zaterdag 31 oktober 2009

Marine Boreale

Del Amitri once sang: To keep the blues at bay you know I only have to say your name. This feeling I get whenever I say 'Marine Boreale'. The gorgeous girl from Brussels (who's on Gainsnord as well, singing a beautiful version of Jane Birkin's Une chose entre autres) send me her brandspanking new song, that (oh joy) kicks off with the sound of needle hitting vinyl. It's a gentle strummer, with her fragile vocals and distant electric piano. So simple, but pushing all the right buttons.

Marine Boreale - Si Simple

vrijdag 30 oktober 2009

On 3FM

To celebrate the release of the Gainsnord-vinyl single, West Hell 5, Flora Dolores and Geraldine are playing Ekdom in de nacht tonite. That's on Dutch radio 3FM, 04-06.00 hrs. Gulp. I'll be there too, with a case of RedBull to stay awake. See Flora perform here. See Geraldine here.

donderdag 29 oktober 2009


Got a watermarked listening copy of IRM, Charlotte Gainsbourg's (and Beck's, for mr Hansen produced) new album. It's out in December (though this blog says end of November). Here are my first impressions.

Master's Hand
Starts off a little oriental, then changes into a Tom Waits-ish (steel percussion, repetitive acoustic guitar, distorted bassdrum) song. Charlotte's voice is barely more than a whisper, melody is like a nursery rhyme. Lyric: 'Breathe out, come to life, give me a reason to feel.' Strings come in, Charlotte wails. Promising intro.

You know this, you can download it for free on Char's site. It rattles, hums and clinks like a MRI-scanner (IRM=MRI in French). Big fat drums, Beck wails with Charlotte. Scary stuff, in a good way.

Le chat du café des artistes
A cover of Canadian singer Jean-Pierre Ferland, a track that in it's original form sounded like an outtake of Histoire de Melody Nelson (although it's from 1970, HdMN came out in '71). It still does, with it's downtempo drums, dramatic strings, freaky guitar and breathy French vocals. Best track on the album.

In the End
Acoustic ditty, with guitar, xylophone and strings. Shortest track on the album (2 minutes). Lyric: 'Who's to say it's all for the best, in the end.' The end of an affair?

Heaven can wait

Ah yes, phat drums again, piano, guitars. This is Beck allright, heck, he even sings with Charlotte. IRM was about Charlotte's MRI-scan (after her accident), this song could be about her surviving the brain hemmorhage. Brass section marches in, it all sounds very folky and upbeat. Lyric: 'And they try to drive that escalator down in the ground.' (Video above)

Me and Jane Doe
Fast bassdrum, but not very prominent. Beck wails, Charlotte nanana's. Doubled-up voice, almost like a drone. Lyric: 'I'd like to unplug the phone, send messages with a mirror.' Could've been a My Brightest Diamond-track.

V-e-r-y s-l-o-w. Charlotte sounds extremely delicate. Hushed strings, that come up in Bernard Hermann-y way. Gentle harp-playing. Almost no lyrics, a song for sweet dreams.

Time of the Assassins
Also the title of a book by Henry Miller on Rimbaud's poetry. And an album by Nickel Creek. Hmm. Starts off acoustic, the chorus has analogs synths, Beck wails and Charlotte swoons. Air could've produced this.

Trick Pony
This has Beck written all over it, with big drums, odd effects, surf guitars and a bassdriven groove. Charlotte sings about CC Riders, sexy eyes and, yes, a trick pony. Ah, and there's a black tambourine.

Greenwich Mean Time/Crooked Man

Title is still TBC. Again that growling bass, Charlotte's voice is distorted. Beck joins in the chorus. GMT is mentioned, so is the crooked man. Lyric: 'We're so fine, we fit together like nickels on the dime.' Form over function. Not my most favourite track on the album.

