maandag 30 november 2009

Christmas A Gogo has opened!

Want Christmas-songs, but not the usual stuff? Go here.

Sélection de Lundi: L'étoile oubliée de Orlane Paquin

Orlane Paquin did a handful of movies in the 70s, among them La Horse which featured not only her bare assets (see right), but also an equally sexy psych soundtrack by Monsieur Gainsbourg, and then she was gone for good, vanishing-act-style. Though her movies might not be particularly memorable, her probably only 7“, Le Train de 10 h 03, remains one of the great unknown French chansons, capturing melancholia, lightness, and vulnerability in an irretrievable way. Produced by Michel Legrand, and arranged by Gainsbourg fellow Alain Goraguer.

Orlane Paquin - Le train de 10 h 03


Emmanuelle Seigner video

Favourite moment: 1.26 m. Sorry. (Thanks for the link, Ava)

vrijdag 27 november 2009

donderdag 26 november 2009

Genevieve Toupin

Dark days call for melancholic music. Genevieve Toupin, from the Manitoba province in Canada, has the perfect voice, the heartfelt lyrics and the lovely looks. This site tells us this about Gen:
'In 2006, Geneviève Toupin was a finalist at the Festival international de la chanson de Granby. In 2007, she received a Coup de pouce for the 2008 Rideau Scholarship for her performance at the Vue sur la relève festival in Montreal. In May 2007, she recorded five songs on a mini-album accompanied by musicians Damien Robitaille and Erik West-Millette. In the summer of 2008, she had the opportunity to perform her compositions across Canada with the Francoforce project. With their clean arrangements, her songs have a disarming simplicity as she shares her innermost feelings with colourful lyrics on the passage of time and everyday doubts, hopes, loves and friendships.'
Her self-titled album is out now. See her perform live here, and here.

Genevieve Toupin - L'hiver

woensdag 25 november 2009

Covers Deluxe: A Hole in the Head

Serge’s „Poinconneur des Lilas“, composed in 1958, was the first French punk song, though cleverly camouflaged as a jazz tune: the story of a frustrated metro conductor punching tickets until he punchs a hole in his own head. Consequently, the moral fable of the suicidal ticket puncher was covered by French punk rockers Starshooter, fronted by later comics artist Kent Hutchinson alias Hervé Despesse, in 1977. While Starshooter went the rant-&-rage path, jazz manouche entrepreneurs Les Doigts de L’Homme transform Serge’s down-&-out-anthem on their brilliant Dans Le Monde (2003) into a stunning, lightnin’ speed Gallic bluegrass killer of a song, intertextual style: Django would have blushed, and even Monty Norman’s James Bond theme drops by inbetween.


Serge G. - Le poinconneur des Lilas
Starshooter - Le poinconneur des Lilas
Les Doigts de L’Homme – Le poinconneur des Lilas

Thanks to Patrick and Guuzbourg, here's two more versions. The one by Les Frères Jacques was in 1958 the first (and probably the safest) cover of Le poinçonneur. Jazz drummer Todd Bishop and band are the latest to add their view. Bishop made an excellent album with Serge-covers, 69 Année Erotique. Really worth checking out.

Les Freres Jacques - Le poinçonneur des Lilas
Todd Bishop - Le poinçonneur des Lilas

EXTRA No. 2:

Got more. The version by Les Forbans - from Chantent Léo, Alain, Serge et les autres - is not-my-style big band jaaaazzz, while Kenzo Saeki's supersweet Japanese adaption sounds like our poor ticket man is trying to shoot himself with his breakfast marmalade.

Les Forbans - Le poinconneur des Lilas
Kenzo Saeki - Le poinconneur des Lilas

EXTRA No. 3:

Want more? Leandro Barsotti covered Le poinçonneur in Italian. Catherine Delasalle changed the he to a she. Les Croquants make you want to sing along! Hey! Mick Harvey and The Rakes do it in English (spot the differences!). The terrifying version by Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint Marc concludes this punching special.

Leandro Barsotti - Il bigliettaio del metro (Le poinconneur des Lilas)
Catherine Delasalle - Le poinçonneuse des Lilas
Les Croquants - Le poinçonneur des Lilas
Mick Harvey - The ticket puncher
Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint Marc - Le poinçonneur des Lilas
The Rakes - Just a man with a job

EXTRA No. 4:

Heavily drug-induced stroboscope mash-up of Le poinconneur and En Melody by French samplecore artist Nelson alias Chenard Walcker. Plus a live version of Tom Barman & Guy van Nueten's brilliant version (also available on Gainsnord!), crooner Jean-Claude Pascal, jazzguitarist Sylvain Luc and rockin' Hugues Aufray. Ain't that a hole in the head?

Nelson - Le poinconneur
Tom Barman & Guy van Nueten - Le poinçonneur des Lilas (live @ Dwdd)
Jean-Claude Pascal - Le poinçonneur des Lilas
Hugues Aufray - Le poinçonneur des Lilas
Sylvain Luc - Le poinçonneur des Lilas

EXTRA No. 5:

Another worthwhile metro ride with Swiss chanteuse Dodo Hug from her Via Mala - Schwarze Lieder, Detectiv Songs & Canti di Malavita (2006), and a 1995 late night bar version with great piano work by Texan swingsters 8½ Souvenirs. Any other tickets up your sleeve, Guuz?

Dodo Hug - Le poinçonneur des Lilas
8½ Souvenirs - Le poinçonneur des Lilas

Extra 6:
There's always more, Sky. Here's the magnificent jazz-workout by Pierre-Alain Goualch, the singalong by Tryo and the Reinhardtified covers by Eric Delsaux, Zikabilo and another jazzy rework by Coral Egan.

Pierre Alain Goualch - Le poinçonneur des Lilas
Tryo - Le poinçonneur des Lilas
Eric Delsaux - Le poinçonneur des Lilas
Le Zikabilo - Le poinçonneur des Lilas
Coral Egan - Le poinçonneur des Lilas

maandag 23 november 2009

Vanessa Paradis

V's Best Of-album is out now. Yesterday, she gave an intimate concert in Paris. Where she played this absolutely gorgeous version of Joe le Taxi. If, like Sky, never liked that song, you will now. See the original version here. Thank SOM!

