donderdag 30 juli 2009

When Ricky covered Keren

Ricky Koole is one of Holland's best, if underrated singers. She's a succesful actress, but made three albums so far with breezy countrypop and -rock. All covers, slightly re-arranged. Her drive is to unearth lost classics, to introduce great songs to a wider audience. She gets help from 'pop-professor' Leo Blokhuis, Ricky's partner and a really nice guy, I might add. Together with Dutch tv-host Mart Smeets, Leo makes the radio-show For the record, two hours of Americana, soul and the odd French record. Auteur-radio at it's best. During the Tour de France, Mart presented the nightly talkshow Avondetappe. Ricky and Leo were guests one night, and she played a perfect cover of Keren Ann's Not Going Anywhere. You can see her here (around 32.30 min).

Ricky Koole - Not Going Anywhere
Keren Ann - Not Going Anywhere

In other news: Berry is playing Amsterdam Paradiso on 9/20. So that means GainsNord presentation on 9/18, Berry two days later and on 9/25 Radio Oh-la-la's Retour à l'école-party @ De Nieuwe Anita.

Severin et les filles

A comparison with Marc Collin's Nouvelle Vague is very obvious: Severin, an eighties-obsessed multi-instrumentalist, works with 14 girls from different countries to make a candycoloured popalbum. Only Severin chose not to cover a lot, but write his own songs (mostly). The result, the album Cheesecake, is VERY fillessourires-friendly. Most girls he worked with, like Mai, La Fiancée (pictured) and Lippie, I never heard of before. In fact the only name that rang a bell was Constance Verluca. On Dailymotion, you can see videos of them working together in the studio. The album is available on download now, after summer on cd.

Severin & La Fiancée - Les lignes de la main (VERY gainsbourgian, this one)
Severin & Constance Verluca - Johnny

woensdag 29 juli 2009

Coeur de pirate

Celine Dion AND Coeur de Pirate on the same album. Yep, it's possible, in fact, it was already released. Because of the Jazz Festival in Montreal, a compilation came out featuring jazzstandards by several singers from Quebec, ranging from Dion to Stephanie Lapointe, and from Jean Leloup to Coeur de Pirate. All in English, alas. Beatrice/CdP does a beautiful cover of Someone to watch over me. A song that was covered many many times, great versions by Amy Winehouse, Frank Sinatra and the late great Ella Fitzgerald.

Coeur de Pirate - Someone to watch over me

Les Handclaps

A guitar, a laptop, a farfisa and a blonde cross-eyed singer. What else do you need, really, to start a band? Les Handclaps from Montreal play electro-pop-yeye, and have songs in English, German, French and Spanish. If you've been to Le One Night Stand parties in New York, you've heard or seen 'm. Their first album is out now, and sports a good cover of the Charlotte Leslie-classic Les filles c'est fait (see video here). Handclaps-single Cacti are delicious fruit is a good example of their sound and their energy (video).

I accidentally did not post the Charlotte Leslie version, but I've uploaded that one now. Added (thanks JW) is a mashup with a Fatboy Slim-sample.

Les Handclaps - Les filles c'est fait...
Charlotte Leslie - Les filles c'est fait...
Les Handclaps - Cacti are delicious fruit
ComaR - Les filles c'est fait...(Funk Soul Brother remix)

zaterdag 25 juli 2009

New Biolay, New Renan Luce

Two albums to look forward to: La Superbe by our hero Benjamin Biolay, and Le Clan des Miros by Renan Luce. Two gentils garçons who made strong albums before, and the first songs off their news cds are very, very promising. Luce returns to the mandolines that made Repenti such a brilliant song, Biolay takes his time (over 6 minutes) on the titletrack, brings out Coralie Clement (I guess), a string section a saxophone and some psychedelic fx. Superbe, exactly. Release of both albums in October.

