maandag 12 april 2010

Moved house

Blogger took us down. Why? Read this.

We moved house. See you HERE.
-

maandag 29 maart 2010

The British Angle


Worth watching while waiting for the release of Gainsbourg: Vie Heroique (still not in the cinemas in most European countries): The 1992 Channel 4 short documentary France's Secret Vice at The World of Kane. The British angle of pop history, including some great, not too often seen pics, plus biographer Gilles Verlant calling Serge "the E.T. of French chanson".

-

zondag 28 maart 2010

Sélection de Lundi: A Quiet Walk



More of a Sunday Selection: A short walk through the cimetière de Los Christianos on Tenerife, the last home of Francois de Roubaix. And since the angels are surely with him:

donderdag 25 maart 2010

Perfect Rokjesdag


Dutch writer Martin Bril (r.i.p) is the godfather of Rokjesdag (Short Skirt Day), that mysterious day in spring where almost every girl seems to be wearing a little skirt It's their way of saying: winter's over, spring's here. Bril wrote several columns about this phenomenon, and after he died (last year, April 15) it was decided that April 15 is the official Rokjesdag. Now, as you know, the elements never stick to one day, or one moment you can pin down. Today is a perfect day for short skirts, so avid skirtwatchers (not -chasers, mind you) like me, Wilbert and Niels compiled the soundtrack to the most anticipated day of the year.
Go here to see the tracklist (Emmanuelle Seigner, Aretha Franklin, Bobby Gentry, etc). Go here to download.

woensdag 24 maart 2010

Camelia Jordana


She did not win Nouvelle Star (talent hunt on tv, also starting point for artists like Amandine Bourgeois, Christophe, Soan and Julien Doré), but for her album 17-year old, Ugly Betty-lookalike Camelia Jordana got help from Babx, Mathieu Boogaerts, Doriand and L. I guess the latter wrote the beautiful, very emotional ballad Lettera. This guy made a touching video for it. Camelia's voice (and atmosphere of the songs) remind me of Clarika. This is the video for the single (written by Doriand). See her sing Carla Bruni here.

dinsdag 23 maart 2010

When Oxmo met Ludivine (and Vincent)



(merci Stephan)

Hardy


Got the new Françoise Hardy album today - had a quick listen and so far it did not disappoint. Of course, her cover of our friend Fouxi was the track most anticipated. It sounds just like you thought it would, and again it does not disappoint. Fouxi, you must be sooooo proud!

Dorval


Les collines rouges is both the title of a graphic novel by Dodo and Ben Radis ('graphic novel' meaning in this case that it has comic drawings, but also pages with just text), and an EP by Dorval. The latter is the moniker of Pascale Baehrel, she who made us happily slash our wrists while listening to tear-eyed songs like Ne me demande rien. The comic/novel is about a young woman coming to terms with her past (bad parents, bad marriage) in a little French town in the South. Excellent subject for Baehrel you'd say, but somehow the songs give me no lump in the throat like Dorval did on earlier offerings. Can't put my finger on it. Maybe I need to read the book while listening.

maandag 22 maart 2010

Arthur H.


Often being labeled wrongly as the Parisian Tom Waits, Arthur H. is more like a hipster cross between Belgian throat-cancer vocalist Arno and the late Boris Vian, oscillating authentically between Fantomas and Rimbaud, like my frequent collaborator and friend E-moll Jones once remarked. H’s brand new album Mystic Rumba gathers 23 excellent chansons from his oeuvre, mostly already known from L’homme du monde, Adieu Tristesse, Pour Madame X, and Negresse Blanche – this time all done piano solo style, full of surreal poetry, rugged romanticism, and quiet internal voltage. Just the right stuff for the wee small hours of la désolation sexuelle.

Arthur H. – Mystic Rumba
Arthur H. – Le Baiser de la Lune

Sélection de Lundi: Nino Doing the Dog



Nino Ferrer nouvelle vague style, a Rottweiler of a song, and the most delirious organ solo ever. Way cool.

FREE Marianne Dissard album

Go here, and download Marianne Dissard's live album Paris One Takes, featuring her best songs, recorded with her stellar band! Yay!

Winners

Isabelle and Anna Maria won a free Stacey Kent promo copy. Here are their guestposts on their favourite non-French singer, singing in French:

Isabelle:
My favourite non-French singer singing in French is Flemish singer Arno.
He's our own Belgian Gainsbourg. Just like Serge, he doesn't care about established rules. He doesn't mind creating controversy and provoking. People often think he's constantly drunk, stoned or both ;-), but having seen him in concert several times I heavily doubt that. You just have to be sober to throw a microphone back and forth and manage to retrieve it like he does!

He also likes to mix several musical styles as Serge did. Last summer, he created a show called "Arno's Stoemp" (stoemp is a Belgian dish - a melting pot- consisting of mashed potatoes and vegetables) inviting international guest players on stage, from Marocco, Africa,...

Arno - Quelqu'un a touché ma femme (piano version)


Anna Maria:
My favourite non-French singer singing in French would be Debbie Harry of Blondie. Her breathy, seductive French bits in Denis are a bit of a tease and the pronounciation is off, but boy can she sing it like an angel breathing sweet nothings in your ear. Her French version of Sunday Girl is just marvellous. The seventies were a dynamite era for pop and Blondie ruled their corner of the world with their smart, sassy songs.

Blondie - Sunday Girl (French version)

zondag 21 maart 2010

Laurence Hélie


A beautiful blonde posing in front of stacks of vinyl - Laurence Hélie sure knows how to catch my attention. The country 'n folk-influenced singer from Quebec debuted with a sultry album recently, off of which I keep playing Les portes fermées. This song really touches me in all the right places.