Is this a T-Rex cover? Or is Beck channeling Iggy Pop's Nightclubbing? Great shuffle, Charlotte sounds smoking hot. If I were a stripper, I'd choose this song to take my clothes off too. Because of the strings, it has a big Melody Nelson-feel. Second-best song on the album.

Dramatic strings, rattling drums. Lyrics partly French (Voyage au bout de la nuit, Louis-Ferdinand Céline is quoted?), partly English. Tense track, that gets a bit of air thanks to Charlotte's angelic voice. Dark and sexy.

La collectioneuse
Some French lyrics, but mostly sung in English. Treated piano, spacey sounds, Melody Nelson-tempo. In the 5.55 vein again, which isn't a bad thing. Plush music like this fit Charlotte's voice best. Strings build and build, Charlotte whispers. Piano goes offkey. Great ending.

So? Solid album. Beck leads Charlotte a few times away from known territory, and most of the time that works. No really bad songs, at least four shining diamonds (IRM, Dandelion, Le chat, La collectioneuse). If you loved 5.55, you won't be disappointed. Beck-fans can rejoice too.

Not on the album, but out on the internet: Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM (Diskjokke remix)

Plus, the original version of Le chat... and a great cover by darling Andrea:
Jean-Pierre Ferland - Le chat du café des artistes
Andrea Lindsay - Le chat dus café des artistes

Brigitte Sisters

'Brigitte est alcoolique, depressive, fille facile, boulimique, de sortie, amoureuse, suicidaire, sexy, pas dupe.' Just so you know. Posted about this female duo before (see?), they just posted a couple of new tunes on their Myspace. The remix of Battez-vous is soso, but the original version is great, with upbeat handclaps, a little guitar (imitating that plopping bass-sound I love so much) and a very sixties-bridge. The girlie voices go together like a horse 'n carriage. Hit, in many ways! Clip here!

By the way, I take it that Mayane (in pink) was expecting a baby during the photoshoot. She sure looks pregnant on her own Myspace.
In other news: if you're wondering where the Rose-post went: DMCA Takedown, baby.

Brigitte - Battez-vous

dinsdag 27 oktober 2009

Beware of Le Bob: Hugues Aufray

While Johnny ’alliday mimed the Gallic Elvis in the Sixties, Hugues Aufray took the part of the French Bob. In 1965, he recorded Aufray chante Dylan, adapting Bobster songs like It Ain’t Me, Babe (Ce n’était pas moi) or All I Really Want To Do (Ce que je veux surtout) – a stunt he repeated in 1996 with Aufray Trans Dylan. New Yorker, his brand new hommage to the three-chords prophet, mainly features duet versions of the most blowin'-in-the-wind Dylan classics, among them collaborations with Alain Souchon, Eddy Mitchell, Jane, and Carla. My grandpa thinks it sounds thrillingly authentic ... though he missed a duet with, erm, Demis Roussos.

Hugues Aufray w/ Jane Birkin – Tout comme une vraie femme
Hugues Aufray w/ Carla Bruni – N’y pense plus, tout est bien

Bonus #1: Aufray’s version of Dylan’s Motorpsycho Nightmare, 1965. The right stuff.

Hugues Aufray – Cauchemar Psychomoteur

Bonus #2: French 60s garage princes Les 5 Gentlemen with Dis-Nous Dylan. Original by The Sandals, who also scored Bruce Brown’s surf dream Endless Summer. Shoot the curl!

Les 5 Gentlemen – Dis-Nous Dylan
The Sandals – Tell Us Dylan

The Sandals – Theme from Endless Summer

Bonus #3: The answer, my friend. Mark Vidler’s grand bastard remix crossover of The Times They Are a-Changin’ and Like a Rolling Stone. Plus Dr. Seuss told through the voice of Bob Dylan. Genius!

Go Home Productions – Rolling Times
Dylan Hears a Who – Green Eggs and Ham

Singles going steady

This is the cover of the vinyl-single of two Gainsnord-tracks, that will be released in a week or so. Cover of course by Hanco Kolk (art) and Martin Draax (design).