Vanessa Paradis - Joe le Taxi (acoustic)

YES! we have video

Want to download the full concert? Go here

Sélection de Lundi: The Big Racket

When three-years-old Ilie Nastase watched a tennis match for the first time from the roof of Romania’s biggest stadium, he was so fascinated by the flying ball that he forgot about his bladder functions: „At first, people below thought it was raining“, he recalls in his autobiography. After quitting the racket circus, the Transsylvanian tennis enfant terrible („Nasty but nice“) didn’t only write two thrillers, but also recorded his only 45 tours, Globe Trotter Lover which reached #2 in the French pop charts in 1987. The b-side, Pour etre un homme, is a soft-spoken, tender slice of cheese – a charmer all the way.

Ilie Nastase – Pour etre un homme

Extra 1: Four years after Ilie, John McEnroe and Pat Cash teamed up with Who frontman Roger Daltrey for a, well, serve-and-volley version of Led Zep’s Rock’n’Roll:

John McEnroe & Pat Cash w/ Roger Daltrey – Rock’n’Roll

Extra 2: The only ex-tennis player to rival Ilie in the French charts was Yannick Noah doing a not too bad soul-popper impersonation. From his eighth longplayer, Charango (2006):

Yannick Noah – C’est toi

Extra 3: Only Delerm can sing about Steffi Graf in a way that breaks your heart. And Dr. House makes you grin again.

Vincent Delerm – Les jambes de Steffi Graf

Hugh Laurie – I’m in Love with Steffi Graf (video)

vrijdag 20 november 2009

You wanted the best, you got the best

Yep, it's time for the round-up of the year. Lists, people, lists! What are the ten best French language albums of 2009 - No compilations, except for Gainsnord of course, no re-issues. Send me your top tens (you can wait after you heard Charlotte's album), you have until December 10. I will make a Final Top Ten before Christmas. That email address again: guuzbourg(at)gmail(dot)com

woensdag 18 november 2009

Gainsnord (slight return)

video of the Gainsnord-presentation in Paradiso. You can see me hosting the night, see Serge van Duijnhoven performing his great (Dutch) poem about Gainsbourg and the lovely, lovely Geraldine singing Chatterton with West Hell 5.

dinsdag 17 november 2009


Here at FS headquarters, we like some screaming guitars. The combination of roaring amplifiers and good looking women is heavenly - French rock brought us Dolly, Manu, Vive la Fete and, earlier, Les Calamités. Plastiscines is an update of the latter, featuring four gorgeous women, singing in French and making music inspired by Ramones, Strokes and Libertines. On their new (second) album About Love, Katty Besnard and her friends sing mostly in English. Shame, for now they sound like Shampoo - a novelty act. The new cd sports three songs in French, Camera is the strongest. It's like a Yelle song without the electronica.

Plastiscines - Camera

see video for Barcelona here.

maandag 16 november 2009

zondag 15 november 2009

Sélection de Lundi: Vanessa, 12 ans

Or was she already thirteen? 24 years ago, Vanessa Chantal Paradis recorded her first 45 tours, a post-La Boum ten-candy-bars nostalgia piece with nods to Little Richard and Gene Vincent, boogie piano and bap-shoo-ap chorus. The mastermind behind it was Jean-Louis Bergerin who’s still active in lots of nuits de rock’n’roll, but probably too modest to mention his association with the later superstar on his website. And though Vanessa indeed looked super sympa, not too many kids joined her surprise party that went more or less unheard down the drain in 1985. Even my niece (9) asked me how to get the aaaaawful song off her iPod. Tomorrow I’ll try with her younger sister again.

Vanessa Paradis – La magie des surprises parties

zaterdag 14 november 2009

Serge meets the Wooden Shjips

Serge's Contact, written for Ms. Bardot, in a grand, highly spaced-out version by San Francisco's Wooden Shjips. "Take it." (Nino Ferrer)

Marianne Dissard (plus the boys on the bus)

Last night, I had the pleasure of spending some time with my favourite country-noir angel Marianne Dissard. She played the Paris Appelle festival in The Hague, her first concert in Holland (if I'm not mistaken), and also the first time we met. Four years after I put a song of hers on my first French compilation, and experiencing the advantages of social media (twitter, Myspace). But nothing beats a real kiss from Marianne. She played with a new band, last night was the first show of the tour. Bemused, me and the mrs saw Marianne explaining to guitarplayer Brian Lopez how to pronounce several French words from her songs (Brian also sings harmony) at dinner. I for one would be terribly nervous when I had to explain my songs to my band an hour before showtime (of course Brian, Geoff, Olivier and Sergio heard and played her songs before), but Marianne was carefree. She told me the story about how she came to Liverpool for three shows, and on the way to the venue the guy from the label told her that the duo she was supposed to play with, well, they broke up. So she had to do all shows with just an accoreon player. 'And it went great!', Marianne said.
Just as her show in The Hague was great. If you know her album L'Entredeux (if you don't, get it now! Heck, it's one of the greatest French albums of the decade!), you might expect a quiet, shy girl. None of that! Mrs Guuzbourg compared her to Edith Piaf, and there's some truth in that. Marianne's very expressive, communicative and (again, mrs Guuzbourg talking here) 'you get the feeling she has an urge to perform.'
So there. Find all dates for Marianne's European tour here. Below is a live track (with her former band) plus tracks by other projecst of most of her bandmembers.

Marianne Dissard - Les Draps Sourds (live in Tucson AZ)
Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta - Las Calles de Tuscon (More on Sergio here)
B.Lopez - The Killing Moon (Echo & the Bunnymen cover) (More on B.Lopez here)
Mostly Bears - Melancholyism (More on MB here)>

donderdag 12 november 2009

Dionysos/ Gainsbourg

Quite energetic version of Serge's Docteur Jekyll by French favorites Dionysos. Murder Rock + interview.

