woensdag 30 augustus 2006


Rockfort is an ideal radioshow for lovers of French music - this Saturday they run a special on 60s singer Gillian Hill. called: I Was A Ye-Ye Girl.

David from Rockfort previews: "The programme revisits the Ye-Ye-era through tracks from French sixties girl singers like Françoise Hardy, France Gall and Stella, and the Rockfort team (joined by guest presenter Vanessa from Vanessa and the O's) will be talking to a very special guest, original Ye-Ye girl Gillian Hills, who was for a while billed as the new Brigitte Bardot, was wooed by playboy Roger Vadim, performed with Serge Gainsbourg, appeared in Blow Up with Jane Birkin and wrote and performed several (now highly sought after)60s classics. Gillian will be sharing her memories of the period and anecdotes from her own career.We'll be playing a few of Gillian's records (including an unreleased duet with Serge Gainsbourg) plus other girl records from the period, and Gillian will conlcude the show by reading a French poem of her own."

For Londoners, it's on 104.4 Resonance FM, otherwise you can listen on www.resonancefm.com, Saturday 2 Sept 12.30-13.30.

Gillian Hills & Serge Gainsbourg - Une petite tasse d'anxieté
See the video on YouTube.


Fourth guest-post of Sebastien, is about dreamgirl Pascale Borel, from the band Mikado:

"Mikado belongs to the world of dreams, sometimes I wonder if this band has really existed. Has Pascale ever sung or is it just another trick of my memory? Is this voice that whispers to my mind real or did it come to me from an erotic dream I used to have in my youth?

Then I rush on my old records to verify: a single called Naufrage en hiver (Wreck in winter) was released in 1986. It’s about standing on a beach in winter, smelling frozen algae, watching the waves that comes and go, falling in love, being lost in the sea. The kind of song to be listened before sleeping, eyes half closed."

Mikado - Naufrage en hiver

dinsdag 29 augustus 2006

Sophie vs Keren

No special reason to post these two tracks, but hey, apart from being beautiful, no track needs a special reason to be posted here. L'Onde Amère is taken from Keren Ann's most recent album Nolita (2004), a delicate, bit sad song about, well, being sad actually - L'Onde Amère translates as Bitter Stream. It was covered by Sophie Hunter and Guy Chambers for their fantastic 2005 Isis Project-cd (for which Keren wrote all lyrics). They made it less sad, more melancholic, with added strings. Although I love the Keren Ann original, this version is my favourite - the organ, the choir, Sophie's voice, it sounds (like the whole album does) like a closing theme of a movie.
Sophie was supposed to be a promising actress, but a part from Hollywood film Vanity Fair, her filmography stayed a bit empty. Great things to come, still? How about another album?!

Keren Ann - L'Onde Amère
Guy Chambers & Sophie Hunter (The Isis Project) - L'Onde Amère

donderdag 24 augustus 2006


Wouter over @ The Blues Are Still Blue posted a few tracks by Dillinger Girl & Baby Face Nelson, the new monikers of Frederico Pelligrini and FS-regular Helena Noguerra. Sweet, countrified duets that are in the vein of great collaborations like Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood, or Biolay & Mastroianni. All songs are in English (alas), but I recently discovered that Helena is backing up pretty boy Doriand on his first album Contact from 1996. As you know she would, for the album was produced and co-written by Marc Collin - also a FS-regular.

Doriand & Helena - Duo d'un Fil

UPDATE: I stand corrected, there are French songs on the DG&BFN-album. Thanks to Julija over @ Aurgasm, here's an example (don't be, like me, fooled by the title):

Dillinger Girl & Baby Face Nelson - Love


'Minimalist electro-sensual songs', New York Press wrote about ElodieO - they have a way with words, those Noo-yawkers, don't they? But they're spot on: Paris-bred Elodie Ozanne, currently residing in the Big Apple, makes stripped down, laidback and indeed sensual electronic popsongs - Buscate Un Novio placed her between Björk and Keren Ann. She moved to America because she wanted to be part of the West Side Story-like musical world. But she ended up hating the commercial musical world, so instead joined French band Elm. After two records, she made her solo-album as ElodieO. That featured gentle, carressing songs in both French and English. A new record in due on NuBlu-records (associated with the Brooklyn venue), but posted here are the French songs from her debut.