It's for sale HERE.

maandag 26 oktober 2009

Covers Deluxe: The Haunted

If we can trust the words of their rhythm guitarist Jurgen Peter, Montreal’s The Haunted were „the most sought after and highest paid Canadian band for many years“. We’re talking the mid-60s here, when their 7“ 1-2-5 was a favorite among Canuck deejays and late night kerb crawlers:

Walkin’ down the street/ on a foggy night
I saw a young girl/ standin’ under a light
Her face was pale/ and her skirt was tight
I had a five dollar bill/ I felt alright

After that, they couldn’t outdo themselves anymore – but Jimi Hendrix, with their French language cover version of Purple Haze, the mind-boggling proof that Jimi never really inhaled. Only ex-Hendrix collaborator Johnny Jones could top their take with his third and last 45 for the Brunswick label in 1969.

The Haunted – Vapeur Mauve
Johnny Jones & The King Casuals – Purple Haze

The Haunted – 1-2-5
Lime Spiders – 1-2-5

Clare & the Reasons

So not everybody likes Clare & the Reasons. They hate the funny-smart lyrics, the lush arrangements, the reference to 30s and 40s music, or even Clare Muldaurs elegant voice. Or their coverversions, on new album Arrow it's Genesis' That's All. Do we care that not everybody likes Clare & the Reasons? No. Because the lyrics, the arrangements, the references, and the voice, that's just what we (and I can speak for fellow poster Sky as well) like so much about Clare and her band. She even sings in French again (like she did on her debut album). What's not to like?!

Clare & the Reasons - Perdue a Paris

Sélection de Lundi: Marie et Les Garcons

This fille fragile didn’t sing: Petite blonde Marie Girard played la batterie in Lyon-based proto new wave outfit Marie et Les Garcons. For an instant in the early spring of 1978, they were so hot that they played the legendary CBGB’s with X-Ray Spex, and opened for the Patti Smith Group at the Pavilion à Paris on March 26, 1978. Few people understood: They were booed off the stage. A few days earlier, John Cale of Velvet Underground fame had produced their second single which also went more or less unheard down the drain ... though being a fine and inimitable blend of Modern Lovers cool, punkish Europop attitude and this certain rhythme de jerk only the French can do. They even dared to fuse one of their songs with the Village People's Macho Man the very same year: See the beer cups fly here. Soon afterwards, Marie quit the band. She died of a ruptured aneurysm in 1996, forty years old.

Marie et Les Garcons – Re Bop
Marie et Les Garcons – A bout de souffle


Yes, very NSFW! And that's a compliment.

woensdag 21 oktober 2009

Vinyl solution

This just in: The tracks by Juicebox and Spinshots from the Gainsnord-project will be released on 7-inch vinyl real soon! Keep you posted.

In other news: a very nice interview with Charlotte Gainsbourg (in French) here. She says on her album she covers this.

zondag 18 oktober 2009

Sélection de Lundi: William Sailly

According to some comments on the net, today’s pick is „très jolie“, even „sublime“, and perhaps it’s going to be your guilty pleasure, too. My elder sister tells me that 1975 was a hot year: You could be a teen idol with a bargain haircut, Woolworth pyjama shirt, and a boof-ta beach promenade drama tune combining dernier cru denim fashion with foot fetishism („Toi ma princesse aux pieds nus“). William Sailly, who had played the Apostle Peter in the original French version of Jesus Christ Superstar, didn’t only win the Rose d’Or d’Antibe for his Princess in Blue Jeans, but also sold more than half a million copies. Sailly died in 2003, and perhaps someone recalled the immortal last line of Raoul Walsh’s The Roaring Twenties at his funeral: „Once he was a big shot.“

William Sailly – Toi ma princesse en blue jean


Dunno 'bout you, but I know what Lionel meant when he sang that he was 'easy like Sunday morning.' If you want to know that tranquil feeling too, Kent (nom de plume of Hervé Despesse) just released an exquisite album for easy Sunday mornings. Panorama isn't a greatest hits compilation, rather a 'greatest trip' down memory lane. (Mostly) Acoustic versions of his best loved songs, including ones he wrote when he was one of France's earliest punks. He gets help from Barbara Carlotti, Dominique A, Arthur H and, yes, Suzanne Vega. Their Anglo-Franco duet is sexy, Sunday mornings can be like that too.

