No, the 2011 Best-Of release by gorgeous languid, Françoise Hardy-backed-by-Stereolab-sounding French band Holden wasn’t their final hat tip. Though Armelle is now singing in English as Superbravo, and Mocke started a new band with husky Claire Vailler, the oddly named Midget!. The latter released an album last year, I just found out. The songs sound very Holden-y, no surprise: slow, plushy, electronic, well-arranged. Somehow, Claire lacks the sexiness of Armelle, but that maybe just me. Try for yourself on Bandcamp or on the label-site . A Ciel Ouvert is my favourite Midget!-song. Back to Holden: they crowdsourced their fifth album, Sideration, which will be released this year. You can listen to some solid tracks here.
Midget! – A ciel ouvert
Fremaux & Associes released the second volume (see here for volume 1) of early Gainsbourg tracks plus the bands and artists who either covered his songs, or played his compostions. 58 tracks, 3 cd’s. This includes Serge’s flawless ‘No.4’ EP (featuring Black Trombone, Intoxicated man, Requiem pour un twisteur), several radio performances and songs sung by J-C Pascal, Petula Clark and fresh-faced vocal groups like Les Riff and Les Scarlet. The latter aren’t essential, yet it’s very handy to have them together on one box. I’d never heard of Los Jorge Nova Bossa’s version of Los Cigarillos (an instrumental track) and I think the live-version by Les Frères Jacques of Le poinçonneur is kind of special. But the best, and for me least known track, is Juliette Gréco’s beautiful version of Valse de l’au-revoir.
Juliette Gréco – Valse de l’au-revoir
Dalida was the star, Gainsbourg the piano player. Lovely Italian-French collaboration from the completely forgotten »L’inconnue de Hongkong« (1963).
Lo-fi lolita-surfpop heroes La Femme just released a new EP with four songs. Well, three new tracks and a rework of their underground hit ‘Sur la Planche’. The upbeat title track La Femme is sung by one of the various filles La Femme enlists to sing. A video is coming up too. According to this pic on their Facebook, it’s gonna look…different. The other songs are the Velvet Undergroundsy ‘Hypsoline’, with it’s unstable organ and tribal rhythm, that ends in a duet. There’s the bilingual ‘It’s Time To Wake Up’ that sounds like something Nini Raviolette forget to record back in the cold wave 80s. And a faster, streamlined version of Sur La Planche. It’s sleazy, it’s sexy, it’s good.
La Femme – La Femme
And here’s that video, featuring La Femme and Hypsoline:
Try to voice this name, and then try again: Evelyne Ranaivorarivony. According to Discogs, it’s the real name of Nini Raviolette, who released her one and only single in 1980: Suis-Je Normale?, a minimalist, freezoid stun-gun of a song that also opened 2004’s So Young But So Cold sampler. Now the song can be found again on Change the Beat, a brand new compilation celebrating the history of the legendary Celluloid label, still clinically cold, clinically disturbed, and still waiting for the right answer.
Nini Raviolette – Suis-Je Normale?
Sexy Boy by Air, covered by La Grande Sophie plus strings. Ooh la la, there’s an intented pun. This cover’s from a just released EP by LGS, featuring a couple of her own songs with said string section, plus this cover. Not the first time Sexy Boy’s been redone. Apart from the almost obligatory Top 40 coverband variations (Vitamin String Quartet et al), there are a few unusual, yet good covers. A guitaristic one by Franz Ferdinand, one by youth choir Scala and an offbeat Bertrand Burgalat-reprise.
La Grande Sophie – Sexy Boy
Bertrand Burgalat – Sexy Boy
Franz Ferdinand – Sexy Boy
Scala – Sexy Boy
And 99 pink bubble bath sets for the most girlish version go to: