RIP Rod McKuen

Singer Rod McKuen passed away recently. So we’re reposting this ode to Rod, written by Sky, posted earlier on this blog:

There probably will be no music at my real funeral. I’d rather prefer a reading of the last three pages of Pierre Drieu la Rochelle’s Le feu follet. However, at my fictitious funeral this All Saints’ Monday, my future ghost will engulf in the kitsch grandeur of the English version of Le Moribond. Jacques Brel’s 1961 original is a bit too snappy for my tastes, and Terry Jacks’s 1974 smash hit adaptation – originally to be recorded by the Beach Boys (!) – well, let’s put a shroud over it. The ultimate version is undoubtedly by Rod McKuen, close Brel friend and translator of many of his lyrics. His rugged-voice US version, adapted first by the Kingston Trio in 1964, sentimentalizes Brel’s chanson for sure, and simultaneously transforms it into big-scope American death disc drama. Paradoxically, the starfish on the beach granted him a nice bit of immortality.

Fanny Bloom

Our favorite kooky Quebecoise just released an EP with music she composed for a ‘pièce de théatre’ called Constellations. Read more here. The title track is the only real song:

2015 Année Erotique

stellaSebwax is one of the regulars of formidable bootlegger hideaway BootlegsFR who also participated in La Masheillaise; the guy has a quite rewarding website as well. His amalgam of French hip-hoppers NTM and Gainsbourg’s „Je t’aime“ is as fresh in 2015 as it was when released two years ago.

Sebwax – Serge est encore là (93 vs 69)

Always in for a soixante-neuf, fellow mash-up artist DRA’man fuses Serge with Missy Elliot … Jeez, that sounds like an awful lot of fucking, just like bro-in-mind Serge intended it to be.

DRA’man – 69 Lick Shots

Talking Gainsbourg, how about a splendid instro version of La Javanaise you always wanted to hear, but were afraid to ask? French classical guitarist/ composer Roland Dyens makes an intimate song an even more intimate experience.

Roland Dyens – La Javanaise

For adepts of The Order of the Fragile Vocals: A no less inspired Javanaise version by stunning blonde Stella Le Page (see b&w pic), including an equally ravissant cello and Cinemascope arrangement. Eat your heart out, CdP.

Stella Le Page – La Javanaise

Quite more mundane is Harry J’s fairground loop Je t’aime version from 1969’s Liquidator album, probably the incentive for Serge to try again reggae-style with Sly & Robbie on Aux Arms et Caetera. Caution: Rrralph’s Vomit Bag required after three rounds of listening.

Harry J All Stars – Je t’aime

Last not least for the Sixty-Niner’s nephew. Serge’s nephew Alain Zaoui, but record-wise, Monsieur Alain Ravaillac for you. In 1982, SG produced Ravaillac’s sleaze funk epic La Discométhèque with Goblin-like synth sounds and the immortal opening: „La queue à la main, joint au bec, la Discométhèque“. An overdose of testosterone poetry that Serge commented with a single word: Brill.

Alain Ravaillac – La Discométhèque

Ariane Moffatt

20150122 Ariane Moffatt PortraitAriane Moffatt is one of this blogs favourite artists,although apart from last year’s (wonderful) single “Soleil chaleur” things – at least on the musical front – have been quiet since 2012’s “MA” (although to be fair Ariane and partner Florence Marcil-Denault recently became parents) – but now she’s back – not only with a new single “Debout”, but also a new album “22h22″, scheduled to be released in March.

It’s only January, but I suspect you’ll have to go some to find a better example of dreamy, synth-pop as will be released this year. “Debout” is a stand-out dance-floor filler that brings to mind Fanny Bloom’s “Pan”, and is beautiful and heartfelt song to the power and triumph of love and relationships… Welcome back Ariane!

Rosie Valland

20150121 Rosie Valland PortraitAnd here’s yet another talented singer-songwriter from Québec…

Rosie Valland’s 2014 eponymous debut EP was a melancholic and atmospheric collection of autobiographical songs that created a vista of monochromatic landscapes. With the promise of an album to be released later this year, she’s back with an intriguing teaser in the shape of her new single, “Rebound.”

Similar to the themes of the earlier EP, “Rebound” again has an autobiographical and melancholy feel; but whereas Rosie’s earlier songs were painted with a monotone palette, here there feels as if a hint of colour and depth has been applied to the canvas – there are deft touches of brass and a hint of fragility to Rosie’s voice that evokes fellow Québécoise Salomé Leclerc.

Mauve Lunel

201501xx Mauve Lunel ArtworkPerhaps better known as a textile and graphic designer, “Le temps m’apaise” is the first track from aspiring singer-songwriter (and currently resident of Nantes) Mauve Lunel’s debut EP, “Décembre”, which is scheduled for release on February 26th.

The EP draws on her experiences of the last few years, split between the cities of Montréal (Mauve cut her musical teeth while a student at Cegeps – the general and vocational colleges of Québec – don’t sniff, artists of the calibre of Isabelle Boulay and Ariane Moffatt got their early breaks here), New Delhi (where the songs for her EP were written) and Paris, “Le temps m’apaise” is a calming acoustic folk-tinged pop song that highlights Mauve’s seductively hypnotic vocals.

Zaznavour

Compilation on Youtube of ‘Hier encore’, a tv-show with musical guests looking back on French chanson. With Louane, Claire ‘ohlala’ Keim and ‘Zaznavour’ (on 10m50s).

(thanks Mark Sullivan)