Renan Luce - La fille de la bande
Benjamin Biolay - La superbe

donderdag 23 juli 2009

Lili Ster

Among the heroes of Parisian singer Lili Ster are Bessie Smith and Nina Simone, but also Bianca Castafiore. No, she doesn't burst out singing the Jewel song from Gounod's Faust every five minutes. It's a wink to her family, who had to endure her singing from a very early age. She also mentions Bianca because Lili is very sensitive to the effect of a voice - it can make you happy, it can bring you to tears. It's probably no surprise that one of the songs on her MySpace (check that for videos too) reminds me very much of Camille. Yes, it's voice-acrobatics, but in a good sense. Lili is a genuine talent, capable of making great songs. See her cover of Mika's Relax here.

Lili Ster - L'homme a plume

woensdag 22 juli 2009

Carine Erseng not in Suzuki commercial

If I'm not mistaken, a ripoff of La Vitesse Superieure by darkhaired, hotlipped gal Carine Erseng is used in a Dutch Suzuki-commercial. The guy behind the wheel is a well-known improv-comedian and tv-host. At first I thought they did use Carine's song, but no. Same thing happened with a fake-Carla Bruni, see here.

Carine Erseng - La Vitesse Superieure

dinsdag 21 juli 2009

Lady & Bird

Lady & Bird is the sideproject of Keren Ann and Bardi Johannsson, together they made one album (in English). A project that was ahead of similar sounding (and equally great) teamups like She & Him, and Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs. Been a while since we heard from both Keren and Bardi, but this week a track from an upcoming live album was released. Forward and Reverse is a dramatic song that was released first in 2003 on the album Something Wrong by Bang Gang (= Bardi)., we love everything by Keren Ann, and we're glad she resurfaced again - although we hope and pray she will return to her French Luka Philipsen days.

On the forum of this fansite, I read that there was a title for a new KA-album posted on Wikipedia, The badger and the steam engine, release 2009. But no news after that. Also on that forum news that Keren Ann worked with Emmanuelle Seigner on her new album (in French, yay!).

Bang Gang & Keren Ann - Forward and Reverse
Lady & Bird - Forward and Reverse (live)

Danse Anna

Grand Panda, he of the brillant GP-blog, send me a link to his electro-rocking track featuring the voice of Anna Karina. Taken from the movie Alphaville. See video below.

Grand Panda feat. Anna Karina - Tes yeux, tes mains, tes levres

maandag 20 juli 2009

Chansons du Soleil #9

Hors catégorie, to stick with a cycling term in these days of La Grande Boucle, is a definition that fits Brigitte Bardot more than anyone else. Thanks to Serge Gainsbourg of course, who discovered her potential as a singer too, besides her acting career. BB's really seductive way of singing and husky voice made her in fact a fille sourire avant la lettre. Leave that to Serge. The cheeky track 'Nue Au Soleil' was the last of a series of hits they recorded together and a marked their ending professional collaboration in 1970 as well as their brief affair too.
Bardot did several tracks concerning sun, summer and sea, two of them can be found down here. The third track features the sun in another context and was recorded as a duet with Sacha Distel: Stevie Wonder's You Are The Sunshine of My Life became Tu Es Le Soleil De Ma Vie.

Brigitte Bardot - Le Soleil
Brigitte Bardot - Nue au Soleil
Brigitte Bardot & Sacha Distel - Tu Es Le Soleil de Ma Vie

Remix 'n rerub

For all y'all who can't get started on this Monday, here are two remixes that get you in motion. First it's Japanese sweetie Kumisolo (posted about her here), who gets the glitzy treatment by DFA-recording artist Yacht. Then it's a magnificent rerub of Noir Désir's Le vent nous portera by Rubber Room, available on vinyl from Mindless Boogie.

Kumisolo - Danse music (Yacht remix)
Noir Desir - Le vent nous portera (Rubber Room rerub)

zondag 19 juli 2009

Contact High

Enjoy pot? Serge G. obviously did when he wrote the hypnotic touch-me anthem Contact in the late summer of 1966 for his soon-to-be-flame Brigitte Bardot – a little warm-up for hotter things to come, and resulting in recording sessions that never took place on time. As Serge used to apologize: „Every time I put my shirt back on, she takes it off again.“
Contact has been covered by dozens of artists, among them Japanese entrepreneurs Pizzicato Five with the divine Nomiya Maki doing a fine postmodern, if somewhat stiff disco version. But be here now: With their brand-new retro adaptation – released on the Mexican Summer label in May 2009, limited to 550 copies –, San Francisco-based venturers Wooden Shjips transfer Contact back to that smoke-filled garage where the Seeds, Neu!, and Hawkwind once used to practice: 8:21 min of spacy repeato guitar loops, drum minimalism & heavy petting freakout. Just one question left ... erm, wjhere’s my lighter?

