dinsdag 27 februari 2007


Audrey d'Ithaque apparently knows how to moonwalk. She taught herself watching Michael Jackson on tv, and listening to his songs on the radio. I'm not sure if still she knows how to walk that walk, her song Des Hauts & Des Bas does have the right rhythm. That song is from her first selfproduced ep, released in 2003. Audrey is from Besançon, born in 1978 and studied the piano. She's a musical omnivore, a part from Jackson she digs hardcore hiphop and drum 'n bass. When you hear her own music, it's easy to compare her to Björk and Emilie Simon (there's a live album by Emilie coming out, by the way). Audrey has an oh-so-lovely lolita-voice, that (to me) is fitted better in her older tracks than the more electrofunky direction she took with her new stuff. But L'Aveu makes me think of spring real hard. More Audrey on MySpace.

Audrey d'Ithaque - Des hauts et des bas
Audrey d'Ithaque - L'aveu

maandag 26 februari 2007


Visitors of the recent Yann Tiersen-concert in Amsterdam told me a lot of people left - they surely had not heard Yann's latest offering, the very hard-rocking album On Tour. Only a few songs reminded the fans of Tiersen's Amélie-fame. For those fans, David Delabrosse might be a good alternative. His first soloalbum 13m2 was released last year (he used to be in a band called Delabrosse), and it was produced by Yann Tiersen. Its gentle, folky, at times it reminds me of Dominique Ané's best work, but also of Tiersens filmmusic. For 13m2 Delabrosse invited some guests, among them Francoiz Breut. The girl from the north county is a regular on this blog, but it's been a while since we heard from her. A month or so ago I bought this, a children's book illustrated and told by Francoiz, also released last year. L'Étoile du Nord is a duet, might even be about her. Who knows. A good interview with Breut from 2004 is here. [Merci JW]

David Delabrosse & Francoiz Breut - L'Étoile du Nord


"It is 1976. We take the Concorde from Paris to New York. The pilot reminds us somehow of Alain Delon, and he greets Valerie with a knowing wink. The next morning, Valerie doesn’t wake up as usual in her Upper East Side Apartment, but under a blossoming cherry tree in Central Park. She is wearing her evening dress, barefoot. Lying next to her in the grass : an empty pillbox, a bottle of champagne and singer Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane." This is the atmosphere producer Waldeck and singer Valerie Sajdik want you to keep in mind while listening to the second Saint Privat album. The psychedelic element isn't as big as you would except, no images of white rabbits sprang to my mind when their coverversion of Somebody to Love came on. The mood is breezy, sunny (with bossanova and latin touches), loungey. No wonder: Klaus Waldeck used to fish in the same musicpond as fellow Austrians Kruder & Dorfmeister. Valerie has a nice, highpitched voice, lolita-ish but maybe lacking of real personality. Still, both songs posted here are right up my alley. Bach en dub, from the debut-album, is vèry orange-coloured seventies.

Saint Privat - Une Dernière Cigarette
Saint Privat - Sans Remords (both from Superflu)
Saint Privat - Bach en dub (from Rivièra)

woensdag 21 februari 2007

Souvenir (64)

No, this isn't the 64th post about Souvenir, 64 is the name of their brandspanking new album. The Spanish duo (Jaime and Patricia) have always had a knack for danceable music (take Cherchez la Femme from 2003's Recto/Verso album) but this time their cranked up their beatbox to the max. To quote from the bio: "64 integrates elements from the past 30 years of electronic and dance music (techno-pop, new wave, 80’s dance music) and combines them with the band’s very personal language. The result is a collection of dance hits packed with memorable melodies which are brilliantly guided by Patricia’s beautiful vocals and Jaime’s surf guitars." All of a sudden, it makes great sense why they covered Corynne Charby's Boule de Flipper a while ago. On 64 Souvenir found the formula to update the eighties, without nudging or winking or being ironic, but keeping the playfulness ánd their personal style intact. More new songs on Souvenir's MySpace.

