Initials SG

Re-up of the Gainsbourg-mix I made earlier, because on March 2 we’ll remember Serge’s passing, 20 years ago.  That said, I guess I see y’all this Wednesday in Club Bitterzoet in Amsterdam for the Gitanes & Jazz-soirée? Or maybe you’ll go to Ruimte X in Tilburg on March 5 (I won’t be there), or Petrol in Antwerp on March 12 (I’m there, oh boy, I’m there)?

Download the mix from HERE.
Illustration stolen from HERE

Serge – Folk Implosion
Chatterton – Seu Jorge
Couleur Café – Babaloo
Les Sambassadeurs – Serge Gainsbourg
La Javanaise – Richard Galliano
Jane B – Sandie//Trash
5:55 – Charlotte Gainsbourg
L’Anamour – Ivy
Harley Davidson – Souvenir
Laisse Tomber les Filles – Mareva Galanter
Je t’aime Moi Non Plus – The Traces
The Ticket Puncher – Mick Harvey
Fuir le Bonheur – Ariane Moffatt
En Melody – Kahimi Karie
Initials BB – David Shea
Les Petits Papiers – Jane Birkin & Françoise Hardy

This wednesday, France Inter has a great evening planned about Gainsbourg with covers by BB Brunes and Joseph D’Anvers, plus a dj-mix by Gilles Peterson

Dead Beats and a Sad Tomato

On the cover of her brand new album 101, Keren Ann tries to sell us a tough babe royale with cheese, Honey Bunny style, but actually, the box contains just dead beats and a sad tomato. Nine years ago, the forlorn princess of her nouvelle chanson debut La Disparition told an exceptionally seductive story of longing and melancholia – high in the ranks of FS’s best-of-the-decade albums, and rightly so –, and maybe it was nowhere to go but down from there. While 07’s Lay Your Head Down already was a huge disappointment, 101, also English lyrics only, finally comes as a lesson in artistic rigour and negative energy, oscillating indecisively between neo folk and a pale silhouette of 90s dream pop: half of the tracks – sounding like a portable pulled out of a swamp – are oppressively boring Hope Sandoval copies, the uptempo songs indie pop bubblegum of the shallowest kind, while the title tune offers a bromidic 5:30 min loop that only serves to induce chronic fatigue syndrome, but fast. The limp vegetable is Keren Ann herself. Confusing intimacy with ennui, the royalty of yore has a new title: tristesse drama queen of the year.

Keren Ann – She Won’t Trade It for Nothing

Taratata celebrates Gainsbourg

Yesterday, the French music show Taratata was dedicated to Gainsbourg (because of the 20th anniversary of his death, on March 2). Nosfell and Laetitia Casta singing La decadanse, Charlotte covering Couleur Café, Ben L’Oncle Soul & Sly Johnson redoing the Vieille Canaille-duet… overwhelmingly beautiful! See the emission HERE. Youtube-clips HERE and  HERE.

Jane Birkin & The Lilies

A few quotes from reviews of We Are The Lilies:’A collaboration between Sérgio Dias, founder of cult 1960s/70s Brazilian psychedelic group Os Mutantes, and French indie outfit Tahiti Boy and The Palmtree Family. Written and recorded in five days, their album is a blast, blending the French band’s twisty, intricate pop with Dias’s free-wheeling tropicalia. Jane Birkin and Iggy Pop, an apt mix of sophistication and wildness, pop up as guest vocalists.’ (FT)

‘Sounding every bit like a vintage Trevor Horn production, with beautifully descending Belle and Sebastian chords, raucous shout-alongs comparable to early Bees and some hysterical saxophones straight out of the Ian Dury catalogue, this is a slightly woozy house party album for when LSD gets in the punchbowl and revellers start getting into the first phases of debauched undress.’ (BBC)

‘The two big moments on We Are the Lilies come courtesy of special guests Iggy Pop and Jane Birkin (the actress/ singer most famous for her recordings with ex-husband Serge Gainsbourg), and both are most unexpected. The Iggy-assisted “Why?” is great fun, but almost only because he seems be having most of it (“Why do the French smoke? Why do Americans fight? Why do Brazilians dance?” he yelps over a spotty appropriation of a little Motor City rumble). Birkin’s “Marie” fares better with its stripped-down approach, channeling Blue-era Joni Mitchell with a bit of that perfectly flat-but-pretty French affectation.’ (Pitchfork)

The Lilies feat. Jane Birkin – Marie

Melanie Laurent

Yup, it’s this Melanie Laurent. If you go to her website and subscribe to her mailing list, you get the track for free.

