Coeur de pirate – the update


Been a while since we had a lengthy post on chère CdP, non? Mark reviews the three ways in which Béatrice Martin is staying at the top
Coeur de pirate Québec le 6 juillet 2013 (1)
When Coeur de pirate announced that she was returning to tour in Europe following the birth of her daughter, but would not have her band with her, not all of us were convinced that she could wow the world alone at the piano, without the excitement that her band shows create.

We need not have worried. In 12 sold-out concerts in April 2013 her extraordinary quality solo on stage was clear to all. See extended film of several songs at Mulhouse and, even better, at Hérouville St-Clair (Caen), in Normandy. And see this perfectly-framed performance of ‘Saint-Laurent’ there.

Béatrice also showed a new talent – solo guitar as at 11m10s at Hérouville St-Clair, where the instrument seems bigger than her, and at Paris’s Salle Gaveau, singing ‘Verseau’.

After this demonstration CdP returned to Canada, giving a ‘walking interview’ in her home district here,
and put on some great performances with her band at summer festivals. At Festivoix, Trois-Rivières, on 3 July, she had the prime evening slot : see here
and here.

A still larger crowd greeted her at the Festival d’Été at Québec City on 6 July. Official film covers the first three songs and an amateur film the rest, capturing audience reaction well.

CdP is always grasping new opportunities, as in her sunny, positive version of ‘Mon manège à moi’ at the Beacon Theatre in New York to mark 50 years since Edith Piaf’s death in 1963.

And now she has recorded an album in English. ‘Trauma’ is cover songs for the soundtrack to the Canadian television program of the same name. She sings including The Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, Bon Iver, The Libertines, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and The National (‘Slow Show’). All 12 tracks can be heard here.

FS contributor SteveInSoCal offers a review of each song on his website blog: “An album of beautifully arranged interpretations – every song has been stripped back, adapted, moulded, indeed structured to Béatrice’s trademark vocal and compositional style – while all the time remaining faithful to the spirit of the original…”

To my ears the the arrangement on some tracks have too much backing, so that the pure voice is obscured. Fortunately Béatrice also offers us a live filmed set of three on Deezer performed solo: Amy Whitehouse’s ‘You know I’m no good’, Mick Jagger & Keith Richard’s ‘Dead Flowers’, and Bon Iver’s ‘Flume’.

Where is Coeur de pirate going next? Listen to her revealing interview on CBC’s ‘Q’ in March 2014. Béatrice tells us that she sounds different in English, and that she had to approach the task in different ways from how she creates songs in French. At the very end she tells us what’s next. Tantalising.

This just in: Cdp made music for a computer game:


Chloe Lacasse


New single. More on her new album later (by Steve, of course)




Whitehorse are the husband and wife duo of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland who’ve created quite a stir in Canada with their dynamic brand of folk-rock (their 2012 album “The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss” was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize). Their latest album, Éphémère sans repère”, however sees the duo team up with renowned Montréal-based songwriter and producer Pierre Marchand, to translate five of their best known songs into the language of Molière.

Two of the songs, the album’s opener “Éphémère sans repère (Devil’s got a gun)” (official video below complete with sing-along lyrics) and “Le cadeau” are both thumping rock numbers – full of chugging guitars, perfect harmonies and chorus hookss that are guaranteed to embed themselves in your skull.

But the duo are equally at home when tackling different musical genres; there’s a nice change of pace provided by the gentle ebb and flow of “Les oiseaux de nuit (Night owls)“, a heartfelt ballad that just revolves around the pair’s vocal harmonies. Meanwhile “Brisée (Broken)” is about as good an upbeat country-folk song as I’ve heard this year, while “Je suis devenue lionne (Out like a lion)” is just a perfect pop-song – all spot-on harmonies, up-tempo rhythm… but then the middle-eight just hits you – all crashing, reverbed guitar – as the song builds to a crescendo of angelic vocals and wailing guitars…

Finally, and as a bonus, the pair tackle a Franco-Canadian standard, “Un Canadien errant”, written in 1842 by Antoine Gérin-Lajoie. The faithful acoustic rendition of this incredibly heartfelt and humble song, truly manages to convey the hardship and homesickness caused by being forced into exile…

“Éphémère sans repère” is a mini-album chock full of expertly and exquisitely crafted songs that linger in the head long after they album has finished. I expect this will be appearing in at least one “Best of 2014″ list come year-end…

Thanks Steve!