Daniel Bélanger

In January, I posted a lot songs by Canadian artists. Because I was struck by the number of great singers and great songs coming from that country. In the months that followed, more and more Canadians (from Quebec mostly, but also from other states provinces) came to my attention. And I loved that. Recently, the new album by veteran Daniel Bélanger was released. A very good cd, my introduction to this artist. My Canadian friend, dj-partner and musical conscience Natasha wrote this guestpost on Bélanger:

Born and raised in Montréal, Daniel Bélanger dropped like a bomb onto the Québec music scène in 1990, winning prizes and breaking records left and right. He writes eloquent songs that every guitarist plays at parties (guilty as charged) and on stage he seems shy, making him even more intriguing. The story goes that Bélanger had written tons of songs and had to be convinced by his brother Michel to finally pursue a musical career. Lucky for him, his brother owns Audiogram, Québec’s major French language label.
On Bélanger’s brand new album Nous, Filles Fragiles-favourites such as Amylie and Caracol have joined in, with the male end being held up by Damien Robitaille and Julien Mineau of rock band Malajube. Ariane Moffat toured with Bélanger in 2001 as a keyboardist for his fourth album Rêver mieux and other singers such as Luce Dufault and Isabelle Boulay sing songs by Bélanger, already considered Québécois standards.
Nous is more extroverted and funky, less ethereal and more of a collective affair. Bélanger has always loved funk, but has said he can’t imagine himself trying to imitate African-Americans. 'Funk is directly related to the body. It’s as if your ass is thinking, because your ass can’t think the way your brain does.' That’s probably a revelation coming from an artist who has been living inside his head for more than two decades.
One of my personal favourites is Sèche tes pleurs from the 1993 album Les insomniaques s’amusent, which in my books comes in second to Jacques Brel’s Ne me quitte pas in the pain and desperation felt when your ass gets dumped.

Daniel Bélanger - Sèche tes pleurs
Daniel Bélanger - L'équivalence des contraires

woensdag 11 november 2009

Marina Celeste

Marina Celeste is one of those filles that make me feel completely defenseless. I cannot resist her charm. That face, that singing voice, the reason Filles Fragiles #1 kicked off with a Marina-track, was because she's the embodiment (in many ways) of what a fille fragile/zuchtmeisje is. Acidulé and Cinema Enchantée both are solid albums, her work with Nouvelle Vague (esp. on the first album) is great. A third album is in the works, The Angel Pop. An EP is out now, and that features mostly English songs. I'm not against French artists singing in English. But I do think part of the attraction, the mystery even, of filles like her lays in the French language. In English, it's kinda bland. That sole French song on the new EP is great. The Buzzcocks-cover's too Vague, the rest unintentionally funny, mostly because of that accent. That said, I will try and see he play live in Utrecht, in December. And I am genuinely curious about the upcoming album (next year), though I do hope she won't pull an Emilie Simon on us. See a making of-video here.

Marina Celeste - La corde raide


Biographies. They can be pages long. They can be short: 'Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn started making music together in the summer of '08, and decided to form a band. Pomplamoose thus represents the collaborative efforts of the two afore-mentioned musicians. It also means grapefruit in French.' Pomplamoose hails from California, they do covers (ranging from Beyonce to Simon & Garfunkel) and write their own stuff, mostly in English. Nataly has a sultry voice with added ennui, a bit like Feist. No wonder do cover Leslie's Gatekeeper. Their French song Le Commun des Mortels is excellent, with those little bells and choirs. Hope they will write in French some more. (Thanks Lewis!)

Pomplamoose - Le commun des mortels
Pomplamoose - Single ladies (Beyonce cover)
SEE their cover of Piaf's La vie en rose here.

maandag 9 november 2009

Voulez-vous dansez avec moi?

Where? Here!

Single play

From Just received this one thanks to @Guuzbourg & @natashenka007, love it, especially the Spinshots track!

Oh, and we have a first winner of a FREE Gainsnord-7". See here.

zondag 8 november 2009

Sélection de Lundi: Pet Sounds

In this video, already posted by Guuzbourg a few days ago, you can catch a glimpse at Mathias Malzieu and French indie artists Dionysos playing the immortal Nazi Rock for the upcoming Serge Gainsbourg, vie héroïque movie. Malzieu is also a talented writer: In his dark fantasy novel + accompanying album La mécanique du cœur young, cuckoo-clock hearted Jack is taught several things by the prostitute Luna (voice by Spanish actress Rossy de Palma), among them the nice Latin word Cunnilingus – for innocent Jack just the right choice for naming his ... hamster, and now imagine all those kids doing the same when the announced film adaptation comes out. Which would have been Serge’s idea of fun for sure, as well as our Monday morning extra track.

Dionysos w/ Babet & Rossy de Palma – Cunnilingus mon amour

Connie Lingus – Fuck Me Forever

Pépé goes Français

Key elements in French music are wordplay, double entendres and melancholy, but also kitsch, humour and satire. Quebec native Pépé knows that, he made four albums already playing the latter cards. Natasha brought his last album from a trip to Canada, and now I want to bring him over. What a thrill it must be to have this guy and his band rock the sh*t out of French popclassics like Gerard Lenorman's Ballade des Gens Heureux or Nino Ferrer's Mirza. There are more bands doing what he does, like The Lost Fingers and to some extent Nous Non Plus , but I'd rather have Pépé on my party. Sing along and dance, that's the motto! Here's two examples of just how fun Pépé can be:

Pépé Goes Français - Laisse tomber les filles
Pépé Goes Français - La ballade des gens heureux

zaterdag 7 november 2009

R.I.P. Jacno

Sad but true: Denis Quillard, better known as Jacno, has lost his battle against cancer last night. He was 52 years old. Jacno was, together with Elli Medeiros, one of the key members of Stinky Toys. One of the first punks in France, he became a prolific musician, producer and songwriter. He worked with Elli, Lio and Mareva Galanter, among others. RIP.

