Cecile Hercule

La tête à l’envers by Cecile Hercule could end up as my Album of the Year, come December. It has everything a Filles Sourires-fave should have: husky vocals, gentle music with an edge and a gorgeous girl with an attitude. Discovered Cecile back in 2007 when she singing backup with Tétard (and when she was still answering my emails, ah, the good old days). Last year we heard her on Mickey 3D’s grand album, now he lends a hand on her first solo offering. This duet is sooo sexy, it should come with a parental guidance warning. See Cecile live here, watch her sing a Gainsbourg tune here.

Cecile Hercule & Mickey – La Chance

FS does the classics: Pull Marine

As you know, Serge Gainsbourg was heavily inspired by classical composers. This compilation traces back his sources for several of his strongest songs, if you saw Gainsbourg:Vie Héroique you’ll remember the scene where young Lucien plays the Chopin étude that he borrowed for Jane B.. Though a lot of cheesy ballroom orchestras played Serge’s work and some great jazz musicians reworked his compositions, I knew only a few classicly trained musicians who did the same. There’s Giovianni Mirabassi, and now there is Gaëlle Vandernoot. She recorded a cover of Pull Marine (written for Isabelle Adjani) on her1997-released album Harpe & Divertissements. That also sports a version of Francis Lai lounge-classic Un homme et une femme, plus sonatas and variations by Rosetti and Haendel. On her website you can see that Gaëlle likes to mix high and low culture, she even plays a cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You. If you think the harp is only useful for easy listening, try Dutch talent Lavinia Meyer.

Gaëlle Vandernoot – Pull Marine


French psycho-rock classic J’aime regarder les filles sung by a blonde Italian dreadlocked girl who got help by Dr Fink (keyboardplayer of Prince’s The Revolution) and master guitarplayer Marc Ribot: that I need to hear! It’s less psyched out then the original version, but Naif‘s cover is a good one. She was born in the north of Italy, near the Mont Blanc and she taught herself to play several instruments.  She recorded an album in Italian, Faits de bruits is part English, part French and part Italian – sometimes all languages are used in one track. Very few songs are as strong as Patrick Coutin’s classic – covering Just a gigolo was a bad move. Herrrrr accent is an acquirrrred taste, but I like it that she really tries to be different. And she’s fun to watch, right?

Naif – J’aime regarder les filles


Remember when we lamented the fall of Emilie Simon, who steered away from delicate electronica to explore how much she could resemble Kate Bush? Rejoice, for a new girl steps up to the plate. Perrine Faillet, who goes by the name of Peau, has made an album that is so exquise, you’d want to wrap it in red velvet and have it insured for an insane amount of money. Yes, there are songs in English but she has such a charming accent you’d never know it. She plays the wurlitzer and guitars herself, Daniel Barlotti is there for the machinery. See her perform here. No, I don’t know what the deal is with the white make-up.

Peau – Sensuelle
Peau – Guerre longue

Charlotte Gainsbourg en direct

Julija (she of Aurgasm) wrote a review of Charlotte’s show in Seattle:

Wednesday night (April 14) at the legendary Crocodile in Seattle, French music Royalty and critically acclaimed actress Charlotte Gainsbourg performed to a packed house. Completely sold out days in advance, the Seattle show was only the third gig of her first North American tour. Earlier this year Charlotte played a few shows in NYC. 
Needless to say, having the opportunity to see Charlotte performing in such an intimate place for every Francophile and Filles Sourires lover is more than exciting. A perfect space to fully enjoy her breathy, seductive vocals and the little nuances that you can only experience live. The over-an-hour set included two Serge covers, Bob Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman”, songs from 5:55 and mostly her IRM repertoire written with Beck. 
 The French chanteuse showed up on stage backed with a stylish five-piece band selected by Beck himself. She opened the night with the hypnotic, nearly surreal IRM. Contrary to her first ever show in NYC reviews, Charlotte strikes me with her delicate and fully-aware stage presence. She’s not the kind of performer who sways energeticly to the beat, yet she delivers with grace. The songs came alive beautifully thanks to the highly accomplished band, led by Beck’s keyboardist and musical director Brian LeBarton. The elegant arrangements, dreamy beats and powerful melodies not only recreated the atmosphere of IRM, but provided the listener with a much wider palette of styles and moods. 
 Charlotte showed a warm interaction with her audience. In the middle of the show, just before playing the beautiful “AF607105” taken from 5:55, she thanked Air and Jarvis Cocker for writing the song. She noted how happy she was having a chance to revisit her repertoire for this tour, playing songs she never performed live. One of the night’s highlights was her take on Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” (recorded with Calexico for I’m Not There soundtrack). Her fragile voice and delicate phrasing gave the song a whole new meaning.  Another ultimate favourite,  “Dandelion” carried stunning bluesy riffs (undeniably Beck’s) and pulsating arrangements that perfectly accompanied Charlotte’s vocal delivery. 
Before the end of the night Charlotte confessed she never dared to perform the songs from her father’s repertoire, and immediately went to contradict herself. She chose to perform “L’hôtel particulier” from one of the most erotic albums ever recorded, Histoire de Melody Nelson (1971). By the end of the night Charlotte thanked everyone for attending the show and gave special thanks to Beck for making the tour possible. The night came to an end with the funky, Caribbean-styled Serge’s “Couleur Café” (1964). If only Beck himself would have paid a visit on stage, it would have made the evening an absolute perfection. 

