Lisa Portelli video

Her second album drops in May. This is a scary, yet compelling video.

Philemon Chante

Canadian singer goes to Cuba and records an album in the same studio as Buena Vista Social Club-members recorded: talk about putting the son into chanson. As I understand it from this biography, Philémon Bergeron-Langlois (aka Philemon Chante) did contact a few people before he went to the island, but wasn’t fully prepared.  It took him about a week to find the right musicians. He was lucky to get recording time at the famous Egrem Studios, where Beny Moré, Ruben Gonzales and a whole bunch of legendary Cuban musicians worked. Yami, who sings harmonies, did not speak French. Not a problem, as Gainsbourg once proved when he had the I-Threes sing phonetically on his two reggae-albums.  And so does Yami on Philemon Chante’s Session Cubaines.
It’s a beautiful album, very sparsely arranged, with touches of piano, hints of trumpet and mostly gentle strumming. Philemon’s voice is like Vincent Delerm’s, you either like his ‘on the verge of tears-style’, or you don’t. I think it adds to the melancholy of the music, the calm atmosphere in the songs. Let the sun shine.

Philemon Chante – Je te mange

Caroline d’Été

Representing Granby (Quebec), Caroline d’Été won several chanson-contests before recording her debut-album (there was this EP also). Her lyrics are very poetic, her singing style is reminiscent of slammeurs like Luciole, though I wouldn’t call Caroline a slammeuse. To me, her music is very bass-driven, her voice floats on upright basslines, with added piano, drums and fx. There’s a triphop influence, I’m sure. I can understand why she supported Coeur de Pirate – though CdE sounds a tad more mature then CdP,  yet her voice has a smaller range. I wonder if CdE’s song Ton Morceau is about the time she worked in a Montreal record store.

Caroline d’Été – Faire avec

Where Martine Blooms and Bobbys Sing

In spring 1968, countrypop schmaltzduke Bobby Goldsboro stormed the charts worldwide with the biggest hit of his career: Honey, a brilliant death disc weeper that was even more devastating than his haircut. The song, written by Acuff-Rose songsmith Bobby Russell, had already been recorded two months earlier by former Kingston Trio member Bob Shane – a version that obviously was a bit too down-to-earth for so much camp heaven. The same year, Texan ex-rockabilly semi princess Margaret Lewis even did an answer song, told from the perspective of the deceased spouse – #33 in the Cash Box country charts then –, and Quebecoise singer Martine Deno cashed in with a French language version about her long gone daddy … a remarkably sexy epitaph, and surely a record to die for.

Bob Shane – Honey

Bobby Goldsboro – Honey

Margaret Lewis – Honey (I Miss You Too)

Martine Deno – Mon Papa

Extra: The German version of Honey, provided by FS éminence grise Roy Black. Never before available on the net. Quelle horreur.

Gerhard Wendland – Honey

Jill Barber

Canadian beauty Jill Barber sounds like a cross between Blossom Dearie and Shivaree’s Ambrosia Parsley. On her former albums she sang smokey jazz-tunes in English, but now she’s dabbling in French too. Which is nice. This is the video for her first French single Tous mes rêves (out last year), on her upcoming album there’s another, sultrier tune that I’m posting here. I’m usually not a fan of Franglish, when it’s French girls trying to sing in English. But the other way around is very arousing.

Jill Barber – Dis-moi

The Raw and the Smooth

Buck 65’s Talkin’ Honky Blues was nothing less than a revelation in 2003: There was rap again, whitebread hip-hop even, thrown in a centrifuge together with folk flavour, reverbs of Cash-ified country and Salinger echoes of adolescent blues, refined with a hoarse, rusty voice that certainly didn’t come straight outta Compton, but out of Mt. Uniacke, some distant hicktown in Nova Scotia, Can. Rich Terfry/ Buck 65 was already a vet way back then, now celebrating 20 Odd Years with his aptly titled new record. Actually, it feels like a perfected roundup of his earlier efforts, a panopticon of sounds oscillating with a sleepwalker’s certainty between the raw and the smooth, the sharp strangehold of Zombie Delight, the sparse, solemn intensity of She Said Yes, or Stop, a duet pop gem with Canadian singer Hannah Georgas sounding like having been written by the new President of the Blondie fan club. Unquestionably a superior contender for album of 2011, 20 Odd Years also features two French language tunes – Final Approach, an amiable collaboration with Quebecoise chanteuse Marie-Pierre Arthur, and Tears of Your Heart, a gorgeous alliance with Parisian associate Olivia Ruiz: This is the nouveau western.

Buck 65 w/ Marie-Pierre Arthur – Final Approach

Buck 65 w/ Olivia Ruiz – Tears of Your Heart


Loane is back! And she brought a truckload of synths and beats. New single Rien de Commun has indeed nothing in common with the acoustic atmosphere on her debut. She’s in sync with Poney Express, who did almost the same thing. Loane got help from guys who worked with Air and Tahiti Boy, which makes sense when you hear the single. The album will be released on May 16, is called Le Lendemain and from what I heard contains some very strong songs. I’ve posted several duets Loane did (remember that beautiful INXS-cover?), I recently discovered she did a track with William Fitzsimmons, a bearded singer-songwriter who sounds like velvet but looks like a cult leader. Nice one.

Loane – Rien de commun
William Fitzsimmons & Loane – I don’t feel it anymore

Julien Doré & Françoise Hardy

French it-boy Julien Doré made a new album, you may have seen the very funny clip that goes with single Kiss Me Forever. The album has several Gainsbourgian touches, you may recall his cover of SG’s SS in Uruguay on his debut, and the clip for Les Limites (that referred to a video Gainsbourg made for Chez les yeye’s). The deluxe-version comes with a bonus-disc with English songs, made with his former band. I prefer the French tunes, like the (again) Gainsbourgian Golf Bonjovi, the song Glenn Close (JD likes namedropping, like Vincent Delerm) and the duet with Françoise Hardy. Doré apparently has a thing for grand dames, he duetted with Sylvie Vartan and on his new album he also sings with Algerian legend Biyouna. In this interview, Hardy states she had no clue what the lyrics for BB Baleine are about. Makes two of us.

Julien Doré & Françoise Hardy – BB Baleine