Souvenir - Allô, Allô

dinsdag 20 februari 2007


Don't you just hate that? You discover a band, they make great music but when you decide to queue up to become a fan, they close shop. That's what happened to me with Autour de Lucie, a seminal 90's rockband in France with a husky singer (Valérie Leulliot) and jangling guitars. Legend has it that when he met Valérie, producer Ian Capple (who worked with Bashung, and produced AdL's Faux Mouvements-album) saw her as the epitome of 60s female artist. The blonde locks, the voice, the sad look in her eyes, great combination. If Françoise Hardy had been born in 1967, like Leulliot, no doubt she'd been in a band like Autour de Lucie. Valérie was destined to become a mediadarling: she's the daughter of a famous tv-presenter and a radio-celeb. She started off as a solo-singer, but wanted to be in a band. Autour de Lucie, read their story and how they became one of France's most succesful export-acts here.
Autour de Lucie called it quits in 2005 (members started working on their own projects, a nice euphemism for pulling the plug), leaving behind a handful of albums, my fave being their last, La Grande Évasion. Sunny pop with loud guitars, a hint of electronics, nice lyrics and That Voice. It took Valérie about a year, then her soloalbum was ready. I nearly missed that too, if it wasn't for a great review on French Touch. No loud guitars on Caldeira (released last month), it's more hush-hush, with piano, acoustic guitars and some synths. If you'd never heard about Val, or Autour de Lucie, this is a great day to get acquainted.

Valérie Leulliot - Les Falaises
Valérie Leulliot - Un Point de Chute

Valérie on Dailymotion
Autour de Lucie - Tournesol (from L'Echappée Belle, 1994)
Autour de Lucie - Chanson sans issue (from Immobile, 1997)
Autour de Lucie - Le Dernier Mot (from Faux Mouvement, 2000)
Autour de Lucie - Nos Vie Limitrophes (from La Grande Évasion, 2004)

Regine vs Isobel

Régine Chassagne is the wife of Win Butler, both are singers with Canadian grandeur-rockband the Arcade Fire. Much is ado about their just-released new album Neon Bible, and about the tour. Currently they are in the US, and several blogs posted a New York concert during which they did a rocking cover of Poupée de Cire. Arcade Fire's version reminded me of the one by Belle & Sebastian, sung by Isobel Campbell (at the time the girlfriend of B&S-bandleader Stuart Murdoch).
When it comes to looks, Isobel wins hands down. And when it comes to the melody of the song, the guitarplayer of Arcade Fire should've practiced more. Like the trumpetplayer of B&S did. But when it comes to singing, well, you decide.

Belle & Sebastian - Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son
the Arcade Fire - Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son

See Belle & Sebastian do Poupée on YouTube.

maandag 19 februari 2007

Marc Collin

When both Misterblog and Roar commented about Suburbia and Spring in the Marina Celeste-post, I had to check out these bands. Spring was a shortlived French band fronted by Alex (pictured), a darkhaired beauty with a offkey, but sexy voice that was born in Madrid. They released quite a lot of music via Spanish Elefant Records. Gentle, well-crafted popmusic with various references, from The Beatles to bossa nova. They collaborated with fellow Frenchies Indurain, a duo consisting of Jerome Mestre and Marc Collin. The latter had played in various Versailles bands, like Orange, with guys that would later form Air, or become known as a soloartist (Alex Gopher). Alex-from-Spring was once in a band called Rosa Luxembourg, also from Versailles. When Spring fell apart, Collin worked with Alex in Suburbia, a more danceable project. Think of mix between St. Etienne and Kylie Minogue (alas not in French).

