Rockfort, Victorine

I missed that the Rockfort site changed to a Tumblr. If you like your French music a bit more leftfield, make sure you stop by Rockfort regularly.

One of their tips, the neo-ye ye of Victorine Fukushima:

Alka Balbir

Alka BalbirAlka-Balbir-talons-334x500 is a French actress and singer (and girlfriend of Justice’s Gaspard Auge). Her album drops after summer (on Naive), she sings in a very Isabella Adjani-an style on the new album by French electronica experts Chateau Marmont. See a very enchanting, subtitled interview with Alka here. See this clip by Lafayette as well. And see her in a very sexy red dress, duetting with Benjamin Biolay, here. French interview here. (Merci Sami!)

Chateau Marmont & Alka Balbir – Affaire Classée

Chantal Archambault


Guestpost! Steve on Chantal:
“Les élans” is Quebec singer-songwriter Chantal Archambault’s follow up album to 2010’s debut and certain blog’s best of list, “La romance de couteaux” and follows the former’s lilting country-folk themes.

However the years have seen a veritable explosion onto the burgeoning Quebec country-folk scene, with artists such as Marie-Pierre Arthur, Ingrid St-Pierre, Chloe Lacasse, and Les Soeurs Boulay, have all left their indelible mark on the genre.

So how does Chantal’s sophomore outing shape up?

Actually like any number of young Quebecoise facing up to that daunting second album, she’s done pretty damn well. The album’s openers “Tomber frêle” and “Les détours” are very much up-tempo, sing-along, toe-tapping numbers very reminiscent of MPA, with the added bonus of Boulay sisters’ angelic harmonies complementing both.

There’s a defined ebb and flow to the album, consisting as it does of twelve perfectly crafted and juxtaposed tracks which both lift and then gentle lower the listener. The sensual “Les élans” sits comfortably alongside the foot-tappin’ “Reste donc couchée”, for example, alongside a fantastic duet with Michel-Olivier Gasse on the achingly-beautiful “Chamber 16”.

Production quality, as appears to be the norm on album emanating from north of the 49th these days, is absolutely top notch; there’s great and sympathetic use of steel guitar and banjo on the two standout country tracks, “Les ébats” and “Toucher les cèdres”.

It’s quite dangerous to start pigeon-holing artists and album – and in nailing Chantal’s colors to the country-folklorique mast – I’m guilty as charged. However, put aside your country prejudices – This ain’t your parents’ “Grand Ole Opry.” This is is fine album that can not only quite rightly stand shoulder to shoulder with those of the artists mentioned earlier, but is arguably a contender for this year’s Top 10 list.



Lisbonne is Marie Merlet, bassplayer for Monade (Laetitia Sadier’s band). The name is a reference to The Virgin Suicides, not to the capital of Portugal. Her supersweet tweepop debut-single features an Annie Philippe-cover, a duet with Sadier. Read an interview with Marie here.

The Blithe Spirit of Charles Trenet

chtren»Without him, we all would have become accounting clerks«, Jacques Brel once said about Charles Trenet, the godfather of French song who invented modern chanson with his stunning blend of surrealism, nostalgia, buoyancy and joie de vivre. Born exactly 100 years ago, on May 18, 1913, the so-called Fou chantant first pursued a career as a writer: In his early novel Dodo Manières his alter ego feels downright enchanted while listening to Louis Armstrong’s Hobo You Can’t Ride This Train, and jazz was what made him turn to song. Portrayed by Jean Cocteau as an angel on a famous poster, Trenet wrote about 850 songs, among them superb stuff like Je chante, J’ai ta main, Y’a d’la joie, Que reste-t-il des nos amours, Douce France, La route enchantée, of course La mer, and the magnificent L’âme des poètes, a simple, soft-spoken discourse about poets, poetry and immortality.

Charles Trenet – L’âme des poètes

Françoise Hardy

CDCHD-1358_383_383‘Françoise was a confirmed Anglophile who had wanted to record in Britain, with British arrangers, as soon as she became famous’, Bob Stanley writes in the liner notes of ‘Midnight Blues’, a compilation of Hardy’s finest English songs, recorded between 1968 and 1972. I’m not a real fan of Fran’s English songs. It’s the accent, it’s the fact that the translated songs were better in their original form. I like her better in Italian (Spotify-link), but, granted, there are some nice tunes. As is always the case with Ace, the liner-notes are fine, it sounds great and the photos are carefully chosen. One of the things St.Etienne’s Bob Stanley can’t stop fussing about, is how thin and beautiful Hardy was back in the day. ‘In England, it was certainly my physique which pleasured people’, Hardy is quoted. Producer Tony Cox, who tried to set up a collaboration between Nick Drake and Hardy (it didn’t work) says: ‘We’d go out for dinner and every head would turn.’ A part from All Over the World, no single or English album was a bona fide hit in Britain. But she did work with several interesting arrangers and musicians, like Fairport Convention’s Richard Thompson and members of folkband Fatheringay. Here’s two tracks from the compilation:

Françoise Hardy – Midnight Blues
Françoise Hardy – Let My Name Be Sorrow


Just a reminder, if you have Spotify you can listen to my New French Pop 2013 playlist. New songs added almost every week. Go HERE