Kent & Suzanne Vega - Juste Quelqu'un De Bien

woensdag 14 oktober 2009

Andrea Lindsay

A week or so ago, Sky posted a wonderful version of Hardy's Le temps de l'amour by Sarah Nixey. Canadian beauty Andrea Lindsay also recorded a lovely version on her just released new album. Keywords when it comes to Andrea are grace and elegance. The songs on her second cd are piano-driven, sometimes sparse, sometimes arranged with lots of brass and organs (like the colourful titletrack Les sentiments dormelles). Her girlie voice is strong, yet hoarse. She's born in Ontario, therefore not Francophonic. As before, there are a few English songs on her album but it's mainly French. This because of a coup de foudre with the language when she was 18. Hey, we've all been there, right?

Andrea Linsday - Le temps de l'amour

See Hardy & Dutronc's version here.
Sarah's version here.
April March's version here.

dinsdag 13 oktober 2009

Carmen Maria Vega

If you bought/downloaded On N’Est Pas Là Pour Se Faire Engueuler, the wonderful tribute to Boris Vian, you've heard Carmen Maria Vega. She sang Bourrée de Complexes, for most people (like me) the introduction to the versatile, energetic miss Vega. Her debut album (no title) is out now, and to me she sounds like the younger sister of Pauline Croze. Voices are similar, but CMV is livelier, and adds more swing. Chanson traditionnelle, fables punk, rock néo-réaliste et swing manouche, says her Myspace about her influences. There's also a comparison with Claire Denamur: both CD and CMV did not grow up with French chansons, even missed out on some of the greats. Carmen counts Ella Fitzgerald (like CD) as her biggest hero - she even does scat-vocals like Ella. Still, there's a big Edith Piaf reference as well. Not a bad thing. This is the single, but I post a more gentle song.

Carmen Maria Vega - Dessous les toits

zondag 11 oktober 2009

Benjamin Biolay video

Also check this.

Sélection de Lundi: Laila France

In 1994, Nick Currie alias Momus placed an ad in French Nova magazine: „Girl singer wanted for an album of songs in the style of 1970s Italian soft porn films.“ The final babe of his choice was half French, half Thai art student Laila France whose role model was clear right from the start. She was going to be Momus’s European clone of Kahimi Karie – Her Majesty of the Irresistibly Whispered Japanese Ultra Babypop who had recorded a good dozen of knockout smash hits with the Scottish artist –, while Momus stuck to his usual role: the sophisticated swine. Accordingly, Laila’s only album Orgonon, released in 1997, feels a bit like heard-it-all-before, especially when she’s covering Kahimi. However, her very own Trashy Like TV is still high libido old school, and of course Momus lied in his ad. Laila’s voice may be soft, but everything else here is spelled with a capital X.

Laila France – Trashy Like TV
Laila France – The Sensations of Orgasm

Kahimi Karie – David Hamilton
Laila France – David Hamilton

Momus – Coming in a Girl’s Mouth

Mara Tremblay

If you heard the Gainsbourg/Beck-collab below, and want to hear more female vocals (in French) with scary electronics, check out the new single by Canadian songstress Mara Tremblay:

Mara Tremblay - Le printemps des amants

vrijdag 9 oktober 2009

Charlotte Gainsbourg

After her excellent 5:55, Charlotte Gainsbourg will be back on December 11 with her new, meanwhile third album IRM – the three letters standing for Imagerie par Résonance Magnétique, a medical imaging technique used in radiology to scan the body. Charlotte’s experience with the IRM tube after her water-skiing accident in 2007 apparently triggered a creative process she refined with postmodern entrepreneur, pop artster, and Scientologist Beck who wrote the music for the complete album, and also took care of the production, svengali-style. From today, the title track can be downloaded via Charlotte’s website – or below. Fortunately, the song sounds much better than the whirring and grinding of the tube: a trip to dark and moody grounds, with unmistakably hypnotic qualities.

Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM

Trash pour 4

DJ Penelope, of the charming Sob o ceu de Paris, introduced me to her fellow Brazilians Trash pour 4. A quartet, yes, who sing in English, Portuguese and French. They made a very cute version of Something Stupid (we've learned that Frank & Nancy weren't the first to sing that song, see here), but I'm posting their French song, Voix de la principal. I like the description of their sound on TP4's Myspace: 'We sound very familiair, and you have never heard anything like us.'

Trash pour 4 - Voix de la principal

donderdag 8 oktober 2009

Roxane Krief

Ah, sweet Roxane. Wrote about her way back when. Now she's 19, and her debut album is out. Autoproduit, with four jazzmusicians. It's one of the best albums by a fille fragile I heard this year. It's tender, it's versatile (there are country-touches, Balkan-influences, classical interludes, and there's even a short jazz-drumsolo!) and it's from the heart. Roxane writes about what she feels, what she's been through, what she sees and the listener knows it's all true. It's all real. At times it's like the jazzheads take over the album. Guitarplayer/arranger Julien Regnier certainly leaves his mark, but I do think it's Roxane's album, that this is the album she wanted to make. We're talking major talent here. See an interview here. Buy her album via her site.

Roxane Krief - Train de vie

Lulu Gainsbourg

Anita was so kind to send me last months edition of Gala, featuring an interview with Lulu Gainsbourg. The youngest son of Serge (now 23 years old, Bambou is his mother) who studies at Berklee College in Boston, and is working on his own musical career. He wrote a song that's on Marc Lavoine newest cd, called Quand je suis seul. It has some Sergian touches - because of the use of Fender Rhodes and the s-l-o-w tempo. An updated Melody Nelson-outtake. A couple of interesting quotes and facts from that interview:
- He was a bit afraid to write a song for Lavoine, but now has written over ten songs.
- Lulu's favourite Serge-songs are La javanaise and La chanson de Prévert. He sang them on 14 July in Boston, with members of Serge's old band.
- Nathalie Portman is his idea of the perfect woman.
- He never met Natacha and Paul, Serge's eldest children, and his relation to Charlotte is 'un peu compliqué.' He says he has not heard Charlotte's album 5.55
- He looks forward to Joann Sfar's biopic, and thinks actor Erick Elmosnino is great playing Serge.
- Serge once said about Lulu: 'Ce gamin, c'est un vrai cocktail Molotov' (This kid, he's a real Molotov cocktail) because of his heritage: born from a German-Chinese mum, a descendant from German aristocracy, and a father who'd worn a yellow star during WW II.

Marc Lavoine - Quand je suis seul


woensdag 7 oktober 2009

Berry, Marianne Dissard come to Holland

If you missed Berry in Amsterdam (like me) and want to correct your mistake (like me), you'll have to block November 13 in your agendas. Berry will perform on the Paris Appelle festival in venue Het Paard in The Hague. But wait, there's more! Marianne Dissard will be present too! Two fine filles, featured on Filles Fragiles 1 and 2! Also performing: Sergent Garcia (yay!), La Caravane Passe (yayay!), Nosfell (not my tasse du thé, but still) and Minitel Rose (you can dance). Oh, and a certain mr Guuzbourg will dj that evening.

dinsdag 6 oktober 2009

Luciano vs Keren Ann

On his new album, Lucien Nicolet aka Luciano, samples Keren Ann's Liberty (from her latest, untitled album) for his track Celestial. To quote the press-bio: 'Luciano concots a heady, heavenly song that builds and builds so gently, you never notice your feet leaving the ground.' Luciano is a Swiss-Chilean dance-producer who's new cd Tribute to the Sun also sports collabs with Martina Topley-Bird and Ali Boulo Santo. Filles like Keren have been remixed and sampled before. Usually the outcome is so-so ('cept for the Henrik Schwarz remix of Camille Ta Douleur) - my feet stayed firmly on the ground during Luce's track. But for you, it might fly.

