Charlotte & Connan

Charlotte Gainsbourg is touring with flamboyant Kiwi (meaning: from New Zealand) artist Connan Mockasin. This weekend, they’re playing Brussels and (hooray!) Amsterdam. They redid Got to Let Go, the track Charlotte sang with Charlie from Noah & the Whale on her Stage Whisper album. A better version, I’d say. I’m not that familiar with Mockasin’s music, but according to It’s Choade, My Dear, he must’ve heard Serge’s masterpiece Melody Nelson.
Watch Charlotte and Connan together here.

Charlotte Gainsbourg & Connan Mockasin – Got to let Go
Connan Mockasin – It’s Choade, My Dear

Ariane and compagnie

Two tracks I always play at French parties are Maldon by Zouk Machine, and C’est bon pour le morale by La Compagnie Créole (LCC). The first one is still an energizing piece of 80s zouk, the latter is highly danceable too, but more of an ironic choice. Back in the 80s LCC was an extremely popular band from French Guiana and the French West Indies who scored massive hits in French speaking countries with C’est Bon, Collé Collé and La machine à danser, to name but a few. They still exist and make albums. It was, and is, happy-go-lucky music, danceable yet a bit cheesy because of the synthesized drums and horns. I was surprised to find out, via Oh-La-La’s Natasha, that a bunch of Canadian bands released a LCC-tribute album in 2010. Even Ariane Moffatt is on it, in a drum-heavy cover of La Machine a danser. Not the first time by the way that Ariane sang on music from the Diaspora, earlier she was part of a collective of musicians who raised money for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Together with Moffatt & Yann Perreau, Montréal-based afrobeat band Afrodizz and Mad’moizèle Giraf (never heard of them) take the biscuit with good, danceable and organic sounding covers – the rest is so-so.

Ariane Moffatt & Yann Perreau – La machine a danser

Gainsbourg Degenerado

Peruvian blog Revista 69 asked twelve bands and artists from Spain and Latin-America to cover a Gainsbourg track. The exhilirating result is downloadable for free (HERE, scroll down to where it says ‘Descargar’). The bands deconstructed the tracks, added electronics, jazz-elements, latin percussion and what not. There isn’t a bad cover here, I really dig the surfed up-version by Los Protones and the chillwaved Color Café by Algodon Egipcio. I wish that Lido Pimienta (check out this wonderful other track by her) had used less distorted sounds, though. Great initiative by Revista 69, muchas gracias!

Here is a taster by Madame Recamier (pictured) from Mexico: Madame Recamier – Ah, Melody

Alain Chamfort and the girls

Alain Chamfort is a big name in France. He played on hits by Dutronc like Les Playboys and Le Cactus, worked with Véronique Sanson and had Gainsbourg write lyrics for him. He debuted in 1968, released his first album in 1976 and scored big hits. Elles et lui is a duets album, Chamfort revisits old songs with the creme de la creme of French female vocalists: Claire Keim, Keren Ann, Vanessa Paradis, Elodie Frégé, to name but a few. Most songs are great. Take the lovely duet with Elodie, for instance. The original, from 1993, is an overblown, kitschy jazz ballad. Now, the music’s understated, the lyrics stand out and Elodie is doing what she does best. Also very good is Bambou, Chamfort’s duet with Camelia Jordana (a song written by Serge).

Alain Chamfort & Elodie Frégé – L’Ennemi dans la glace

Iggy sings Serge

Iggy Pop singing in French. De indestructible rocker did it before, duetting with Emmanuelle Seigner for instance (here), singing Les feuilles mortes on his Preliminaires-album (see here) and covering Serge Gainsbourg together with Lulu, on the latter’s debut album (see here). On Iggy’s new album, he sings songs by Dassin, Piaf, Brassens and Gainsbourg again, together with covers by The Beatles, Fred Neil and Yoko Ono. When you’ve heard the accent Iggy has when he sings in French, less charming then Blossom Dearie’s I’d say, you know how those covers sound. Funny, not good. Born in 1947, Iggy was the one exception to the rule that you can’t rock out when you’re over 40. Now, he proves that crooning, re-interpreting the classics, is an art that needs more than just a deep voice. I mean, Michelle by the Beatles, by Iggy? Come THE FUCK on. Must be a joke. If you want to hear old guys doing what they do best, listen to the new Leonard Cohen album, listen to Dr John’s Locked Down, listen to Tom Jones covering Tom Waits, even. But not this.

Iggy Pop – La javanaise

See video of Serge singing La Javanaise HERE


Guestposter Steve on super husky angel Mélanie Scala, aka Porcelaine:

Regular readers may remember Porcelaine’s acclaimed 2010 eponymous EP. Well the band have returned with the release of their debut EP. “La foire aux animaux”. Don’t be put off by the accompanying press release – this album isn’t so much a return to the spirit (over-inflated pomp?) of the 70’s as a veritable tour de force of the “son rock-folklorique quebecois” (yep I made that up – but there is a definite style emanating from this French-speaking province). The album is really a a chance for singer-songwriter Mélanie Scala to demonstrate her Filles Fragiles credentials, one that she passes with flying colours. As alluded to earlier, there are fingerprints from the usual suspects daubed all over this release – Marie Pierre Arthur (Adore), CdP (La foire aux animaux) to name but two, but there’s a certain assuredness in the delivery and the band stamp their own style on proceedings… Check out any of the tracks on Bandcamp – the two above are getting heavy rotation, along with Ange, Aurores Boréales and Offre-lui ton coeur – to name but five(!) from I fear yet another contender for the short-list come years’ end….

Porcelaine – Ange

By the way: Want to hear a jazzy, sultry version of La vie en rose? Go HERE