Laurence Hélie - Les portes fermées

zaterdag 20 maart 2010

Tricot Machine


Matthieu Beaumont and his girlfriend Catherine Leduc are Tricot Machine (together with two other guys) and this couple from Quebec first blipped on my radar with the lovely Ours, a few years ago. They did a Christmas album, and now the new cd is out in Canada. Compared to the joyous debut, La Prochaine Etape is more melancholic, with slow piano-driven songs. They did not lose their playlfulness, as you can see in the video for first single Défier les Rites (here, don't worry, no animals were harmed) and hear in the great 30 Ans Hier.

Tricot Machine - Défier les Rites
Tricot Machine - 30 Ans Hier

Spinshots @ Soiree Gainsbourg

For everybody who was, and who wanted to be there last Wednesday @ Soiree Gainsbourg in Amsterdam:

dinsdag 16 maart 2010

Au revoir en rouge: Jean Ferrat


Outside of France, not too many people seem to have noticed that Jean Ferrat, a.k.a. The Red Bard, has passed away last Saturday, aged 79. Nevertheless, Ferrat was a French monument; even Nicolas Sarkozy had to praise him during the weekend, probably recalling quite accurately that old school communist Ferrat called him a rabid upstart just two years ago. Occasionally a bit too lofty and canorous for my tastes, he undoubtedly crafted a lot of remarkable chansons, among them Mon bel amour, sounding like a cross between Serge Reggiani and the early Jazz-dans-Le-Ravin Gainsbourg, the moving C’est beau la vie, complete with Paul Anka chorus, and surely his adaptations of the lyrics of another avowed radical leftist, writer legend Louis Aragon, among them the gorgeous Les Lilas. So no black flags today. Let’s raise the Red one again.

Jean Ferrat – Mon bel amour
Jean Ferrat – C’est beau la vie
Jean Ferrat – Les Lilas


Musique Fantastique


Out April 3, only available for 14,95 euros via the webstore of newspaper De Volkskrant, my newest compilation sporting tracks by Carla Bruni, Les Charmeurs, Les Spinshots, Benjamin Biolay, Phantom & Lio, Peppermoon (covering Françoise Hardy's Tous les garçons!), Stephanie Crayencour, Coralie Clément, Fouxi...30 tracks, 2cds!
Cover was made by Blue Hipster, design by Yosay.

In other news: I can give away 2 promo-copies of Stacey Kent's newest album (see this post).
-

maandag 15 maart 2010

Delphine Volange


Why bore your fans with the truth, when fairytales are much more fun? Delphine Volange likes to hide behind myths. On her Myspace, you can read Je 'elle cache un flacon de sels dans le revers de ses jupes, ne dit plus son âge depuis son douzième anniversaire, parle aux âmes errantes, ne boit que des jus d’algues et ne goûte que des gâteaux de riz japonais, n’écoute que du Puccini et danse sur Franz Ferdinand. D’aucuns disent qu’elle change d’hôtel chaque soir, en exigeant des duvets de soie. Qu’elle n’utilise que le parfum Empreinte de Courrèges, depuis introuvable.' (In short: she carries bottles of salt in her robes, refused to say her age after her 12th birthday, has particular drink- and food-preferences, dances to Franz Ferdinand and uses a perfume no one can find). An album is on it's way, first single Sirènes is out now. It sports a beautiful video (here), but also a great b-side. Her voice reminds me of Barbara Carlotti's, only a tad more fragile.

Delphine Volange - Précieuse

N'ai besoin de personn'


There's no name for it, but I'm sure there are some people who get aroused when watching French singers on a motocycle. Well, I get a tingle somewhere when I see Bardot with a few hundred pounds of shiny steel between her legs. Dutch blog Motorparade made a line-up of several 60s heroes on wheels. Go here.

vrijdag 12 maart 2010

Rendezvous with Stacey No. 2


When I talked to Guuz while he was preparing family dinner the other day, he mentioned that Stacey Kent's new album Raconte-moi (see here) reminded him a bit of the late, still too little known cult chanteuse Blossom Dearie – all too true, and there can't be no higher praise. From my most secret source, here's two short, but quite illuminating clips from a most recent interview with Stacey talking about her self-image, storytelling, jazz sensibility, and arrangements. Raconte-moi. She's telling us.

Stacey Kent – Interview Clip 1

Stacey Kent – Interview Clip 2

donderdag 11 maart 2010

French Lingo Foreign Style #2: Mel Tormé


Despite the accent aigu, American crooner Mel Tormé wasn’t of French, but Russian heritage. His version of the eternally wilting Feuilles Mortes – lyrics by French poet and scriptwriter Jacques Prévert, original recording by Yves Montand in 1946 – is a rare example of an American showroom vocalist singing in French, accompanied by an expert all-star jazz combo lead by renowned arranger Marty Paich who also plays the accordion on this fine, port-in-a-fog after hours adaptation recorded on February 22, 1957 live at the Crescendo club in Los Angeles. Picture on the right: Autumn Nude, by Ken Howard.

Mel Tormé – Les feuilles mortes


Dance entrepreneurs and Ninjatunes founders Matt Black and Jonathan More alias Coldcut put them dead leaves in a new vase in 1994. Here’s their transcendent chillout version featuring singer Janis Alexander, the slimmed-down variant without beats and breaks, and the Irresistible Force remix. Let’s go clubbing, and beyond. Merci à Roy Black.