Wooden Shjips - Contact
Pizzicato Five - Contact
Brigitte Bardot - Contact (Booka Shade Edit)

donderdag 16 juli 2009

Five star review for Gentils Garçons cd

It doesn't get any better than this. De Volkskrant is the Dutch equivalent of The Guardian, Die Zeit, El Pais, Figaro, NYTimes, De Standaard, etc.

woensdag 15 juli 2009

Paris Brune

No clue who these people are, but their first single gets a lot of love from French radio these days. It sounds like eary Mylene Farmer. Probably a one day fly, as we say in Holland, in the line of IN-Grid's Tu es foutu. But danceable, uplifting and summerish nonetheless. Myspace here.

Paris Brune - L'oeil du cyclone

dinsdag 14 juli 2009

Berry et moi

I very rarely ask an artist if we can take a picture after an interview (or a test, in this case). But this time, with the lovely Berry, I made an exception. Picture by Jeroen van Loon. Dutchies: Berry will play TROS Muziekcafé on Saturday 25 July. You can visit that radioshow in Amsterdam. Later, she will play Met 't oog op morgen.

Chansons du Soleil #8

"It's summer!" Lola Dutronic shouts out loud at their MySpace. Must be exactly the right time to put on a Chansons du Soleil by them I think. On the two previous albums Françoise Hart was the fille that sang for us. On their third 'In Berlin' (2008) Françoise has been replaced by new singer Lola Dee from Berlin. Not a bad idea at all. Her sweet, seductive voice slim fits with Richard Citroen's fun-loving and somewhat childish and eighties Lio-esque electronics.
With a title like Chanson D'été on their latest I was immediately triggered of course and although the track does well on a loungy afternoon, I prefer the sweltering athmosphere and temptation of their track Je t'aime, je t'aime for this summer.

Lola Dutronic - Je T'aime, Je T'aime

Lola Dutronic - Chanson D'été (YouTube)

maandag 13 juli 2009


Maks is doing just fine with his Chansons du Soleil-series, but I'd like to add one myself. It's an inédit by Camille, a bonustrack on the Japan-only version of her debut album Le sac des filles. It's a gorgeous, bossa-nova flavoured tune. Artists taking new directions, experimenting, trying new things, new styles, I'm all for it. And Camille sure took it to the next level on her most recent album. But to be honest, I take an inédit like this over any of her voice-acrobatics any day.

Camille - L'heure d'été

Merci SOM

donderdag 9 juli 2009

Chansons du Soleil #7

Most guys in the audience probably witnessed something like this. Sixteen, seventeen years old, first time on holidays without parents. Crime scene: a random costa in Spain. At the camping site that you and your friends are staying, also stays this other group of friends. And they're female. Whoohaa, time to get this party started!
But after a few days, as the flirting clouds of hormones have gone away and couples have been made, you suddenly see that other girl, the one you ignored at first. The quiet one and she's much more interesting than the one you're with now. You decide to stay loyal to the girl you're with, but for years your thoughts will go back to that other girl. The unreachable, mysterious beauty.
I guess Françoiz Breut was such a girl. Elusive but attractive. Fragile, but strange and intruiging. Same goes for her music.
At least we don't ignore that now.

Françoiz Breut - La Boîte De Nuit


Hanna is capable of touching the hearts of her generation, the way France Gall, Sheila and Vanessa Paradis did with their songs. Is what this site says about Hanna (Larue). The 20-year old has a wonderful lolita-voice, and the talent to write intelligent lyrics about the stories that go through her mind. She's accompanied by guitarplayer Niko Mantoux. @Fillessourires, as you know, we like to dig deep in history, we like to keep track of our current heroines, but we also love to introduce new talents. Hanna sure is one. You can buy her charming EP through her Myspace.