When I tracked down the Suburbia-album, I thought it would be nice to do a big post on Marc Collin - with Serge and Benjamin Biolay a guy that pops up very frequently on this blog. A nice occassion is the recent release of Nouvelle Vague's contribution to the LateNightTales-compilation series. As you know, Collin is one of the masterminds behind NV, for LateNightTales they had singer Gerald Toto do a bossanova-version of Dexy's Midnight Runners' Come On Eileen.
Before Nouvelle Vague, Collin started Ollano in 1996, a triphopjazzy project with singers like Sandra Nkake and Helena Noguerra. The only Ollano-album is still a gem. More proof that Collin knows how to set a mood comes from his imaginary-soundtrackalbum Les Petroleuses (with music inspired by John Barry, Morricone and Gainsbourg, and featuring vocals by Camille, who later sang on the first Nouvelle Vague album) and the actual soundtrack for the movie Les Kidnappeurs, that was also used for Divine Intervention.
But Collin likes to turn up the bass as well. He worked with Avril, was part of Dirty Jesus (Collin does work alone, but usually is half of a duo) and together with Ivan 'Blackstrobe' Smagghe he is Volga Select. Dirty Jesus stands for deephouse, Volga Select likes it darker.
Collin produced many artists, most of them released fine music. But sometimes his internal quality control fails him - otherwise I can't explain the two godawful covers he produced for Clémentine on her Lumière album. So instead of a bossanova'd version of The Beach Boys' Kokomo, I rather give you Beth Hirsch's Camden. A tender ballad with a twist. But not a twisted as the distorted, aggressive electrowave of Sir Alice.

Nouvelle Vague - Come On Eileen (Dexy's Midnight Runners-cover)
Suburbia - Nightfall
Indurain - Night and Days
Ollano - Le Silence
Marc Collin - Nicole (feat. Camille)
Marc Collin - Theme from Les Kidnappeurs
Dirty Jesus - Don't Fuck with my Shit (Late Night Cruising Mix)
Volga Select - Why You Were There
Beth Hirsch - Camden
Sir Alice - Super Hero

zondag 18 februari 2007


Exactly 40 years ago, Jacqueline Taïeb entered the music-biz with a spectacular presentation of het biggest hit 7 heures du Matin at the first MIDEM (international music market) in Cannes. A few weeks ago, Jacqueline was back in Cannes, with a bunch of Dutch sixties-lovers (a.k.a.Amsterdam Beat Club) on her tail. Together they recorded a new version of 7 heures du Matin, now called 7 heures du Soir. Last saturday they presented that single in Amsterdam - unfortunately I could not attend, but I already saw ABC & Taïeb when they played the Amsterdam Paradiso last year. Thanks to N., here's that new 7h-version. Click to buy the single.

Jacqueline Taïeb & Amsterdam Beat Club - 7 heures du Soir

dinsdag 13 februari 2007


The new album by Zazie is called Totem. The one before was called Rodeo. "First she did cowboys, now she's doing indians", Isabelle de Truchis de Varennes (aka Zazie) joked about what people might think of those titles. As far as I know, Zazie does not sing about cowboys, great plains or indians, but about human relations, gender and raison d'être. She studied piano, violin and guitar but was trained as a psycho therapist. Just like Carla Bruni, the tall Zazie worked as a model before she started her musical career - first album Je, Tu, Ils was recorded in Peter Gabriel's studio in 1992, and first single Sucré Salé was an instant-hit. The album won her various prizes, and the trust of her record company to make a follow up. Zen, a better, richer album than her debut, sported a beautiful tribute to Serge Gainsbourg called Je t'aime Mais. Later, she would record Requiem pour un con for a SG-tribute album. Another thing Carla Bruni shares with Zazie is that they both write songs for other people: Johnny Hallyday, Jane Birkin and Pascal Obispo all have Zazie-songs on their albums.
Made in Love, her third album (Made in Live is the live-counterpart), showed an electronically enhanced Zazie. Technochansons, her music was dubbed. More albums followed, the succes stayed. Just five months after the birth of her daughter Lola she kicked off a new tour, and after that recorded Rodeo (2004). Now there's Totem, less electronics, more basic, but still great. I must admit that at times, het voice tends to go to Céline Dion-like heights, but does not stay there very long, and her songs have nothing to do with the Canadian witch, luckily.