Coldcut – Autumn Leaves
Coldcut – Bare Leaves

Coldcut – Autumn Leaves (Irresistible Force Remix)

maandag 8 maart 2010

French Rendezvous with Stacey Kent


When an acclaimed author and Booker Prize winner is writing lyrics for you, you’ve made it. Literary superstar Kazuo Ishiguro did so for Stacey Kent’s 2007 breakthrough album Breakfast on the Morning Train, her first record on Blue Note that sold 150000 copies in France alone. Though Stacey hails originally from New Jersey and is now living in Colorado, her brand new CD, Raconte-moi, is an all-French affair, featuring carefully selected songs by Claire Denamur, Benjamin Biolay, and Keren Ann, among others. My favorites are the title song, and the irresistible Venus du Mélo, both co-written by jolie blonde, Nice-based auteur/ compositeur Emilie Satt, who will open for Stacey at the Grand Rex à Paris on May 18. Supersexy double. Gonna join me there?

Stacey Kent – Raconte-moi
Stacey Kent – Venus de Mélo

Emilie Satt – Highway to Hell



Want a free (promo-)copy of Stacey's album? Two FS-readers who write a post about their favourite non-French singer singing in French, can win! Send your entries to guuzbourg(a)gmail(.)com

FS Does The Classics: Pauline Viardot


When Russian poet Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev met Pauline Viardot on November 1, 1843, he fell head over heels in love with her. Viardot, then 22 years old, was a celebrated mezzo-soprano throughout Europe and already nearly as famous as her older sister, the legendary primadonna Maria Malibran, who had died seven years earlier after a severe horse accident. Though Pauline was already married, her husband, Parisian impresario and arts critic Louis Viardot, probably felt that his wife couldn’t find sexual fulfillment with him. Soon after, Turgenev became a household guest of the Viardots, would later follow them to London and Baden-Baden, and finally moved in with the couple, sharing a house with them in the Rue de Douai 48 à Paris. The ménage à trois lasted nearly 40 years. There even were rumours that Turgenev fathered two of Pauline’s children, though nobody will ever know for sure: After the death of Turgenev in 1883, Pauline meticulously took care of covering all tracks that would have indicated an extramarital affair. When it came to composing, she also was a dedicated woman of discretion: All pieces she created in her later years were exclusively written for private concerts, among them „Romance“ (1890), a tender, intimate melody for violin and piano – the enchanting echo of an affair to remember.

Karin Hendel/ Ewa Warykiewicz – Romance


Sélection de Lundi: Aime-moi



An extraordinary, funny and moving little piece by Pauline Viardot (1821-1910). For more see above.

zondag 7 maart 2010

Victoires de la Musique



Yesterday evening, the Victoires de la Musique awardshow was held, and lots of our fave artist got lucky. Benjamin Biolay was voted best male artist, La Superbe was voted record of the year. Olivia Ruiz won best female artist, and the video for Elle panique was best clip. Best song was Comme des Enfants by Coeur de Pirate. Other artists who got rewarded were Izia, Birdy Nam Nam, Salif Keita, Pony Pony Run Run en Oxmo Puccino.

donderdag 4 maart 2010

Quickies



Ariane Moffatt, queen of Quebec, is part of a musical reliefproject for Haiti. Together with Caracol and Jorane, Kodiak and Nomadic Massive, the latter have three members with Haitian roots. Nap Chante Pour Haiti is one of the best songs for this good cause. Please go here to support and contribute.
A good thing the Canadian artists chose not to cover, say, We are the world or Everybody Hurts. But Ariane did interpret other people's tunes for the Canadian tv-series Trauma (kind of the Canadian E.R.). One of those is Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (yawn), another is a cool version of The Pixies' classic Where is my mind.

Ariane Moffatt ao - Nap chante pour Ayiti
Ariane Moffatt - Where is my mind


Something completely different? Try Sly Stone turning his masterpiece Dance to the Music into an odd French funkjam. With added female (or pitched?) vocals. This is the opening track of the upcoming compilation Listen to the Voices - Sly Stone in the Studio 1965-70, with outtakes, demo's and weird shit like this.

French Fries - Dance a la musique


Finally, the Dark Prince of French Rock decided to cover a magnificent song by Gainsbourg. It's short, but it's sweet. See other contributions to this acoustic Serge special from TV5, like by our beloved Coeur de Pirate) here.

Benjamin Biolay - Ballade de Melody Nelson

maandag 1 maart 2010

Stéphanie Crayencour


Belgian beauty who acts and sings, and who first blipped on my radar because of a great duet with Suarez. An album is coming up, probably called La fille qui souris de chagrin. A single is out now, with one song (and maybe all) written by Jerome Attal. She has a strong voice that can be very tender and fragile too, love it how she adds her own personality to the funny lyrics. Her acting experience probably helped there. Can't wait for the full album. See a charming live performance here. See a NSFW-work photo here.

Stéphanie Crayencour - La fille qui souris de chagrin

zondag 28 februari 2010

Sélection de Lundi: Gil Now


I don’t know the slightest bit about Gil Now, but this mid-60s Gallic mod killer track, originally released on Barclay Records, even surpasses the splendid French rhythm & blues adaptations by the late, great Nino Ferrer, and easily. Actually, Dis-Le Moi is a cover of Skate, a classic late nite Hammond dancer by Northern Soul legend Dean Parrish. This Monday’s motto: Je veux être noir.

Gil Now – Dis-le moi
Dean Parrish – Skate


dinsdag 23 februari 2010

Keren Ann & Benjamin Biolay


Benjamin Biolay and Keren Ann, singing a Johnny Hallyday song. Exciting, I know. It's from the soundtrack of the new French movie Thelma, Louise et Chantal, that has nothing to do with the movie Thelma & Louise - well, maybe a little. Lead characters are Jane Birkin, Caroline Cellier and Catherine Jacob - they're all on the soundtrack as well. As are Vanessa Paradis (see here), Melanie Laurent and Keren Ann, who wrote most of the music and also did a magnificent duet with Doriand for this soundtrack (La Question, by Françoise Hardy). See the trailer here.