Mareva Galanter & Jacno - Bang Bang

Clara, Isabelle, Berry

Time for some new music, after a week of looking back. There's a new single (album coming up) from Isabelle Boulay, dedicated to the fall. Chanson pour les mois d'hiver isn't Les feuilles mortes (there's a tad more sunlight), but a grown-up, solid song that steers on the right side of mainstream to appeal to me.
Clara plume (pictured) is, like Luciole for instance, a slammeuse (a young poet that likes to perform inna hiphop-stylee) who made an album on which she sings too. Catherine Ringer, Zazie, Lily Allen and good old Jacques Brel are references, I'd add Jeanne Cherhal and Clarike. Les p'tits plaisirs is an upbeat single, a better song on her debutalbum is the sultry L'heure de l'amour.
Berry's debutalbum is updated again. Instead of making a new album, Universal keeps adding bonustracks. None as great as Chanson d'Helène, but on Mon Automobile Berry again shows just how lovely she can sound.

Isabelle Boulay - Chanson pour les mois d'hiver
Clara plume - L'heure de l'amour
Berry - Mon automobile

vrijdag 6 november 2009

Gainsbourg, The Movie: The Music.

Wax Poetic

Yessss! Pure vinyl baby! Juicebox b/w Les Spinshots playing their Gainsbourg-covers on seven iches of wax, it's out now! Me and the mrs and the little sprout went to Record Industry to pick up the boxes. We got a grand tour (thanks Ton!) in one of the last, and certainly one of the best pressing plants in the world. They made 35 million (yes, that's right) copies of Michael Jackson's Thriller in that plant. They also cut Benjamin Biolay's last superb lp. Dutch downtempo-hero Floris had his video shot @ Record Industry.
You can buy the Gainsnord-single, you can also apply for one of the THREE free copies I'm giving away. What to do? Send me a picture of yourself with your favourite vinyl record, and tell me why this record is so special to you. It can be any record, 12inch, single, picturedisc, French, German, Australian, it doesn't matter. I will post your pic and story on my other blog. Entries to Guuzbourg(a)gmail(dot)com.

donderdag 5 november 2009

10/10: La Musique

The ten best French albums of the decade were round up by ten (twelve, actually) FS-contributors, -regulars and -friends. You might have checked out the websites of the artists. Here are songs from the ten (twelve, actually) Number One choices. Here's to another ten years of great French music!

NOTE: All Files Are Down!

Lina - Redevenir Modeste (2003) (Sky's top ten)

Coralie Clément - Salle des pas perdus (2002) (Guuzbourg's top ten)

Arno - Lola, etc. (2002) (Maks' top ten)

Calogero - Pomme C (2007) (Mordi's top ten)

Encre - En ciel ouvert (2002) (Jan-Willem's top ten)

Coeur de Pirate - C'était salement romantique (2008) (Frans' top ten)

Vanessa Paradis - Divinidylle (2007) (Anna maria's top ten)

Barbara Carlotti - Cannes (2006) (Pierre Faa's top ten)

Keren Ann - Que n'ai-je (2004) (SOM's top ten)

Benjamin Biolay - Rose Kennedy (2002) (Thomas' top ten)
Pauline Croze - Jeunesse Affamée (2005) (Sami's top ten)

Bertrand Burgalat - Ma rencontre (2000) (DJ trouble's top ten)

And if one (FransS, in this case) would make a top ten of all these top tens, you'll get:

01 Coralie Clément-Salle des Pas Perdues
02 Coeur de Pirate-Coeur de Pirate
03 Benjamin Biolay-La Superbe
04 Keren Ann-La Disparition
05 Camille-Le Fil
06 Vanessa Paradis-Divinidylle
07 Carla Bruni-Comme Si De Rien N'etait
08 Vincent Delerm-Vincent Delerm
09 Guy Chambers & Sophie Hunter-The Isis Project
10 Marianne Dissard-L'entredeux

10/10: Best French albums of the decade (10)

And finally, the list of Thomas Bohnet. He's a dj, a promotor, a cd-compiler and a nice guy. Pictured is Keren Ann (no. 4). More lists? See here.

1 Benjamin Biolay - Rose Kennedy (2002)
Biolay`s fantastic debut, with songs between Chanson and Pop. Elegant and with international flair.

2 Noir Desir - Des visages des figures (2001)
The most important rockband. With the big hit Le vent nous portera.

3 Dionysos - La mécanique du coeur (2008)
One of the best live bands, I`ve ever seen. This is their masterpiece, a concept album with may guest stars like Olivia Ruiz, Emily Loizeau, Arthur H, Football star Eric Cantona and movie legend Jean Rochefort

4 Keren Ann - La Disparition (2002)
My favorite young female singer. She started writing songs together with Benjamin Biolay, This is her second album.

5 Sanseverino - Exactement (2006)
Neo-Swing at high speed. Good lyrics and fantastic music. Stéphane Sanservino used to be an actor before he`s got an musician. He mixes Gypsy Swing with chanson and influences from all over the world. Breakthrough 2001 with his hit Frida.

6 Cali - L`amour parfait (2004)
This ex-rugbyplayer is the sunnyboy of French pop from the south of France. This debut of Bruno Caliciuri is a classic with big hits Elle m`a dit and C`est quand le bonheur.

7 Mickey 3D - Tu vas pas mourir de rire (2003)
Together with Dionyos the best indierock-band from France. Singer Mickael Mickey Furnon writes also songs for others (we wrote the hit J´ai demandé à la lune for old wavers Indochine) . This third album remarks their breakthrough in France.

8 Benjamin Biolay - La superbe (2009)
His recently released double album is a masterpiece. Chanson and rock, jazzy, elegant, international flair. Good lyrics

9 Ridan - Le rève ou la vie (2008)
Ridan used to be a rapper before he changed to the chanson genre. There he mixes chanson with rai, reggae , pop and a little rap. Fantastic debut album. Also his other 2 albums are highly recommended.