Thanks Julija! Nice links: Charlotte live at KEXP, Charlotte live at KCRW

If anybody has recordings of Charlotte doing either L’Hotel Particulier, Couleur Café or Sorry Angel, please get in touch!

Claudine Muno

Writer/singer Claudine Muno is by far our favourite artist from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg – partly because she’s the only artist from the little country between Belgium and Germany that we know of. But Claudine and her band sure are something. Noctambul (Romanian for sleepwalking, apparently) is CM&tLB’s second album and again with songs in French, English and one in Luxembourgish, a funny, part Dutch part French part German language. Claudine is a Beatles-fan, on this album she sings Blackbird, and in the nifty Egoiste Triste we get a quote from Here Comes the Sun. I love Claudine’s fragile, shy singing. She has a great imagination, pretty sexy at times but also quite dark when she sings about carcrashes and families ripped apart. See the video for single Betty here.

Claudine Muno & Luna Boots – Egoïste Triste

Claudine Muno & Luna Boots – Blummen

Lady Palavas

Guestpost! Natasha Oh-La-La on Lady Palavas:

After months of delay, Lady Palavas’ second album ‘Les Grandes Vacances’, released on 14 April 2010 made it to my Amsterdam doorstep the very same day, thanks to nice bass player, Francis Miche. Not only did feel privileged, but I also discovered that my name was in the liner notes!
Lady Palavas from Montpellier, France are very sixties influenced in their choice of song material, look and instrumentation, yet very modern and groovy style inspired with the cannabis movement, now has evolved and you can find it in many forms in Exhale. Songs like ‘Agent Secret’ on their first album and now ‘Casino Royale’ (my favourite, but then I’m a James Bond fan) show a progression, while ‘Le charme anglais’ (‘English charm’) has this Carnaby Street, tweed quality to it. Then there’s Katia Plachez’s Brigitte Bardot like dresses and quirky voice along with some Burt Bacharach trumpet, organ solos and fuzzy guitars to enjoy with your cocktail. The CD comes with a very catchy song and video ‘Le piège du télésiège’ (‘The trap of the ski lift’), which evokes James Bond going off to Gstaad to go skiing even though the video was shot in the summer. To remind us it’s 2010 and not 1966, the song “Je, Myspace et moi” (‘Me, Myspace and I’), is obviously a huge tongue in cheek critique of the famous music site and about being ‘the world’s bellybutton’ as French actress Jeanne Moreau would sing.
My wish list for album number three would be some remixes and a few more harder numbers (the DJ in me talking), but hey, one thing at a time. I love Lady Palavas’ humour, which is why I keep buying their albums.

Lady Palavas – Le piège du télésiège
Lady Palavas – Casino Royale

Thomas Dutronc & Louise Bourgoin

The new film by Luc Besson premiered last week in France, an adaptation of the graphic nove Adèle Blanc-Sec. The heroine is a pre-Great War detective who encounters the supernatural – think Mummies, prehistoric birds, spells, and all that. Louise Bourgoin plays Adèle, and she also sings with Thomas Dutronc on the soundtrack. Fun song. Catherine Ringer, she of Rita Mitsouko fame, appears on the OST also with a solid track. See the trailer here.

Thomas Dutronc & Louise Bourgoin – Adèle Blanc-Sec

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Charlotte’s a busy bee these days, performing all over the world (got my tickets for the Bruxelles show, please don’t cancel!) and releasing several singles. Time of the Assasins was remixed by Matthew Dear, XXXChange, Gentlemen Drivers and Outlines. The Sunset Sound EP has four live songs from the IRM album (Heaven Can Wait, Voyage, In the End, Greenwich Mean Time), two will appear on vinyl for Record Store Day.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Time of the Assasins (Outlines remix)


This has ‘Big Summer Hit’ tattoo’d on it’s dancing feet: Stromae’s Alors on dance is racing up the charts all over Europe. The catchiest thing in this Eurodance-hiphop song (with pretty heavy lyrics) by the Belgo-Rwandan Paul van Haver (aka Stromae) is of course the sax sample – Dutch 3FM radiojock Roosmarijn just can’t get enough of it. In fact, she even recorded, in just under four hours, a short version in Dutch. Nothing too serious, Roos isn’t thinking of a career change. Still, we’d love to hear try something en français…

Stromae – Alors on danse
Roosmae – Dan gaan we dansen