Keren Ann & Benjamin Biolay - L'idole des jeunes
Johnny Hallyday - L'idole des jeunes

See original video (from 1962) here.

maandag 22 februari 2010

Reminder: Gainsbourg party in Amsterdam


Smoking to Serge Gainsbourg's music used to be easy to do, but since you can't do that anymore, dancing it is! On 17 March, the day before the wonderful film about his exploits premieres in the Netherlands (Gainsbourg Vie Héroïque), Serge's musical heritage will be celebrated at the Bitterzoet club with performances by Flora Dolores and Les Spinshots, Serge van Duijnhoven (poet and writer), La Secte Citron (theatre and music), Paris-Maastricht (music) and well as DJs Guuzbourg and Natashka. Everything that makes Gainsbourg so unique, his erotically charged songs, his jazz numbers, the reggae, the psychedelic stuff, you'll hear it all. Twenty years after his death Gainsbourg has become an icon for artists, fashion designers, musicians, writers and DJs. Je t'aime...moi aussi!


DJs:
- Guuzbourg (from the Gainsnord, Filles Fragiles compilations)
- Natashka (DJ/event planner at Oh La La)

Live acts:
- Flora Dolores with Les Spinshots (music)
- La Secte Citron (theatre and music)
- Paris-Maastricht (music)
- Serge van Duijnhoven (reading)

More info:
http://www.oh-la-la.nl
http://www.bitterzoet.com

Oh, and ofcourse, this weekend is the world famous Soirée Gainsbourg in Antwerp

zondag 21 februari 2010

Sélection de Lundi: April in February



User comment at YouTube: "This is the hottest thing I have ever seen, and I watch tons of porn." Nuff said.

-

zaterdag 20 februari 2010

Lightspeed Champion vs Gainsbourg



Indie-darling of the week Lightspeed Champion covers Serge & Jane's eponymous 69 Année Erotique on his new EP. There's another French song on it, called Tête Morte (a French version of a song on his latest album). Both feature a very fragile fille. No clue who she is - Emmy The Great, who sang backup on LC's first album? Ladyhawke? She doesn't sound French to me.In april Lightspeed Champion tours Europe.

UPDATE: Will Kane had the right answer. The girl singing is French model Valentine Fillol-Cordier. And of course, we got a picture. More? Here.

Lightspeed Champion - 69 Annee Erotique


In other news: Mordi has the new Alizée single up for grabs. Electro-pop, partly in English and French.

vrijdag 19 februari 2010

Jean-Paul's Angel

No one could resist this long legged beauty with the blow dried blonde hairstyle during the mid-seventies and eighties. She first appeared in 1974 in the American television serie 'The Six Million Dollar Man' with Lee Majors, to whom she got married in 1973 and divorced in 1979. But she grew real big (and so did her hairdo) as she started playing the role of Jill Munroe in Charlie's Angels in 1976. On top of that she did a shoot for Playboy in 1978. Hard to say what made her more popular.

Meanwhile the French actor, former Playgirl model (NSFW) and singer Jean-Paul Vignon was looking for a girl to record a duet with and one way or another came up with the blonde sexsymbol. Together they released the single 'You (Toi)' in 1977 on which Vignon sings the French parts and Farrah Fawcett sighs the English translations of it.
A remarkable duet that can't compete with other famous semi-erotic pillow talk duets, but nevertheless has a charm in it's own cheesy way.

Farrah Fawcett. She sure was an angel. A sighing one.

Farrah Fawcett Majors et Jean-Paul Vignon - You (Toi)

woensdag 17 februari 2010

Brssld in Blgm


„I think Brussels is a great city. The city smells of shit. ‚La merde’, but good ‚merde’.“ Belgian singer and ex-frontman of semi new-wave-legend TC Matic, Arno – feel free to check out Maks’s no. 1 fave of the last decade, Arno’s Charles Ernest album – sounds like a bastard child of Alain Bashung and Arthur H. A risky mixture, especially regarding my personal aversion against the late Monsieur Bashung, but his new album Brssld works just fine, provided that you’re into a deeply rooted 80s touch, complete with synth nostalgia, rasp-throated tenderness, and a remarkable, piano-driven salon version of Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up. Dnt gv p th fght.

Arno – Quelqu’un a touché ma femme
Arno – Get Up Stand Up


dinsdag 16 februari 2010

FS Does The Classics: Arthur Honegger


In January 1920, a Parisian journalist named Henri Collet proclaimed Les Six Francais, soon to be known as Groupe des Six, bracketing six French composers together as the avantgarde of the new decade. One of the members was then 25-year-old Arthur Honegger, who (unlike the others) admired Wagner and Debussy, and put on his kids gloves when it came to iconoclasm: „There’s no point knocking down doors you can open“, he would state 30 years later. In the summer of the same year, he wrote his ultra romantic Pastorale d’été, Poème symphonique, epigraphed by a line from Rimbaud: „J’ai embrassé l’aube d’été ...“ One flute, one oboe, one clarinet, one bassoon, one horn, plus strings: This is the first light of a warm summer day, and there’s few chances it will get more bright and beautiful again.

Pour H.