ElodieO - Secret
ElodieO - La Mer
ElodieO - L'Attente

ElodieO is not to be confused with this Elodie.

dinsdag 22 augustus 2006


In January I did a duet-project on this blog - in the following months I collected more twosomes, like this one by Mademoiselle Kim (pictured) and Guilain. First thought it was an Elvis Costello-cover, but it turned out to be an original (written by Kim and Guilain), with heavy Gainsbourg-undertones. Not a bad thing. Kim, who describes herself as "l'oiseau de nuit, les yeux grands ouverts, les sens en alerte, s'imprègnent des frémissements, soupirs et cris de la pénombre du bois embrumé", sings in this duet in a more uncertain way than usual (not a bad thing either), as you can hear in Les Copines. On her MySpace-site, Kim names Barbara, Edith Piaf, Yann Tiersen and even Sonic Youth as influences. Do you play bass as well, Kim?

Mme Kim & Guilain - Alison
Mme Kim - Les Copines

maandag 21 augustus 2006

France à gogo

Time to do some serious fingersnappin'. As you all know, France Gall is and was a very versatile singer - she could easily sing baby pop, latin, ye-ye, German singalongs as French double entendres. But did you know she could swing too? My three favourite Gall-songs are jazzed up with fat double basslines, soulful keys and killer horns - here that cat go in Le Coeur qui jazze. Speaking of 'qui', I have no clue who those cats in the band are, but hell, they make me snap my fingers 'til they're blue.

France Gall - Jazz à Gogo
France Gall - Pense à Moi
France Gall - Le Coeur qui Jazze


Sebastien drops his third guestposting:

"In 1987, Les Calamités were not a mainstreamband. It was the keyboard age, singers were sophisticated, and half of them had Robert Smith-hair. In 1987 it was relevant to be cynical - but then Les Calamités appeared. They looked as if they hitchhiked from a provincial town with their Rickenbakers guitars over their shoulders and their old-fashioned look. They seemed simple, gentle and almost naive. Les vélomoteurs was a pop song written by Odile and Isabelle and produced by Daniel Chenevez from the band Niagara. In this song, the girls claimed they were not impressed by fast cars, instead they preferred mopeds. When I think about this song, it seems like a turning point of french music: a little peek into the nineties, the come back of self-derision, the announcement of a new generation of bright and sugary guitar bands. A French poet once said "Woman is the future of man" - now give up your fast car."

Les Calamités - Les Vélomoteurs

maandag 14 augustus 2006


Guestposting time again - Sky on Japanese babypop princess Kahimi Karie:

Kahimi Karie’s career began in 1992, with the release of her EP Mike Alway’s Diary, a tribute to the legendary founder of Él Records. Muse and lover of Keigo Oyamada a.k.a. Cornelius, she was already an icon of Tokyo’s hip Shibuya district, when she met Nick Currie a.k.a. Momus in 1994, who didn’t become her lover („If you want to know whether I fucked Kahimi, I have to say, alas, no“, he told me a few years ago) but wrote her first Top-5-Hit: Good Morning World, an intertextual baby pop monster including a sample from prog rockers Soft Machine’s first album. He also wrote and produced her transnational masterpiece I am a Kitten, recorded at Montmartre’s Studios de la Seine in 1995, accompanied by French electrolounge wizard Bertrand Burgalat on bass and piano. Kahimi has become more and more artsy since then, but will always remain a hyper-erotic version of Claudine Longet or Vanessa Paradis, combining hentai (perverse) and kawai (cute) like no other Japanese chanteuse. Read more (in German) here.
Kahimi’s 1995 EP Leur L’Existence features two versions of a song named Sérieux Comme Le Plaisir, credited to Serge Gainsbourg. Unfortunately, it’s probably not a Serge song. He appeared in a 1975 movie of the same title, though the film’s soundtrack was composed by Michel Berger. Anyway, both versions of the song (in fact entirely different tunes) are irresistable. The male singer on the second, longer version is Monsieur Kamayatsu, vocalist of legendary Nippon 60s beat band The Spiders.