Hanna - 13h13

woensdag 8 juli 2009

Chansons du Soleil #6

Last year there was - all of a sudden - natural beauty and brand new star Berry to lighten up our summer with her sparkling debutalbum Mademoiselle.
She immediately made it to a fav-fille with her fresh and keen songs. The special edition of her album contained a few songs more, one of which is a cover of Capri. This rather dull song, originally recorded by Hervé Vilard in 1965, is about a grievous ending love affair. Undoubtedly very painful etcetera, but I first felt that emotion as I heard Berry's cover of it. She must have had her saddened ending summer love-affairs too.

Berry - Capri
Hervé Vilard - Capri

Hervé Vilard - Capri (Video)

dinsdag 7 juli 2009

Late Night Adult Show

Highlighting Magali Noël, we also have to talk about her exceptionally seductive Strip Rock, another 50s superbabe wet dream that surely influenced young Serge G., finally resulting in Strip-tease, a showcase tune for Juliette Greco as well as for Nico – the first recording of La Prémiere Belle Dame Sans Merci in 1963, a few years before she went down to the narco underground. And even Magali’s and Serge’s early partner in crime, the highly distinguished Alain Goraguer, returned to the fine art of undressing with his spheric soundtrack for the science-fiction animation movie Planet Sauvage in 1973.
Burlesque show bonus: John Barry’s tropically humid strip tune from the British exploitation flick Beat Girl starring the sensationally sensuous Gillian Hills, plus Bruno Nicolai’s sweltering fuzz guitar skin symphony from La Notte Che Evelyn Uscì Dalla Tomba. And maybe then it’s time to remember the immortal words of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer: „There are only so many ways a woman can undress. I guess I’ve seen ’em all.“

Magali Noël – Strip Rock
Juliette Gréco – Strip-tease
Nico – Strip-tease
Alain Goraguer – Strip Tease
John Barry – Stripper
Bruno Nicolai – Funeral Striptease

maandag 6 juli 2009

Chansons du Soleil #5

With her album L'Idéal (2008) Barbara Carlotti showed us a more sunny side of herself than with Les Lys Brisés (2006) did. Less folky, less sixties, but she kept her elegant and yet passionate ability of writing frivolous songs that stick.
Pour La Nature was recorded for L'Idéal, but was also approved by Guuzbourg, as it appeared on Filles Fragiles 2. The song sounds fresh, has trumpets, handclaps (!), yes you'd almost say Carlotti became danceable. Well that's probably one step too far, but Carlotti - the most sophisticated fille fragile - did record the most sweltering soundtrack for calm rosé drinking evenings downtown.

Barbara Carlotti - Pour La Nature

Magali Covered

In lots of ways, Fais-moi mal Johnny was the first modern French pop song, sexy, ironic, frenetic, and cool at the same time – a tune that directly leads to Serge’s first ten inch record Du chant à la une!, released in September 1958 and arranged by none other than the great Alain Goraguer who composed Fais-moi two years earlier.
Of course, Magali’s rendition is simply unimitable. That’s why Les Indispensables don’t let it rock & jive, but swing, while Sue et Les Salamandres did a nice neo-rockabilly version on the b-side of their quite rare 1983 Rock du Klebs single. Put your cat clothes on!

Sue et Les Salamandres - Fais-moi mal Johnny
Les Indispensables - Fais-moi mal Johnny
Two more versions, by acapella-greats La Bande Magnétik, and 60s band Les Charlots:
La Bande Magnétik - Fais-moi mal Johnny
Les Charlots - Fais-moi mail Johnny

Magali Noël

Mademoiselle Adeline, she of the great nightradioshow Nacht van het Goede Leven, plays songs from my blog almost every week. But songs I post, also trigger her to dig deep in her own (excellent) collection. Last night she played Boris Vian-songs, because of this post. She unearthed a gem I never heard before, the first French rock 'n roll-single from 1956. And it still rocks! Lyrics by Boris Vian, music by Alain Goraguer. Sung by Magali Noël (pictured with Jean Gabin), a French-Turkish actress who was perfect for acting out this risqué song. If you have no clue what the whacks and cries are about, watch this video. Or this one. See Magali (and her daughter) sing it live here.