Orchestre National de l’ORTF/ conducted by Jean Martignon – Pastorale d´été


Pop Bâtard XII: Sex Mashine Working


French DJ/ bootlegger & lover of cool cover designs Sugamotor is the string-puller behind the aptly titled brand new Sex Mashine compilation which he rightly calls an „international orgy“. The album features 17 sultry mash-ups chockfull with moanin’ and groanin’, among them three blends incorporating French language songs, my personal favorite being Suga’s splendid fusion of Coldplay and Colette Renard’s charming 1958 cabaret classic Les nuits d’une demoiselle. For detailed info, see mp3 notes. The full album can be downloaded here.

Ben Double M – Sea, Love, Sex and Sun
DJ Giac – Girls bandent
Sugamotor – Nights in My Demoiselle

Colette Renard – Les nuits d’une demoiselle

zondag 14 februari 2010

Sélection de Lundi: Dalida



No, it's not Dalida week at FS. Remarkable, equally touching version of Piaf's Vie en rose anyway.

-

Hardy vs Fouxi


The new Françoise Hardy album, out March 29, sports songs written by Calogero (new single Noir sur blanc), La Grande Sophie and Arthur H. But the title track was written by none other than FillesSourires-friend Fouxi. Posted that song a year ago on this blog (see?), but it's time for a re-up. Fouxi told me a while back that Hardy was thinking of covering her song, and now she named her album after it too! Top that! Curious about the Hardy-version, and the rest of the album. Hope it's better than the mixed bag that duet-album Parentheses was.

Françoise Hardy - Noir sur blanc
Fouxi - Parapluie sans pluie

zaterdag 13 februari 2010

Mireille Meets Morricone


It’s easy to underestimate Mireille Mathieu, especially after all those atrocious 70s tv shows and her duets with Julio Iglesias, Barry Manilow, or Austrian schlock entertainer Peter Alexander ... but let’s not get started on this. Her most interesting record might well be her collaboration with Italian soundtrack giant Ennio Morricone in 1974, featuring the stunningly beautiful J’oublie la pluie et le soleil and an intricately arranged French Cinemascope version of the gorgeous main theme from C’era una volta il West – horse oeuvre going Opéra National.

Mireille Mathieu – J’oublie la pluie et le soleil
Mireille Mathieu – Un jour tu reviendras


Talking cool, Mireille also was part of the OST of 1968’s Girl on a Motorcycle, featuring Mick Jagger’s sixties paramour Marianne Faithfull on some semi-chic, but mostly forgettable Electra Glide in Blue ride. Despite the granny-pleasing refrain, Mireille’s song probably is the movie’s best moment.

Mireille Mathieu – Sweet Souvenirs of Stefan


Le bal des actrices


All actresses are self-centered, neurotic, and crave for love. This is not me talking, this is the thesis of Maiwenn Le Besco, a former actress who wants to shoot a documentary about ex-collegues to prove this thesis. Then, of course, she falls for one of her subjects. This is in a nutshell what the movie Le bal des actrices is about, a mockumentary/comedy from Maiwenn Le Besco, featuring Julie Depardieu, Charlotte Rampling and Yvan Attal (yep, mr Charlotte Gainsbourg). Haven't seen it, alas, but I did download the soundtrack. The music's by Gabriel Yared, and has songs sung by the actresses, with help from Pauline Croze, Anaïs and Armelle Pioline. The latter duets with Romane Bohringer about the ups and downs of being an actress, to a very Holden-like musical setting. Nice. Maiwenn herself sings the themesong, very fragile, very Gainsbourgian too. See the very funny trailer here. This site has some musical vids from the movie.

Armelle Pioline & Romane Bohringer - Mille et une femmes
Maiwenn - Le bal des actrices

vrijdag 12 februari 2010

New Francoise Hardy album, single

Here you can listen to a very short clip of Noir sur blanc, the first single from the upcoming Françoise Hardy album La pluie sans parapluie.

HERE you can download a session for the American radioshow Morning Becomes Eclectic by Charlotte Gainsbourg & Beck (Jan 27).

donderdag 11 februari 2010

Something completely different


If you see my playlist on Last.fm (bottom of this blog) you can see that I do not listen to French singing girls ALL the time (shock! horror!). For the website Het Zesde Vlak (a Dutch blog on advertising, gadgets, funny movies and fine music) I made a compilation called Perfect Arty Afro, featuring songs by mostly white rock bands that are inspired by African highlife and afrobeat music. From Talking Heads to Vampire Weekend. You can download the compilation here, by clicking on HIER.

woensdag 10 februari 2010

La mer est grande



Gorgeous grand-sweep opera version of Trenet's immortal classic, Italo-French style.

-

Quentin Mosimann


Joann Sfar said in various interviews that he partly made his Gainsbourg-movie to educate the kids - French youngsters don't know that much about the Great Serge anymore. Not sure if that's really the case - in recent years many winners of French talentshows (like Star Academy or Nouvelle Star, and winners of those shows usually are genuine talents) referred to Serge is various ways. Julien Doré covered a song by Serge on his debut and made a reference in his first video, Soan has a very Gainsbourgian side and now Quentin Mosimann sings a song chockfull of Gainsbourgian references on his new album. Can you spot all the titles and musical hints?

Quentin Mosimann - Gainsbourg Zéro-Dix

maandag 8 februari 2010

Emmanuelle & Iggy



See the conversations with Keren Ann too!

Sélection de Lundi: Serge's Delight



Serge's Bonnie & Clyde vs. Soul II Soul, Sugarhill Gang & Skee-lo. Bastard Pop Heaven from the highly creative Je deteste Serge G. bootlegger homage.