Zazie - Sucré Salé(from Je, Tu, Ils)
Zazie - Je t'aime Mais (from Zen)
Zazie - Requiem pour un Con (Gainsbourg-cover)
Zazie - Cyber(from Made in Love)
Zazie - Rue de la Paix (from La Zizanie)
Zazie - Lola Majeure (from Rodéo)
Zazie - Duo (featuring Paolo Nutini) (from Totem)
Zazie - Vu de Ciel (from Totem)

Teenie Weenie covers

"I like it when it's a bit false and girlish so If you're in to Celine Dion this is not the right place. I love yéyé, Oscar Wilde, Strindberg, cats, miniskirts and Tutta Rolf." Could well be the slogan for this blog, but it's the motto of Moa from Malmö (Sweden, pictured on the left), and taken from her MySpace-site. Her music sounds a little like St. Etienne and Tiger Baby. She recorded a seldomly covered song by France Gall (written by Serge) called Teenie Weenie Boppie, an anti-lsd song. One of the last songs Serge wrote for France, it did not go very well in the hitparades at the time (1967). The only other versions I know of TWB are by Free Kitten (the alt-rock team up of Pussy Galore and Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon) and faux-French rock band Les Sans-Culottes. But something tells me there are more. Do you have or know about them?

France Gall - Teenie Weenie Boppie
Free Kitten - Teenie Weenie Boppie
Moa - Teenie Weenie Boppie

Marthélène (2)

As I said before, Marthélène's first album is out, autoproduit and very worthwile buying (like I did). The singer with Corsican and Greek roots, studied cello at conservatoria in Athens and Montpellier and was a member of various orchestras. That education helped her writing her own music. She plays the violoncelle and on Démons des Anges, the 12-track album that is totally acoustic: harp, tuba and horn, percussion (mostly congas), violin. It fits Marthélène's young, sunny voice very well. I wonder if that beat in the poppy (and funny) J'n'aime pas la Dance-Music is live, and not coming from a beatbox. Listen to more songs from Démons des Anges here, order the album here.

Marthéléne - J'n'aime pas la Dance-Music
Marthélène - Aller-retours

dinsdag 6 februari 2007


Séverine (who travels between Paris and Reykjavik) has a all-consuming love for the written word. She's a parttime journalist, translator, reviewer and even a psychologist. Her love for paper and ink shifted one day to music. No, make that 'lyrics'. She recorded her lyrics to a children's taperecorder, a-capella. Partly because she liked the nakedness of her lyrics, partly because she's no musician. Then she decided to dress up her lyrics, and this is were Bertrand Louis comes in. He set her lyrics (and her high, breathy voice) to music. Very sweet music, tender, at times childlike. But jazzy too. A full album will be released later this year, accompanied by a short film - no doubt the script is written by Séverine as well.

Severine - Déluge
Severine - L'Été

In other news: I've added two more Brel-covers, both by Eastern European ladies, here.

Solenn Le Marchand

If you're a filmdirector, and looking for a band who can score your movie that is set in a nondescript, hot Mexican bordertown and features drama, sex and mezcal dreams, the first call you make is to Calexico. If they are unavailable, or too expensive, you might consider Grimoon. This French-Italian band just released proper debut-album La Lanterne Magique, and your guess is right that they sing en francais. Solenn Le Marchand is their leadsinger, the music is mostly acoustic, with a prominent role for the violin. They do rock once in a while, but most of the time it's unplugged. At times, there are references to Dominique A and Francoiz Breut, but unfortunately most songs are just not good enough. Technically, they could improve too. Moka is an exception, the closest Grimoon get to a great popsong. The reason I'm telling you all this, is that I'm now part of Italian webzine Rockit's project, in which bloggers from all over the world review Italian indie music. Which is nice.