Magali Noël - Fais-moi mal Johnny

zondag 5 juli 2009

Hotter than July

Together with Maks, Sky is another frequent guestposter who's upgraded to author on this blog. Try to keep track of all the new stuff appearing here, 'cause these guys are on a roll! - Guuzbourg

Despite four excellent albums in the last twelve years, Julien Baer - elder brother of actor Édouard Baer who contributed to the À Boris Vian compilation recently - remains one of the great unknown French artists. His self-titled 1997 debut, recorded in Paris, London, and Los Angeles, features lush, but never overstated arrangements, highly poetic imagery, and a poignant tenderness seldom heard in modern pop music. Similarly notable are Baer's collaborators, among them producer Bertrand Burgalat, él Records legend, football journalist (!) and nouveau sunshine pop intellectual Louis Philippe, XTC's Dave Gregory on guitar, plus guest star Hal Blaine, the undoubtedly most successful studio drummer & percussionist of all times, on the L.A. takes.
On Juillet 66, the most outstanding song on an album full of astounding tunes, it's Richie Thomas on drums, but the echo of the song is breathing Blaine's spirit. He was there, having played on God Only Knows/ Wouldn't It Be Nice, the magnificent Beach Boys 7" released exactly the same month forty-three years ago now - so here's summer like it's never gonna be again.

Chansons du Soleil #4

Gorgeous newbie Claire Denamur recorded a very intimate and warm lovesong this year on her magnificent self-titled debutalbum called Elio. Though the track balances on the edges of kitsch with its flute-intro and summersounds of crickets at night, it miraculously stays just at the right side of it. Even when she dares to come up with the marimba (how cheesy can you get!) somewhere halfway the track, it all remains reliable. Must be her exciting husky voice that I keep playing the track on and on again. Elio is a very lucky guy.
Do also check the YouTube link down here where Claire plays Elio live in Bruxelles. The crickets are replaced by the Andrew Sisters, as she plays a piece of Rum and Coca-Cola their huge hit from 1945 instead of it. What a voice - live even more exciting than on her CD - and what a talent.

Claire Denamur - Elio

Elio live @ La Rotonde du Botanique de Bruxelles

zaterdag 4 juli 2009

Chansons du Soleil #3

No matter how beautiful the beaches were, how sultry the evenings, how hot the babes and hunks and how sleezy the nights with them, all good things must come to an end. Same goes for holidays. But when you - like me - are pretty content with your hometown, going home ain't that bad at all. Canadian singer Ariane Moffatt apparently felt the same as she wrote this track about returning back to her hometown: Montreal, Canada. The song originates from her third album Le Coeur Dans La Tête (2005) and has this special summer laid-back atmosphere, with a pleasant lazy reggae-ish rhythm in it. Ideal to come home with and keep that holiday feeling intact for a little while.

Ariane Moffatt - Montréal

vrijdag 3 juli 2009

When Samir met Vanessa

One of the best anti-lovesongs is A Little Time by The Beautiful South (see clip), but Velours et Mensonges by Samir Barris and Vanessa Klak's a good one too. Vanesa (pictured) is the morning jock on Pure FM radio show Snooze, Samir we all know because of that great chanson Le Fossé (available on Gentils Garçons). V and S know each other from waaaay back, but in this song they act like a arguing couple. See teaser video here.

Samir Barris & Vanessa Klak - Velours et Mensonges

Chansons du Soleil #2

No need to introduce beautiful Françoise Hardy. The born Parisienne (1944) recorded so many great tracks I wouldn't even know where to start. In this one, J'ai Coupé Le Téléphone from 1969, she only needs two minutes to tell us her story. All goes in a very yéyé way, completed with some slightly psychedelic sound effects. As Françoise cuts the telephone wiring and stays in bed all day long it doesn't need a lot of imagination to see yourself laying next to her. Replace the bed (I'll try to keep things decent) by a hammock while holding a cocktail under a palm tree in the south of France and relax. This classic tune with its whistling and catchy guitar riff stays with you until sunset. (Works also with imaginary Spanish coasts.)