-

donderdag 4 februari 2010

French Lingo Foreign Style #1: Peter & Conny


In the late Fifties, nearly every country had its own Elvis. Peter Kraus mimicked the German one, selling millions of records with chubby cheeks, his characteristic giggly chuckles, and loads of fakey attitude: no question, he was about as hip as a shoe tree, but then, his Parisian equivalent Johnny 'allyday proved that it didn’t take much to be a teen idol in post-war France either. In 1958, Kraus also tried to cash in on the Gallic market, with a French language cover of his own hit Ich denk an dich (I Think of You), with a nice arrangement by Werner Schafenberger, the svengali behind many of Kraus’s Polydor recordings. The French didn’t buy it, probably still too much „Achtung! Stehenbleiben!“ echoes in their ears. Perhaps a mistake: This is a little charmer of a song.

Peter Kraus – Je pense à toi
Peter Kraus – Ich denk an dich

Around the same time, Kraus teamed up with German 50s cutie star Conny Froboess in a string of Schlager movies and duet songs. Despite her seemingly orgasm-free freshman aura, Conny had some pronounced sexy groove, and the better songs. In 1961, she recorded Chez nous, written by Pierre Dorsey and Charles Gaston Dumont, a longing tune with accordion bittersweetness and solemn flute ... gee, what French language can do.

Thanks to the indispensable Roy Black for providing the songs.

Conny & Peter – Ich möcht’ mit dir träumen
Conny Froboess – Blue Jean Boy
Conny Froboess – Chez nous

woensdag 3 februari 2010

Emmanuelle & Roman


There are two remarkable songs on Emmanuelle Seigner's new album Dingue, that drops in a week. One's a duet with Iggy Pop. In French. Remember Ig singing Les Feuilles Mortes, last year? This is a good. Or as awful, if you like. The other is the duet with her hubby Roman Polanski. Who's in quite a situation at the moment, and I don't mean his upcoming films. Still, he has some powerful allies. With that in mind, a song called Qui êtes-vous? (Who are you?) is, shall we say, very on topic. She calls him a pig, and threatens to call the police.
Dingue is, by the way, a very nice album. Song with a 50's rock vibe, some more folky tracks (one about her own name), and Em's charming, untrained voice.

Emmanuelle Seigner & Roman Polanski - Qui êtes-vous?

Agnès Bihl



The sung letter seems to be the new thing in French pop. After Benjamin Biolay and Jeanne Cherhal vocalising the post-it notes of a doomed couple, Agnès Bihl and 'slammeur' Grand Corps Malade (making a first appearance on this blog, after 2 albums) are doing the same thing on Bihl's new album, Rêve Général(e). She stays true to the vaudeville/classic chanson style of her first two albums - shameless romantic piano ballads, Django-fied songs, a bigband number, and two duets. The one with GCM really stands out.

Agnès Bihl & Grand Corps Malade - Je T'aime Que Moi

maandag 1 februari 2010

Paaarty!



To get in the mood, one of the greatest French 80s popsong ever:
Regrets - Tout le monde s'amuse
(Video!)

Oh, and on March 17, me and Natasha do a Soirée Gainsbourg in Amsterdam. It's the day before the Dutch premiere of Vie Heroïque.

Luke video

Posted the song earlier, here's the video. Still don't know who the girl is that sings - my guess it's not the Nathalie Portman-lookalike in the video below.

Une fille du nom de Charlie



Maks discovered Charlie already in March last year, but somehow she slipped under my radar. Here she is again, with unmistakably weightless qualities.

-

zondag 31 januari 2010

Sélection de Lundi: Antoine's Musings



Before there were them videos, they had scopitones. Antoine's Les elucubrations was the Gallic answer to British R&B in 1966 - move over, Pretty Things. More here.

-

donderdag 28 januari 2010

Covers Deluxe: How Sad Venice Can Be


Charles Aznavour? Wasn’t that the somewhat square old entertainer in the grey suit you saw on dozens of awful tv shows all those years ago? Maybe. Aznavour also was Charlie, the forlorn dude in Truffaut’s Tirez sur le pianiste (see pic) who smoked all those cigarettes like nobody had done it before, shared the bed with Michèle Mercier and Nicole Berger, and murmured some of the coolest lines ever to be uttered between love and loneliness („Silence is amorous complicity“). Sadness was also one of the keywords in his chansons, as well in Que c’est triste Venise, a sentimental kitsch masterpiece remade by the equally great Bobby Darin in 1965, U.S. grand scope showroom heartbreak style.

Charles Aznavour – Que c’est triste Venise
Bobby Darin – Venice Blue


Pop Bâtard XI: I Despise Serge


In case you don’t read our comments section: Here you can download the complete „Je deteste Gainsbourg“ project, Serge mixed, combined, and melted with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Soul II Soul, Sugarhill Gang, Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, and others. Strikingly artistic intertextual killer tracks by mash-up entrepreneurs Yold, PhatBastard, Mighty Mike, Grandpamini, DJ Gaston, DJ Y alias JY, DJ BC, and ComaR. Highly recommended.

woensdag 27 januari 2010

Agnes Jaoui


One of the most powerful musical experiences I ever had as a dj, was when I played an Amalia Rodrigues track in an Amsterdam café, one winter's day. This older man, sitting a few tables from the dj-booth, instantly began to sob like a baby. Afterwards, he told me he was from Porto, was going through a hard time and missed his family terribly in a cold, rainy country. This track, it could've been any track, was just too much.
I thought about this incident when playing Agnes Jaoui's second album. The French actress and sometime director recorded covers of Mercedes Sosa, Chico Buarque and Raul Paz (among others), with just a few songs in French. It's an album baked under a southern sun, like beautiful reddish pottery. Saudade is not an easy to explain term, but probably the only way to label Jaoui's Dans mon pays album.