Grimoon - Moka

maandag 5 februari 2007

Helena Noguerra

So far, we've heard Helena Noguerra sing in French (for instance en duo with Katerine, but also on her two solo-albums), in English (as part of Dillinger Girl & Babyface Nelson), em Portugues (in a duet with Mary L.), but that she's fluent in Italian is new to me. Okay, she grew in Belgium and might've picked up some Italian there - maybe she even picked up some Italian guys back in the day, who knows. We like to keep track of Helena's musical output as much as we can here at FS. The Italian mumblings of La Noguerra are a vital part of 5000 Moons, one of the songs from the upcoming (March) album by Alex Gopher. The self-titled cd is a break from the filterhouse that made Gopher a household name in danceland. You either remember his Super Discount-contributions, or his brilliant idea to sample Billie Holiday for Ibiza-hit The Child. For Alex Gopher , the titular hero gets help from his old bandmates J-B Dunckel and Nicolas Godin (that's Air to you now, but all three were Orange once) is more poporiented, and the French producer sings all songs himself. You decide if that was a brilliant idea too.
Also in this post is a song from Helena's first album, 1998's Projet:Bikini.

Alex Gopher & Helena Noguerra - 5000 Moons
Helena Noguerra - Minimum

Marina Celeste

Super-lovely Marina Celeste returns on Filles Sourires, because on March 5, Acidulé finally sees it's European release. The album was released in 2005 in Japan only, because at the time only a Japanese label was interested in her. No shit. She also recorded an album full of songs from movies, called Cinema Enchanté. That cd is added to Acidulé, and has the same bossanova vibe as her contributions to Nouvelle Vague. No wonder: Marc Collin is the mastermind behind it all. Acidulé is a colorful popalbum, on which the tender, childlike side of Marina (a mother of two) is represented. She wrote almost all songs, that thanks to the gentle electronics sound very summery. And, in the case of Raplaplat, is highly danceable too.

Marina Celeste - L'heure d'Été
Marina Celeste - Raplaplat

Frères Sourires: Brel Afterthought

The Best Men of Brel-post (below) stirred quite a few reactions. Here's five more coverversions, thanks for the requests and the mp3s you send me.

Emiliana Torrini (pictured) is a sureshot on this blog, if she only would sing in French. Alas, the charming songbird keeps it English. But she did a beautiful (and tearful) version of Ne Me Quitte Pas, so there. Talk about tears: Marlene Dietrich is on the verge of a very serious breakdown while singing Bitte Geh Nicht Fort (Ne Me Quitte Pas, again). Or is this Oscar-winning material?
Also in German, and also on the verge of something (falling down the stairs) is this alcohol-fueled version of Amsterdam by Hildegard Knef. Suits the song, I'd say. Paul Armfield emailed me that he was 'chuffed' to see himself mentioned in my lickle hitlist. I was very flattered that he send me another Brel-cover, a translation of Vivre Debout.
And finally Momus, a.k.a. Nick Currie, a big French music lover, a Gainsbourg-obsessive and a remarkable Brel-interpreter. Nicky is a loose translation of Jacky, in which Momus namechecks Julio Iglesias, the Dalai Lama and Barry Manilow. Go figure.

Emiliana Torrini - If You Go Away
Marlene Dietrich - Bitte Geh Nicht Fort
Hildegard Knef - Amsterdam
Paul Armfield - The Upright Life
Momus - Nicky
More drama by Czech superstar Hana Hegerova, in her version of Ne Me Quitte Pas (thanks Julija)
Hana Hegerová - Lásko prokletá
Nie opuszczaj mnie is a Polish version of NMQP by Edyta Gorniak:
Edyta Gorniak - Nie Opuszcaj Mnie (thanks Istari Lady)