10 Francoiz Breut - Vingt à trent mille jours (2001)
Her songs are fine and a little rough, her voice is really unique. She`s not the average fille fragile. Her self-named debut from 1997 is a fine record, but I prefer this second album from 2000 with one of my favorite songs ever Si tu disais.

10/10: Best French albums of the decade (9)

Alexandre/SOM is a regular contributor to FS. Here's his list. Emily Loizeau (no.4) is pictured.

1 Keren Ann - Nolita (2004)
I could put any of Keren Ann album in this list. I've chosen this one because Que n'ai-je is maybe one of the best French song ever ! A classic.

2 Daphné - Carmin (2007)
When I discovered this abum I couldn't stop listening it. The voice of Daphne is incredible. "Mourir d'un oeil" is my favorite song of the album...

3 Camille - Le fil (2005)
More than a great album, the project is a stunning revolution in French chanson. I remember the first time, when I heard most of the songs in a special Camille's show. It was three monthes before the release of the album. I told myself that Camille would change everything in the French music industry. That's exatly what she did. After Camille, a new generation of chanteuses appeared... For our pleasure... My favorite song "Vertige"

4 Emily Loizeau - L'autre bout du monde (2006)
A French folk... Simplicity of poetry... I love "Comment dire" and "L'autre bout du monde".

5 Jeremie Kisling - Monsieur Obsolete (2003)
When I discovered this album, I had the impression this guy was telling what I had in mind. I love the melodies of the songs. I love the childish words. It's like a never ending charm, even 7 years later... My favorite song is "Ordinaire"

6 Dani - Tout depend du contexte (2003)
Maybe one of the most unexpected album of the decade. the idea of a collaboration with Renaud Letang and Gonzales is the best thing that could happen to Dani. Miossec, Daniel Darc, Alain Chamfort was there too. For me it's an album in the pure Gainsbourg's tradition. My favorite song is "Reine d'Autriche"

7 Claire Diterzi - Boucle (2006)
A strong personnality. A risky mix between chanson and electronic. Claire Diterzi and her pure voice proposed a new vision of rock. My favorite song is "Infidele"

8 Vincent Delerm - Vincent Delerm (2002)
Nobody can write a song like him. This guy is unique.

9 Barbara Carlotti - Les lys brises (2007)
I met Barbara when I was in New York. She was playing at Joe's Pub the day after. I didn't know her music, except "Cannes". Before the interview I listened to this album. I never stopped listening it ! My favorite song is "D'accord".

10 Benjamin Biolay - La Superbe (2009)
When I first wrote this list, this album was not inside. I didn't have time to appreciate the whole jewel... This album is incredible. Maybe if I had written this list the next month it would have been #01... It's hard to choose a favorite song... "15 août" or "La Superbe" or "Ton héritage"

10/10: Best French albums of the decade (8)

Pierre Faa, he of Peppermoon AND the man who made those gorgeous Filles Fragiles covers, speaks out his mind. Pictured is Barbara Carlotti (no 1)

1. Barbara Carlotti - Les lys brisés (2006)
Sensual voice, elegant melodies... and I love her rhymes a lot. Some of the best writing in french these last years.

2. Christophe - Comme si la Terre penchait (2001)
I was not a Christophe fan until I met him when he released that album, half-written with Elisa Point. He's such a seducer... I understand why Universal spends so much on him. Listen, I have a theory... I think that songs are some kind of entities, floating in the world of ideas and emotions. When they want to take a shape in our world, they choose a channel (= artist), to bring them down here. Well, Christophe is now channeling songs that Polnareff can't do anymore.

3. Jil Caplan - Derrière la porte (2007)
Probably her best album. I can relate to everything there. I love every sentence of the lyrics, that are very direct and emotional. It's quite rare nowadays. Too many lyricists try to be obscure and hermetic, it's an easy way to look smart, even if you don't have much to say... Jil Caplan doesn't fall in that trap : she writes in a nice AND straight-forward way, it's not so common.

4. Holden - Pedrolira (2002)
Wonderful, creative sounds. Quite good melodies, easily remembered. Interesting, delicate lyrics.

5. Les Valentins - Juke-Box (2001)
Edith Fambuena and Jean-Louis Piérot are some of the most in demand producers in Paris (Etienne Daho, Brigitte Fontaine, La Grande Sophie, etc). But they never got enough credit for their music as a band. Juke Box still sounds good today, and I strongly recommend Le marchand de fleurs as an introduction.

6. Valérie Leulliot - Caldeira (2007)
She's your sweet, elegant, clever parisian songstress. At first, I was not a big fan of her band Autour de Lucie, but I got to love her voice after they did that wonderful song Je reviens. This first solo album is her best so far, and I'm eagerly waiting for new songs from her in 2010.

7. Buzy - Borderlove (2005)
OK, she's a friend. OK, we shared a flat when I arrived in Paris. OK, I have a song on this album... Still, I have other artist friends who are not in this list... I like Résonance a lot, it really tells how I feel when I'm about to fall in love. Alice Botté's guitars fit very well with Buzy's raspy, salty, smokey, powerful voice. I really don't like Stratégie de la solitude and Lequel des deux (boring), but all the rest is interesting.

8. Alain Chamfort - Le plaisir (2003)
His fragile singing, his dandy attitude and sophisticated chords opened doors for Etienne Daho and Benjamin Biolay. With the helping hand of smart lyricists (Gainsbourg, Jacques Duvall, etc), he managed to score hits in the 70s, in the 80s, in the 90s... and to keep a cool profile in the 00s, with this elegant, educated album.

9. Lafayette - Le monde merveilleux (2000)
Because it's a very unique, crazy-strange-glitter-glam artefact. Because I don't know any other french album like this one. Because Lafayette is a very nice guy. Because his song structures are very complex, with so many sophisticated chords... I don't listen to Le monde merveilleux every day, it's too demanding. But I like to know it's somewhere near me, to remind me how weird life can be.

