First sight, nice one. A compilation about the life and times of Serge & and highly underrated singer Bébé, titled Lost Loves, of course a reference to Gainsbourg’s Les Amours Perdues. Actually, and we’re in a mild mood today, the album is a bit of a miss: The ten Gainsbourg-sung titles that open the album have nothing to do with BB, and the „cool sounds from her hot scenes“ rehash some pseudo-swelty jazz instros from BB’s early movies; including no vocals, of course, and though the bag includes Brigitte’s version of Sidonie, issued as a flexi disc by Sonorama magazine in 1961, it’s not even a Gainsbourg song, spelled Sidone here – probably the final indicator that the guys at Cherry Red Records already had lost love and interest when they cobbled this cheapo together in one and a half min, the most intriguing tune here being Isabelle Aubret’s (!) version of La chanson de Prévert. And, believe it or not, that’s really a Gainsbourg song.
Ormonde = Anna Lynne Williams (of Trespassers William) and Robert Gomez, whose debut album will be released soon on Hometapes. They met at a the recording of the John Grant album, found a lot of musical similarities (‘Sotol, Gainsbourg, Nabokov, Neil Hamburger, stars’), rented a house later on and recorded an album. Machines, for which I don’t know a release-date, will feature a Serge Gainsbourg cover, Lemon Incest, that you can already hear on Robert’s Soundcloud.
Détective is James Greer (from Guided By Voices), plus the super-sultry sounding Guylaine Vivarat, who plays in an LA band called Useless Keys and used to play in another one called Tennis System, and Rory Modica, who also plays in Useless Keys with Guylaine. They released an EP in February (here), but Dommage! is not on that. It’s a brand new song, the first one in French, but James emailed me that more is coming up (in May). This is an exclusive track for Filles Sourires! I hear a bit of Barbara Carlotti in it, a little Stereolab, some Peppermoon-ish touches, and Guylaine’s blessed with that happy-to-be-sad-tone in her voice that heroines like Hardy have too. Good start! Détective – Dommage!
A sultry version of a Gillian Hills-tune in the first episode of the new Mad Men-season! It’s all over the internet (thanks Taylor for the update!), haven’t been able to find a video yet, ’cause I’d love to see Jessica Paré shimmy to the chanson. I just found that video, see above. Not the first time Mad Men refers to a French tune – in the second season a coffee-commercial based on Gainsbourg’s Couleur Café was used (listen here).
She looks a bit like Amy Winehouse, doesn’t she? Her Canadian niece, maybe, with Moroccan roots. Ines Talbi (from Montréal) was part of a few bands (none I’d heard of) before she released her debut-album last month. Most of the songs on that colourful popalbum are in English, bar one. And you guessed it, that’s the strongest chanson on Boarding Gate (though I like the humpa-orchestra that walks by in her first single I Know You Know). Because of the vibes, it sounds a bit like an older Radiohead-song. Or Karkwa, maybe. It’s not the first time Ines sings in French, she re-did Mirza on this Canadian Nino Ferrer-tribute. Here’s a live version of Dernière la pluie.
Last Tuesday, I went to a show in my hometown Rotterdam. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. The show she gave a few days earlier in Brussels got both enthusiastic and negative reviews and last week she cancelled a few shows in France because of illness and depressions so it could be good or bad.
Soko came on stage and told us we would start with a surprise act. Her brother Maxime sang two songs, while Soko herself was singing backing vocals and playing drums.
After that Luke Rathborne came on stage. He is a singer-songwriter from New York and also member of Soko’s band, and he wasn’t bad but not very impressive and struggled with the problem of this venue: people chatting to each other instead of listening.
And then Soko came on stage… What followed was a two hour long show, and a rollercoaster of emotions. Soko and her band members (Luke, Gillian McGuire on bass guitar, violin and backing vocals), ran around the stage, changed instruments and gave the impression they were all making it up on the spot.
We saw Soko singing very sad songs (“can I do another very a sad song or do you already want to kill yourself?”), was chitchatting with public (“I love you Danish people! Oh, not Danish, no. Dutch. But I’m dyslectic. Do you mind calling you Hollandish?”).
She played mostly new songs and almost her entire album. No songs from her earlier period when she had a minor hit with “I kill her”.
Surprisingly the songs with other her band members were the best with “People Always Look Better in the Sun” as one of the highlights of the evening.
There also was a therapeutic number “Destruction Of The Disgusting Ugly Hate” sang by Soko from behind the drum kit, which sounded like an early French punk song.
The last half hour of the show was for singalong with the audience, inviting people on stage (“You are so hot, may I touch your boobs”?) and asking about the legal status of touching boobs of a 19 year old girl “Is that underage here?”).
After the last song she said that she was available for free hugs “like now”, stepped off the stage and walked through the public to the back of the venue, where the merch was.
It still is hard to describe. But after seeing her live, I can’t think about the fact that it is just real. Soko is a young woman who likes to be on the podium, sharing her emotions with her audience and loves to perform. And maybe it is not that “good’ but at least it was enjoyable fun and entertaining. And maybe that is what music is about…