Françoise Hardy - J'ai Coupé Le Téléphone (French version)
Françoise Hardy - El Teléfono Corté (Spanish version)

Françoise Hardy - J'ai Coupé Le Téléphone (YouTube)

Chansons du Soleil #1

It's no use trying to determine why a certain song becomes a big summerhit or not. There are loads of quality songs that could have easily conquer with stupidity like The Ketchup Song, Bamboleo or The Macarena, but one way or another didn't make it to the charts. Well, then we make a list ourselves.
Coming up the next few days: ten Chansons du Soleil (some old, some more recent) appealing to the sentiment of that special summerfeeling. Hot, loungy, catchy, maybe a bit lazy, but always sung by a FS approved fille.

Nuff said, the first in this serie is one by La Patère Rose, the Canadians who released an absolute brilliant album earlier this year with a divers mix of serious piano-driven songs and danceable, upbeat tracks on it as well. Cute and original melancholic electro-pop that is, sung by chanteuse Fanny Grosjean. The track Décapote starts off with a sweet piano-intro followed by a fresh beat and Fanny's somewhat hoarse and cheerful voice. Besides that, this track contains the essential summerhit features: a bit of love and a melody that will immediately stick in your head and won't leave you till the end of summer.

La Patère Rose - Décapote

donderdag 2 juli 2009

@Shoutingboots, New author Maks

This Sunday, I will be mostly talking about Gentils Garçons on Shouting Boots, the excellent everything-goes-show on Dutch Radio6, hosted by Koen Schouten and Jaap Boots. We're doing an hour of French music (not only gentils garçons or filles fragiles). I'm on between 15-16.00 hrs.

Plus, as you can see above, Maks has joined the FS-ranks as an author. He will do a series of his favoriete summer songs.

Rose Virginy

There was a time when I would click myself a repetitive strain injury just to find new exciting unknown filles. Unsigned dolls, like her, or her, who needed to be championed. But the regular filles with a label took over, somehow. Shame, because there still are a lot of talented, unpolished potential fragile singers out there. Like Rose Virginy, the band of Virginy L. Sam. You can buy a 5-track demo via theire Myspace site. Virginy's voice is deliciously lolita-like, the sound of her band needsd some adjusting. Less rocking, more fragility. Best song on that demo-EP is Se Fendre en Deux.

Rosevirginy - Se fendre en deux

Mymajorcompany, a platform for new talents, also has a few very nice new talents under their wings. Like Maxime. And Hanna. I already mentioned Joyce Jonathan and Margaux. The last two are recording an album right now!

woensdag 1 juli 2009

Annie Dufresne

An actrice slash singer who looks like a burlesque-dancer, who sounds like one too, who sang with an electro-legend, who covered Plastic Betrand and who now made a more folky popalbum. Meet Annie Dufresne from Quebec (happy holidays, Canadian readers!). She's new to me, but she did quite some acting, and made four solo-albums. She worked with Electro Lise, see a video here. Rapping isn't her forte, I'd say. She also sang with Trans-X, the legendary electropopband best known for this song. Melodie pour coeur brisé is the titletrack of her latest album, that features more hushed tones, less electronica and more fragility. Just the way we like it.

Annie Dufresne - Melodie pour coeur brisé

Draw Serge

Via Rockfort I was directed to the fantastic blog of Jonathan Edwards. I let him explain himself: 'Welcome to "Draw Serge!", my illustrative tribute to the late, great Gainsbourg. I'm a huge fan of Serge Gainsbourg. He's a hugely important figure in 20th Century popular music but, outside of France, seems to be remembered mostly for "Je t'aime.... Moi Non Plus" (a song which is oddly unrepresentative of the rest of his work) and an embarrassing TV appearance with Whitney Houston in the late '80s. His music encompassed styles as varied as pop, jazz, reggae, lounge, bossa nova, Africana, prog, pyschedelia and rock'n'roll yet is never referred to in the same hushed tones reserved for Dylan, the Beatles, etc. Unbelievably, his masterpiece "Histoire de Melody Nelson" was only released in America THIS year!

Next year Joann Sfar (coincidentally a comic artist) releases his film based on the life of Gainsbourg which should hopefully redress the balance and introduce a whole new audience to the music of Serge. In the meantime I'm trying to do my own bit to help the cause. Serge was an incredibly charismatic performer with an unmistakeable look. He's a joy to draw hence "Draw Serge!".