10. JP Nataf - Clair (2009)
Mostly because of the production. I wonder if the lyrics have a meaning or not. Not so sure... Most of time, it sounds like random sentences picked up in a hat - as long as they sound good. But the soundscape is so interesting that it's worth listening anyway. I especially all these little intricate percussions...

woensdag 4 november 2009

10/10: Best French albums of the decade (7)

Anna Maria from Sweden, a regular guestposter on FS, counts down her faves. Mylene Farmer is pictured (no. 3)

1 Vanessa Paradis - Divine Idyllle (2007)
Peaceful and cute songs by mrs Depp. She has reason to be content.

2 Claire Diterzi - Tableau du chasse (2008) Inventive and lovely songs. The French Kate Bush? Quite possibly.

3 Myléne Farmer - Avant que l’ombre (2005)
Still haunting and has some of her best work in years.

4 Coeur de Pirate - Coeur de Pirate (2008)
So sweet and so cute, a real gem of a debut.

5 Emily Loizeau - Pays sauvage (2009)
Fabulous and kinda exotic music.

6 Emilie Simon - Emilie Simon (2003)
Bubbly and fun electro pop debut. Has a fab rendition of an Iggy Pop song, while not French it’s still a hoot.

7 Lo Polidoro - Le carrousel de jours
Classic yet new chansons by a promising singer.

8 Coralie Clement - Bye bye beauté (2005)
Wonderfully laidback songs and superb fille singing.

9 Benjamin Biolay - Trash yé yé (2007)
The crown prince of new chanson at his elegant and seedy best.

10 Raphael - Caravane (2005)
Charming pop/rock with neat singing.

dinsdag 3 november 2009

10/10: Best French albums of the decade (6)

Frans_S is a key figure for this blog. Without him, many tracks here would not've been posted. Here's his list. Pictured is Mareva Galanter (no.5)

1. Coeur de Pirate - Coeur de Pirate (2008)
Suddenly there she was. Beatrice! A tattooed young girl with piano and songs that stuck in your head and heart. Deserves a place in the list, and not only to proof that there is French music in other countries too.

2 Coralie Clément - Salle des pas perdus (2002)
Sweet, soft and tender, with this album she opened a market that looked to be closed since the 1960’s and still attracted a new audience. This album highlights the beginning of a new area.

3 Camille - Le Fil (2005)
It is much too easy to say that Camille is “a unique talent”. But what she does is exceptionelle, not only for France, but for the rest of the world too. This album is –I think- her most accessible.

4 Vincent Delerm - Vincent Delerm (2002)
Debut of a great singer. Lovely almost literary lyrics, which is kind of logical when your father is a famous author. But even if your French isn’t good, the things you recognize in the songs make you dream away.

5 Mareva Galanter - Ukuyéyé (2006)
What a pleasure to listen to this album. Well-known songs from the sixties, sung by a model. Also the additional Scopitones are worth watching. And she was responsible for the rediscovery of the Ukelele!

6 Berry - Mademoiselle (2008)
Lovely debut of a sweet singer. Soft and sultry. Gat album, but after I’ve seen here live last month, I’m convinced she should be in this list.

7 Olivia Ruiz - La Femme Chocolat (2005)
For me the proof that things like “commercial” and “talent shows” obviously can go together very well in French. Participating (not winning) in Star Academy in 2001 but it proved to be the start of a great career.

8 Chiara Mastroianni & Benjamin Biolay - Home (2004)
Same as Guuz said on Keren Ann, is applicable here. Maybe not his best album, but for me this was the first time I discovered Biolay. And a list without him wouldn’t be complete.

9 Adamo - Bal des gens bien (2008)
Huh? Adamo? Yes Adamo. Sure this isn’t the hottest and most advanced album of the decade, but it is such a great example of the respect you can find in French-speaking countries when it comes to old heroes. New, popular artists working collaborating with “forgotten” heroes from the past, making new sounding songs, with full respect to the originals.

10 Filles Fragiles (2007)
Maybe not the best of the ever growing series of Mr. Guuzbourg, but it surely opened the way for French music in the Netherlands. Since then: more French music on the radio and television, even French artists coming further north than Antwerp and no more strange looks when you say: “I love girls, singing in French”.

10/10: Best French albums of the decade (5)

Jan-Willem, he of Caleidoscoop, likes his French music a bit more underground. Though he feels les filles fragiles too. Pictured is Francoiz Breut (no. 3).

01. Encre - Encre (2002)
About the number one of the French list I didn’t had to think very long. Encre opened my eyes with his atmospheric, warm electronic music. Sultry singing and whispering, a beautiful cello, nightly electronic music and sometimes larded with hints of trip-hop. Breathtaking stuff. Definitely a Gentil Garçon!

02. Sylvain Chauveau - Nocturne Impalpable (2002)
Actually also the number two just popped into my head. I consider Sylvain Chauveau one of my longtime French heroes, starting with his noiseband Watermelon Club. Solo he focus more on melancholic and cinematic music. On this lovely album he brings a fantastic ode to the night.

03. Françoiz Breut - Vingt A Trente Mille Jours (2001)
Françoiz has such a seductive voice and combines that with excellent Americana. She’s helped out by Joey Burns (Calexico). I already knew her voice from old Dominique A. (her ex-husband) records, but this solo album was the first one I heard and completely fell in love with.

04. Arca - Angles (2004)
One of Sylvain Chauveau’s many other projects (On, Micro:Mega, 0). Arca is inspired by music, cinema, literature, photographs, daily occidental sounds. Arca uses warm electronic sounds, mixed with organic instruments and rainy guitars to draw melancholic landscapes. It’s dark and beautiful.

05. Frédéric Truong - Apres L’été (2006)
Ex-Leitmotiv musician who solo creates poetic chansons on piano, gitaar and additional instruments mainly played by guests. The warm melancholic atmosphere he draws is very intimate and beautiful. It’s music that is very close to my personal feelings.

