the sound oscillating between nouveau chanson, laidback swing & gracious bossa tunes. Her website will also tell you that her recent cd Blick ins Tal is no. 2 of the Top 30 Album Charts of Radio 1190 in Colorado. Rightly so! [Kitty on MySpace] [Kitty on YouTube]

Kitty en francais:

Kitty Hoff & Forêt-Noire – Fleur Nerveuse

Kitty auf deutsch:

Kitty Hoff & Forêt-Noire – Toc-Toc-Toc