Floating with Françoiz

Our gamine lady of French indie pop: That’s Françoiz Breut, kind of a brooding indie folk figurehead of the Nouvelle Scène Française and with Si tu disais actually famous in France for a few hours in the mid-90s. Fifteen years later, Françoiz has come of age, and La Chirurgie des Sentiments may be her most consistent album yet. While opening with BXL Bleuette, an hommage to her adopted hometown Bruxelles, Chirurgie’s soundscapes, oscillating between airy mournfulness and serene mirth, chanson, post-new wave and splinters of electropop, actually lead directly to the vastness of the firmament. L’astronome reminds distantly of Clare and The Reasons’ dreamy Pluton, and the sweeping Cabinet des Curiosités beams the sound of Bahia right up to the asteroid belt, combining Gallic-Brazilian weightlessness, space age pop and easy listening scope to a clandestine super hit. With Chirurgie, Françoiz has arrived, though not à Bruxelles. Finally she’s at one with the universe.

Françoiz Breut – Cabinet des Curiosités


Keren Meloul, who looks like an Oriental half-sister of Carla Bruni, took her stage name from the 1979 movie The Rose, based on the tragic life of Janis Joplin. Unlike Janis, or Bette Midler who plays The Rose, Keren has a soft, hoarse voice that channels early spring, meadows with glistening dewdrops. But there’s a melancholy undertone, like you see the autumn leaves already between the blossomming trees. She made two albums, a third one’s about to be released and Et Puis Juin is the first single. Spring colours and autumn leaves all rolled in to one. See a live clip here.

Rose – Et puis juin

Melody’s Echo Chamber

Her name’s Melody. Melody Prochet. She plays music as Melody’s Echo Chamber, ‘a kaleidoscopic fusion of psych rock and warm hypnotic pop‘. Or ‘Jane Birkin backed by Best Coast’, if you like. It’s fuzzy, distorted, colourful, danceable, supersweet and very, very husky. Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker produced MEC’s debut album, she herself played all instruments and (as far as I know) wrote all the songs. Melody looks a bit like Gigi Gaston, the mysterious yeye-girl from artist Josh Goshfield’s dreamworld. Melody sings in English and French, I like the very Cocteau Twins-y Bisou Magique very, very much. Pitchfork, New York Times and COS wrote very favourable reviews. See the video for I Follow You here.

Melody’s Echo Chamber – Bisou Magique

Bump Miss Susie

After having been hadened, jonesed and kralled, there’s not all-too much left of jazz but a stiff with lots of funeral makeup. But actually, a few artists are still alive, though they’re hard to find: Meet Susie Arioli from Montréal, Quebec, who already celebrated the Great American Songbook with her Pennies From Heaven debut in 2002. Jazz reviews tell the usual nonsense of mellow moods and emotive atmospheres; truth is that Miss Susie has a highly seductive timbre, and with collaborator Jordan Officer one of the sharpest swing guitarists and arrangers around. Her new album All the Way features a gorgeous French-language version of the all-time classic What a Difference a Day Makes. Let’s make it short: Few did it better.

Susie Arioli – Un Jour de Différence

Bonus: Tchavolo Schmitt’s stunning manouche version of Différence, originally written by Mexican songstress María Méndez Grever in 1934.

Tchavolo Schmitt – Un Jour de Différence

Françoise Hardy

In november, L’amour fou is released, the new album by French pop icon Françoise Hardy. Not only that, she will debut as a novelist as well this year. Songs on her new album were written by Julien Doré and Calogero. This is the first single. It’s breezy, it’s well arranged, she makes use of her tattered seasoned voice very well.

Françoise Hardy – Pourquoi vous?

Les Sœurs Calamites

Quatre filles. From Toulon respectively PACA, short for région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. The Calamity Sisters are Marion (voix, g.), Laure (voix, g.), Angie (voix), and Amira (percussion). Their self-produced premier album Wakin’ Up is chock-full of irresistible barbershop harmonies – think Andrews Sisters, think Chordettes or Puppini Sisters. Last not least, the album features a highly alluring adaptation of Monsieur Gainsbourg’s La Javanaise, written originally in the early Sixties for Juliette Gréco and covered probably a million times – this one being one of the finest versions in a long, long time, tender, sexy, and with a late nite warm lips denouement that turns fingersnipping effortlessly into a dream you never knew.

Calamity Sisters – La Javanaise


Former Konki Duet member Kumi Okamoto releases a new EP next month. On Soundcloud you can hear the first new track by this Japanese honey-voiced singer

Lola Dutronic

Amazingly, Richard Citroen (head honcho of Lola Dutronic) did NOT include footage of singer Stephanie B. in the original video of Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead. Granted, with clips from music giants like Otis, James, Jim and the like to illustrate the point of the song, one could argue that it’s not really necessary. But then you obviously never saw Stephanie. Michael Des Barres (yep!) stepped in and urged Richard to include the real star of the song:

(By the way, see if you can make out Tina Weymouth in the background choir)

Saint Lou Lou

They’re Swedish/Australian, they’re called Miranda and Elektra and The Guardian wrote: ‘They’ve got the flaxen hair and cheekbones of Mariel and Margaux Hemingway in 1978 and they sound like a depressed tATu.’ They’re signed to French dance-label Kitsuné, they have angelic voices, and they’re not afraid to show it:

If you like your filles more discofied, try this remix.