New Benjamin Schoos/Laetitia Sadier video



Vanessa Paradis


From the Victoires-award ceremony, in February:




From Nice, France, I present you Clarcèn. Raised by parents who played piano and harpsichord, influenced by hiphop and The Doors and blessed with a delicate, sugarsweet voice. This is a truly nice EP.


DYE featuring Angie David


This track sounds like an Elli & Jacno cover, it may even be one without me recognising. Anyhoo, DyE is the nom de plume of French producer Juan de Guillebon, who gained notoriety via this extreme video of his track Fantasy. 47 million views, and counting. The new album Cocktail Citron is out on the hip Parisian label Tigersushi. DyE stands for neon-coloured neo-disco – if you’re into Erol Alkan, Joakim, Egyptian Lover (he’s on the new album as well), this is your thing. The title track is sung by one Angie David (this girl?), a song that makes you want to year a hot pink bikini and make l’amour a la plage. Read more here.


Laura Babin


Tranquillement is the self-funded debut offering from singer-songwriter Laura Babin and features five contemporary and atmospheric songs that embrace pop as well the country and folk roots of “Americana”, which more than hint at the versatility and talent of this young Québecoise.

Standout tracks are the openner, “Sans sommeil”, a contemporary pop-folk song, but one that takes inspiration from South of the Border. The rhythm, coupled with a deliciously reverbed and muddied electric guitar is reminiscent of both Angel Olsen and Laura Viers, and “Sur La Route”, Laura’s Jack Kerouac moment. Apparently influenced by the long bus journey from Gaspésie to Montréal; the gentle rhythm pleasantly passes away the time until we arrive at the journey’s end.

However, most importantly, the songs serve as an introduction to the clarity, power, range and – yes – seductiveness of Laura’s voice… At times reminiscent of both Marianne Bel and Laurence Hélie (who similarly ploughs that rich seam of Americana from both north and south of the 49th), this is a voice so velvety smooth you’d swear it was molded from finest Swiss chocolate…

Thanks Steve!


Plastiscines cover Air’s Sexy Boy


From an upcoming EP eaturing covers by Lana del Rey, Wham!, Catherine Loeb and Air.


Klô Pelgag


And another guestpost by David!
What a pleasant surprise…..a few weeks ago, posting on Grenadine, watching her Marion video, another suggested video was for the work of another Quebec native, Klo Pelgag‘s “Comme des Rames”. Beautiful song, playful smile at the end. Where to begin? Klô Pelgag (an unlikely contraction of her mellifluous born-name Chloe Pelletier-Gagnon) works hard to make art, crafting songs in an effort she describes as creating “landscapes for the blind”.
She has help from her brother, Matthieu (colorful and intricate arrangements), and also from a gang of talented and pretty friends (meaning the young ladies, of course). Perhaps the closest thing I can recall to Klô’s debut album from last year, “L’alchimie des monstres”, blending theater and music, is the work of Amelie-Les-Crayons (amiably described as a “nut”, and said to be very fun to see in concert). While Klô’s music touches dark areas, it never loses its sense of fun – one article draws a comparison to Maurice Sendak. Her voice, at times, reminds me of another Chloe, Chloe Lacasse (who’s second album is due out in a few weeks), and La fièvre des fleurs with its playful hop in range reminded me a bit of Ingrid St-Pierre. Klô’s received a fair amount of positive press – here’s a nice article that provides a bit of background.

Klô and her merry band are now in Europe touring, complete with Madmoizelle video, and their CD has now been released in France. (If you happen to go see them, Klô encourages you to come dressed wild.) “Comme des Rames” and “La fievre des fleurs” are something special, but I enjoy it all. Some of the songs stretched a bit too far for my ear to follow initially, rewarding at second listen, part of the fun as Klô with her friends takes us down an unsuspected path.