Luciano - Celestial
Keren Ann - Liberty

maandag 5 oktober 2009

Jane, Ariane

When Serge Gainsbourg decided to put the French National Anthem to a reggae beat (Aux Armes Etcaetera), French nationalists and veterans were not amused. In fact, when he toured with a very good, but also very black reggaeband they sometimes had to run for their lives. Not at Palace, the famous Parisian (Montmartre) venue where the band recorded a great live album in 1980. Just now, Jane Birkin released a double live album also recorded at Palace. No reggaesongs here, but a lot of Gainsbourg-material. Including Les Petits Papiers, Ex-fan de Sixties, Pauvre Lola, and Fuir le bonheur. Backed by a small band, it's not as great as the Arabesque-album, but it's nice to hear her sing more recent songs, like the title track of her last studio album Periode Bleue. Posted here from that double live album is Fuir le bonheur. Bonus is the version of that same Serge-song by Ariane Moffat, who sang it recently on a TV5 session. See here.

Ariane Moffatt - Fuir le bonheur de peur qu'il se sauve
Jane Birkin - Fuir le bonheur de peur qu'il se sauve (live au Palace)

zondag 4 oktober 2009

Sélection de Lundi: Lai, Laila, Lesbians

Clever stunt: When Les Chansons de Bilitis came out in 1894, Pierre Louys claimed to be only the translator of those erotic verses allegedly written by an unknown ancient Greek poetess, and caused a literary sensation. Sapphic passion was hot then, but eighty years later it became even hotter, when soft-focus lensman David Hamilton used the classic poetry touch as a camouflage to display loads of nubile skin in his 1977 „adaptation“ of the Bilitis poems that Louys had knocked off himself on the Lesbos of his mind. Though the flick features ex-Andy-Warhol muse Patti D’Arbanville, Hamilton's then-girlfriend Mona Kristensen (see right) and other fragile b-cup maidens, the only real star of the movie was Francis Lai’s soundtrack – calm and cloudless, true daydream believing.

Francis Lai – Promenade

Extra hottie: Half Thai, half French singer Laila France with a hypnotic, electronically charged Bilitis hommage, featuring Momus on Serge vocals. More Laila next week.

zaterdag 3 oktober 2009

Covers Deluxe: Isabelle Aubret

Good luck wasn’t always with blonde French beauty Isabelle Aubret: In 1963, Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand had chosen her for the lead role in Les parapluies de Cherbourg, but then she had a severe car accident and La Deneuve took over. Though she had won the Eurovision song contest with the melancholic Un premier amour a year earlier, Aubret never was a pop starlet, but a true chansonette. Among many fine songs, her 1971 version of the never aging Brazilian smash hit Mas Que Nada under the title La ville est là is especially remarkable, adding a breezy dose of Mediterranean summer to Jorge Ben’s 1963 original samba groove.

Isabelle Aubret – La ville est là
Jorge Ben – Mas, que nada!

Before Aubret, a certain Michelle Richard already had recorded a French version of Mas que nada which sounds oddly out of tune, but features some not-too-bad barroom piano hammering, though from a dive you probably wouldn’t enter twice.

Michelle Richard – Mas que nada

PS: Apparently, the editors of Ultra Chicks Vol. 6 misspelled Mademoiselle Richard's name. Michèle Richard is French-Canadian, still active, and has also done cover versions of Un homme et une femme and Serge's Bonnie & Clyde. Thanks to Natasha, here's the latter, with a great Morricone-esque choir, Mountie-style:

Michèle Richard & Denis Pantis - Bonnie and Clyde