Agnes Jaoui - Sur le pont de l'alma mia

dinsdag 26 januari 2010

Pop Bâtard X: Serge Gang Bang


While Guuz watched Serge Gainsbourg, vie héroïque at the fine, fine Tuschinsky in Amsterdam – honestly, the Enfants admis tag makes me a bit suspicious regarding the movie – and sipped champagne with Joann and Eric E. à Bruxelles afterwards, a quintet of French bootleg conspirators celebrated the première in their own special way under the surely ironic motto ‚Je deteste Serge’, beaming SG right to parallel dimensions with Nine Inch Nails, Fatboy Slim, Dead Prez, Tiga, and Princess Superstar (see tiger milk pic), soixante-neuf style – every single track poptastically inspired, the latter two probably being my personal favorites. For detailed fusion info see the mp3 notes.

DJ Y alias JY – Requiem pour un clou
Gaston – Weapon of Coffee
Yold – Hip Hop Culcul
PhatBastard – Hot Comment
ComaR – 69 Perfect Year


Pop Bâtard IX: Antoine & Mighty Mike


Not every mash-up works as seamlessly as this one: A perfect blend of Blind Melon’s No Rain and Antoine’s Les élucubrations, intricately woven together by another French bastard pop master, Epernay-based Mighty Mike – recommended by Sugamotor to us, his colleague and brother in arms. Les élucubrations, recorded in 1966, was the first (and biggest) smash hit of Antoine’s oeuvre, a rollicking meltdown of Donovanesque folk, Dylan feel, Adamo tears, and Nino Ferrer fun, culminating in Métamorphoses exceptionnelles, a frenetic garage punk freakout foreshadowing the grande gueule gesture of Plastic Bertrand – Dementia treize!

Mighty Mike – Antoine is Blind

Antoine – Les élucubrations
Antoine – Métamorphoses exceptionnelles


maandag 25 januari 2010

Charlotte Gainsbourg @ Letterman



Review of her concert in New York (where she played Serge's Sorry Angel. Interesting, because she told me in an interview she'd never play a song of her father)

Marie's


They're both named Marie, they're both dark haired, they have folk and country-influences in their music and do sing in French all the time. How do you keep 'm apart? Marie Daguerre rocks slightly harder (without turning it up to 11), and she's the one singing in Spanish too. Still, her songs and her voice are too mediocre to really take note. I like Ta Gueule because of that 50s sf-movie organ-sound.
Marie Espinosa (pictured) is an actress turned singer, she even starred in an American production. Her voice is a deadringer for Jane Birkin, and when you hear La Chanson sans refrain it gets uncanny - this is a Gainsbourg-song Birkin never recorded. She's also very much into Brazilian music, that is probably why she sings the last song on her album partly in Portuguese. I like it better that Marie Daguerre's, it's sweeter, more springtime then fall, more cocktail than coffee.

Marie Daguerre - Ta gueule
Marie Espinosa - La Chanson sans refrain

Sélection de Lundi: Clare Torry


„I think she only did one take. And we all said, ‚Wow, that’s that done. Here’s your sixty quid’“, Roger Waters remembered quite ungentlemanlike about Clare Torry, the sadly unsung chanteuse who did the orgasmic wordless vocals on Pink Floyd’s The Great Gig in the Sky – arguably the best song on 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon. Soon after Clare was hired to do background vocals for Serge G., as well on the acridly funny Rock Around the Bunker as on L’homme à tête de chou, his histoire maudit of a sadistic murderer, including Ma Lou Marilou, with Clare adding a few moments of big-eyed innocence to Serge’s half-erection porn funk.

Serge Gainsbourg w/ Clare Torry – Ma Lou Marilou
Serge Gainsbourg w/ Clare Torry – Eva

Pink Floyd feat. Clare Torry– The Great Gig in the Sky


zaterdag 23 januari 2010

Serge sings Charles

In the upcoming (if you live outside of France, that is) Gainsbourg movie Vie Heroique, you see Eric Elmosnino in his superbe role as Serge sing Parce Que a few times. He uses this song by Aznavour to seduce his first wife Elisabeth, and later on to impress Juliette Gréco (one of the many brilliant scenes in the movie). Many scenes in the movie are based on theory (and Serge's exaggerated stories) rather than historical facts, but his use of Parce Que doesn't seem odd to me. He sang the song later in his life on tv, and that version ended up on a Inédits-compilation. I just found out there's a video on YT:



Serge Gainsbourg - Parce Que
Eric Elmosnino - Parce Que
Charles Aznavour - Parce Que

Seigner, Biolay, Luke


On 2/8 the new album by Emmanuelle Seigner is officially released - let's hope it's not postponed again because what I heard do far did not disappoint at all. As you know, the orginal releasedate (Nov 2, '09) was rescheduled because of Roman Polanski's extradition-troubles. A song from the new album was on a Rock & Folk-compilation I picked up yesterday in Bruxelles. Femme Fatale is a better song imho then first single Dingue. Lyrics and music by Doriand and Keren Ann.

Emmanuelle Seigner - Femme Fatale


Benjamin Biolay posted some inédits of his latest masterpiece La Superbe on his Myspace. Mostly songs en duo with gorgeous sounding filles. Like this one:

Benjamin Biolay & Alka - Je partirai comme on revient


From a Les Inrocks-compilation I ripped this track by Luke, as I understand one of the bright young stars in France nowadays. Don't know who the girl is who sings, but she sure adds to the charm of this poprocktrack.