06. Dominique A - Tout Sera Comme Avant (2004)
Although Dominique Ané’s new cd “La Musique / La Matiere” of this year is also very good, it still has to grow on me. “Tout Sera Comme Avant” (his 7th album!) already did so (for years) and it’s just one of his best albums this decade (and “Remue” of that one before). Nice chansons with post rock and electronic influences. And that lovely melancholic sounds streaming right out of his mouth.

07. Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites - Moon (2000)
The industrial project of Julien Ash changed a lot since it started in 1989. On this album he creates the perfect hybrid of all the things he did: neoclassical music, avant-garde, pop, trip hop and a little industrial. It’s probably the most accessible thing he ever did and also the one that could sweep you of your feet.

08.Pascal Comelade - Musica Pop (2004)
The master of toy music made his best albums long time ago, but also his new works are of high quality. “Musica Pop” is one of those unique albums that take you to the magical world of your bellybutton: intimate and compelling.

09. Klimperei - Le Tchak (2004)
Klimperei is a band combining avant-garde, toy music and chamber music and remind you of Yann Tiersen, Pascal Comelade and Nino Rota. Strange rock is another word for it. Great music I would say.

10. Coeur De Pirate - Coeur De Pirate (2008)
Aaaaaaaaaah, she’s so cute and lovely. Like a magical ice-cream she slowly melts in your mouth with her bittersweet sound.


From the inbox:

j'ai enfin, trouvé le temps d'écouter Gainsnord et je trouve l'album MAGNIFIQUE

toutes les reprises sont réussies, le choix des artistes est sensationnel

bien à vous,

Gilles Verlant


maandag 2 november 2009

10/10: The best French albums of the decade (4)

Mordi, he of the brilliant Blowupdoll blog, made his list of poptastic French albums of the past 10 years. Alizée (no.7) is pictured.

1. Calogero - Pomme C. (2007)
The emotive vocals of calogeo enfused with the songwriting of zazie make this album a pop/rock french masterpiece.

2. Carla Bruni - Comme Si De Rien N'etait (2008)
i was surprised how much i enjoyed this - it blended all my favourite aspects of charlotte,coralie,keren-ann etc and it hypnotised me.

3. Alex Beaupain - Les chanson d'amour OST (2007)
One of the best films ever made. One of the best musical soundtracks ever.

4. Guy Chambers & Sophie Hunter - The Isis Project (2005)
I love the vocals of Sophie Hunter (Jane Birkins niece!). It’s like the musical soundtrack to a film that never was.

5. Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5.55 (2007)
It was worth the 20 year for her second album.

6. Mylene Farmer - Point De Suture (2008)
This was the first album from Mylene that I liked all the way through- hypnotic and electronic.

7. Alizee - Gourmandises (2000)
Pop rules!

8. Vanessa Paradis - Divinidylle (2007)
It was great to hear VP back to her best.

9. V/A - 8 Femmes OST
Wonderful cover versions of classic pop songs sung by some of France's best loved actresses.

10. Coralie Clement - Toystore (2009)
Benjamin Biolay, Etienne Daho, Chiara Mastroianni, a Lio cover version - what more could I ask for?

10/10: Best French albums of the decade (3)

The roundup of the best French albums of the decade continues (all week!). FS-contributor Maks lines up his faves:

1 Arno - Charles Ernest (2002)
Hors categorie. Not only because of it's brilliant Elisa cover with Jane Birkin on it. The Belgium phenomenon and chanteur de charme who as easily sings about his rising sissoyen as he sings about love and death made with Charles Ernest a landmark for himself. My own private Gainsbourg is called Arno. And that's a compliment for both.

2 Marianne Dissard - L'entredeux (2008)
With a little help from the Calexico guys, Dissard (pictured at right) managed to record an album with a unique south of the border chanson-esque athmosphere that is about breaking up and coming together. Wandering through the deserts of the soul she made a musical soundscape as beautiful and nasty as life is.

3 Carla Bruni - Quelqu'un M'a Dit (2002)
Can't ignore Carla with this seduction pur sang. A girl, a whisper and a guitar never got so arousing. And - according to her later releases - it never will be.

4 Coeur de Pirate - Coeur de Pirate (2008)
How fresh can it get? Cute heavily tattooed blondie Béatrice Martin came up with this dazzling fresh debut. Only 19 years old at that time. Most songs piano-driven and cheerful as it should be when you're 19. Extremely contagious.

5 Vanessa Paradis - Divinidylle (2007)
Unequalled comeback album (Divinidylle was her first since 2001). An exquisite pop album that includes well-known Paradis ingredients as innocence, charm and a husky voice crawling around her catching songs. The French pop icon still gives me shivers thinking back at that night she played Bruxelles. Irrésistiblement!

6 Coralie Clément - Bye Bye Beauté (2005)
The 'rocky' side of Coralie Clément; a beautiful combination. An after midnight record, ideal with Gitanes and alcohol, no matter what kind of. The girl with probably the most sensitive sigh of all filles made imagination redundant.

7 Benjamin Biolay - Trash Yéyé (2007)
Oftenly called the new Gainsbourg, Biolay doesn't do anything to refute it. Opposite, with Trash Yéyé he made a masterpiece that Gainsbourg himself would have probably been proud of. A delicate cocktail of melancholy and dark emotions packed in superb songs.

8 Vive La Fête - Nuit Blanche (2003)
It's simple: Els Pynoo is sex and Danny Mommens put an eighties bassline underneath it. Some groaning, lingerie, synths and Chanel did the rest. If it's good, repeating to a certain level is allowed. Thé decade electroclash dance record.

9 Ariane Moffatt - Le Coeur Dans La Tête (2005)
An intimate, organic album. Moffatt plays with several styles on it. Some reggae influences as well as jazzy nightclub tunes, rap and 'normal' chansons, but always unmistakably Moffatt. Somewhat at a distance she always takes you somewhere you didn't expect to go, due to the very personal universe she creates.