Kahimi Karie - I am a Kitten

Kahimi Karie, Sérieux Comme Le Plaisir (1) (took a while to put this online, internettroubles)

Kahimi Karie, Sérieux Comme Le Plaisir (2)

woensdag 9 augustus 2006


The sister of Emmanuelle and Mathilde Seigner, Marie-Amélie made an album in 2004 with help from Biolay, J-C Vannier and a string of Dutch session-players (hello Martijn!). I can't find a website (if you Google, you get some florist in Florida), and the reviews I read where lukewarm, so my guess is Merci Pour Les Fleurs wasn't a huge success. But anything Biolay had something to do with has my interest, and Déjeuner de Soleil, one of the three songs he contributed, is good one. Also posted here is En Alabama, with music written by Jean-Claude Vannier. It has a Bonnie & Clyde-vibe to it, very nice.

Marie-Amélie - Déjeuner de Soleil (fixed)
Marie-Amélie - En Alabama


There are quite a few singers, actresses and models whom I'd love to hear sing a French song. Gwen Stefani, for instance. Or Broadcast-siren Trish Keenan. Or Laetitia Casta. Or Melanie Griffith. Dutch supermodel Karen Mulder was also on my list (although models and singing usually doesn't turn out to be a winning combination) - in 2004 she fulfilled that fantasy with an album full of songs written by Niagara's Daniel Chevenez. Some songs were about her highly publicized meltdown in 2001 (thanks to cocaine addiction, and some scruffy men). This change of career wasn't a success, let's just say her vocal chords weren't as gorgeous as her face. Or body. So much for beauty being on the inside, eh? A few songs are acceptable, like the one posted here. Karen quit the model-biz, and expects her first child in September.

Karen Mulder - Elle S'Embrasse


She worked with novelist Amelie Nothomb, with composer Danny Elfman and with director Michel Gondry, made six albums but managed to stay under my radar until now: RoBERT. You can tell by this spelling of Myriam Roulet's stagename that she started out in the nineties (remember dEUS, fIREHOSE, et al?). RoBERT, who sports very long flowing hair, makes dreamy pop, with lush instrumentation and a firm slab of gothicness - she likes to dress up in Marie-Antoinette-like gowns. If she steers clear from housebeats (most remixes I heard were bloody awful) but focusses on her delicate, very feminine and husky voice, I'm all ears. Her songs make perfect soundtracks to dark-undertoned Japanese cartoons, or animés. Her most recent album is called Six Pieds Sous Terre (released November '05) is so feérique that it becomes absurd at some points. Still, nice Marie Laforêt-cover.

RoBERT - Triste et Sale
RoBERT - Les Couleurs
RoBERT - Prière Pour Aller Au Paradis (Marie Laforêt-cover)


Sebastien from Paris shares my undying love for French female singers, and promises to do a guestposting regularly. Here's his maiden post:

The golden age for girls singing in French was in the nineteen-sixties; since mid 1990’s, thanks to 'la nouvelle chanson française', it feels like a reawakening. Compare with those two periods, 80’s where in the main, rather uninteresting. Still there were some treasures that deserve to be reminded. Tes états d’âme Eric from Luna Parker is one of them. This bittersweet pop song was sung by Rachel Ortas with a voice lovely and tired in the same time. Thanks to an addictive melody and clever lyrics, this song hit the charts in th winter 1986. The title and the refrain of the song is a play of words between tes états d’âme Eric(the melancholic mood of Eric) and les Etats d’Amérique(The United States of America). The lyrics are about travelling in the mood of your lover like if it was a mythical land, controlling the fear of your soul-sister because you love him, and you love him because he’s got fears.
Next singles of Luna parker were not successful enough (but still very good) and Rachel get out of the limelight. She now lives in London as a graphic designer. Sometimes when I feel sadly misunderstood I like to remind this song.

Luna Parker - Tes états d'ames Eric