Luke - Pense a moi

woensdag 20 januari 2010

When Franz met Marion


It did not go like this, but I like to think it did:
Big Fashion Label Exec: 'Hi Krizz, glad to see you. Look, me and the other guys want something really special for the marketing of our new bag, right. Something that would make waves in hip circles, that appeals to the cool people. Who, naturally, cannot afford our products, but that's beside the point. Any ideas?'
Advertising Guy: 'Sure. Why not include one of the bestest photographers in the world, a star among stars. With financial troubles, so not that expensive anymore. And take one of the most gorgeous women out there.'
Big Fashion Label Exec: 'Err...isn't that what we always do?'
Advertising Guy: 'But here's the catch: we have the gorgeous girl sing. She would not be known as a singer, she just plays one in a movie.'
Big Fashion Label Exec: 'Warming up to your idea. We're talking Marion Cotillard, right? Excellent. And would she sing a Piaf song?'
Advertising Guy: 'Mais non! We ask one of the coolest bands, who are related to one of your top designers, to write a special song.'
Big Fashion Label Exec: 'Ah, that would be Franz Ferdinand, right, friends of Hedi Slimane. Would Marion sing in French?'
Advertising Guy: 'Nah. Nobody would get that, who's interested in French singing women anyway?'
Big Fashion Label Exec: 'Nicolas Sarkozy, for one, but you're probably right. Let's do it!' {Thanks JW}

Marion Cotillard + Franz Ferdinand - Eyes of Mars

Poplin


'What makes a song sound French, besides the words? What is it that makes certain French pop music sound sophisticated or classy? Is it possible to write a French-sounding song without employing the usual clichés? Or even beyond the music itself – can one actually impart a metropolitan French character into the song – for instance their fashion and aesthetic sense, their joie d'vivre, or their knack for blending the classic and the modern?'
When someone poses these questions, an answer lies in either buying/downloading an extraordinary amount of French music (like me), or actually make the music. Guy Poplin from Singapore (no, it's not strange at all that someone from South-East Asia loves and makes this music, ever been here?) send me a link to an EP of his project, featuring four very elegant popsongs that refer to Francis Lai as much as Keren Ann.
Read Poplins musing about the production process on his site.
About the song posted here, he writes:
The EP's title track was born of a convoluted development of ideas. The first two verses were written almost eighteen months before the words for the rest of the song. The Cinderella motif proved to be the cornerstone, which lead to the concept of a Débutante ball, and finally the whole metaphor of a beginner's fumbling moves in the game of love. The switch to a 3rd-person speech in the chorus was meant as her inner demons voicing her insecurities. Beneath the seemingly mocking tone, the song is actually a tribute to the touching artlessness of a young woman in love for the first time. The idea to name the EP after this song became a no-brainer when it became obvious that the Débutante's story was already all over the four songs before the character was even conceived.

In an email to me, Guy (or Koi) writes: 'FS has been instrumental in helping me research on french pop music past and present for the past 3-4 years! Do keep it going!' Glad I could help, keep doing what you're doing too, Koi!

Poplin - Une Débutante Au Jeu (feat. Bridget Low)

dinsdag 19 januari 2010

Jeanne Cherhal


Charade is the new album from Jeanne Cherhal, to be released in March. No musicians play on the cd 'cept for Jeanne, interestingly enough. En toute amitié is the first single, a poppy yet layered song. From a children's music album (released a few years ago) is this bonustrack about frogs giving a concert.

Jeanne Cherhal - En Toute Amitié
Jeanne Cherhal - Le Concert Des Grenouilles

zondag 17 januari 2010

Sélection de Lundi: Le Plop en Duo



Paranormal Activity: Jodie Foster and Claude Francois doing Serge's Comic Strip.

-

Pop Bâtard VIII: Rapping It Up


Of all Serge songs, Je suis venu te dire que je m’en vais probably is my least favorite; my little niece even claims he sounds like a moist tissue on that one. French master mash-up whiz ToToM rescued the song for her, using vocals by west coast G-funkster Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill’s B-Real and underlying the beat from OutKast’s So Fresh So Clean – a unique blend, and at least as sharp as the stiletto pictured on the right.


ToToM – Je suis venu te dire que je m’en vato

Serge G. – Je suis venu te dire ...
Snoop Dogg ft. B-Real – Vato
OutKast – So Fresh So Clean


Pop Bâtard VII: Alain Chamfort classé X


French bootlegging artist Sugamotor has a posh site, a special taste and a peculiar kind of humour. As for his mash-up of Moonbootica’s Bulldog Beats and Alain Chamfort’s Clara veut la lune, he explains for non-native speakers: „The title means ‚Clara wants some beats’. The girl (see pic) is Clara Morgane, a French porn star. You’re here, wondering why a porn star would want ‚beats’ in such a posture ... unless you know ‚beat’ sounds like the French equivalent for ‚cock’.“ Well ... glad to have learnt something this Sunday afternoon.

Sugamotor – Clara veut des beats


Similarly dubious: Sugamotor combining H-Blockx’ teutonic boof-tah rock hymn Countdown to Insanity with the sadomasochistic Fais-moi mal, Johnny by Magali Noel & Boris Vian from 1956. Bonus: A delirious fusion of 50 Cent and Carla B. with big beat rapper Sarko-Z.

Sugamotor – Fais-moi mal, Johnny Insane
Sugamotor – Quelqu’un m’ayo Sarkology


Pop Bâtard VI: Sacha’s Bootleg Bonanza


While Renan Luce is seen by many as the indie reincarnation of Georges Brassens, Sacha Distel went a long way from 50s high-class jazz guitarist to Mr. Cheese. Mixed together – the sound of Sacha’s classic Ma Première Guitare meets the vocals of Renan’s huge 2007 hit La Lettre – they sound like the perfect match, blended by ToToM, French bootlegger extraordinaire. And should you feel in the mood for more merged Sacha, this is undoubtedly the right spot for you.

ToToM – Ma première lettre