Erin Ivey

Norah Jones’ sexy sister with a reggae beat. Intrigued? Erin Ivey is from Austin, Texas, a town brimming with singer-songwriters, but she stands out. With her looks (she was voted one of Austins most beautiful women), with her husky voice that makes ice melt, with her band (organ based R&B/dub trio the Finest Kind), with fine lyrics and with solid songs. And, you guessed it, a wee bit of French singing. In Chocolate, she quotes from Marie Laforet’s Mon Amour, Mon Ami. I’m listening to Erins album Broken Gold, that’s just out, and three songs in I want me and the mrs to slip in something more comfortable. See Erin perform the song before a very unappreciative audience.  [Thanks Cameron]

Erin Ivey – Chocolate

When Beatrice met Jay

Two authentic musicians collaborating together doesn’t automatically yield the best of both worlds. But with their project ‘Armistice‘, francophone musician Beatrice Martin (Coeur de Pirate) and anglo rocker Jay Malinowski (Bedouin Soundclash) prove that things can work out.
Beatrice and Jay first met while recording the Coca-Cola Open Happiness song (click is on your own risk) for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, which probably led to their next collaboration at Bedouin Soundclash’ latest album Light The Horizon. Beatrice takes part on one song, the stunning track Brutal Hearts. The result of their next musical collaboration is this sultry refreshment from the mariachi playgrounds: Armistice. The two Canadians (who became a couple meanwhile, sorry guys!) recorded it with help from hardcore punk band The Bronx, who recorded a mariachi album themselves in 2009 under the alter ego ‘Mariachi El Bronx’.
Armistice makes you feel where you want to be, in love and free. The only thing is: this feeling only lasts five songs long, ’cause sadly that’s all there is on this superb debut.

Mariachi El Bronx – My Brother The Gun
Bedouin Soundclash ft. Beatrice Martin – Brutal Hearts
Armistice – City Lights Cry

See earlier post with video here

Titties & Ski

The first half of the 70s saw a virtual shitload of soft sex comedies. While the wave of the enormously successful German Schulmädchen Reports gushed over Europe, French-Canadian filmmakers also tried to cash in on the phenomenon. 1971’s Après-Ski (a.k.a. Snowballin’ – The Exciting New Indoor-Outdoor Sport!) was among those movies, and while the funk-scored hardcore of Deep Throat was still a year away, Ski director Roger Carling jazzed up his story with some legendary grooves as well. For more than three decades, the rare Ski soundtrack was regarded as the Québécois Holy Grail of Funk; for the complete story of the record, see here. Now re-released by Les Disques Pluton, it maybe doesn’t fully live up to its myth, but comes with some remarkably fat, fusion-like moments by Canadian band Illustration, plus a solemn chanson by actress Mariette Lévesque (see right) – une adorable femme de neige.

Illustration – Le Grand Marc

Mariette Lévesque – Dors avec moi

Emilie Voisin chante Barthes et Kreisler

Rottweil, a small town near the Swabian Highlands, belongs to the roughest parts of Germany; there’s certainly a reason why they named a fierce butcher’s dog after the borough. You’d never suspect someone like Emilie Voisin (see right) here, and maybe that’s why FS overlooked her debut album A part ça tout va bien last year; a swell one, featuring a nearly irresistible song about French philosopher Roland Barthes, as well as an alluring rendering of Liebesleid, a mood-piece written in 1910 by Viennese violin virtuoso Fritz Kreisler, scholar of Bruckner and Massenet, friend of Edward Elgar and one of the very first intertextual artists, passing off his very own melody as an original composition by Baroque composer Giuseppe Tartini until 1935. In 2004, German chanteuse Lisa Bassenge payed another tribute to Kreisler’s immortal charlatanry: a sparse one, amalgamating echoes of new wave romance with some awkwardly hypnotizing Carribean swing you’ll only find on the coast of Berlin.

Emilie Voisin – Roland Barthes

Emilie Voisin – Liebesleid

Nylon w/ Lisa Bassenge – Liebesleid