Vive le printemps

Spring is about to start, a good moment to round up a few candidates for the French Summer Hit badge. Last year, we had Ben L’Oncle Soul, ZAZ and Camelia Jordana. Artists who released albums around this time, so there. So far, I haven’t heard a song by a fille that has ‘summer hit’ written all over, but these hits are hard to predict. Here’s a top 5 of male candidates:

Roberdam – A Tes Avances. Roberdam is the nom de plume of Damien Robert, the former singer of Rapid’vour’voir. Not a big name in France, but Roberdam has potential. His album is very radiofriendly and comes with a series of videos about a scruffy circus. A tes avances from the album is my favourite. See more here.
Roberdam – A tes avances

Sam – T’es gentille. Fierce remix of a single that was released last year. Sam‘s first version has a charming video with charming girls here.
Sam – T’es gentille (remix)

Antoine Leonpaul – Oh Claire. Another new kid on the block, Antoine Leonpaul (‘Three firstnames for the price of one!’) is on par with heroes like Alain Chamfort. This was his first single.
Antoine Leonpaul – Oh Claire

Padam – Nadine. Great band, obviously named after an Edith Piaf song. Padam made four albums already, they toured all over the world. Really digging this afro-influenced track.
Padam – Nadine

Ben Ricour – Dans le futur. Ben Ricour is making albums under his own name since 2001. Dans le futur reeks of summer thanks to the trumpets. Unofficial, yet cool video here.
Ben Ricour – Dans le futur

Vic Godard vs Francoise Hardy

Martin wrote a guestpost about a remarkable cover of a Françoise Hardy song by former Subway Sect-member Vic Godard:

Vic Godard is one of the great lost talents of the post punk. In 1976, he formed Subway Sect at the suggestion of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. After a few album and single releases in the mid-1980s, Godard retired from music and became a postman. In 1990, Godard wrote the song “Johnny Thunders”, a tribute inspired by reading an obituary of the New York Dolls guitarist. The song was included on the album ‘The End of the Surrey People’, produced by Edwyn Collins (A Girl Like You) and featuring the Sex Pistols’ Paul Cook on drums. In October 2010 Vic released his newest album ‘We Came As Aliens’. Most songs from the album have been evolving since the mid 1990s, with the exception of Françoise Hardy’s Et même, which Vic wanted to record since ’77. The sound of Et même is raw and the vocals are always sung with respect to the original version.

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Charlotte Gainsbourg released a limited (500 copies) vinyl-single on Record Store Day, yesterday. It’s a split single with the wonderful Conor O’Brien of Villagers (who wrote the CG-song too). The actual single was unavailable in the Netherlands, and now you have to pay triple the price on eBay. The track, which was co-produced by O’Brien and Renaud Letang in Paris, will be released on Gainsbourg’s next full-length album, Live and Unreleased , due sometime this year (it was announced last year, but we’ll see it when it drops) (hopefully outside of the US and France too). See a fantastic live-performance of Villagers in Rotterdam here.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Memoir

Axelle, Colette and the Blues

Guestpost! Sylvester on Axelle Red and Colette Magny:

Like anybody, the Francophone have the blues from time to time. They used to call it existentialism and nowadays the bestselling novels of Michel Houellebecq exhale it abundantly. But they don’t sing the blues. Just try the latest CD of Axelle Red, apparently one of the few bluesy singers in the French-speaking world. Her voice is quite harsh, which could very well go with singing the blues. But it doesn’t really. Perhaps it’s her diction which is to blame, her perfectionism, or just the fact that she was born in Hasselt, Belgium.
To be honest, I don’t particularly like the voice of Axelle Red, but I do like her good taste. On her new album Un coeur comme le mien are some very nice songs, well written and arranged. Among them is Melcoton, in 1963 the only hit-chanson of Colette Magny (1926-1997). Now, thát was a French blues singer! At least that is what often has been said about her. Magny herself preferred to be compared with Léo Ferré, chansonnier par excéllence. For both of them singing often was a way to (rather militantly) spread a message. Magny was certainly influenced by Bessie Smith and other blues singers, but in the first place she will be remembered for her engagement: the way she sang about the Vietnam war, injustice, repression and environmental catastrophes. Sometimes she sounded quite bluesy, but her lyrics overshadowed rhythm and emotions.
In my next radio show at the Concertzender I will give you some examples.

Axelle Red – Melocoton
Colette Magny – Melocoton

Siobhan Wilson

Gee, those red fingernails moving along the strings. Two words: Forget Zaz.


Raphaëlle Lannadère (for she is L) was ‘biberonée’ with Barbara and Billie Holiday. I’m struggling to find a similar English expression: spoonfed might be accurate. A biberon is a pacifier. Imagine that, sucking on a device to get two of the most melancholic singers into your system. Why isn’t something like that available?! We can put people on the moon, for crying out loud! Anyhoo, the first full album by L (not the greatest nom de plume in history, if you ask me. What’s wrong with Raphaëlle ?) is out now. She was featured on the former FS-blog (here), on this album are a few reworks of her first EP. Like the excellent Jalouse. There’s still a great deal of saudade in her music, that brilliant Portuguese word that cannot be translated, you have to feel it. In her bio, names like Genet, Arnaud and Bataille are mentioned: not the happiest of poets. She writes her lyrics first, than searches for the right music on her piano. She writes about nostalgia, estrangement and heavier things. Not really music to enjoy in the sun. Maybe they should’ve released this in fall.

L – Romance et serie noire

Pop Bâtard XIX: Je veux te baiser

“He said: I’d like to offer you some flowers.” DJ Le Clown’s take on French TV’s most famous moment. Adults only, please.

Pop Bâtard XVII: Burn Da Funk

French bootlegger Fissunix, who brought the world indispensable mash-ups like Gangsta Barbapapa, is surely an entrepreneur sauvage – see his website as well. His most daring, dubious and deranged venture to date might well be the fusion of Deep Purple’s 1974 bluntrocker Burn and Gallic house chefs Daft Punk’s 1997 club classic Da Funk. Recommended by FS powerbroker Roy Black with the following words: “Sick, and therefore somehow … erm, contagious.”

Fissunix – Burn Da Funk