Sophie Vaillancourt

Another guestpost by David! Woo!

After disappearing for a few years since reaching the finals of Star Académie in 2009, Sophie Vaillancourt has her first album, “Histoires de filles et de garçons”. Sophie opted not to take the risk of pursuing a full time career in music right away, completing her degree in elementary school education from the University of Montreal, earning the money to put herself through school by modeling. She looks nothing at all like any of my grade school teachers.

For her album, Sophie wrote half the songs herself, poppy songs with bright melodies and a tinge of melancholy to the lyrics, exhibiting a clear ’60’s influence (think Simon and Garfunkel). She worked with David Brunet, a name some might recognize from his work with Coeur de Pirate or Tricot Machine. There’s a nice article that discusses how this came to be here. My favorite song from the CD, “Danser Sous La Pluie”, leads off.
For fun, here is a snippet of another favorite, “Alors J’irai”, sung by Sophie with her class. I can’t find any videos for her album, other than this promo, but the camera loves her, so it’s highly likely her label will make it happen eventually.

P.S.: It’s been a pretty good year for filles fragiles – here’s a video from Brigitte Saint-Aubin’s new album, “Glamour”.

Sophie Vaillancourt – Pour lui plaire
Sophie Vaillancourt – Les sentiers regrettés

Marianne Dissard

We live in interesting times, people. Times where elegant country-noir singers like Marianne Dissard, she of the brilliant L’Entredeux, she who rubs shouders with the Calexico’s and members of Willie Nelson’s band, can’t get a record label to release her new album The Cat. Not Me. If you hear L’Oiseau, you wonder why. Surely, this soundtrack for Paris, Texas, if it had been shot in the Camargue, is sultry and brutal – just like Marianne herself. So enjoy this track. Not sure when we can hear the rest. If you’re new to Marianne and her music, go here.

Marianne Dissard – Oiseau

Wendy Nazaré

David’s spoiling us with another guestpost, on exotic beauty Wendy Nazaré.

I don’t know if others are the same way, but it is rare that I can listen to a new CD all the way through without getting bored at some point. Usually, the music begins to sound somewhat the same, and I find it’s better to come back to it. So, when I listened to Wendy Nazare’s “A tire d’ailes” straight through twice, I was very pleasantly surprised. (This happened to me earlier this year with Porcelaine’s new album, see the post on Filles Sourires here. While I’m thinking about it, there are some excellent videos from Porcelaine’s concert at Francofolies here, here and (my favorite) here.)

Back to Wendy. Her family comes originally from Algeria, reaching Belgium by way of Portugal and England, per her Myspace site. There are traces of all these places in her music. The instrumentals stand out: clean, varied and complex. Wendy’s voice ranges from soft and clouded to ringing clear and full, a sound like some recent artists out of Quebec, such as Chloe LaCasse, Marie-Pierre Arthur or Ingrid St-Pierre (Ingrid’s got a new album out, by the bye, “L’Escapade”). It may not be coincidence that her first record contract was with a record company out of Quebec. “Nairobi River” is a fair example, with a video here. There are other videos, each tending to remind me of Wendy’s Myspace description of how she sang at family gatherings as a little girl – the videos are happy and somewhat chaste, as if she were still singing with Mom, Dad and the family watching. “Au gout eighties” video is another example, or a duet with Pep’s, “Lisboa”. Her music lifts, filles fragile.

While Wendy’s first album from four years ago is not quite on the same level, it showed promise, with songs such as “Amabi”, or “Y’a une bombe”. I’ve attached a couple favorites from “A tires d’ailes”.

Wendy Nazaré – Juliana
Wendy Nazaré – Galway

Biolay covers Blur

Not too sure what to think of Ben’s recent lust for taking the English road. Here, he covers Out of Time by Blur for radio station Le Mouv’

Amandine Maissiat

Guestpost! David on Amandine Maissiat and her former band, Subway.

Sometimes it’s just a bit of luck. Going through a bunch of older CD’s in the music bins, I came across “L’Intranquille” by Subway. I couldn’t find much on the group initially (it didn’t help that several groups have the same name), but eventually found a couple of videos (Paris, Nos Nuits d’Opaline), and after giving them a listen went and bought the album…

Pretty girl, strong guitar, strong voice, with a bit of an edge…there’s never enough of that. In the comments, Amandine Maissiat was mentioned (yep, it’s her), which led me to the video (whoa) that sounded so familiar, the one posted here back in January.

So, it turns out after making “L’Intraquille” Amandine and Subway parted ways. A pity. Here’s an interview where Amandine discusses the reasons why. Subway originally was formed by four friends, all the way back in 1991, eventually putting out a first album, Rien ne se voit in 2003. The instrumentals in “L’Intranquille” are strong so I will probably seek out their first CD eventually. According to this, the group has finally called it quits this year.
Amandine plays on, with her EP “Maissiat” released early this year, also well worth it as you might guess from the video.

Here are two of my favorites from “L’Intraquille”.

Subway – Ces Mots Là
Subway – Sauvez-moi