10 Camille - Le Fil (2005)
While cruising the Carcassonne area with my mountainbike in 2005 for a week or so, this unknown fille kept on staring at me from billboards, bus stops and walls all over. Finally paused somewhere at a FNAC to check her out: best ravitaillement ever.

zondag 1 november 2009

10/10: Best French albums of the decade (2)

Here's my list. Camille is pictured (no.8)

1 Coralie Clément - Salle des pas perdus (2002)
The reason why Coralie Clément is in the header of this blog, is this album. My interest in French music, sung by sultry girls really took off when I first heard Salle. The whispered songs, the smokey atmosphere, the lyrics about longing and heartbreak (by Benjamin Biolay), it's the holy trinity of Filles Sourires.

2 Benjamin Biolay - La Superbe (2009)
A double album: versatile songs (there's jazz, there's Argentinian reggae-metal), great lyrics (almost all whispered), this is what French music is today. What a guy. What a record.

3 Dominique A - Auguri (2001)
The nanosecond Dominique Ané opens his mouth, tears well in my eyes. Melancholy to the max. The man, who personally started la nouvelle scène Française, never made a bad album (even Si je connais Harry has a mthrfckr of a song, L'amour). His strongest are L'Horizon, Tout sera comme avant and this shining diamond.

4 Guy Chambers and Sophie Hunter - The Isis Project (2006)
Guy Chambers (yes, he worked with Robbie Williams) made this album as a gift for his daughter. I guess she will fully understand the beauty ánd the sexiness of it, when she's 18. Lyrics by Keren Ann, it's easy to dismiss this as fluffy kitsch. But fluff and kitsch are essential elements of French pop. So there.

5 Tarmac - Notre Époque (2003)
This duo fuse Mediterranean music with electronics, and the result is a soundtrack to walking the wet streets of an old Southern European city. Shame this never took off.

6 Coeur de Pirate - Coeur de Pirate (2008)
Incredible album by an incredible girl. Youthful energy that makes an old fart like me feel alive, ALIVE!

7 Françoiz Breut - Une saison volée (2005)
Not the first (and certainly not the last) Frenchie to be inspired by music from the American south. But make no mistake, this is a French album. You see the Nevada desert, but you feel the Normandy seawind.

8 Camille - Le Fil (2005)
I was blown away when I first heard this album (almost everything is done by the human voice), I was blown away when I saw her live.

9 Keren Ann - La biographie de Luka Philipsen (2000)
She made better albums, yes. But you never get a second chance for a first impression. And this first impression still lasts.

10 Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5.55 (2007)
Cheating, you say? 'cause she sings almost all songs in English? She's Charlotte Gainsbourg, she can do whatever the hell she wants. And me too.

10/10: Best French albums of the decade (1)

The end is nigh! Well, the end of the decade that is, and whilst almost everyone is rounding up the best ten albums of the past ten years, why don't we? I asked several contributors and FS-friends to make up a list. I will post those lists in the upcoming days. Here's the first, by official FS-contributor Sky. (Pictured is Clare Muldaur from Clare & the Reasons, no.10)

1 Lina - Redevenir Modeste (2003)
Retro dancefloor electropop, Erotheque style, refined with sharpest fuzz guitars and grown-up lolita tongue play. The sexiest motherfucker of an album imaginable.

2 Ödland - The Caterpillar (2009)
Alizée Bingöllü is simply ravishing, and so is the music: a beguiling and highly addictive amalgam of neo-classical chamber music and surrealist dream pop.

3 Bertrand Burgalat - The Sssound of Music (2000)
Grand sweep electronic lounge symphony, sheer brilliance in sound and vision. Burgalat at the highest peak; nowhere to go but down frome here.

4 Keren Ann - La Disparition (2002)
Melancholy doesn’t get more tempting, and tristesse has never been more seductive: Irresistible elegies, wound around the quietest moments.

5 Le Micro Brise Le Silence - Le Micro Brise Le Silence (2000)
The mic breaks the silence: Rap de Maghrébin from Paris-based MBS, fusing Griot tradition and banlieue street feel with guttural flow and stunning virtuosity.

6 Nous Non Plus - Nous Non Plus (2005)
Absurd, supersmart, and extremely funny accomplishment by NYC faux Frenchmen, chock-full of catchy 80s retro tunes and ingenious lyrics: That soup is hot!

7 Vincent Delerm - Quinze Chansons (2008)
Highly versatile collection of nostalgia pieces & advanced songwriting, oscillating between blues très bleu et pure joie de vivre.

8 Benjamin Biolay - Trash Yéyé (2007)
A trip down the boulevard of shattered dreams, heading towards the avenue of new illusions. Brooding, intimate and upliftingly intense.

9 Coralie Clément - Salle des Pas Perdus (2002)
It would be easy to dismiss this one as sugar-coated bar & bossa jazz. Actually, Coralie’s half-sad, half-smiling approach manages to capture Brazilian saudade, Parisian style.

10 Clare & The Reasons - The Movie (2007)
Only one, but utterly gorgeous song in French on this late, nocturnal show: 'Pluton', a spheric ode to a former planet, perfectly arranged by French violinist Olivier Manchon – sighs from a different star.

Sélection de Lundi: Julie Delpy

Julie’s a control freak for sure. Julie Delpy, that is. In 2007, she wrote, edited, produced, and directed Two Days in Paris, an excellent romantic comedy with the clever tagline: He knew Paris was for lovers – he just didn’t think they were all hers. Of course Julie also had the lead role, and took care of the soundtrack as well, finally even managing to breathe new life into Nouvelle Vague, the doornail-deadest concept combo of them all. Lalala is retro stuff à la mode, sounding a bit like Ultra Orange with a half-ska beat, and charming as Julie herself, as my long-time flame J. ensures. And she must know, having been counsel for Julie’s last movie The Countess. Feels like the both of them got along pretty well. For a reason: J. is a control freak, too.

Julie Delpy w/ Nouvelle Vague – Lalala

Gainsbourg graffiti